Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

I don’t know

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

When I was little, I knew everything.  I argued with adults because I thought I knew better.  I thought people getting hired for a job because they had more experience was nonsense.  The few times I didn’t know better, I played like I did.  ”Oh, uh… yea… I was about to say that.”  I wasn’t.

Somewhere in college, I learned how to say “I don’t know”.  I didn’t use it very often because hey, I still knew most everything there was to know.  I felt like I deserved to have a multi-page resume because I was just so great.  Since then, every day seems to teach me only one thing: I know less than I thought I did.

I used to create recipes and think that I was the bee’s knees.  Look at this pasta I made.  Aren’t I fabulous and special?  No.  Cooking requires experience.  The more you do it, the better intuition you have.  The more recipes you see combining certain ingredients, the more willing you are to go off script to create a combination you’ve seen before.  I like cooking.  I think that what I cook is usually pretty tasty.  But it’s not nearly as original as I thought it was when I was in high school.

… so this morning when I wanted doughnuts that combined chocolate and peanut butter, that wasn’t exactly a fresh idea.  I already have a tried and true chocolate doughnut recipe (see this cookbook).

Doughnuts in Morning Light

And peanut butter frosting just made sense to me.  I was a little nervous about how to go about that, though, because I wasn’t about to go shopping for whatever ingredients I was missing in any of the recipes I found.  … and then I thought about peanut butter pie.  That glorious creamy peanut buttery combo topping ground Oreos.  And the recipe for that is pretty simple.  Peanut butter + cream cheese + cream + sugar = amazing.

… but let’s make this simpler given the ingredients I actually have on hand: Peanut butter + dairy + sugar = amazing.  And so it did.  I used Yoplait vanilla greek yogurt because I have a Costco sized amount of it that’s going to go bad next week.  But let’s not kid ourselves, this recipe is hardly rocket science.

Doughnuts by Window

My sister requested that she be awoken when breakfast was ready, so I served her bedside with doughnuts and hot cocoa.  She kind of loves me a lot.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/4 c. peanut butter (I used creamy, but I think crunchy would be grand)
  • 1 5.3oz. container yoplait vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Mix ingredients until creamy.  Chill.  Frost doughnuts immediately before serving.

 

Fat Cottonwoods

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Southern New Mexico is a pretty familiar place for me.  My parents both grew up here.  Both sets of grandparents still live here.  Numerous aunts and uncles live nearby.  I’ve spent a lot of time here.  No amount of familiarity could ever make this view any less breathtaking.

White Sands

White Sands National Monument is a supremely under-appreciated experience.  There are views of the mountains surrounding you, and the white sand seems to go on forever.  The dunes are giant and absolutely amazing to sled down.

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I just love feeling the cool evening breeze.  And coming home to eat this peach cobbler afterwards?  It’s just too much!

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I cannot tell a lie.  I based this almost entirely off of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.  I gluten-freed it with Cup-4-Cup.  I may have used more pecans than it called for.

This recipe was stolen from Smitten Kitchen, but inspired by 2-lbs-for-a-dollar peaches and the pecan tree in my grandmother’s back yard.  Please make it.  It’ll make you happy.  Promise.

Sideways Recipes

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I’ve been reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School to my fifth graders.  On Thursday, we read my absolute favorite chapter: Maurecia.  It’s all about this little girl who hates everyone/thing except for ice cream, but eventually gets tired of all the different flavors.  Her amazing teacher Mrs. Jewls ends up making Maurecia-flavored ice cream which Maurecia can’t taste, but all the other children think is amazing.  The teacher realizes her mistake: Maurecia ice cream is the flavor that Maurecia tastes when Maurecia isn’t tasting anything.

Debbie-flavored ice cream

Debbie-flavored ice cream

I’m no Mrs. Jewls.  But this is Debbie-flavored ice cream.  At the very least, it’s inspired by her existence.  This blackberry white chocolate chip ice cream is positively amazing.  Sometimes, when you want to make birthday ice cream for somebody, you should really just wander around the grocery store and pick up ingredients.  You’re playing with cream and sugar.  What can go wrong?

Once I had already purchased the blackberries and white chocolate, I went online and started looking for a recipe.  This is backwards.  I’m pretty ok with that.

I came across this recipe, but it wasn’t working for me.  For one, I didn’t have half-and-half.  I also (whoops!) had only purchased one pint of blackberries.  … so I kind of made things up, basing my methods loosely on the Pioneer Woman’s and loosely on what I do every time I make ice cream.  What happened was amazing.  Check it.

Natural light is important!

Natural light is important!

…so I take pictures of my food on the railing of my front porch…  No bigs.

Blackberry White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

loosely adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon lime/lemon juice (I used lime because I had it, but I doubt it matters)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Make the blackberry “syrup” by combining the first three ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.  Press through a strainer to get as much juice as possible.  Set aside.

Pour white chocolate chips into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to create smaller chunks, but not so much it turns into a powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I’m a firm believer in 1% in ice cream, although all recipes call for whole)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups cream

Pour the cream into a bowl, place mesh strainer over top.  Whisk egg yolks together in separate bowl.  Combine milk and sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium/low heat until hot and steamy.

Whisk a small portion of the milk mixture into the egg yolks.  After tempering the egg yolks, add to the milk mixture.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  Pour through mesh strainer into the cream.  Whisk to combine.  Mix in the blackberry syrup.  Chill thoroughly in an ice bath or in the refrigerator.

Right before freezing, mix in the white chocolate chips.  Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Key Lime Pie-ish

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

You just said ‘whoopsie daisy!’ No one’s said that for 50 years, and then it was just little girls with blond ringlets!

Mistakes are the stuff of life.  I don’t mean like the best part of life or anything like that.  But they just happen.  Mistakes are what makes life seem real.

One of the cabinets in my kitchen opens on the wrong side.  I’m fairly certain it was a mistake.  I try to open it from the wrong side every single time.  But you know… that’s real life.

Real life is sleeping through your alarm, accidentally quitting a program without saving your work, biting into a Ferrero Rocher without realizing you’re totally allergic to the little wafer inside it.  It’s all of these things and more.  Mistakes happen.  They just do.  But sometimes, mistakes turn into this:

totally sweet mistake

totally sweet mistake

I like these kind of mistakes.  And due to an unfortunate mistake and an overabundance of egg whites in my fridge (thank you, ice cream), this bad boy isn’t even too bad for you.  I opted for a crust-less lime custard of sorts.  Inspired by key lime pie, but certainly not the same thing.  You could put all of this in a pie crust, but GF graham crackers are not cheap, and honestly, I’m not such a huge fan of the crust in the first place.  The custard with whipped topping was perfect.  You could also add in a bit of lime juice if you prefer something more tart.  I’m a wimp, so this is how I like it.  Anyway, here’s how it went down.

Key Lime Pie-ish

Filling:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest (from about two limes)
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (you could juice your own here, but I cheated – true fact)

Topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix the egg whites and lime zest until the egg whites have a greenish tint to them.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the lime juice.  Now pour into custard dishes.  Place filled custard dishes in a water bath and bake for 15-20 minutes or until set.  Let cool in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

When ready to serve, whip the cream with the powdered sugar.  Scoop on top of the filling and serve with a little grated lime zest on top.

What could go wrong?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Sometimes people get a little bit too fussy.

Fussy = needing a recipe to know that cream cheese, cream, powdered sugar, and strawberries should go together.

Fussy = bothering to mix extra pectin into jam you’ve already canned when it didn’t set properly.

Fussy = not being able to laugh when you’re watching Numb3rs and they have a site that looks a lot like Google, but says “Internet Search” where the logo should be.

Do you know what’s not fussy?  PB&J sandwiches.  Do you know what’s less fussy than that?  PB&J cookie sandwiches.  Yes.  I just went there.

PB + J + dessert = amazingness

PB + J + dessert = amazingness

I’m really into these cookies.  They’re classics.  And while I’ve worked on some variations like these and by adding M&Ms.  But none compare to this absolute stroke of brilliance I had when I accidentally made strawberry sauce instead of strawberry jam.  Whoops.  Mixing strawberry sauce with cream cheese, cream, and powdered sugar, though… what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, as it turns out.  Especially when you put that mixture in between two peanut butter cookies.  The boyfriend was doubtful.  He was wrong.  Seriously wrong.

a match made in heaven

a match made in heaven

No recipes here.  Just have fun when you make mistakes cooking.  Figure out delicious things you can mix with your mistakes to make something even better.  But mostly… when in doubt, add cream cheese and/or cream.  So not even kidding.