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Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients no ice cream maker.

Three Ingredients, No Ice Cream Maker, Crazy Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches was the first name for this recipe, although that did seem a bit long for a recipe that’s so short.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not a girl that goes for the Quick & Easy recipes, but sometimes I hear of a recipe that just seems too tempting not to try. I stole this recipe for an 80 year old woman I know. She made a version of these (that involved Cool-Whip) for a bingo game she was hosting, and told me all about how easy they were, and how everyone loved them. Easy, you say? None left, you say? I must try these easy and delicious treats, although I will be skipping that blue and white plastic tub.

She was right: easy, delicious and none left. The moral of the story is always listen to your elders.

And eat ice cream.

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients, no ice cream maker.

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies

Ingredients

    For the Crust:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter
  • For the Filling:
  • 8 tbs butter (1 stick)
  • 8 wt ounes bittersweet chocolate (62% cocoa content) about 1 ½ cups
  • 5 eggs separated
  • ¼ tsp cream tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup stout
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tbs flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 375.
  2. In a food processor add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and powdered sugar, pulse a few times to combine.
  3. Add the butter cubes and process until well combined.
  4. Spray a deep dish 8x8 inch baking dish (for 9x13, double the recipe) with cooking spray.
  5. Dump crust in the prepared dish, press firmly into an even layer.
  6. Place 8 tablespoons of butter, stout and chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over a pot of water) over medium heat. Stir frequently until melted, remove from heat.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg whites and cream of tartar, building up speed, beat on high until soft peaks form.
  8. Move whites to a large bowl.
  9. In the stand mixer bowl (no need to clean between jobs), add the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on high until light and slightly fluffy.
  10. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, beating until completely combined, scraping the bottom to make sure the mixture is well incorporated.
  11. About 1/3 at a time, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a spatula. Stir until egg whites are well combined with the chocolate mixture. Add filling in an even layer on top of the crust.
  12. Bake at 375 for thirty minutes or until the top has puffed and looks dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.
https://domesticfits.com/easy-homemade-caramel-ice-cream-sandwiches/

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients, no ice cream maker.

 

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake3

Although I may be shattering illusion with this admission, I don’t always cook with beer. I often create very sober meals with teetotaling side dishes, not a whisper of booze in sight.

However, over the years of carving out a niche in this corner of Craft Beer Land, I have found that beer is an essential and non-replaceable ingredient in several dishes, it just does the best job.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake2

My Thanksgiving Turkey will always be brined with a brown ale, the meat tenderizing properties of beer have no match. If you want a juicy bird, it’s the best way to get there.

My dinner rolls will always be made with wheat beer, the leaving agents are just too good.

My steak will always be given a good soak in a dark craft beer, it gives the best results.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake5And my chocolate cake will always be made with a nice chocolate stout. The first recipe I ever made with beer was a stout cake, it was by far the best homemade chocolate cake I had ever made, wooing me to the boozy side of baking.

The taste was both rich and light, smooth and bold. It may have been a gateway recipe that lead me down a path of beer cooking obsession.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake4

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 7 wt oz 72% dark chocolate, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces Chocolate Stout
  • 3 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs + 2 yolks
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tbs espresso powder
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cup dark chocolate chips, melted & slightly cooled
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In the top of a double boiler (or a bowl set over gently simmering water), add the dark chocolate, and butter, stirring frequently until just melted. Stir in the chocolate stout.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the sugar, eggs and yolks until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the oil and sour cream, beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the chocolate, beating until all ingredients are well incorporated, scraping the bottom to make sure all us well combined.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and kosher salt.
  7. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined.
  8. Grease and flour 3, 9-inch cake pans (or two cake pans, and 12 cupcake tins).
  9. Pour the batter evenly between the pans.
  10. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched, (15-17 minutes for cupcakes).
  11. Allow to cool, remove from pans (it’s easiest to transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper.)
  12. To assemble a tall cake it’s easiest if all ingredients are cold, warm cake and frosting tend to slide. For best results chill the cake layers for 1 hour prior to assembling.
  13. Chill assembled cake until ready to serve.
  14. For the frosting:
  15. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the softened butter on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, beat until light and fluffy.
  16. Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the mixer, beating until well combined with the butter mixture.
  17. Add the powdered sugar and slowly building up speed, beat on high until well combined.
  18. A few tablespoons at a time add the bourbon and the cream, allowing to fully incorporate before adding more. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  19. Cover bowl and refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes.
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https://domesticfits.com/epic-chocolate-stout-cake-with-chocolate-bourbon-sour-cream-frosting/

 

Grilled Peach Ice Cream

Grilled Peach Ice Cream

I’m really hard on myself, I’ve told you that before. I’m a nothing-is-ever-good-enough kind of person. Lately, my photos have been in my line of fire when it comes to Stuff I’m Not Good Enough At. I can’t figure it out, why the light is never that beautiful, why the images aren’t compelling enough, why the heck I can NEVER master the over head shot. By the way, this all drives my husband crazy, because in the Grand Tradition of Amazing Husbands, he thinks I’m the most talented person in the world, let’s not disrupt that delusion, I sort of like it.

So, one of my tangible fixation for resolving at least some of the issues I have with my sub par photos was this slightly deranged idea that I NEEDED a reclaimed wood table. I NEEDED it (#firstworldproblems). I priced this absolutely necessary item, and in the Los Angeles area, this need could be fulfilled for the low, low price of about $2000. My aforementioned Amazing Husband disagreed that this was an actual need after seeing the price tag for such items.

I couldn’t stop thinking about such a need, and scoured Craigslist for the possibility that I might be able to pick one up. But as luck might have it, an old house in my neighborhood started to get torn apart. It was a 1920’s California Bungalow and the sight of it being ripped apart made me a little heartsick.

As I drove home one night, I noticed a stack of gorgeous antique wood, full of age and scars that I couldn’t get out of my mind. After dinner I pulled on a pair of old boots, waited for the workmen to leave for the day, and began to dig the gorgeous planks out of the trash piles.

I had two very specific feelings about this slightly insane venture of trespassing to dig through a trash pile, at dusk, in East Los Angeles. First, I felt like a crazy person (and clearly an amateur who didn’t think to bring gloves to dig through construction waste and old wood) as I tried to ignore the freaked out looks from passers by. Second, that I was heroically saving this amazing wood from the fate of a land fill (also slightly insane that I was heroizing myself for something so selfish).

Grilled Peach Ice Cream2

After I got home with Heroically Aquired Gorgeous Wood, I used actual real life and potentially dangerous power tools to nail it together, saw off the excess and I then had myself a Personally Reclaimed Wood (prop) Table. And posted the picture of my slightly insane venture on Instagram.

Although I’m fairly certain that my newly acquired fake table did not improve my photos, I’m still happy to have him in my house instead of a landfill.

Honey Porter Glazed Chicken Skewers

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane (or minced)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup porter or stout beer
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots (about 1 medium shallot)
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into cubes
  • oil for the grill
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, honey, porter, red pepper flakes, mustard, soy sauce and pepper. Add the chicken cubes, refrigerate for 1 hour and up to overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) thread the chicken through wooden skewers.
  3. In a pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and shallots. Sautee until shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinade and boil, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Grill directions:
  5. Preheat grill to medium high.
  6. Brush the grill lightly with oil.
  7. Brush the chicken with the glaze, place on the grill. Brush with glaze and turn every 2-4 minutes until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.
  9. Oven directions:
  10. Preheat the oven to 400. Place chicken on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Brush liberally with glaze. Roast at 400 for 30-40 minutes, brushing with glaze every 8-10 minutes until cooked through.
  11. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.

Notes

*Use metal skewers made for the grill, or soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to use. The best way to do that is to place wooden skewers on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with water and place a heavy plate on top of the skewers to submerge. *Glaze will thicken as it cools. If it becomes too thick to brush, heat slightly to thin.

https://domesticfits.com/grilled-peach-ice-cream/

I used this KitchenAid Ice Cream maker (affiliate link).

Grilled Peach Ice Cream3

Cream Cheese and Jam Crumb Cake

 

Le Creuset Giveaway

In honor of moms everywhere, and the upcoming Mothers Day holiday, I’m hosting some giveaways this week with a Mothers Day brunch theme!

To kick us off is Le Creuset with a gorgeous cake stand (I love cake stands) that is perfect for a cake, pie, cookies, lets be honest, I’d serve roast chicken off this thing, it’s gorgeous! But not just that, we are also throwing in some beautiful French preserves by Bonne Maman. The winner also gets four jars in fabulous flavors like Fig, Strawberry and Golden Mirabelle. I love that these are jams that have simple, honest ingredients, jam like your Grandmother would have made in her own kitchen, with the fruit from her trees.

To celebrate these gorgeous jams, I wanted to give you a recipe that works well with all the great flavors. Of course, I looked to Martha, a woman who is no stranger to French jams. I adapted her amazing crumb cake recipe for the use of these jams, making it three times to get it just right. I love this so much, and I love that it works with all of these fabulous jams.

Cream Cheese and Jam Crumb Cake2

The winner will receive: One cherry red Le Creuset cake stand, four jars of French Bonne Maman preserves, shipped anywhere in the continental USA, you can even have it shipped directly to your mom! Or keep it for yourself, I won’t judge.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Congrats to Whitney! Our winner!

Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Fudgesicle

Yield: Yield: 8 pops

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs whole milk
  • 1/3 cup stout
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 6 standard sized graham crackers
  • 2 tbs melted butter

Directions

  1. In a bowl (or a food processor) mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and powdered sugar until well combined.
  2. Add the milk and stout, stir to combine.
  3. Add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Pour the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture, stir until combined.
  4. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about 1 inch of the top empty for the crust (if you don’t have popsicle molds, use small paper cups and popsicle sticks) tap the molds gently on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  5. In a food processor add the graham crackers, process until only crumbs remain.
  6. While food processor is running, add the melted butter in a slow stream until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  7. Divide the crust evenly between the popsicles, press down gently to compact. Insert popsicle sticks, freeze for at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
https://domesticfits.com/cream-cheese-and-jam-crumb-cake-and-a-le-creuset-giveaway/

Adapted from Martha Stewart New York Crumb Cake

Cream Cheese and Jam Crumb Cake3

 

Mini Pavlovas with Blood Orange Curd

 


Miniature Pavlovas with Blood Orange Curd2

 

Here we are again.

You & I and some blood oranges.

The season is so short, and it’s nearly impossible to get these out of season, I need to enjoy them now. It’s almost embarrassing how I’ve started to hoard them. Whole Foods had a sale this week and I left with three bags. I even bought a new fruit bowl to accommodate my citrus bounty. And if you came over to my house and commented on my large bowl of blood oranges, I may or may not gush over how gorgeous they are and offer to cut one open for you. In which you would probably respond with a slight look of shock and decline my offer and very quickly change the subject.

I made pavlovas as an edible fruit container of sorts. Don’t be intimidated by pavlovas, although they look difficult and impressive, they are actually very simple. As long as you make sure that not a single drop of fat (yolks or residual butter left over in a bowl) come in contact with the egg whites, they really don’t require much skill.

Miniature Pavlovas with Blood Orange Curd3

Chocolate Stout Waffle Sundae with Chocolate Stout Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

    For The Sauce
  • 3 tbs butter
  • ½ cup stout
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • For the Waffles
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3cup milk
  • 2/3 cup stout
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Ice Cream for serving

Directions

  1. Add the butter, 1/2 cup stout and corn syrup to a sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until butter has melted and the mixture has just started to boil.
  2. Turn off heat and stir in 1 cup chocolate chips until completely melted. Allow to cool slightly before using.
  3. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications.
  4. In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt, stir.
  5. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Stir in the beer, vegetable oil, vanilla and only the yolks of the two eggs.
  6. Add the whites to separate bowl, along with the sugar. Whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  7. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the chocolate milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold into the egg whites until just incorporated.
  8. Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications, using butter flavored cooking spray if indicated.
  9. Plate waffles, top with desired amount of ice cream, drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve with a malty stout.
https://domesticfits.com/miniature-pavlovas-with-blood-orange-curd/

 

Miniature Pavlovas with Blood Orange Curd4

 

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowls

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowls

Maybe this isn’t Valentinesy in that "Heart Shaped Red Velvet Conversations Heart Aphrodisiac Cheesecake " sort of way,  but it is a fun way to eat ice cream.

And really, who doesn’t need that in their lives? I’m at the very end of writing this book, that’s due to my publisher in just three weeks. I vacillate between sheer panic, absolute gratitude for this opportunity, and utter exhaustion. I’m not sure which I am most looking forward to: sleeping again, being a normal human, or the ability to refer to myself as a publisher author (!!!).

In other news, my husband deserves an award. And a lot of that Valentinesy type wifeish attention that I’ll have more mental capacity for once I’m a normal human again.

We are both looking forward to that.

In the meantime, here is a not-as-bad-for-you ice cream dish. Because when your bowl is half full of fruit, it’s pretty much like health food.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl

 

3 granny smith apples (granny smith hold their shape the best, other apples will likely get soggy, but still taste great).

Cinnamon & Brown sugar

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 tbs butter, melted

6 scoops vanilla ice cream

 

Preheat oven to 375.

Cut the apples in half the wrong way (as in, the way that seems to be counter to all of your apple cutting instincts).

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl2

Use a mellon baller to remove most of the center, leaving about 1/2 inch of the walls in tact.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl3

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, rub in. (really, there isn’t a need to measure the amounts but if you are a "I MUST MEASURE!" person, count on about 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp brown sugar per apple half. But really, just sprinkle, you’ll do fine.)

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl4

Place apples, cut side down, on the baking sheet.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into six equal sized squares.

Cover each apples with puff pastry and roll the excess pastry around the apples to resemble a pie crust.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl5

 

Brush with melted butter and cut two or three small slits with a sharp knife.

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl6

 

Bake at 375 until puff pastry has turned golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Fill with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Now, if you are a civilized human, you can go at this with a knife and fork. But if you’re me, you’ll pick it up and eat it like the ice cream filled Apple Pie Taco is was born to be. (*The second option is way better, but you’ll need napkins)

Baked Apple Pie Ice Cream Bowl7

 

 

 

Stout Soaked Cherry Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

Stout Soaked Cherry Cheesecake Bars with Pretzel Crust P

I need your help.

I’m somewhere around halfway done with this cookbook, and I need some feedback. I have about 50 recipes ready to go, but they have never been cooked outside of my kitchen.

I want to know if they work for you, if you like them (or didn’t), if the directions make sense. This part is important to me, it increases the chances that we can catch some of the flaws, some of the directions that may be misleading, or some factor I might have overlooked.

This book means so much to me, and the recipes working for as many people as possible is a high priority.

And I can’t do this on my own. If you are willing to make one (or more) of the Top Secret recipes I have in the works, keep it secret until the book goes to print, and give me your honest opinion, I need that.

If you’re at all interested, Please, check out my Book Page for more info. Please.

 

Stout Soaked Cherry Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

Ingredients

  • 8oz sweetened dried cherries (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 cups stout
  • 3 cups mini pretzels twists, lightly crushed (about 1 ½ cups once processed)
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Place dried cherries in a bowl or tall glass. Pour stout over cherries until fully submerged. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the soaking liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. In a food processor, add the pretzels and brown sugar, process until only crumbs remain, about 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly add the melted butter while the processor is running. Pour into the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan. Use the flat bottom of a heavy glass, measuring cup or mug to press the crust really well into a flat even layer.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese, beat on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream and beat until well combined. Add the salt, flour and sugar, mix until well incorporated. Add the eggs and vanilla, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add ¼ of the stout used to soak the cherries, mixing until just incorporated. Stir in the cherries.
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture over the crust, smooth out into an even layer.
  6. Place in the oven and reduce oven temp to 350. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes or until the cheesecake has puffed slightly and center no longer jiggles when you shake the rack it sits on. Don’t over bake, it will firm up once it chills. Remove from oven (allow to stand at room temp until slightly cooled, about 10 minutes) refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 4 hours and up to 24. Cut into squares for serving
https://domesticfits.com/stout-soaked-cherry-cheesecake-with-pretzel-crust/

 

 Stout Soaked Cherry Cheesecake Bars with Pretzel Crust2

 

 

 

Chocolate Creme Brulee Tart & Dealing With Kitchen Failures

It’s hard to be a home cook. Blindly navigating a world that seems to come so effortlessly to others. Comparing our kitchen failures with the extravagant successes we see other producing. Left to wonder why we can’t make a perfect soufflé even when we follow the directions with surgical exactness. 

And those of us who reached adulthood with little more skill than it takes to boil water are thrown into the same world with those girls who learned how to make perfect ears of orecchiette pasta by the twirl of their Italian Grandmothers thumbs. Those of us whose childhood culinary training didn’t extend much past reheating and defrosting. 

So when you sit there, tears in your eyes as your hard work has turned to a delated over-salted mess, I want you to remember a few things:

1. No one will post their failures on their blogs. Or post pictures of them on their Facebook page. When you compare your failures with everyones success, its not fair to you. 

2. Everyone fails. Ask anyone who has ever cooked and they will tell you culinary tails of epic failures. Horrible, inedible food that we will never speak of in the light of day. Sometimes we figure out why we created such a disaster, sometimes it remains a mystery. 

3. Great cooks don’t give up. Sure, they fail. A lot. But they don’t give up. Focus more on your success than your failures and just keep going. 

4. Make a list of the recipes that you want to tackle. Make it as huge and as grandiose as you want, you have your entire life to master them. No matter how often you make them, and what the end result is, vow to learn something from each batch. 

5. Remove emotion.  In order to figure out how it is that you have ended up with such a kitchen failure on your hands, you have to be able to look at it objectivly. It is hard not get emotional when you feel like you failed, but that isn’t going to teach you anything. Did you really follow the steps exactly, or are you just saying that to make yourself feel better? Did you use the ingredients that were listed or did you use a substitute thinking it would be ok? If you can use each recipe as a learning tool, it wasn’t a waste. Sometimes it’s the recipes fault, sometimes it’s the ingredients fault, and yes, sometimes it is your fault. But it’s all part of the learning process. We have all tried to change a recipe thinking it would be fine, and sometimes it isn’t. Now you know. 

The first recipe on my list of recipes to master was Creme Brulee. It sounded so fancy and grown up, I wanted to learn to make something that was elegant and French and I was shocked at how easy it was. You do need a few kitchen tools, but the recipe and the steps are simple. And the result is incredible. For this recipe, I added a chocolate tart crust and a cocoa powder laced brulee topping. 

And a kitchen tip from one of my kitchen failures: Don’t touch the melted sugar before it’s cooled, it will give you the worst mother Eff-ing burn of your life. 

Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee Tart

Tart Crust:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

10 tbs of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

3-5 tbs ice cold water

Custard:

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup of sugar

1 3/4 cup of heavy cream

1 3oz bar of 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 tsp espresso powder

1/2 tsp salt

Brulee Sugar Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

In a food processor, combine the 1/2 cup flour, sugars, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter and process until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining flour and process again. Your dough should resemble course meal. Move to a large bowl and add 3 tbs of the water, knead to combine (if you add the water to the dough with the food processor, your crust will turn into a cracker). Add the additional water if your dough is too dry.

Form into a disk, wrap completely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour (you can also make the crust a day ahead and allow to chill overnight).  

Heat your oven to 375.

Once your tart is all chilled, remove from the fridge and roll out to an even thickness, making sure your dough is just large enough to completely cover the interior surface of the tart pan.

Add to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (that has been sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray), pressing into shape and removing any excess dough. If the dough is too fragile to transfer in one sheet, it is ok to press it into shape in pieces in the pan.  Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork several times.

Place a sheet of parchment paper inside your tart and fill with pie weights. If you don’t have pie weights, you can use dried beans. 

Bake for 20 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 300.

In a bowl, combine the yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until light and frothy. In a pot over medium heat, combine the cream, salt, espresso powder and chocolate, stir continuously until chocolate has melted, reducing heat to avoid boiling if necessary. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperate for about 15 minutes (if you add the cream/chocolate mixture to your egg mixture when it is hot, you will end up with scrambled eggs. Allow to cool to avoid that).

While whisking the egg mixture, slowly add the cream until completely combined. Strain with a fine mesh strainer.

Place tart pan on a baking sheet and set in the oven, then add the custard to tart shell. Bake at 300 degrees until the edges are set and the middle is still wobbly (it will continue to set as it cools) about 35-40 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and keep cold until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, add ¼ cup of sugar and 1 tsp cocoa powder, stir to combine. Add to the top of the tart in an even layer. Run a culinary torch over the top of the sugar, slowly and evenly, until it has all melted and is mostly dark. Due to the addition of the cocoa powder, this brulee topping is more likely to catch fire. Make sure to extinguish any fires instantly. You can also brulee with plain granulated sugar, leaving out the cocoa powder, if it makes you nervous!  Serve immediately. Once the sugar has been bruleed, it will start to liquify after about an hour. 

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Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Bars with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Crust

Peanut butter was named one of the Top 5 Foods That Should Have A Place Your Diet by CNN.

Whoever wrote that probably wouldn’t have wanted you to mix it with butter and sugar, but regardless of the increased amount of calories and fat, you can still feel good about giving yourself a healthy dose of antioxidants. And eating a Super Food that has protein and fiber,  lowers cholesterol and your risk of heat disease.

Because, like I told you at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to seek a balance in my life. If I am going to have a fabulously delicious dessert, I also want it to have some good stuff in it too.

I have also decided to cut food dyes out of my diet all together by the end of the year. Because, unlike peanut butter, they have zero benefits, lots of risks and are known carcinogens. I’ll write more about that later once I’ve figured out how to conconct an all natural red food dye.

I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to find a balance in my life. Peanut butter caramel bars are a great balance, giving you a dose of healthy goodness with an incredible dessert. But don’t misunderstand me, this is in no way a diet food. They are high in calories and a treat that you should enjoy every once in a while, but at least you have the peace of mind that there are also health benefits.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread:

For the shortbread crust:

¾ cup Brown Sugar

1 sticks of Butter

½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp Salt

2 cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 ½ cups Dark Chocolate Chips

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy cream

¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1 stick of butter

½ tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp course sea salt

Line the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up and over the edges of the pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder, stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until mixed well with the butter mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Press the shortbread into the bottom of the baking dish in one even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges have turned a golden brown and have started to look dry. Allow to chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

In a pot over medium high heat, add the peanut butter and the cream. Stir continuously until the peanut butter has melted and is well combined with the cream. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.

In a separate pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, & corn syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 230 degrees, about 5 minutes. While the caramel is cooking, do not stir, but swirl the pan every 30 seconds to redistribute the caramel sauce evenly. Once 230 degrees is reached, add the butter, stirring to allow it to distribute and melt, then remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter cream, adding slowly as it will bubble up furiously.

Pour the caramel over the shortbread and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set. Sprinkle the top with the sea salt. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares. 

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Easy Homemade Chocolate Raspberry Mousse pie

 Sometimes you make a mistake and it ends up being a really great thing. I wish I had a wise true life story about a mistake gone right, but I don’t. Not at the moment. 

But this pie is a mistake gone right. I was trying to make chocolate whipped cream, but I wanted something more intense than cocoa powder. So I tried to melt some chocolate in heavey cream, and then chill it. 

When I came back the next day, and it was one solid mass. The I tried to whip it (Into shape!) and it turned into this creamy non-whipped cream type of dense mousse. So I made a crust for it and a chocolate raspberry topping and it’s now a pie. Or it was a pie until I ate it. 

It’s not a propper mousse, its a working-mom-still-wants-to-cook-from-scratch type of mousse.

I like it.

Super easy, fancy, still made from scratch, and impressive. Win, Win, Win.

Easy Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Pie

Filling:

2 cups heavy cream

2 3oz bars of semi-sweet chocolate

Crust:

2 cups chocolate wafer cookies (or chocolate teddy grahams or chocolate graham crackers)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbs brown sugar

Topping:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

2oz 60% dark chocolate 

1/3 cup sugar



In a large pot, add the cream and the chocolate. Stir over medium-low heat until all of the chocolate has melted and it resembles chocolate milk. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Cover and chill until set, at least 6 hours. Filling can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. 

Pre-heat oven to 350. 

Put the chocolate wafer cookies, or chocolate graham crackers (NOT chocolate covered) into a food processor and process until crumbled. Add the sugars and the butter and process until it looks like wet sand. Add a bit more butter if it’s too dry. Press into a 9 inch pie pan. Press hard, using a measuring cup, a flat bottom coffee cup or anything you can to make sure and pack it into the pan really well. This will keep it from crumbling when you cut it into slices. 

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 or until firm. Allow to cool. 

Place the bowl of chilled chocolate cream on to the stand mixer and beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until fluffy. At this point, you can taste to see if you want it sweeter. I tend to favor less sweet desserts, and if you like yours supper sweet, add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until its incorporated into the mousse.

Add the chocolate mousse to the pie crust and spread out evenly, place in the fridge to chill. 

In a pot over medium-high heat, add the topping ingredients. Stir until the raspberries and chocolate has melted, the raspberries have broken down, and the mixture has thickened. This will take longer if you are using frozen raspberries because the water content is higher. About 8-12 minutes. Pour the mixture over the mousse and chill until set, about 30 minutes.