I have some pumpkin plans for the blog this month but, until I get that stuff baked up, here’s a round-up of ALL THE PUMPKIN things on the blog.
I felt like it was only fitting to leave you with (yet another) frozen treat before things get real cray around here and I take a little break to move into our new place (we signed closing last night!) and prepare for the birth of our son(!!!). I mean, ice cream always feels celebratory, right?
In the spirit of celebration, I know that the question I ALWAYS want to know when someone is having a baby is the name and I’ve totally been holding out on you all. I mean, we’ve had it picked out since before we knew the gender, I just wasn’t ready to share it with everyone we know, plus the internet. There’s a lot of judgement and suggestion coming in from every direction when you are trying to name a baby, and well…it can be SO OVRHWHELMING. But, I’m totally ready and confident to share now. So…without further ado…
Casper, because I suggested it months ago on a super-long list of potentials and it really grew on both Sean and I. We wanted a real, not-made-up name, but also one that was a little different. Hart–which means stag–because I was sort of stuck on a whimsical, woodland theme for the middle name, but still wanted it to be masculine. It’s a nod to my late grandfather who was instrumental in my up brining, since my own father (his son) was killed in an accident when I was really young. He instilled a love of the woods in me and had a woodland nickname himself (Old Grizz), never made me feel like I was missing something growing up without a dad, and was generally my favorite person on the whole planet. Anyway, that’s the deal with the name.
In the next few weeks, I will not be posting any recipes (I may throw in a round-up or two, and a baby update), but I do have some guest posts planned with some of my super-awesome blogger friends. I am really excited to share the delicious bites they’ve come up with and hope you enjoy them as much as I do while I’m away! If you follow me on Instagram (there’s a peach-icon to the left if you want to follow!), I have no doubt there will be baby photos and updates there, as well.
Finally, let’s talk ice cream!
This ice cream is a simple vanilla bean flecked base with swirls of boysenberry–my grandfather’s favorite berry (which are kind of like blackberries)–and raspberry throughout, plus crunchy, almond-y amaretti cookies sprankled in there for good measure. I am a nut for texture and amaretti are one of my favorite treats–plus they pair so nicely with berries and vanilla.
So, that’s it! House buying, baby things, and ice cream. You know, life stuff.
Double Berry Swirl Amaretti Ice Cream
Makes about 2 pints of ice cream.
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
You can use any berries you’d like for this recipe. I went with boysenberries and raspberries. You can also combine the berries instead of keeping them separate when making the syrups. Amaretti cookies are crunchy, almond Italian meringue cookies.
1 cup each raspberries and boysenberries
1/2 cup sugar, divided
Ice Cream Base:
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/4 cups cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons softened cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
crushed amaretti cookies
In a saucepan combine the raspberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Heat over medium high until the berries release their juices and begin to boil. Boil about 2 minutes and remove from the heat. Press the raspberries through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl, extracting as much juice as possible. Discard the solids.
Repeat the same method with the boysenberries. Allow the berry syrups to cool to room temperature. Store the berry syrups in separate jars in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, to create a slurry. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, and vanilla seeds + bean pod. Heat over medium-high until scalded (when small bubbles form around the edges of the milk mixture and it begins to steam), remove from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt, set a fine mesh strainer over the top of the bowl. Set aside.
Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl or clean sink basin.
Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk mixture and stir in the cornstarch slurry you prepared earlier. Return the milk mixture back to medium-high heat and stir in the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, until thickened. Boil about 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain through the fine mesh strainer into the bowl of cream cheese and salt. Whisk to combine well. Pour the ice cream base into a gallon sized, zip-top, freezer bag and seal. Place the bag in the ice bath to cool. Once cooled completely, place in refrigerator up to 24 hours and churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or churn immediately.
Once the ice cream is churned, layer it into a freezer safe container, 1/3 at a time, drizzling with the berry syrups and sprinkling with crushed amaretti cookies. Repeat with remaining ice cream, syrups, and cookies. Place the ice cream in the freezer for several hours, until firm, before serving.
This post is a little different, as I developed this recipe as a collaboration with my old high school. I was contacted by a lovely woman named Garney, who works at the high school I went to, about a career board display she and some yearbook students were working on themed “Oh, the places you’ll go…” and they thought that this whole blogging and recipe-makin’ thing I do was interesting. The display went live today…and, seriously, who would have thought!? Especially among people who have become lawyers or are headed for medical school. Definitely not too-cool-for-high-school me. I went to a teeny high school, ECHS, in a speck of a town in the middle of Nevada. When I mean teeny, I mean my graduating class had 21 students in it. I did yearbook, the school newspaper, was a cheerleader, and worked at the community pool as a lifeguard. I was not cool at all and was a total awkward-weirdo…and I mean, I kinda still am, I’ve just embraced it. My favorite things to do included writing super-inaccurate-yet-fun horoscopes for the newspaper and using deadlines as an excuse to cut-out on PE, doing photo layouts for the yearbook, as a cheerleader I loved making huge hand-lettered signs for games, and working at the pool was pretty fun since a lot of my friends worked there too. Like many high-school kids, my free time was super important to me and I could often be found hanging out with my pals, driving around aimlessly, and drinking cherry-diet-pepsi’s from the drive-in. I also spent a lot of that free time baking cookies (or boxed cakes or making magazine collages) whilst chit-chatting with my girlfriends. Though I never Instagram-ed or took phone pictures of those cookies since I only had a cell phone my senior year, had about 4 numbers in it, and it was a huge, red, Nokia-brick with a pull-out antennae…no camera in sight.
Truth be told, whenever I made chocolate chip cookies, I would always make the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag. Sometimes I would add some huge scoops of peanut butter to the dough, sometimes I’d add walnuts, I almost never measured as carefully as I do now, but basically, I never deviated from that classic recipe. Now that I bake much more and many more things, I have tried many a cookie recipe and I think these chocolate chip cookies may be my favorite yet. They are super soft, tender, a little thick–which is how I love my chocolate chip cookies–and packed with lots of dark chocolate. There’s cream cheese in this dough, which adds to the tenderness, as well as contributing a pleasant tang to the buttery, toffee-like flavor of the dough. These cookies don’t bake up flat, but pleasantly domed with a little chewy edge with soft middles. In my opinion they are pretty much perfect and definitely worth trying out…because, honestly, there are never too many chocolate chip cookie recipes in the world.
Some things I did not know about baking in high school that will save you from a broken-cookie heart:
Baking powder is not the same as baking soda. Baking powder has baking soda plus an acid added to it to create the lift necessary in this recipe. Science!
Don’t forget the salt! I used to think it was okay to just leave salt out of baked goods. Don’t be teen-me! Salt makes all sweet things sing. For most purposes, I use kosher salt, but sea salt is nice too.
Parchment paper and waxed paper are not one in the same. Parchment is coated with silicone which ensures your baked goods will not stick and will also hold up to heat…waxed paper is coated with wax, will not ensure that you baked goods do not stick, isn’t meant to be heated (because wax melts!), and will just break your cookie-lovin’ heart.
Beating the butter, cream cheese, and sugars until fluffy will just whip air into your cookie, making it dry and crumbly, instead of soft and tender.
Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
The addition of cream cheese in these cookies makes them extra tender and soft, as well as adding a little bit of tang.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks butter
1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl using a hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and both sugars together until just combined, but not fluffy. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, mix to combine completely. Add the flour mixture you set aside earlier and mix until combined, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and continue to mix until everything is just mixed together, but well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and place the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 30, up to overnight. Using a cookie scoop or 2-3 heaping tablespoons, scoop dough into balls and place onto a baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving.