Honeycrisp, Sage, & Bacon Shells and Cheese

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Northern Hemispherians! It’s fall, or more properly, autumn!

I always look forward to the change of seasons, but Autumn is my favorite. It’s the cool change in the air that demands I bring back my cardigans from the depths of my closet, warm beverages, nights that require a fire, oven-baked everything, pumpkins and crazy looking gourds at the market, and apples.

I’ve been preparing for the change of the season by buying Casper tiny-plaid shirts that make him look like a lumberjack-in-training, hats that make him look like a baby-bear, and lots of honeycrisp apples for me to eat. I LOVE honeycrisps. I really fell in love with them when we were living in Michigan–they were abundant there and I am pretty sure that I ate at least my weight in them late last fall after I found out I was pregnant. So, basically, Casper is at least 1/3 honeycrisp apple–the other 2/3 being a mix of strawberries and pizza.Anyway, let’s talk about the perfect fall-flavored mac and cheese. This dish combines my favorite sweet-tart-crisp apple with my favorite fall herb–sage–plus bacon, cheddar, goat cheese, and parm for good measure. Triple-cheese-threat!

And it’s so good, guys! It has all the cheesy goodness you’d expect from classic macaroni and cheese, complete with a crisp topping, plus tart apples, sweet onions, salty bacon, and earthy sage. UGH. It’s so good. Sean was a little skeptical, I think, but I assured him that cheese and apples are friends so it totes makes sense. It’s one of those dishes that made me want to high-five myself when it was done, because it’s good…like, really.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

 

Honeycrisp, Sage, & Bacon Shells and Cheese

You can use any firm, tart-sweet apple you like for this recipe.

Serves 6-8

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tablespoon bacon grease reserved from cooking

2 honeycrisp apples, diced and peeled

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh, chopped sage

1 lb. small to medium shell pasta

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon flour

3 cups milk

6 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese

4 ounces soft goat cheese

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter

Garnish:

Sage leaves

Canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease over medium-high and cook the apples and onions with a pinch of salt until softened. Remove from the heat and toss with the chopped sage and most of the bacon (reserve a few tablespoons for the top of the pasta).

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water and cook about 2 minutes less than the package instructs. Drain in a colander and set aside.

In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook the roux about 1 minute before gradually stirring in the milk. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and cook until it thickens a bit. Gradually add in the cheddar, goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of the parmesan, stirring to melt and combine. Stir in the nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. Add the cooked pasta and bacon, apple, onion mixture to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Scrape the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish, or two smaller dishes (I used a 10-inch round dish and 4x4inch square dish). In bowl, toss the panko with the melted butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan, sprinkle over the top of the pasta evenly. Top the pasta with the reserved bacon and bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the edges of the pasta are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

To garnish with fried sage, heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and fry sage leaves until crisp. Drain on paper towels before adding to the baked pasta.[/recipe]

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Guys, this ice cream is my dream. I was scrolling through my recipe index, looking for gaps in my ice cream repetoire, when I realized I am seriously lacking in the chocolate department. WTF?! This made me question who I am in all kinds of ways, so of course, I remedied that issue real quick.

This ice cream is adapted from Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. It’s rich and chocolatey and creamy-dreamy…and it has peanut butter shell swirled throughout. BOOM. I mean, I really could not ask for more from an ice cream. Against the dark chocolate, the peanut butter shell is just snappy–not as snappy as chocolate shell, but firmer than plain old pb–and a bit salty, too. It’s seriously perfection and is taking me all kinds of self-control and will-power to not just face plant right into a pint of this stuff. Thank goodness for weekend houseguests who have an affinity for ice cream…or I might be in serious trouble.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Peanut Butter

Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home 

PS, if you don’t have Jeni’s book and you love ice cream…treat yo’ self. 

For this ice cream I used Ghiradelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, my favorite Valrhona cocoa powder, crunchy peanut butter, and virgin coconut oil. The virgin coconut oil has a slight coconut flavor, which I do not mind at all, but you could use refined if you prefer.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup water

1 heaping teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup sugar, divided

1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons softened cream cheese

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Begin by making a syrup, combine the cocoa, water, espresso powder, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil over, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth and melted. Set aside.

Whisk the cream cheese with the syrup and salt in a large bowl until smooth.

In another small bowl, whisk about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry. Set aside.

In a large bowl or clean sink basin, make an ice bath with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-qt saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to the heat and bring to a boil over medium, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk into the cream cheese & syrup mixture until well mixed. Pour into a gallon, zip-top freezer bag, seal, and submerge in the ice bath. Let it sit until cold. Either pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker right away, or chill overnight in the fridge before processing. I like to chill overnight.

While the ice cream processes, melt the peanut butter and coconut oil together in a bowl in the microwave in 30 second bursts, until melted and smooth when stirred together. Set aside.

Once the ice cream is processed, layer about 1/3 of the ice cream into a container, followed by the peanut butter mixture–repeat with the remaining ice cream and peanut butter. Cover and freeze until solid before serving. [/recipe]

Blueberry Maple Cheesecake Ice Cream

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This weekend I have homemade fish-stick plans–or fish-finger plans, as I’ve been calling them since I ALWAYS fall into the “you-like-fishsticks?” trap (I always fall for this awful joke much to the delight of my husband and BFF…because we’re such adults and I’m SO DUMB). What do fish-fingers have to do with ice cream, you ask? Nothing. Aside from my fish-finger plans for the weekend, which I am weirdly excited about, I have ice cream eating plans…because it’s the weekend and um, ICE CREAM!

Plus, it’s this ice cream, which is ice cream+cheesecake+blueberries, all in one! This ice cream combines the flavor of tangy cream cheese with sweet, sweet maple, plus a fruity ripple of vanilla-scented blueberry sauce, and the requisite graham cracker crumbs…you know, to make it authentic.  I mean, it’s Friday, the eve of the weekend, and we deserve a little frozen indulgence, don’t you think?

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Blueberry Maple Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ice Cream Base adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

I made this recipe with Tonewood Maple Syrup*. You can read more about Tonewood here in my earlier post or on their website. As always, feel free to sub in your favorite syrup.

Ice Cream Base:

2 cups milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

6oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups cream

2/3 cup maple

1/4 cup corn syrup

Blueberry Ripple:

2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Graham Layer:

1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed

Mix together about 2 tablespoons or so of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry, set aside. In a large, heatproof, mixing bowl whisk the cream cheese and salt together.

Prepare an ice bath in the basin of a clean sink or large bowl.

In a saucepan combine the remaining milk, cream, maple syrup, corn syrup, and cornstarch slurry. Heat to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, continue to boil for about 4 minutes and remove from the heat. Gradually whisk the mixture into the cream cheese until smooth and combined. Either stir the mixture over the prepared ice bath or pour it into a gallon-size, zip-top freezer bag, seal, and place in the ice bath until cooled. If the base is totally cooled you can process in the ice cream maker at this point. I like to let it chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before processing.

For the blueberry ripple:

In a saucepan combine the blueberries and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat until the blueberries release their juices and soften. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch and stir into the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool completely before layering with the ice cream.

In a freezer-safe container layer about 1/3 of the processed ice cream base in the bottom and drizzle with 1/3 of the blueberry ripple, followed by a liberal sprinkling of graham crumbs, repeat with remaining ingredients, cover, and freeze for several hours before serving. If you have leftover ripple and crumbs, use them to top the ice cream when served. [/recipe]

*Tonewood kindly supplied me with the maple syrup used in this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.