Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cookie Dough Ice Cream

I've made a few different ice creams now - vanilla bean, red velvet, strawberry buttermilk - but I could tell that this time, this time I did it right. I didn't really know that I'd been doing something wrong in the past, but when the amount of ice cream that I got from the churning this time was nearly double my previous amounts, with basically the same amount of starting ingredients, clearly, clearly, I had done something different.


What did I do? It's a secret! Muahahaha! No, no, here it is: I made sure the ice cream attachment bowl was really, really cold. Like, I turned up my freezer to its maximum freeziness. And I also made sure that the cream mixture I'd made was straight up cold, leaving it in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

My patience in the past has worn thin with the waiting, but as I was also cleaning and making other things on the day I made this, I didn't feel that impatient itch to start before I should. So the lesson is: do the stuff the recipe says to do!

What a concept!

But you know what else? This recipe made me feel like a smart-in-the-kitchen type, because I actually had to make a couple changes due to my available ingredients, and it turned out great. I am learning things by doing things!

Cookie Dough Ice Cream
(adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook)

For the ice cream:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk*
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

*If you're like me and just have the fat free dried milk at home, here's what you should use for your whole milk: 1.5 tsp melted butter + 6 Tbsp dried milk powder + 2 cups water

For the cookie dough:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips*

*I would suggest using mini chocolate chips, if you can.

To make the ice cream:
Whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium bowl until thick and pale, and set aside for a bit.

In a medium saucepan, warm milk and honey until almost boiling. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolk stuff, whisking constantly so the yolks don't get cooked. Return the new mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it has thickened, about 8 minutes.

Pour the mixture over a mesh strainer into a medium bowl, then stir in the vanilla and cream. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the custard and place in the fridge to chill

While that's chillin', make your cookie dough. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and regular sugar until light and fluffy, then blend in the vanilla and milk. Mix in your flour mixture until it's all dough like, then fold in your chocolate chips.

Spoon the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap that into a log and refrigerate. Now you could've done this before you started the ice cream, which at this point would mean you'd be taking it out of the fridge. Or, since the cream stuff has to sit in the fridge forever anyway, you can just wait 30 minutes.

When the cookie dough has chilled for a bit, roll it into 50 marble-sized balls. Place on a small cookie sheet and store in the freezer until later, when you get to mix it into the ice cream.

When the ice cream custard is cool several hours later, churn according to your ice cream maker instructions. Transfer the ice cream into your freezer safe container, and fold in the cookie dough balls from earlier. Freeze until more solid before serving, although I always enjoy it quite a lot soft-serve style straight out of the ice cream maker.

In photos:

Egg yolks and sugar.

After I've added the milk and honey into the egg yolk mixture. Frothy!

Cook that on the stove for about 8 minutes, and you'll get a custard.

After you've strained it through the mesh strainer, put some saran wrap on top, making sure it touches the top of the liquid.

Make the cookie dough.

When you get to this point, wrap it in a log in some saran wrap and put it in the fridge for a bit.

Because you'll want it to be easy to handle when you roll it into balls! I had some of the dough left over. Don't worry, you can eat it straight up as dough, because it doesn't have eggs in it! Amazing.

After the cream mixture has cooled enough in the fridge, set your ice cream maker to work. This is after 20 minutes, soft serve deliciousness!

Once you've got it scooped into your container (or containers, as the case may be!), mix in your cookie dough balls, then stick it back in the fridge to firm up. Confession: ice cream of this soft serve consistency is my favorite kind, so I have a hard time letting it firm up in the fridge rather than just eating it wholesale at this point!

Then scoop it up and get to some cookie dough lovin'!



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Friday, April 27, 2012

Supernatural 7x20 "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo"

As far as guest stars go, I'd say Felicia Day is probably one of my favorites so far. I think any nerdy girl can agree, it's nice to see someone we can relate to, right? Especially when she uses her smarts to do some cool crap.

SUPERNATURAL
Would you like to play a game? War Games references FTW!
In any event, now that Ghost Bobby has made himself known to the boys, he is able to finally tell them what he had learned back all those episodes ago when he was shot. That the place for the coordinates was for a dig site. The Leviathans are planning to basically build human slaughterhouses, but first they will make everyone complacent with their turduckens, cure all of any ills, and once the people have been turned into mindless sheep, lead them to their deaths. Fun for all!

But before they can really think about that for anything more than a few seconds, they get a bing on the computer - an email from one late Frank Devereaux, who had set up a device to send Sam and Dean a warning that his harddrive was being hacked, and it just happened to have all of their information on it. But hey, they're able to locate the hard drive in question. Where is it? Um. In the middle of Dick Roman headquarters! Oh joy of joys!

And just who is cracking it? That would be one Charlie Bradbury (or whatever her real name is!), an employee there who happens to excel at hacking. Dick gives her the job, personally, of getting into that hard drive. Only, once she does get into it, her curiosity gets the best of her, and she opens up some of the files, leading her to all of the information on the Leviathans. Since she's semi-normal, she takes Frank to be a Loony Tunes McGee, but when she sees Dick's crony actually turn her manager into one of them before her very eyes, well, that's probably enough to convince anyone, right?

Just in time, too, because Dean and Sam have tracked her down. Once they get on the same page about what's going on, they've got a plan: Charlie will have to break into Dick's office from the inside in order to find the secret information on what the Leviathans have been searching for, or something, even though we hadn't really been made aware they were searching for something until now. She also needs to erase the hard drive, because obviously if Dick knows she could've seen what's on there about him, she would not be long for this world.

SUPERNATURAL
We're not here to hurt you. Just to look pretty.
Since the Winchesters are on every Leviathan's radar, they're stuck in a van while Charlie goes inside to get the job done. Bobby, meanwhile, has grown sulky, because the boys did not want to let him tag along to help with his ghostly powers. So what does he do? Uses his ghostly powers to swayze his flask into Charlie's bag. Why are the brothers so reluctant to let him come along? Because he could go vengeful spirit on Dick, and if he goes down that route, there won't be any getting him back.

Once inside, Charlie manages to maneuver herself into Dick's office via a hilarious flirting session with a guard, and they are able to access his email. It turns out that there's a delivery of a special package about to happen nearby, so Sam and Dean head off to intercept it while Charlie hangs back to finish her job. So just what is in this mysterious package? Some kind of red clay. What may be inside the clay is left for another episode. They switch the package for a Borax bomb.

Only Charlie did not have a chance to make it out of the building before Dick and the package toting crony get bombed. He locks down the joint and goes after her. Things don't look good for our plucky heroine, but Ghost Bobby comes to her rescue this time, knocking her out of the way (and, whoopsie, breaking her arm!), then going after Dick himself. Sam and Dean show up in time to whisk Charlie away, and also the flask, so Bobby can't go 100% vengeful.

They get Charlie's arm fixed up and set her up with a bus ticket to parts unknown to start over. I'm glad she survived, it would've been sad to see her go. But they are more concerned about this whole Ghost Bobby situation. But for now there's not a whole lot to be done about it. Que sera sera.


Random Thoughts:

- Okay. We get it. Bobby says idjits. He doesn't need to say it every single episode.

- The dude who plays Dick Roman has always reminded me of someone, and I've never been able to figure out who... until tonight! I figured it out! Gary Cole. He reminds me of Gary Cole, so good at the evil smarm.

- OMG. Sam talking Harry Potter to Charlie? LOVE. You know I'm a Harry Potter dork. Any of you out there on Pottermore? Not to get sidetracked, but I could really talk about that sorting hat test for at least an hour.

- Interesting use of splitscreen, reminded me of Ocean's 11 or something. Not so sure about using that "hours earlier" device twice in one episode, though I'm sure it was meant to all be part of that same break-in spy show vibe. I did enjoy the reveal of Sam and Dean in that airport scene. Jensen can rock a baseball cap, am I right?

- Anyone know what her ringtone was? It was so quick I didn't really have a chance to figure it out!

- What's with the red clay? Is there something inside? What could it possibly be?

Quotes:

Dean: Baby?

Charlie: Is this real life?

Charlie: I should've taken that job at Google.

Charlie: I sing when I'm nervous, don't judge me.
Dean: Judgment free zone.

Charlie: I was drunk. It was ComicCon.
Dean: We've all been there.

Dean: This never happened.

Sam: Charlie, you're a genius.
Charlie: Yeah. It's a problem.

Dean: She's kinda like the little sister I never wanted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Browned butter. Peanut butter. Rice Krispies. A match made in food heaven, for sure.


Because if you can't like these, I'm not sure what's wrong with you. Oh, you're allergic to nuts? Well, fine. Then you can just make these without the peanut butter, like I've done in the past, and they'll still be perfectly yummy.


But if I had to choose? I'd probably pick the peanut butter version. Because I'm kind of in love with peanut butter. And there's nothing wrong with that. Nope!

Also? Rice krispy treats are really just one of the easiest things to make around. For real. If you need a quick little something to take on a picnic, for example, these would be easy and yummy. And easy in the kitchen is everyone's favorite.

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats
(via Joy the Baker cookbook)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 10.5 oz package mini marshmallows
6 cups (about a half box) rice krispy cereal

Brown the butter in a large saucepan. If you've never browned butter before, it's pretty easy. Melt it in the saucepan on medium heat until it starts to foam up, it will eventually calm down and start to throw a nutty aroma up at your face. Once it's doing that, add in your peanut butter, salt, and marshmallows and stir them around and around and around until they're all melted into a nice smooth gooeyness.

Turn off the heat and add in your rice krispies, mixing around with a wooden spoon until they are well coated in the peanut butter marshmallows. Dump that into a buttered 8 x8 inch pan and press down with some butter or cooking-spray soaked fingers.

Let them set up for a bit, then cut 'em up into some bars and enjoy!

As you can see, they fill up that 8x8 pan to the brim! If you want thinner krispies, you can always use a larger pan.

The peanut butter is just the right amount in these. Not overwhelming, but with just the right amount of "hey, that's peanut butter!"



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Friday, April 20, 2012

Supernatural 7x19 "Of Grave Importance"

Oh look, a new episode! It's been awhile. I have to assume they'll be going nonstop to the finale now, right? RIGHT? Enough with the mini breaks, I say!

Anyway, the last new episode confirmed the suspicion that Bobby was still around as a ghost, and this week we get a full on Ghost Bobby episode. He's trying to get the boys to notice his tiny movements of the flask and drapes and whatnot, but his efforts are for naught at the moment. Instead, they get ready to meet up with another hunter named Annie, who we come to find out not only slept with Bobby, but also slept with Dean and soulless Sam. Girl's got some game!

SUPERNATURAL 7x19
Ghost Bobby is here, so his  poignant death earlier in the season now means nothing!
 She's in this town called Bodega Bay to investigate the Van Ness house, and asks the boys to meet up with her. When she doesn't show up to the meeting, however, they investigate, and that's when we go off into the ghost stories. Because once the boys show up, flask in tow, Ghost Bobby is able to see Ghost Annie, but seeing as they are both dead and, you know, ghosts, their reunion isn't all rainbows and puppies. Instead, they get some snarky ghost tips from another dude.

While this is going on, the boys are investigating the place, but finding nothing despite the many ghostly figures that we as an audience can see are everywhere. Thus stymied, they decide to go check on Annie's other research. Bobby is annoyed that he has to go along for the ride, though, because he wanted to stay with his hot ghost lady to figure out things from that side. Because, it turns out, while it seems like the gnarly large man was the culprit of all these untimely deaths, it was actually the namesake of the house, Whitman Van Ness. He's collecting ghosts from which he can draw power from, full on hand in the chest, burn 'em up style.

Back at the motel, Bobby gets zen enough to finally get the boys a message on the bathroom mirror. Well, if they had doubts before, they don't anymore. Ghost Bobby is here. They head back to the house, get some intel help from another of the ghosts, and hightail it out of there to find ole Whitman's bones to burn before he can do any more damage. Only problem? Whitman hitches a ride Bobby-style by leaving a key in Sam's pocket. And Bobby isn't there to help because he swiped his flask and left it in the house. Whoops.

While the boys rush off to the cemetery and nearly get driven off the road by Whitman's ghost, Bobby and Annie find his hiding place for all of the bodies. Yada yada, ghost fights, the boys burn the dude's bones just in time, etc. etc.

When they come back to the house this time, however, they are able to finally see Ghost Bobby in his otherworldly form of "flesh." Though it seems like he expects them to be happy about it, they're not quite there. Or, at least, Dean is especially twitchy about the whole thing, as it's not the natural order. I have to say I'm with Dean on this one. But since they already gave Bobby the hunter's funeral, they're not quite sure what to do now.

One thing is for certain: there's no way this ends well.

Random Thoughts:

- The Van Ness house really reminded me of the hotel they went to in season two's episode Playthings, particularly the outside.

- Same goes for the pier scene being reminiscent from Red Sky at Morning. Why I must notice these things and not just let them slide is a mystery.

- Seeing those ghosts just standing all over the place in the house the first time was perhaps one of the creepiest things I've ever seen on the show. CREEPY.

- I always find it a little bit convenient when they have these stories with random hunters that we've never heard of before with these involved backstories. All three of them got friendly with this Annie, and as far as I'm aware, this is the first time we've even heard her name, let alone met her.

- Honestly I'm not on board with the whole Ghost Bobby plot, but I'll try to refrain from complaining about it too much. I just don't like how trivial death has become on the show. It just lowers the stakes a lot.

Quotes:

Dean: She and I kinda went Hemingway this one time too.
Sam: All right. Well. That happens.
Dean: ... Wait, you too?

Annie: Wow. Dead. Ghost. Me. Three words you never want to use in a sentence.

Dean: We combed the crap out of this place. If we didn't find her...
Sam: It means someone didn't want us to.
Dean: Awesome. Let's walk right into that.

Dean: That's not odd.

Dean: Annie? ...Slimer?

Dean: I hate these indie films, nothing ever happens.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Blah. Blah blah. Blah blah blah. Oh wait. I'm supposed to be writing something fun and exciting and cool and blogger-y here, not just going with my dummy text! Yes, all of my dummy text in any form of writing consists of some form of "blah blah." "Blah blah exploring description blah," "Blah blah something happens here blah de blah." You know, inspiring stuff.


That said, this pound cake is actually inspiring. Well. Inspiring may be too strong a word for something like pound cake, but hey, we're gonna go with it. GO! WITH! IT!


Can I share something kinda weird? I was eating some of this the other day, and decided I wanted to toast it and put some butter on it, just to see. I thought to myself, is this pound cake blasphemy of sorts? And then my next thought, literally, was, "It's my pound cake, I'll do what I want!"

Yes. I have to justify things like eating food "weirdly" for myself. I don't know. Don't try to figure it out. Also? The toasted and buttered? Was pretty good. So there!


Anyway. Yes. Cream Cheese Pound Cake. It's moist, it's yummy, you can eat it for a breakfast or a dessert, particularly a dessert if you put some fruity or chocolatey stuff on top. But hey, it's perfectly yummy on its own as well. It's versatile! Also, it turned out exactly how it was supposed to, which does not always happen with bread-ish type things for me, when oftentimes they can turn out sort of dry even when I follow the recipe. Not here! This recipe is legit. And should I expect anything less from Joy the Baker? No. No I should not. I finally got her cookbook recently, and you should expect to see many more recipes from it in the future, I'm sure!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 325F, making sure a rack is in the center. Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan for later.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside for a bit.
  3. Either in your stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until soft and pliable. Add butter and sugar and beat until fluffy, approx 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and stir until blended, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating at medium for 1 minute each.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture from earlier and beat until just incorporated. Stop your mixer at that point and fold together the batter with a spatula.
  5. Spoon into your prepared pan from earlier and bake for 30 minutes. After that, rotate the cake, and if it's browning too quickly, move to an upper rack (I did not have this problem).
  6. Bake for another 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. It should last for up to 4 days at room temperature, well wrapped.
(Recipe via Joy the Baker Cookbook)

In photos:

The dry ingredients get whisked together.

Beat that softened cream cheese until it's smooth.

Add in the butter and sugar. You'll likely need to scrape down the sides of your bowl quite a bit.

After adding in the eggs and vanilla.

And finally, after that flour mixture has been beaten and folded in.

Bake it up, and here's how it should look out of the oven!

Let it cool in the pan, then on a wire rack. Cut it up. Enjoy. Wrap in foil (or whatever you prefer!) to keep it fresh.

Moist and delicious! You see those extra moist bits in the middle? My favorite part.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Speculoos Cookie Butter Blondies

Have you ever heard of this thing called Cookie Butter? Otherwise known possibly as Speculoos or Biscoff spread? I think it's sort of new. Or maybe a resurgence of an old thing, made new again. Whatever the case may be in terms of its timeline, the fact is this: it's made from those Biscoff type cookies that they apparently serve on Delta airlines. Or used to serve? To be honest, I haven't been on a Delta flight in more than 10 years so I don't know!


The spread has a slight cinnamon-y taste to it. You can use it to spread on crackers or those thin ginger molasses cookies, or you can bake it into stuff much like you would peanut butter.

Can I tell you a secret? I thought I was going to love this spread. Something called Cookie Butter can only be a wonderful thing, right? Well... honesty time: I like peanut butter better! I think if this tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough, I would lose my mind, but as it is, it's only okay. You can totally disagree with me on this! Maybe I just don't have enough of a fond memory of those cookies, because to be honest, I don't remember them at all!

Oh well. It's still fun to bake new things. I will say that I think the original recipe asked you to bake these for too long. Mine came out a little dry. That's why I've got the 20-25 minute recommendation on the below recipe. Start low and go higher if you think it needs it, but since the dough is dark to begin with, you're not going to get a huge brown around the edges effect. Also? I hate hard edges on brownies and blondies and bars in general, so don't overbake these unless you like that.

Speculoos Cookie Butter Blondies
(via Two Peas and Their Pod)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup Biscoff Spread
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8 pan and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in the Speculoos Spread, stir until creamy and combined. Set mixture aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Add the egg to the Speculoos mixture and stir until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients, and stir until batter is smooth. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove blondies from oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.

In photos:

 Melting brown sugar and butter.

Add the Speculoos cookie butter.

Whisk together your dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon.

Add the egg and the vanilla to the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients into your prepared dry ones. Sticky!

 Fold in your white chocolate chips.

Press that into your prepared pan. Tip: use a rubber spatula!

Bake it at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Don't overbake.

Cut it up into squares!

Have yourself a little square. Or two. Or more. I won't judge.



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Monday, April 2, 2012

Red Velvet Ice Cream

Sometimes, things just sound better than they actually turn out to be. For me, red velvet ice cream sounds pretty amazing, but in practice is only okay. But you know what, I'm pretty sure this is only me, because I seemed to forget that I don't actually like chocolate ice cream in any form.


If faced with a choice between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, I will invariably always choose vanilla. Always. Chocolate or strawberry ice cream? Strawberry, though let's be honest, I'd still prefer vanilla here too. Unless it's a milkshake, and then strawberry would be the winner. It's a confusing place in my brain, I guess, but there you have it. My taste buds are dessert specific, and they don't like chocolate ice creams!

That being said, if you are one of the untold millions who does like chocolate ice cream, then heck, you'll probably like this about 100 times more than I did. I also suspect I would've liked it even better if I had the patience and/or time to also make a batch of cream cheese-y ice cream and do some swirl action, making it taste more like a red velvet cupcake. Because yes, red velvet cupcakes are, in fact, my favorite of cupcakes. Wrap your head around it!

Red Velvet Ice Cream
(via Yum Sugar)

2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract


Bring cream to a simmer. Meanwhile, thoroughly whisk together egg yolks and sugar. Pour some of the simmering cream into the egg yolk mixture while stirring (this is so the eggs don't start cooking!). Add this mixture to your cream still in the pan, making sure you're stirring all the while.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Stir in buttermilk, cocoa powder, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is in contact with the top of your mixture; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (around 4-8 hours).

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to its directions. Transfer your ice cream to a covered container and place in your freezer for at least two hours to get the best consistency.

In photos:
Egg yolks and sugar. That's a lot of egg yolks, dude.

Add them into your cream and keep it on low heat while stirring every now and again.

Cook that for a while until it's thick enough to cover the back of your spoon without dripping off too easily. Custard-y!

After you've added in the buttermilk, chocolate, vinegar and food coloring, transfer to a bowl. I'm not entirely sure the vinegar is necessary in this recipe, but I went with it. Please note I also strained the stuff in the pot to go into the bowl because I was using powered buttermilk and it's just not great for ice cream recipes due to lots of chunks. So, real, actual buttermilk works better.

After you've let that stuff above sit for until it's completely cooled in the fridge (I let mine go overnight), put it in your ice cream maker and let it go to work. After you've got yourself some soft serve type ice cream, transfer it to a freezer-safe container with lid. It just fit into that container there. Barely.

Let it freeze for a while so it can turn into actual real ice cream, and voila! Red Velvet Ice Cream!



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