Frozen, Creamy Coffee… Ice Cream!

So I’ve been without ice cream now for a few days and it was about time I made another batch. This time, I decided on a nice coffee ice cream so I can pair it with some caramel and raspberry sauces I have.

I’m a bit impatient so I haven’t made any ice cream recipes requiring any cooking or use of eggs. Having to wait for that kind of mixture to cool before freezing is too long for me. I did find a quick coffee ice cream recipe from Emeril Lagasse. The only change I made to the recipe was using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. The result? Fabulously cold, creamy and flavorful coffee!

I’m also submitting this recipe to the You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts blogging event, hosted by Mike. This is a great event, especially with the summer weather… and besides, who can resist something cold to beat the heat?Here’s Emeril’s recipe for No Cook Coffee Ice Cream:

2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste)
4 cups heavy cream
Garnish: Chocolate covered espresso beans Mint sprigs

In a small bowl combine the half and half, coffee crystals, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the heavy cream. Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Garnish with coffee beans and mint. Yield: 2 quarts

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Coming Out of the Dark: Chocolate Blackout Cake

As I was shopping at my local Whole Food’s Grocery store, I was inspired to bake after coming across their beautiful bakery case. The case was filled with scrumptious looking fruit tarts, fluffy layer cakes, deep chocolate brownies… it was enough for me to hit the kitchen and bake something myself. The question was, what should I bake? Looking at the random ingredients I had on hand and stashed away, it became clear the thing to make was Brooklyn Chocolate Blackout Cake.
I decided to adapt the recipe from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes & Reviews 2008 (pg 62). This chocolate layer cake is unique in that the chocolate pudding filling doubles as frosting and the entire cake is covered in reserved chocolate cake crumbs. Heavenly! Here’s the recipe… enjoy!

Chocolate Blackout Cake
adapted from ATK
serves 10 to 12

Pudding:
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups half & half
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
(I used cake flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
(I used extra dark cocoa powder)
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE PUDDING
1. Cook the granulated sugar,, chocolate, half & half, milk, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisking occassionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture begins to buble, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap pressed flush against to surface, until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

FOR THE CAKE
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8″inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the flour mixture. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth with a spatula.
2. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean, 30 to 35 mintes, rotating the cake pans halfway through baking. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Cool the cakes to room temperature before frosting, at least 1 hour.
TO ASSEMBLE
1. Using a large serrated knife, slice each cake into 2 even layers. Crumble 1 cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup of the pudding over the cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup more pudding and the last cake layer. Spread the remaining pudding evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and sides of the cake, pressing lightly to adhere the crumbs. Slice and serve.

WARNING
This cake is extremely dense, creamy and rich. Be sure to have coffee or a glass of cold milk on hand!

How Deep Is Your Love… For Chocolate?

How deep is your love (how deep is your love)… I really need to know….’Cuz we’re living in a world of chocolate… (Gotta love the BeeGees!)

Today my friends and I played with chocolate, making some decadent chocolate truffles. We talked about chocolate ganache, infusing wine & other flavors into chocolate and tasted our way through all the flavors I had to offer. Everyone left with 10 different truffles, a small scoop and a FULL stomach. Here are pics of the event, along with the chocolate truffle “base” I used to create all the various truffle flavors.

Here’s my recipe for Chocolate Truffles, adapted from Ina Garten’s Chocolate Truffle Recipe:

2 cups semi sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons liquor, syrup, flavorings (optional)

1 tablespoon prepared coffee, cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl; set aside.
Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges.

Turn off heat and allow cream to sit for 30 secs to cool slightly.

Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl with chocolate.

Pour warmed cream into the bowl with chocolate.

The sieve allow to catch any “skin” formed on the cream.

Whisk cream and chocolate until fully incorporated.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until it fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture (ganache) into a container & chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

To make truffles, using a small scoop, scoop out a ball of chocolate ganache and then roll into your preferred coatings.

To make the following truffle flavors, here are the items I used to create them (remember – 2 tablespoons of each!)

Mint = Frango Mint Liquor
Double Chocolate = Frango Double Chocolate Liquor

Strawberry = Strawberry Jam Preserves

Peanut Butter & Jelly = “Goober” or Peanut Butter & Jelly spread

Balsamic = Balsamic Vinegar

Matcha Green Tea = Steeped Green Tea & sugar, boiled down into a syrup

Shiraz. Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Port = wine reduction of each (boil wine until a syrup consistency, then cool

Coatings Galore, including…
Caramel Spice Mix
Cinnamon Spice Mix
Matcha Green Tea Latte Powder
Chopped Walnuts Chopped Almonds Chopped Pecans Special Dark Cocoa Powder Ground Coffee Powdered SugarFlaked Coconut
Here’s what I served up for lunch
after we were up to our elbows in chocolate:

Chicken Alfredo Primavera
Garlic Bread & Mozzarella CrostiniWhite Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Hearts
(purchased, so I can’t take credit!)

Move Over Starbucks!

My husband’s Aunt is a retired caterer that specializes in Chinese and Filipino cuisine. After a successful catering business for several years, she now cooks for family and loves to hosts parties. Today, she is hosting a Labor Day cookout and we definitely cannot attend empty handed.

I’m quite intimidated by her, especially when it comes to cooking up Asian cuisine. She definitely has years of experience on me so I try to make non-Asian dishes around her, if at all possible. I already know her spread today will be amazing and will most likely need desserts (she’s not big on making desserts). So as my contribution to her holiday table, I made a Kahlua Cheesecake Bar recipe I found online… with a little twist of my own.Here is the adapted recipe, which I call my White Chocolate Mocha Brownies:

Brownie Layer: Boxed Brownie Mix
(I know… but this was out of convenience!)

Coffee Cheesecake Layer:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons prepared espresso
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Prepare the brownie mix as directed and spread on a lightly greased bar pan.
Combine coffee cheesecake ingredients and carefully spread over the brownie layer.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool pan completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
3/4 cup melted white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
1 8oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons milk
5-6 cups powdered sugar, or as needed
instant coffee granules
white chocolate wafers or melts

Melt the white chocolate chips with butter in the microwave.
Stir to a creamy and slightly thin consistency; set aside.
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and melted white chocolate in a mixer.
Alternate adding 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time with a splash of milk to the cream cheese mixture.
Beat with the paddle attachment until you reach a medium/stiff consistency.
When the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting over the top.
Sprinkle coffee granules over the frosting.
Garnish with a white chocolate wafer or melt.