dessert

Watch out! (and Homemade Ice Cream)

Guys, there’s lots of listeria out there right now. Blue Bell has recalled all of their products, as has Jeni’s. You’ve got to watch your back out there, and you shouldn’t have to worry that your ice cream is going to kill you. 

Solution: make your own. It’s so, so good, and it’s virtually limitless. 

Homemade Ice Cream

  • 2C heavy cream (yes, it’s full of fat–eat it)
  • 1C whole milk
  • 2/3C sugar
  • 1/8t salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Vanilla bean or vanilla extract

Heat cream, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it’s steaming, but not bubbling at all. (You can scrape the inside of a vanilla bean in there and throw in the pod, or use 2t-1T of vanilla extract.) Get a bowl and whip the yolks until they lighten in color. Slowly whisk and add a little bit of the hot cream into the yolks until about 1/3-1/2 of the cream is in with the eggs. Slowly pour the yolk/cream mixture back into the saucepan and mix. 

Heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens quite a bit. You’re making a custard here, if you hadn’t figured that out, so as the eggs cook, the ice cream base will get nice and thick. It should coat a spoon when it’s ready. 

Remove the pan from the heat and let it hang out for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture into a big container (used sour cream or yogurt containers work well) and refrigerate until very cold. I usually make the base in the morning and churn it in the afternoon. 

Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions until it looks like soft serve. Spoon back into your container and freeze. Homemade ice cream is a lot harder than store-bought, so take it out of the freezer 15 minutes before you want to eat it. 

Variations:

  • Substitute almond extract for the vanilla and add 2t cinnamon. Steep 30 minutes, then strain. 
  • Add bottled hot fudge or caramel during churning. 
  • Chop up some leftover birthday cake and add during churning. This is my favorite variation. I did this with the leftover cake we had from our top tier. Use any leftover frosting instead of the 2/3C sugar. So. Good. 
  • Add booze! This will make your ice cream softer. Rum + cinnamon vanilla ice cream = BOOZY MILKSHAKE MATERIAL. 

Surgery Fears (and the Perfect Amount of Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I’m having my wisdom teeth removed this Friday and I’m pretty nervous. I’ve never had anesthesia before, and this will be my first surgery ever. I’m pretty fortunate, I guess, and I know it’s a routine thing, but it’s still scary. I hope, at the very least, that I am hysterically funny while drugged out of my mind. Surgery Fears | Gainfully Something

And when I’m stressed, I bake.

I think that most cookie recipes are formulated to feed large armies of cookie-crazy loons. I don’t want to make SIX DOZEN cookies, cookbook, because then I will eat SIX DOZEN cookies. So here’s a chocolate chip cookie recipe that makes about 18 cookies, which is perfect for giving someone a dozen and then having a few cookies for yourself.

The Perfect Amount of Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/8C white sugar
  • 3/8C brown sugar
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • 1 egg

Cream that together (I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer).

  • 1 1/8C flour
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt

Add to the creamed mixture and mix until it forms a dough. Don’t overmix!

  • 1C chocolate chips (or mini peanut butter cups, or butterscotch chips, or chopped up Heath bar)

Add and mix until the chips are combined.

Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 9-11 minutes. Cool on racks (or devour at your own risk).

Sunnier Days (and Lemon Bars)

It’s been pretty nice here in the West–sunny, warm days and cooler nights. I’m not used to such consistently nice weather. It feels like a trick. Weather is supposed to be awful most of the time, right? It builds strong character (and strong livers).

To celebrate the gorgeous weather, I made lemon bars. They’re one of my favorite simple desserts: custardy, shortbready, sweet, tart. Totally unpretentious and easy. You can also make them into lime bars by substituting four limes for the two lemons.

Lemon Bars

  • 1C butter, softened
  • 1/2C sugar
  • 2C flour

Mix (I used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer). Press into an ungreased 9×13 pan and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s slightly golden around the edges.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5C sugar
  • 1/4C flour
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons (you can save the third, zested lemon for something else)

Whisk these together (I used the whisk attachement on my stand mixer), and pour over the baked crust. Bake for 30 minutes. It’ll firm up as it cools.

You could add a meringue to the top to make lemon meringue bars if you were feeling saucy.

“Doesn’t Have a Job” vs. “Is a Housewife” (and Frozen Banana Dessert)

Please, people of the world, choose your words wisely. When describing a housewife’s occupation, please do not say, “She doesn’t have a job.” This is insulting, and, actually, not remotely true. Being a housewife is an unpaid, under-appreciated vocation that involves quite a bit of work; you are a cook, maid, zookeeper, child wrangler (if you have kids), nurse, activities coordinator, office manager, and taxicab. We can send a man to the moon, but we can’t invent self-folding clothes or self-vacuuming carpet. Dishes don’t do themselves (but wouldn’t that be fancy?). Get on it, NASA.

Housewife, homemaker, whatever term you prefer, make sure those around you know what you are and what your occupation is called. You aren’t “unemployed,” you’re not “without a job,”  you are someone who works to make the best of their home, family, and life.

/puts soapbox neatly away

ANYWAY.

This is the farthest thing from a recipe, but it’s delicious and actually HEALTHY. I am not a fan of healthy desserts because if you’re going to eat dessert, just eat some damn dessert. However, I make this pretty frequently because it tastes wonderful.

Frozen Banana Dessert

  • 1 frozen banana per person (get a bunch of bananas, let ’em go super brown, stick ’em in the freezer)
  • cinnamon
  • honey

Put the bananas in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or until you can peel them pretty easily. Throw those frozen nanners in a food processor with a little cinnamon. Whir around until they’re mushed up. It should be about the texture of sorbet/frozen yogurt. Scoop into a bowl, drizzle honey on top, and eat.

Pi Day (and Chocolate Porter Pudding Pie with Porter Whipped Cream)

Yesterday was Pi Day (3/14). We love the idea of a math holiday, so we celebrated by going out for pizza and coming home to an amazing, kinda boozy chocolate pudding pie. Pudding pie is Mr. Something’s childhood favorite, but I wanted to do something more than just plain ol’ Jell-O in a crust. I’ve made this pudding recipe before, and it’s amazing on its own. It’s even more amazing, I think, in a graham cracker crust. The crunch cuts the richness of the chocolate and whipped cream a little. It’s much easier than you’d think, and it looks (and tastes) really impressive. I’m definitely making this for Thanksgiving this year. It’s a mother-in-law impresser.

Chocolate Porter Pudding Pie with Porter Whipped Cream

Adapted from The Beeroness (she has AMAZING recipes–try her Mirin Stout-Glazed Roast Chicken)

Graham cracker pie crust (just buy a pre-made one; you’re already making pudding and whipped cream, so go easy on yourself)
Pudding
  • 2/3C sugar
  • 3T cornstarch
  • 2oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4C heavy cream
  • 3/4C chocolate porter (I used Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Beer)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
Whipped cream
  • 1C heavy cream
  • 1/2C powdered sugar
  • 3T stout
  • 1/2t vanilla extract

How to!

  • In a large saucepan, whisk the sugar and cornstarch until there are no more cornstarch clumps. Add the cream, porter, and egg yolk; whisk until well combined. Add the chocolate.
  • Bring to a boil, whisking from time to time over medium heat. Whisk constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  • Add the vanilla. Stir until well combined.
  • Pour into pie crust. Lick the bowl. Let the pie cool on the counter until the top of the pudding is  room temperature, about 30-40 minutes; otherwise, the pudding will melt the whipped cream.
  • To make the whipped cream, add the cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer. (You can use a hand beater if you don’t have a stand mixer.) Beat on high until medium peaks form. While mixer is running, add the porter and vanilla and beat until you have peaks slightly stiffer than medium. This way the whipped cream will stay firmly in a layer on the pie.
  • Top pie with whipped cream (you might have some left over; it’s great in coffee, on ice cream, on a spoon…). Lick the bowl. Refrigerate for an hour or so until totally cooled. It’s super rich, so cut little slices.