Almost Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

sandwichmelt     Sometimes you just gotta have ice cream in between two cookies. But you don’t want to bake cookies, and you sure as heck don’t want to make ice cream. Do you have ice cream at home? Cookies? Good to go. This is for when your random cravings kick in and you’re pretending to be crafty.

DSC_3240      So you gotta figure out what you want in your sandwiches. Maybe you don’t even want ice cream. Aren’t frozen bananas a thing? Bananas and Nutella are definitely a thing. We had some lemon wafers in the house, and cookie dough gelato. Let’s go!

DSC_3243     Messy but exciting! You may want to pop these in the freezer for a few minutes before you consume. These guys are mini, but if you’re not into bite-size, you should definitely go for bigger cookies (I probably would have used bigger cookies but we didn’t have any).

DSC_3248Nutella, peanut butter, speculoos, add what you want.

DSC_3258Packed up and ready to gooo

DSC_3275

Here’s a “recipe” for some Almost Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cookies of your choice
Ice Cream of your choice
Other Filling (bananas, nutella, peanut butter etc).

Place your ice cream on one cookie, make sure it’s nice and frozen so it holds well. Add a good amount and mold circularly to match the cookie’s edge. If you want to add anything else, put it on top of the ice cream. Find a second cookie to smush down onto it and put in a freezer safe container. Do this with as many cookies as you want, and freeze for at least 20 minutes. Take out and enjoy!

Conquering Yeast with Nutella Buns

     It was my friend Elliot’s birthday, so I went big with some Nutella Buns from Saveur, that I found on a Buzzfeed article about Nutella. Excellent. For some reason I’ve tended to avoid using yeast as much as possible. I think it’s because the first and last time I used it involved doughnuts, a mishap in measuring, and general bad experiences involving deep frying. So I took this opportunity to try again. I think it worked out pretty well! Kicked yeast in the butt, and now there are so many more things that I can take a crack at.

I bought a set of Pyrex dishes for this. I was extremely excited; one step closer to adulthood.

For others intimidated by yeast and all things rising: here’s a photo story on the how-tos of yeast, and what your situation should be looking like. Here is the first step: empty packet contents into bowl.

Step two: add warm water to bowl.

Step three: mix yeast and water together some.

Step four: wait ten minutes (5 minutes in).

     It may not look like anything has happened from this photo, but there should be a foam that forms over the top.

It’s a little easier to see in this photo. Shiny! If you stick a spoon in and see that it’s not all foam, that’s okay! About halfway down it got watery. At least, for me it seemed fine. Still plenty of rising to happen.
 Ingredient essentials.
Combine it up.
     (Sometimes, the wooden spoon doesn’t cut it) Look that’s my hand. I took this. I’d like to take a moment to help you visualize the difficulty of taking this photo that I am so proud of. First off, I’m right-handed, so my non-dominant hand is wielding the instrument here. Second, I’ve only ever seen cameras with the shutter release on the top right (or bottom). My camera has no release on the bottom. So I somehow managed to take hold of my camera with my left hand, snap the shutter, and keep it steady enough to have the photo come out sharp. Okay end boast.
All doughed up

Knead it up and let it sit.

      So the recipe says let sit for two hours, but I went for 24. I definitely say go for longer than two, so the yeast has time to ferment and flavorfy, and you can throw it in the fridge overnight. But wait at least 30 minutes for the dough to warm up before you work with it again.

 15 by 20 inches may be larger than you think, so make sure you have plenty of space for rolling out.

It may look like you have lots of extra dough…but you probably don’t.
 Under non-blogging circumstances, I wouldn’t really measure out the cup and a half of Nutella, but I wanted to see what kind of Nutella overdose we were talking about. At this point in time, I think I had spread a cup of Nutella onto the dough.  It seemed like enough, but I went ahead with that extra half cup anyway.

 Good thing, too. It’s good to get all the way to three edges of the dough so you don’t have to trim them off/chuck them later. You’ll want to leave that last edge free for sealing, though. 

Make sure you flour your surface well before/after rolling out dough.

I was close in my guesstimate for twelve rolls – try the scoring trick before you commit to cutting (does this count as scoring?)

Line that dish. Brown butter-sugary carameliness.

 Also pecans. I hope you like pecans.

Classic before…

…and after. Ok yeah maybe I burned the corner a touch. Keep an eye on the oven, maybe set the timer a couple minutes early.
Y’all will have to tell me how these come out! I did hear “pretty good” things, though.
Nutella Buns, from these two brothers’ cookbook, posted by Saveur, seen on Buzzfeed
MAKES 12 BUNS
INGREDIENTS
1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
¼ cup, plus 1 tsp. sugar
½ cup milk
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
¾ cup brown sugar
⅔ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1½ cups Nutella
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Combine yeast, 1 tsp. sugar and ½ cup warm water in a bowl until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk to a simmer in a 1-qt saucepan over medium heat; set aside for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, 4 tbsp. butter, and salt and stir to yeast mixture with vanilla, 2 eggs, and flour just until combined. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap; let sit until dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours.

2. Heat oven to 375°. Melt remaining butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, stir until smooth, and pour into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish; sprinkle with pecans.

3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll dough into a 15″ x 20″ rectangle. Spread Nutella evenly over dough, leaving a ½” border on one long side. Beat remaining egg in a bowl and brush the clean border of the dough. Roll dough into a log towards the end brushed with egg; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds. Transfer rounds cut side up to the  baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve inverted onto plates and drizzle with syrup and nuts from the bottom of the baking dish.

Very Merry Cookies

Dear cookie chops,
     Come back to me! I’ve been out of practice, and it showed in my annual Christmas cookie production. I usually do chocolate chip cookies and always gingerbread cookies. Of the four cookie recipes I executed this week, only one turned out to my satisfaction. First, there were these petits fours from my huge cookie bible; I really should be more skeptical of the thing; it gave me a recipe for sugar cookies without sugar. These petits fours had no flour, though the photo looked suspiciously like coconut macaroons. Needless to say, I did not get very far. Poor powdered sugar…
     Next came the chocolate hazelnut oatmeal cookies. Sounds like a mouthful, feels like a mouthful. Seeing as the only ingredients were butter, oatmeal, hazelnuts and nutella, the ratios are very important. Less than a cup of nutella, hazelnuts and butter each, with two whole cups of oatmeal? The texture didn’t particularly tickle my fancy, but the nutella melted with the butter made for a nice, dare I say, umami factor. Will definitely be reproduced at some point, with varying proportions.
     Then came the snickerdoodles. I’ve definitely made snickerdoodles before, so I’m trying to figure out just what choice it was that made the cookies sad and flat. It may have been the substitution of two egg yolks for a second egg, or the brief hour in the fridge, but these snickerdoodles weren’t quite ready for the oven. I put them in the first time, and after five or so minutes, the dough started melting off the cookie sheet and onto the bottom of the oven. No one was concerned, until five more minutes when the smell of smoke started to fill the living room. The cookie side effects included a new smoky flavor that was…not completely unwelcome, though probably dispensable.
     It’s a good thing for tradition, because I don’t think I could possibly mess up the gingerbread things. Every year I make gingerbread cookies with my cello, camel, palm tree and moon cutters. And every year I make icing with whatever additions I feel like at the time – orange zest, cinnamon, vanilla. Fills your mouth with all the spices!
     Next year I’ll go back to the cookie press and the chocolate chips. And by next year, I mean next week. Hoping your new year is full of good times and better food!

Step 2: Combine
Step 1: Melt
Step 3: Roll

After smoking
Before smoking
Taking over the kitchen
What pretty colors

That One Time I Had Finals: highspeedrecap

Oops, I got lost in the sea of work and woe. Now that I’m home, here is a super fast summary of the month of December in food.

Lunch with Jari and Shaunte at Taste of Thai: chicken wing and spring roll appetizers and yellow curry
Lunch with Robyn: Soup…it had chickpeas…and a curried tuna salad sandwich-interesting! Robyn had a “late autumn tart”
Rebecca’s birthday cake: only blog worthy because it looks beautiful, right? We won’t talk about how it started out… also, Nutella/PB middle
Look ma, no flour! Getting rid of food while testing out recipes with only two ingredients: Nutella cake using eggs (beaten? What?) and nutella…and peanut butter. It was manageable.
Anticipate more legitimate posts in the coming weeks as I bake my way through the holiday season
“Nutella cake” recipe here

Comfort

Easily the best cookies I’ve made…and I’ve made my fair share of cookies. Many will agree with the assertion that peanut butter and chocolate are a premier dessert pairing, and the dark chocolate chip comfort cookies do a fine job of confirming this. I’m not much of a peanut butter fan, but it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to these; it’s just the right amount of everything. I even tried substituting the peanut butter for Nutella once. They came out a little too rich in chocolate for my palate, next time I’ll halve the cocoa if I opt for hazelnut. If you want to make them look super presentable once they’re done, place chocolate chips on top of the dough balls by hand once they’re on the baking sheet.
A dough of half a cup of peanut butter, half a cup of cocoa powder, a cup and a half of sugar and some chocolate chips will do you in if you consume enough, and you definitely won’t want to forget your milk of choice.

 

ALL the lipids
You should probably mix those dry ingredients
Also, make sure to sift the cocoa so you don’t get unwanted chunks o’ chocolate in your mouth
No matter what you do, this cookie is going to look like the recipe’s photo

Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 oz. dark chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
  • Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
    *recipe from Bakerella via Tumblr…again

Paris Meets Providence

Due to my abnormally long Thanksgiving break, I thought to use it finding friends who still have classes this week. I went to visit Shyam in Brown, located in my favorite US city: Providence! Thankfully it wasn’t a brutal November day, so I got a tour of campus and a stroll down Thayer street. We were thinking of places to dine for lunch and I suddenly remembered the sketchy crêpe place my RISD pre-college buddies would go on the weekend called La Crêperie (don’t let the website fool you). Looks like they cleaned it up a bit on the outside, but it’s still to be found in a random alley off Thayer, and is still awkwardly tiny. But what they lack in presentation they make up for in all things edible. Sweet crêpes? Check. With Nutella? hahahaduh! Savory crêpes? Check. With brie? Mais bien sûr! Belgian waffles with berries? Yes please. Smoothies? Smooth. If you’ve been dragged along by your unyielding offbeat friends, you could probably find a salad or wrap to sate your appetite.

Definitely opted for the classic apples & brie combo, which I finished, barely. It was great, though! Shyam’s Josephine with chicken, cheddar, mushroom & béchamel sauce (AKA white sauce?) was also good! Next time I’ll probably have to go for the Nutella waffle C:

You know it’s legit when the overhead menu is aesthetically pleasing (must have been those RISDans)
apple + brie + anything else = good eats