Red Velvet Peppermint Bark

redvelvetcakebatterbark

One of the things I can’t get enough of lately is peppermint + chocolate. I’m obsessed with Chick Fil-A’s peppermint chocolate chip shake, and I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten half a bag of Candy Cane kisses. It’s just insane how much I love it, because usually I could give or take peppermint bark. Eggnog is usually my thing. I’m really not sure what’s gotten into me, but I’m not complaining!

I originally saw the idea for cake batter bark on How Sweet It Is. I’ve been wanting to do it with red velvet, and thought that it would be so festive to use red velvet cake mix in peppermint bark. The results were great! One of my coworkers tasted it, and then grabbed 4 pieces haha! It’s also very simple to make, and it makes a good bit!

Red Velvet Peppermint Bark

I packaged these in simple printed cello bags, and added Christmas sprinkles with the crushed candy canes for a more Christmas-y touch. Y’all know I’m all about sprinkles!

Red Velvet Peppermint Bark
Source: inspired by How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp. canola oil (divided)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. red velvet dry cake mix
  • 10 mini candy canes, crushed
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • red powdered food coloring

Directions:

  1. Melt the 1/2 lb. of dark/semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, along with 1/2 tsp. of the canola oil, until melted. You’ll want to do this in 30 second increments at 50% power, being sure to stir well between each microwave cycle. Pour and spread the chocolate, using a spatula, on top of a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Allow it to set for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the 1/2 lb. of white chocolate with the remaining 1/2 tsp. of canola oil, until melted. Microwave this in 30 second increments as well, at 50% power, being sure to stir well between each microwave cycle. Mix in the dry cake mix, as well as the powdered food coloring (a little at a time until desired color is achieved), until everything is well combined. Pour this over the set dark chocolate and spread the red velvet white chocolate carefully, making sure to cover the dark chocolate. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes and Christmas sprinkles liberally over the red velvet white chocolate.
  3. Allow the bark to cool completely before breaking into pieces and serving.

Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices

cranberrycrumbbars

I’ve been waiting for months for fresh cranberries to be back in stores. As a few of you may remember, I used to contribute on Weddingbee (under the moniker, Mrs. Ballet Flat). Every year around this time, some of the bloggers exchange ornaments, making one of the giftee’s moniker. So, I have quite a few ballet flat ornaments on my tree that I truly cherish. :-) Last year, along with the ornament, I also got a few of these bars in the mail (an awesome surprise!). I was addicted….absolutely addicted.

After the holiday craziness, I went to the grocery stores to buy fresh cranberries to make these bars, since my exchange friend mentioned they were from Smitten Kitchen’s cookbook (which I had recently purchased). Well, all of the stores near me were sold out. Gone. No more cranberries. I promised myself that once they were back in the produce section, I was going to immediately make these bars. They’re just as good as I remembered…a subtle spiced crumb layer and cranberry filling with a hint of orange in it. It’s marvelous (as if I expected anything different from Deb of The Smitten Kitchen).

I brought these to my coworkers, thinking that cranberries are an iffy ingredient for some people…they probably wouldn’t go that fast. Um…these bars left faster than when I bring cupcakes to work! They were an absolute winner! If you’re looking for a festive holiday dessert that is a little different than the norm, give these a try. The recipe comes together fairly quickly, and any cranberry lover will probably go crazy over these. :-)

Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices
Source: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the crumb base:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled (saving the wrappers to grease the pan)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 3 cups (12-ounce bag) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper and rubbing the butter remnants left on the inside of the butter wrappers on top of the parchment paper.
  2. In a large, wide bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and spices. Whisk the mixture well. Using a pastry blender or fork, work the chilled butter and egg into the dry flour mixture until the texture resembles a coarse meal. Pat half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking pan (note: the layer will be thin).
  3. In a food processor or blender, add the filling ingredients and pulse the mixture until the cranberries are coarsely chopped (but not pureed). Using a spatula or spoon, evenly spread the filling over the pressed crumb base. After the filling is evenly added, sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the berry mixture.
  4. Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, or until just lightly brown on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before serving, cutting the bars into 36 small squares.

 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

pumpkinbreadpudding

Could the weather be more perfect lately? I can’t get enough of it. My day job is a standard desk job, and usually I’ll stay inside as much as possible, since it’s so gross and humid outside. However, lately…I take my breaks outdoors and walk or just relax on a bench and take in this perfect weather. It reminds me a lot of when I went to San Diego for a work conference…it was in the middle of July, yet, it felt like fall out there. Amazing!

I made this bread pudding since I took a bread baking class that I won in a local trivia contest on Twitter. After taking the class, I had 3 full baguettes at our house. When life gives you stale bread, you make bread pudding, right? And when life gives you stale bread in the fall, you make PUMPKIN bread pudding. Completely logical.

The most tedious part was cubing all of the bread, but after that, it was simple to throw together. Since I was bringing this to coworkers, I steered clear of the normal rum sauces (even though it’s cooked, I just don’t chance it) and made a pumpkin spice sauce to give the dessert an even bigger boost. This was SO good, and seeing that a double batch of this left the office well before lunch-time hit, I think quite a few people agreed with me. :-)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Pumpkin Spice Sauce
Source: bread pudding adapted from Smitten Kitchen, sauce adapted from Land O’ Lakes

Ingredients:

For the bread pudding:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter

For the sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, salt and pumpkin pie spice until well-combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While preheating the oven, add the butter to the bottom of an 8″ square baking dish, and place it in the oven, allowing it to melt.
  3. When the butter has melted, take the dish out of the oven, and carefully toss (using tongs, since of course, the dish & butter will be very hot) the bread cubes in the butter, coating all of the bread well. Spread the bread cubes evenly over the baking dish. Give your bread pudding mixture one last stir, and then pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes, ensuring that all of the bread pieces are evenly coated. Bake the bread pudding until the custard is set, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce, add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, cream and pumpkin pie spice to a saucepan. Cook the sauce over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, making sure to stir ever so often. The mixture should thicken a bit and come to a full boil. Once that happens, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the sauce to cool until warm.
  5. To serve, pour warm sauce over warm bread pudding. It’s also great served with fresh whipped cream or ice cream. You can store leftover bread pudding and sauce in the fridge, and microwave until both are warm again.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

I have a random problem. I am a gift card hoarder. I realized when I was switching purses that I have quite a nice stack of gift cards, most of them being from last Christmas. I can spend my own money fairly easily, but for some reason, I want a gift card to end up resulting in a purchase that’s truly a gift. :-) This past weekend, I combined a couple of Macy’s gift cards (from Christmas last year), and purchased myself a big girl food processor. No more making salsa in batches in the small 3-4 cup food processor….no more shredding cheese by hand…this gal is very excited! I think that’s a good gift, no? It’s crazy how excited I am about this new kitchen toy.

I also hoard other random things…usually pretty things, like certain skeins of yarn, fabrics and well, as silly as it sounds, these cupcake liners. I purchased these from Pick Your Plum months ago, and I just thought they were so pretty…I couldn’t just use them on just any cupcake. So, they’ve been sitting in a drawer for months. I decided that I just had to bake with these at some point, and with Halloween around the corner, the orange polka dot ones would be perfect.

I got the idea to make double chocolate cupcakes from a local shopping expo yesterday. A bakery was giving out samples of chocolate-chocolate chip cake, and I thought that would be an excellent cupcake for Halloween. Dark chocolate in orange liners….festive, right? These cupcakes are delightful…I added chocolate chips in there to give it a deeper chocolate flavor, and then topped them with a classic chocolate buttercream that I featured on here before, which is always a winner. :-)

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: cupcakes slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, frosting from Savory Sweet Life

**makes 24 cupcakes**

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks)  unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the buttercream:

Directions:

  1. Prehead the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside for later.
  2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together, microwaving in 30 second increments (stirring after each time). In another medium sized bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well-combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the eggs, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla together until smooth. With the mixer on low, add in half of the flour/cocoa mixture, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat again until everything is added. Add in the mini chocolate chips, and mix until just combined (being mindful not to overmix).
  4. Add batter to the cupcake liners (1/2-2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
  5. Make the frosting according to the directions (linked above) as the cupcakes are cooling. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

pumpkinsnickerdoodle

Hey, did you guys know that it’s 68 days til Christmas? Yeah…I know, right? I found myself in a bit of a panic when I realized that I really haven’t started shopping yet, and that’s SO not like me. I usually have a closet full of gifts to wrap before Halloween even gets here. It’s just how I am. I’m the type of person who prefers to have a tree full of presents when the tree is ready to go up. I’m sure that makes me weird or something, considering most of my family is the exact opposite. I don’t know how my mom does it, but on Christmas Eve, she usually has a gift-wrapping fest and gets it all done. Me? I’m wrapping the evening of Thanksgiving. :-)

I tend to really get into the holidays. For me, I go for the “Merry, Not Scary” side of Halloween, thus the reason for the Halloween Pacman inflatable. No headless horseman/creepy skeletal/fiery inflatables here…I usually tend to veer towards pumpkins. I should clarify to say happy pumpkins….and Casper. I also get into the Halloween snacks. Is it just me or are Halloween Oreos for some reason 10x more addictive than regular oreos? Now, since the scientists have said that oreos are as addictive as cocaine. I guess that makes sense…I totally can’t have just 1 serving of oreos lol! Honestly, I probably could seriously sit down and eat half of a bag. :-P

Another cookie that’s pretty addictive are these pumpkin snickerdoodles. I seriously ate 3-4 of these right out of the oven. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside (from the coating) and perfectly chewy on the inside. The flavor is wonderful…even my pumpkin hating husband loved these!

By the way, this weekend I’ll make the quick drive to New Orleans for PMA Fresh Summit! I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming like crazy, so feel free to follow me on Twitter & on Instagram :-).

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • dash of ground allspice

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars, and beat them on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, and then mix in the pumpkin puree. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula again, and then with the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just mixed. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a small bowl, add sugar and spices for the cookie coating and mix well. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Place the ball in the coating mixture, and roll to completely coat the dough. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the cookie dough, leaving 2-3 inches space between each cookie dough ball. Gently press the cookies down with your hands to flatten the dough slightly.
  3. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and baked all the way through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the rest of the dough, until all of the cookies are done. Enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Mississippi Mud Brownies

pbmissmudbrownies

It’s finally that time of the year. The weather finally got a clue and cooled down. I was super giddy about it all, until I remembered that my allergies usually hate weather changes. Let’s just say that I raided the grocery store today, and amongst the things in my cart were Mucinex, zinc drops, vitamin C, Benadryl & Reese’s cups. Priorities, people!

One of the great things about the weather cooling down is that I just want to bake up a storm. I naturally purchase more butter, flour, sugar and eggs. I already have a stockpile of chocolate chips & random candies to mix into baked goodies, so I don’t have to go to the store when the urge to bake strikes.  :-) I also really crave comfort foods, like pot roast, gumbo and chili.

Recently, I was asked if I wanted to review a copy of Southern Living’s new book “No Taste Like Home”, which was released yesterday.

cover

As a fan of Southern Living, I couldn’t say no, and with Southern Living being known for the typical Southern, comforting recipes, it was perfect timing with the weather cooling down. This book basically highlights recipes from different regions of the South, including:

  • The Heart of Dixie
  • Cajun Country
  • Big, Bold Texas
  • The Piedmont & the Mountains
  • The Bluegrass, Bourbon & Barbecue Trail
  • The Coastal South

Basically, if you’re from the South, there’s a good chance that you’ll see some familiar hometown recipes. If you’re not from the South, you’ll probably want to start cooking from this book immediately to introduce yourself to some amazing Southern fare.  :-)

When I got the book in my hands, I immediately had to skim through it with my sticky note pad handy to bookmark recipes that caught my eye. Let’s just say that the copy I have is full of sticky notes. So many wonderful recipes, and the photos are just lovely. I typically would have first made a recipe from the “Cajun Country” (Louisiana) chapter, but this recipe, from “The Heart of Dixie” (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi) chapter was just pulling me in. Rich chocolate brownies with peanut butter batter swirled in, topped with melted, gooey marshmallows, peanuts and a decadent chocolate frosting. I mean…c’mon. How could I not?

Do I even have to say that they were beyond delicious? Oh my gosh…insanely good! You will definitely want a glass of milk (or heck, a scoop of ice cream) handy for these, though. They’re definitely indulgent, and while there’s a few steps involved, they are just completely worth it. I promise!

Now, of course I wouldn’t gush about this book without sharing some of the love! The wonderful folks at Southern Living/YC Media are offering a lucky Nifty Foodie reader a copy of this book. To enter the giveaway, just check out the Rafflecopter widget below! [Read more...]

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake

cinnswirlbundt

I think the baking bug has hit me. I’m all about baking lately. We had a slight “cold” front this past weekend that made me think that the Fall weather is almost here. It made me run to Home Depot and immediately purchase mums, as well as prep the gardens for pretty cool weather annuals. It’s been hard to hold back on adding a bunch of color to the garden, but horticulturist momma told me I need to wait until the beginning of October. ::sigh:: (I think I may buy annuals this weekend…don’t read this blog, Mom! October is close enough, right?) :-P

Right after I finished the gardens (and scrubbed all the dirt off, of course), I had an itch to bake something pumpkin-y. I immediately went online, and found this recipe for pumpkin bundt cake. I thought…eh, I’ve done pumpkin bundt cake before…I need to add something else to it. Then, I thought to add in a simple cinnamon swirl (because who doesn’t like a little extra spice in their pumpkin baked goodies?), as well as a pumpkin spice glaze instead of the buttermilk one this original recipe calls for. Let’s just say our kitchen smelled like heaven. Delicious, spicy, weather needs to cool down any minute now — heaven. ::hint HINT Louisiana!::

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Source: adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of clove
  • 3 tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and put an oven rack in the middle position. Prepare your bundt pan by spraying the inside generously with baking spray or butter/flouring the inside (being sure to get every nook and cranny).
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, allspice and salt in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl (or the measuring cup you have the buttermilk in), whisk the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla extract together.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar for about 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, add in the eggs, and beat the mixture for one minute. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add 1/4 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture, repeating until all is used up (making sure to begin and end with the flour mixture), mixing everything until the batter is just smooth.
  4. In a separate small bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and the 1 tbsp. of cinnamon.
  5. Spoon half of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Then, liberally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter already in the pan. Then, spoon the other half of the batter on top of the cinnamon sugar, and spread the top evenly with a spatula.
  6. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tested inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place the cake pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack, allowing it to cool for 10 more minutes.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Place the confectioners sugar and spices in a large bowl, and whisk together until well-mixed. Add in the milk, and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake, and then allow the cake to finish cooling completely.

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting

chocolatechipbars

Life has been a little bit hectic lately. Between dealing with the whole lightning incident, work getting super busy and just trying to catch up on house work, I just needed to stop for a second and bake something. My husband and I have just been trying to find normal things to do to get our minds off everything. Baking and knitting are things that have been happening a lot for me. For a couple hours a day, I can just forget everything and have immediate results, whether it be a quick cowl or these bars.

This recipe was so quick to throw together. Cookie dough usually is quick, and the longest part is scooping cookies out and baking in batches. Well, with these bars, you just spread the whole thing in a jelly roll pan. Simple enough, right? This tastes just like a cookie cake, and the icing puts it over the top. I used a whipped vanilla buttercream that I blogged about before, and then went crazy on the sprinkles. (By the way, am I the only person who buys bulk sprinkles?) They were perfect–simple, classic and tasty.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Vanilla Frosting
Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 batch whipped vanilla frosting
  • rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, making sure that your oven rack is in the center. Line a 12×17 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside. Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat the butter and granulated/brown sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add the eggs and vanilla. Mix everything until well-combined. Add in the flour mixture, and beat everything on low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Dollop the dough on the baking sheet, and spread in an even layer with a spatula. If the dough gets sticky, have a bowl of hot water handy to dip/clean off the spatula.
  4. Bake the bars for about 20-30 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking, until the edges are brown and the top of the bars are golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack, and allow it to cool completely in the baking sheet.
  5. Make the whipped vanilla frosting, and once the bars are fully cooled, liberally frost the bars. Add sprinkles on top of the frosting and serve.

 

Bananas Foster a la Mode Cups & A Giveaway!

bananasfosteralamode2

A couple of months ago, my husband and I went to a restaurant in New Orleans. When it came time for dessert, we decided to split something, but the problem with splitting with my husband is the dessert cannot contain any chocolate, caramel or peanut butter (he hates it all). I know…poor guy doesn’t know what he’s missing! Luckily, this particular restaurant had a bananas foster torte, so I knew we were set. It was absolutely delicious, indulgent and rich. In fact, I’m SO glad we split it, because there was no way I could eat the whole thing. Ever since then, bananas foster has been fresh on my mind. I had to make a fun recipe with this classic New Orleans favorite.

I’m thrilled to be working with Calphalon again to review their brand new Elite Nonstick cookware, which is sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma. It’s currently for sale on their website, and will be in stores on September 27th. I’m sure you guys know that I love using nonstick cookware, but one of the biggest issues I’ve faced is being limited to wooden or silicone utensils. This line is safe for metal utensils (fork out your whisks!). Yep…I’m serious! This cookware also comes with a textured sear surface, which is awesome because you can get the sear that you usually get from stainless steel, but with the convenience (hello, easy clean-up) of a nonstick pan. This line of cookware is also dishwasher safe.

Calphalon sent me this 3 piece set to review, and asked me to create a modern twist on a classic recipe, using one of the pans. With that in mind, I grabbed the 10″ pan, some bananas and got to work! The end result is homemade bananas foster ice cream, topped with warm bananas foster, contained in a cinnamon sugar wonton cup. I hope you like bananas for this one, y’all, because there is plenty of sweet banana flavor in this recipe!

bananasfosteralamode

For the ice cream, I omitted the rum, because even though the alcohol cooks off, I didn’t want to chance the ice cream not setting up properly. I suggest making the ice cream one day before you plan on serving these desserts, so the ice cream can be a scoop-able consistency.

[Read more...]

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream

cinnamontoasticecream

Is it crazy that I haven’t made any homemade ice cream this summer? I mean it’s hot enough for it, so I have no idea why I didn’t fork out the machine until September. I will say that I did have a slight addiction to skinny cow sandwiches the past couple of months, and homemade ice cream isn’t very calorie friendly, but usually calorie splurges never stop me (especially lately).

I HAD to make this ice cream, though. I recently received a copy of Jessica Segarra’s (also known as The Novice Chef) new cookbook: Cereal Sweets & Treats. Jessica is a good blogging friend of mine, and I was so excited when she wanted to send me a copy of her new book. It’s full of so many fun recipes…recipes you’d never think you could use cereal with. Cap’n Crunch milkshakes, Lucky Charms macarons, Pumpkin Cheerios bars, Fruit Loops cupcakes, and Corn Pops ice cream, just to name a few. Seriously….doesn’t that all sound so fun?!

The idea of cereal ice cream just pulled me in, and I will mention that while the original recipe is for Corn Pop ice cream, in Jessica’s notes, she mentions trying this with your favorite cereal. One of my favorites is cinnamon toast crunch, and I had a feeling this would make for a great ice cream. One of the best things about this ice cream is that this isn’t a custard based ice cream. Yup…no eggs needed, so making this recipe really wasn’t that difficult. The method Jessica uses doesn’t make the ice cream overpoweringly sweet, because the cereal soaks in the milk/heavy cream and then you strain it out. Also, no worries about soggy cereal, since you strain it out…it’s more of an infusion of flavor from the cereal. I have to say, after having a bowl (or two haha!), I think this ice cream would be perfect on top of a slice of warm apple or pumpkin pie. It has a really good cinnamon flavor to it that would make fall treats that much more amazing. :-)

If you want to check out more recipes (I think those pumpkin cheerios bars are calling my name next!), Jessica’s book is available on Amazon for under $15!

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream
Source: barely adapted from Cereal Sweets & Treats

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cinnamon toast crunch cereal
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the milk, heavy cream and cinnamon toast crunch cereal together. Allow the mixture to soak for 30 minutes in the fridge, stirring occasionally. Strain the cereal out of the mixture and discard the cereal.
  2. Place the milk mixture in a large saucepan, and whisk in the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and continue to boil the mixture for 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to fully cool in the refrigerator, until the mixture is cold to the touch.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will be a soft serve consistency at this point, but if you’d like the ice cream to be more scoop-able, allow it to harden in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 3 hours.

 

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.