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Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’

Portland is an awesome place to live. It’s like the land of beer and vino, with a lot of funky, slow driving, alternative lifestyle loving, vulgar doughnut eating, striped sock wearing people thrown in the mix. There are more food and bar establishments here (not to mention strip clubs) than you can ever possibly visit. Most of the big names in music make a pit stop here, and of course if you want to be disappointed you can always catch a Blazers game. I mean, where else can you drink a pint and play Dr. Mario Brothers or BurgerTime?

But all this awesomeness doesn’t come for free. Portland seems to have a knack for attracting tons of mid-20’s/ 30-something’s that all arrive without jobs. This means that those of us already here have an ever growing amount of competition. And while it used to be the cheapest city of the west coast to live, and perhaps still is, it’s quickly growing up. Though it’s not on par with San Francisco yet, it’s trying its damnedest to get there. So while it’s truly a fantastic city with a wonderful climate and superb amenities, the hubs and I have decided to move it on down the line.

So where are we bound? To a city both of use said we’d never move to. Dallas. Texas. The Big D. Did you know it’s been over a 100 degrees there lately? Did you know my husband practically melts in the heat? Yeah, it’s gonna be interesting! My sister pretty much sealed our fate when she moved there in February. Plus the job market is supposedly not quite the ferocious beast it is here, but we’ll be the judge of that I guess.

So having said all that, the posting here will be a bit sparse over the next few weeks as we pack and clean and load and drive and drive and drive and unload and unpack and etc, etc. But I’ll leave you now with a tasty little summer treat, and hopefully there will be some cookies up here before we begin our trek across country.

Almond Amaretto Ice Cream

  • 6oz extra-firm silken tofu
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat is better than light)
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 5 T Amaretto liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 C sugared or candied almonds, roughly chopped

Puree the tofu in a blender with just enough milk to help it along. Once it’s completely smooth, add the rest of the ingredients, except the nuts, and puree again. Place it in the fridge for a bit to cool back down.

Now regarding those nuts, they’ll get all soggy and mushy if you just place them straight into the ice cream without doing anything to them, and nobody wants soggy nuts do they? The best way to avoid this is to candy them, but that typically involves egg whites and we obviously don’t do that here. You can sugar them however, and that’s super easy to do.

Generally you do not chop nuts before sugaring and toasting but if you chop them after you’ll break the barrier you just created and all will be for not. So, roughly chop the almonds. Bring a solution of equal parts sugar and water to boil (also known as simple syrup). Toss the nuts in the boiling simple syrup and stir them around for about 15 seconds. Now drain them, reserving the simple syrup if you like for another use, and spread them out on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a Silpat. Toast the nuts in a 350 degree oven until they’re no longer sticky. And since you can’t tell if they’re sticky while they’re still hot, pull an almond out of the oven and set it on the counter for a minute and then test. If it’s not sticky and has a good crunch, you’re done!

So when you’re ready, spin your ice cream in your ice cream maker. Add the cooled almonds towards the end of the spinning process, or fold them in after it’s spun. Cover tightly and freeze for several hours to allow it to setup completely.

Well I guess I’ll see you on the other side, but hopefully before. If you live or have lived in Dallas and have some vegan tips for me (i.e. restaurants) please share!

Cheers!

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I’m gonna go out on a limb here but maybe, just maybe, we should do the Ice Cream Cupcake Contest in like December. I get the whole “it’s summertime and it’s hot and we all want ice cream” thing but seriously, photographing these puppies in 85 degree weather is a wee bit difficult. Not to mention messy. And sticky. There’s still icing and ice cream all over my camera. I’m just saying… 🙂

As you know (or maybe you don’t) every year Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious host an ice cream cupcake competition. You make a cupcake, throw some ice cream on it and hope nobody else was as creative as you were (which, obviously, never happens because there are a lot of super creative people out there). Last year was my first year competing, and I made it to the finals with my Take 6 cupcake but a certain S’mores cupcake and ultimately a very yummy looking honey hazelnut and chocolate ganache cupcake took the cake (no pun intended). Stephanie, the maker of the S’mores cake, is judging this year so at least I don’t have to worry about her this time around. 😉

Lately I’ve been on this white chocolate kick. I made a white chocolate dobos opera fusion cake at work a week or so ago and the idea carried over into my home life. I thought about making the cupcake 7 layers (like the dobos) but my better judgement took hold and smacked some sense into me. I wasn’t sure exactly how my cupcake was going to come together but then one night around 2am I randomly woke up and thought “cheesecake cupcake.” But not in actual cheesecake form. And I wanted the cupcake to be the graham cracker crust. So without further ado, my cupcake:

There’s cupcake underneath all that frosting, you just can’t see it here. My aim with the frosting was a whip cream consistency, so I decided to once again try to whip coconut cream. People tell me this works; I think they’re all lying. Maybe I’m just expecting it to do what actual cream does, or honestly just anything at all, but the only thing I ever see is the pretty design my whisk makes as the stand mixer spins its little heart out to no avail. So I morphed it into a coconut cream buttercream. The texture is much softer than typical buttercream, so that’s good. It’s still super sweet though as I had to use lots of powdered sugar to give it some volume, but that’s ok – it is a cupcake after all and cupcakes are supposed to be sweet.

Being that the frosting is super soft, it doesn’t hold up to the heat well. Especially if you just mixed it and are impatient and your kitchen looks like a war zone and all you really want to do is take the damn photo so you can finally eat dinner. I initially just put a dollop of frosting on top of the cupcakes and added my caramel sugar garnish, but two the of three dollops slid off before I could even turn my camera on. I got some photos of one of them at least.

The caramel sugar garnish here and in the first photo are the same thing. You just put some sugar in a pan and add enough water to make it look like wet sand. Then you crank the heat up full blast and wait. Absolutely no stirring. Stirring the sugar will likely cause it to crystalize, which will make it look like rock candy. Sure it’s pretty but once I crystalized a pot of like 16 cups of sugar at work… Luckily nobody was around to yell/ laugh/ bill me for it.

At some point the sugar will start to caramelize. You can swirl the pan a bit to even out the caramelizing. Depending on what you want to do with it, you take it off the heat when it reaches the caramel color you want, briefly place the pan in an ice bath to stop the cooking. You can “pipe” it out with a paper cornet, or use a ball whisk to make a nest of strands, or use cutters to make shapes (molds), etc, etc. But a word of caution: caramel is HOT! So have some gloves on if you can, and a towel and an ice bath in case you get some on your finger as shaking it off just won’t happen.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 9 oz vegan white chocolate
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract

A word on the vegan white chocolate, it’s weird. It tastes fine but it has a different texture than normal white chocolate. It doesn’t melt like normal chocolate either. It melts down to a batter-like consistency but it doesn’t get liquidy (so just keep that in mind).

Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or bowl on top of a pan with water) and heat it gently until it’s uniformly melted. Place the cream cheese, tofu and melted chocolate in a blender and puree until smooth. Add enough coconut milk to help it along but let it get completely smooth before adding the rest. Once smooth, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth again.

You can let the mixture cool down in the fridge for awhile at this point. When you’re ready to freeze, depending on what kind of ice cream maker you have, you may have to freeze it in two batches. My maker is just small enough where all of this wouldn’t fit in at once. After the ice cream is spun it honestly needs about a day to setup properly, so make the ice cream well ahead of when you need it.

In my opinion, this is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. I always use low fat coconut milk because I’m health conscious but I threw calories to the wind for this project. Cheesecake isn’t supposed to be healthy anyway. This ice cream is rich and creamy and full of flavor. Definitely a keeper! I think omnivores would even be impressed.

Graham “Cracker” Cupcakes (mostly vegan)

These are mostly vegan because I put honey in them. I know honey isn’t technically vegan but I don’t have a problem with using it. Bees are going to make the stuff whether we’re eating it or not so… If you don’t want to use honey feel free to sub in agave or some more sugar.

  • 3/4 C graham flour (or whole wheat if you can’t find it)
  • 3/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C soy mik
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 C non-gmo canola oil
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T applesauce, optional (for moisture)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan if you wish or just spray it with PAM. I did both because I wanted to be able to see the cake and didn’t want cupcake liner indentions on it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get them out of the pan so I lined a few – they came out just fine.

Pour the milk and vinegar in your mixing bowl and set it aside to curdle.

In another bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.

Once your milk is curdled add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 increments, partially incorporating between additions. I did this because graham flour is high in protein and I didn’t want to risk working the gluten too much and end up with tough cupcakes.

Portion the batter into the cupcake pan. I used a 1/4 cup scoop and got 12 cupcakes out of it. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean, mine only took 18 minutes which is pretty quick. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

 Coconut Cream Buttercream (vegan)

  • Cream from 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar

To get the coconut cream out of the can without getting all the water you have to cool the can in the fridge overnight; the cream will rise to the top as the water sinks to the bottom. Don’t shake the can before opening it. Scoop the cream off the top and stop when you hit water.

Cream the butter with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer. Once it’s super creamy (wet) add the coconut cream, vanilla extract and salt. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I ended up using between 4 and 5 cups of powdered sugar. It’s fairly goopy right after you mix it but if you let it sit in the fridge for awhile it will firm up to a pipeable consistency.

Assembly

I made my ice cream a few days before I made the cupcakes (yes, my husband waited DAYS before he could have one of these cupcakes, he’s so patient). Once I spun the ice cream I lined my cupcake pan with plastic wrap and portioned out 1/4 cup scoops of ice cream into each cavity. After those were frozen solid I removed them from the pan so I could use it to make the cupcakes.

After the cupcakes were baked I sawed off the tops of them to make them flat and plopped a molded ice cream on each one. You can smooth the ice cream out with an offset spatula or your hands if you have to.

Let these setup again before frosting them. You can use an 802 or 804 tip to pipe the dots/ petals. I tried using a leaf tip but the icing is too soft to hold (it looked like a wilted flower). You can pipe the icing straight out of the fridge; it doesn’t need to be tempered like normal buttercream.

Since the ice cream is pretty much incased by the frosting you have a few minutes before any major melting will occur. But it definitely will melt, and when it does the frosting will slide off in sheets like ice slipping down the side of a glacier.

These are some yummy cupcakes though. It’s the first time I’ve had the graham cracker flavor in something other than a cracker, but it’s a nice change from the typical cupcake flavors. The cake isn’t overly sweet either, so it creates a nice balance with the decadent ice cream and sugary frosting. If I were to serve these at a party I think I’d leave them unassembled and then scoop the ice cream right before serving and do a simple piping job.

Well, keep your fingers crossed for me. There are a lot of creative entries so it’s going to be tough to judge! If you make these cupcakes let me know what you think of the graham flavor without the cracker crunch.

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It’s official. The fact that the first “hot” day in Portland renders me wishing it was cooler is surely a tell-tale sign that I’m a… wait for it… Portlander.

Of course I’ve gone through several of the iconic Portlander initiations already. Converting to a hop head and shunning all other beer that once I knew and loved. Wearing socks with my flip flops. Thinking McMenamins is cool. Figuring out that McMenamins actually kind of sucks. Except for the spicy tots of course. And yelling at a car from my bicycle, while forgetting that I don’t have any car windows to shield the public from my traffic tourettes.

Not that I hate the sun or warm weather or anything, I’m all about it being warm enough to wear flip flops (without the socks of course), but the hotness made my afternoon run total crap. You get so used to running in mild temperatures that 73 is just unbearable.

But, there is something that goes quite nicely with this summer weather; ice cream! I’m always fiddling around with my ice cream machine. I love having random ideas and being able to actually turn them into reality, even if reality turns out a tad different than what had originally transpired inside my head. #alwayshappens

I had some black mission figs slowly dying in my pantry. Initially I thought fig and honey ice cream, but honey’s technically not vegan and you just can’t get the same flavor from agave. Then I thought figs and madeira, but I, of course, didn’t have any madeira lying around. But I did have about half a bottle of marsala being neglected so I figure it was time to put it to use.

Fig & Marsala Ice Cream

  • 9 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used light)
  • 1 & 1/4 C organic sugar
  • 6 T marsala (or to taste)
  • 1 T olive oil (optional)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C figs (fresh or dried)

So this is where I tell you how I did it, and then advise you to do it a different way (I’m a work in progress).

This ice cream turned out pretty soft; not yogurty-soft-serve-soft but definitely not ice creamy-heat-the-scoop-up-first-hard. The culprit? All that damn marsala. I may be a lush but I like to taste my booze, so I kept adding more marsala to the ice cream base. What I should have done is reduced a cup or so of marsala on the stove by more than half. This way you get a lot of flavor but not so much liquid (and alcohol which also affects the freezing properties). It’s up to you, but I advise going the route of the reduction.

Once you’ve decided how to handle your marsala, toss everything in a blender, except the figs, and puree until smooth. You can chill it down more before freezing, or just pour it straight into your ice cream maker.

If you’re using dried figs you’ll need to bring them back to life. I roughly chopped mine into small pieces, covered them with hot marsala and let them rehydrate for a bit. Drain off the marsala before adding the figs to your ice cream (add either during the last few minutes of freezing or mix them in by hand afterward).

I didn’t stop here of course. I still thought the ice cream wasn’t marsala-y enough, so I dumped the rest of the bottle into a sauce pan – probably about 1 cup – and reduced it until it was a thick syrup. You won’t be able to tell the consistency of the syrup until you cool it, so reduce it for a bit and then cool it in a stainless steel (or something conductive) bowl that’s sitting in an ice bath so you can find out quickly if it’s reduced enough. I drizzled the syrup over the ice cream in layers when transferring from maker to tupperware. In my opinion, the syrup did the trick in making the ice cream flavorful, but you might be able to skip this step if you reduce the marsala before adding it to the ice cream base.

Well today’s supposed to be another scorcher (high of 80… eek!). I think I’ll play it smarter though and not go for a run right smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the day (I may be slow sometimes but I’m not completely daft). Hope you’re enjoying some nice spring weather, wherever you are. Cheers!

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You would think that since I spend most of my week waking and baking (no, not like that…) that it would be the farthest thing from my mind on my days off. But the truth is I still wake up in the middle of the night with ideas of things I want to create. And it’s honestly just so much fun to piddle around in your kitchen without any pressure of deadlines and what not.

So yesterday I felt like making pie. No real reason. Just wanted to. I ask my husband what kind of pie he wants… he immediately replies, “Apple. With vanilla ice cream.” I of course try to sneak in different (“creative”) things like brandy soaked cherries or caramel ice cream, but he just wants plain, simple ole apple pie. “Alright,” I say as I concede. =)

I don’t often make pie. I’d honestly rather make cake or cupcakes. Not that I have anything against pie, I’m just a cake girl. Plus, a pie just has a whole lot of fat in it. Or at least it should (otherwise it’s not really pie). And there’s not really anything you can do to take the fat out of it, without making it taste like a bland piece of non-flaky cardboard (and who the hell wants to eat that).

But I’ll be honest with you. This pie, while good, wasn’t “great.” My husband thought it was good. And I wouldn’t exactly spit it out of my mouth or anything, but it was just missing something I thought. But then again, I always think things could be improved, so take that for what you will. So here’s my advice, if you make this pie, add a pinch or two of salt to the apple filling, and several pats of vegan butter. Fat carries flavor, and a small amount of salt enhances – but don’t make it salty by any means. And, though it’s less healthy, use AP flour or white pastry flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour. The whole wheat flour made the crust very difficult to handle, and also lended a sort of “healthy” flavor to the pie (which isn’t supposed to be there of course).

For the Crust

  • 5oz pastry or AP flour
  • 1/2 T cinnamon sugar (just a mix of sugar with some cinnamon)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4oz cold, diced vegan butter (use the Earth Balance sticks, tub butter is too liquidy)
  • 2 1/2 T cold water

This is the cheater method to making pie dough. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor. Add the diced butter and pulse several times until the butter clumps are between the size of cornmeal and green peas. Add the water, pulse a few more times just until the dough starts to come together but by no means is actually clumping together. You should be able to clump it with your hand but it shouldn’t clump on its own. Dump it out on the counter. Bring it into a mound with your hands. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and press it into a flat (1 – 2 in thick), round disk with your hands and arms; try to smooth out any cracks. Toss it in the fridge for at least an hour.

For the Streusel

  • 5oz Ap flour
  • 3oz brown sugar
  • 2oz raw sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 1/2oz rolled oats (optional)
  • 1 1/2oz chopped almonds (optional)
  • 4oz cold, diced vegan butter (Earth Balance sticks)

Place all the dry ingredients except the oats and almonds in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few times. Dump the mixture into a bowl, add the oats and almonds and work it with your hands until the butter clumps are small and evenly distributed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Apple Filling

  • 5 – 6 firm, starchy apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (wait until your ready to bake before doing this step)
  • Lemon juice
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegan Butter

I sent my husband to the store to get apples and told him to get a variety. He came home with 5 different types of apples and the stickers got pulled off before I got a chance to see what types he bought. So, I have no clue what kind of apples I used. I know a had a granny smith and a fuji, and some of them were of the mushy variety, but I think I had enough of the firm ones to counter that. You want a good mixture of tart and sweet apples, and I honestly think more tart than sweet is better as you want to balance all that sugar.

Place the chopped apples in a bowl and splash some lemon juice on them to keep them from oxidizing. Toss with cinnamon sugar (to taste) and a little bit of salt.

Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu (like Mori-Nu)
  • 3/4 C raw sugar
  • 1 T agave
  • 2 T whiskey (optional)
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt

You should probably make the ice cream first; it’ll need several hours to set up in the freezer. Or you could just be lazy of course and go buy some…

I’m always playing around with my ratios when making ice cream. I think next time I’m going to increase the amount of sugar as I think this ice cream was still a wee bit too “icy.” Full fat coconut milk would also help the mouth feel (but I like to cut fat out where I can). The whiskey isn’t really necessary, it simply contributes a small amount of flavor and helps keep the ice cream from freezing too hard.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions and stick it in the freezer when done.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 C sugar
  • 3/4 C soy milk
  • 1 T whiskey
  • 1/4 t salt

I’m not going to lie, this sauce needs help. I would have used coconut milk but I was out. I probably should have also put butter in it but I got tired of messing with it. My opinion, use 1/2 cup of coconut milk and maybe a 1 T of vegan butter instead of the soy milk. I had to keep reducing my sauce as it was too thin.

Anyway, place the sugar in a sauce pan and add enough water to make it look like wet sand. Put it on the stove over high heat and wait. Don’t stir, just keep waiting. And then wait some more. At some point it will caramelize (depending on how much water needs to evaporate). Once it turns to a fairly dark caramel color, slowly whisk in the milk. Be careful here, the mixture will bubble profusely and you could get a steam burn on your hand. Don’t add the milk too quickly or you could seize of the caramel. Once all the milk is in, add butter (if using) and some salt. Let the mixture cool before deciding whether or not to reduce it down. I’ll keep working on a caramel sauce formula and will get back to you at some point in the future…

Baking the Pie… finally

Once the dough has chilled long enough, take it out, unwrap it, place it on a well floured surface, grab your rolling pin and get rolling. Try to fend off as many cracks as possible, and always make sure it’s not sticking to the counter. This dough was supposed to be enough for a 9 in pie… um, no. I had to use an 8 in pan and barely had enough to make it work. BUT, part of my problem was due to the whole wheat flour I think, my dough didn’t want to stay together and was crumbling all over the damn place. You want your dough to be about 1/4 in thick or a tad less (just use your best judgement).

When it’s rolled out, gently pick it up and place it in the pie pan. Let it sink into the pan, don’t stretch it. Take the overhanging ends and roll them under and sort of tuck them into the side of the pan. Use your fingers or knuckles to create a ruffle-like edge.

I chose to stick my crust back in the fridge for an hour before baking. It’s not completely necessary but it will help prevent shrinkage and improve the pie overall.

So, to actually bake, heat the oven up to 350.

Take your diced apples and pour them into your prepared pie crust. Place several pats of vegan butter in/ on the apples. Mound the apples pretty high as they’ll shrink during baking. I thought I had plenty of apples but the pie looked considerably smaller after I baked it. Cover the apples with the streusel. Brush the crust with soy milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until everything is browned and the apples feel tender, mine took about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool. Eat.

So, you know what you do after your bake and eat your apple pie? You go running! =) Have a great weekend!

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No, I’m not talking about burnt muffins or sunken in cupcakes. I’m talking about my fingers. My arms. My knees. Even my toes. I never thought about baking being hard work, but damn! One week at my new job made everything on my body sore. Work was of course compounded by 6 hours of class every day, but baking is not something to be taken lightly nonetheless. All those hot full sheet pans and 24 count muffin pans get heavy, especially when you’re lifting 20 or 30 of them multiple times a day. And mixing large quantities of ingredients by hand wears your arms out. And lifting 50lb bags of flour (you get my point). I told my husband he was going to have to start working out more to keep up with my baking muscles. Plus you’re on your feet the entire time. I was practically limping by the time I got a day off. And my knees felt like I had just run a marathon. I won’t even talk about my accumulating collection of burn marks…

It’s fun though. I really like the atmosphere of the bakery and it’s nice to finally do something I actually want to do for a change. And I honestly like the 4 – 11am work schedule (if only a 4 – 10pm school schedule didn’t follow).

So, as you can tell by all this bemoaning, I recently got a job at a bakery here in Portland. I wasn’t necessarily planning on working during my time at culinary school, but it was a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass on it. There is a downside though, and that is the fact that I barely have enough time to say hello to my husband everyday, so finding time to bake something and blog about it is a wee bit impossible at the moment. I’m sure once I get into the groove of things I’ll find more time to piddle around in my own kitchen, but I’m afraid that my blog will stay a bit devoid of anything in the way of new posts for a short while. 😦

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my sweet tooth from yesterday. Ice cream’s pretty quick to make, and I had some left over vegan cream cheese in the fridge so I thought I’d throw it all together.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 T cornstarch *
  • 1 T sugar
  • Splash of lemon juice

Roughly chop up about of the blueberries. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together to avoid any lumps. Combine everything, except the lemon juice, in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the blueberries breakdown slightly and the mixture thickens. Add a few splashes of lemon juice and remove from the heat. The berries need to be completely cooled (refrigerated) prior to making the ice cream, so do this part in advance.

I added a couple tablespoons of water and a few tablespoons of the ice cream mixture to the berries to thin it out a little bit, but feel free to leave it thick if you’d like.

  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 4oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 C soy milk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C agave
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) vanilla vodka

Combine everything in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and follow its directions. Once frozen, transfer the ice cream to a dish that will allow you to swirl in the blueberries. I used a bread pan and lined it with plastic wrap because I was afraid of liquid sitting in it for too long (I managed to rust out my old bread pan). Plop in the blueberries and use a spoon, knife, bamboo skewer, what have you to swirl the blueberry mixture around. Return it to the freezer for several hours so that it can freeze all the way.

In all honesty I think the full 8oz tub of cream cheese would be best to really bring out the cheesecake flavor. I would also add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the ice cream mixture. Regardless, this ice cream is rich and creamy, and has just the right amount of berries in it (not too sweet or overly fruity). If you have the time, or just happen to have a box of graham crackers lying around your house, I’d crush some up and toss them in to make it extra yummy and provide some crunchy texture.

* 7/22/11 So after making a blueberry pie in school the other day I became privy to the fact that blueberries have a whole lot of pectin in them and therefore tend to thick once heat is applied all by their lonesome. I’m guessing that you don’t need the cornstarch for this ice cream, especially since cornstarch breaks down when frozen (though it’s not enough of an amount to make a difference in this recipe – my ice cream still looks and tastes fine). Try omitting the starch and see what happens, I think it’ll be fine.

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Can you call this multi-tasking? Making 4 desserts out of 1? Or maybe it’s just plain craziness. Or creative boredom put to work. Whatever it is it tastes good, and now I have a whole bunch of sweets begging to be eaten.

I wasn’t out of school more than 2 days before I started thinking of something I could bake. We’ve been on a cupcake spree the last few weeks in my house so I thought it was time for some cookies. Peanut butter chocolate chippers happen to be one of my husband’s favorites. But I thought as long as I’m making cookie dough I might as well make cookie dough ice cream. During my run on Tuesday I thought I could also make cookie dough stuffed cake balls (of course!). Then when I was making the ice cream it occurred to me that ice cream sandwiches would be a great idea (it is summer after all). I thought about putting icing in the ice cream sandwiches as well, and then maybe dipping the whole thing in chocolate, but something told me to stop while I was ahead. =)

I’m actually going to save the cake ball part for another post, otherwise this sucker will be forever long and nobody will read it all. But ice cream and cookies are simple enough.

The cookie dough needs to be frozen before you can make the ice cream, but the ice cream for the sandwiches needs to be really frozen before they can be made so perhaps it’s best to start with the ice cream.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Ice Cream (vegan)

  • 6oz extra firm silk tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3/4 C organic sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) light rum
  • Cookie dough (below)

Toss everything except the cookie dough in your blender and puree until super smooth. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze accordingly.

Once frozen, put about 2/3rds of the ice cream in one container and the other 1/3rd in another. Place both containers in the freezer. We’ll add the cookie dough later.

Typically I use a mixture of soy and coconut milk when making ice cream, but I wanted to see how coconut would do on its own. And it did way better than the combination has ever done. Even though I used light coconut this ice cream is very creamy, especially compared to my typical soy milk based ice creams. Plus it simplifies everything as I always end up freezing a portion of the coconut milk, which I forget is in the freezer the next time I need it and open up another can, which also ends up in the freezer (you see where I’m going with this).

Enough babble, onto the cookies!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

  • 1/2 C vegan butter (stick or tub will work)
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seed
  • 3 T hot water

Whisk the flax seed and hot water in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together in a large bowl, then mix in the flax mixture.

Blend the flour, baking powder, soda and salt together then add them to the wet ingredients and mix briefly. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Go ahead and make the cookie dough balls or the ice cream. You want about 3/4 C worth of balls, or enough to about cover the surface area in one of those square plastic containers that sandwiches fit in. You want to keep the dough balls small so my way of doing this was to only use enough dough to enclose 1 chocolate chip per ball. Roll them up in your hands and stick them in the freezer.

Now, line two 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Scoop the dough into 1 or so inch mounds and plop them on the pans about an inch apart. These cookies don’t spread much during baking so if you want a flatter, crisper cookie smash it down a bit before baking. And you can always make them much larger than an inch of course.

Bake for about 11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them rest about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

The cookie dough should freeze up enough within an hour, so once that time has passed take them and the larger portion of ice cream out of the freezer. Chop about half of the dough balls up to make them smaller and allow more opportunity for cookie dough in every bite! Mix them into the ice cream, distributing as thoroughly as possible and put it back in the freezer.

There. You’re done.

Oh but wait, there’s more! Those ice cream sandwiches won’t make themselves!

Ice Cream Sandwiches (vegan)

  • Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate for dipping (optional)
  • Plastic wrap

Grab as many cookies as you’d like for sandwiches. Retrieve the plain vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Tear off roughly 12 square inch sheets of plastic wrap – one for each sandwich – and lay them on a table or work surface. You can get about 5 – 6 sandwiches out of the ice cream, but that depends on how much ice cream you put in each sandwich…

Take a scoop of ice cream and plop it on top of a cookie. Place another cookie on top and press it down so that the ice cream reaches the edges of the cookies; use the back of a spoon to help guide and smooth it. Now, place the sandwich on the plastic wrap so that the ice cream is touching the plastic. Roll the plastic wrap up with the sandwich and then twist the ends of the plastic. This is kind of what you’re going for, just not so long, and obviously not butter. Place them in the freezer to set.

Once they are set, you can roll them in crushed up chocolate, peanuts, coconut, what have you. I decided to dip mine in chocolate, which turned out to be problematic as the chocolate did not want to stick to the ice cream. It turned out alright in the end though, just a tad bumpy. If you decide to dip them in chocolate you’ll need about half of what Bakerella has in this recipe.

Well, I guess that does it. The cake balls will be appearing at some point in the near future (promise). And on a side note, you can make all this gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free flour mixture. Bob’s Red Mill sells one but the following will also do the job.

Gluten-free flour mixture (equal to 1 cup of normal flour)

  • 1/3 C quinoa or millet flour
  • 1/4 C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown or white rice flour
  • 3 T potato or tapioca starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed

Do keep in mind that GF flours tend to have a grainy texture before being baked, so this could affect your cookie dough ice cream slightly.

Well I didn’t intend for this post to be 4th of July centric but my backdrop in the photos is somewhat patriotic. That was an accident honestly, even though Independence Day is around the corner. It’s actually one of my grandmother’s old shirts. Yes, I use clothing for backdrops. And sometimes even covers from my couch pillows. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

But never mind that, what kind of shenanigans are you baking up this 4th of July weekend?

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So there are a lot of pluses to husbands. They open car doors for you, take out the trash, make excellent margaritas and even do the laundry (at least mine does).  Some husbands even provide inspiration for cupcakes, albeit in the form of a cavity-causing sugar addiction. My husband happens to be quite fond of the Take 5 candy bar. He’s a big fan of chocolate and peanut butter, so things just get even better when you add more peanuts, caramel and pretzels.

So, as is usual for my baking endeavors, one night at like 2am or something I got the idea to turn the Take 5 into a cupcake. My first attempt… one big cluster. Overfilled the cupcake liners, caramel was oozing out everywhere, they looked like some sort of crappy abstract impressionist painting, only I’m guessing they tasted better.

But one cannot be defeated by her oven. When I saw that Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious were holding their annual ice cream cupcake contest, I thought it was time for round two. And round two turned out to be quite yummy. Maybe even yummier since there’s ice cream involved. And it’s vegan, which makes it better in my book. So here’s my version of the Take 5 candy bar, reinvented in cupcake form, with ice cream:

Take 6 Cupcake (vegan)

So there’s a few shortcuts you can take on this if you want, like buying pre-made ice cream, frosting, caramel and chocolate sauce, but I like to make things myself. So while it looks like a forever list of ingredients and steps, it’s really not that bad and I promise you it’s worth your time.

For the Ice Cream

  • 1 & 3/4 C coconut milk (canned, I used light)
  • 6oz extra firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1/4 C agave nectar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 shot (3 T) rum, brandy or vodka

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree. You can leave the liquor out of course, but I find it keeps the ice cream from turning into a solid block of inedible hardness in the freezer. Pour the ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions. Mine takes about 25+ minutes, plus additional freezer time. Pop it into the freezer while you’re doing everything else. In fact, it’s probably best if you make the ice cream a day in advance so it doesn’t melt all over your pretty cupcakes while your patience is getting the best of you.

 For the Caramel

I borrowed Cookies and Candids’ caramel recipe from this post.

  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C vegan butter
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk

Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium/ medium+ heat, stirring constantly. Let it cook for about 10 minutes; it will start to thicken, reduce and resemble caramel. Set it aside for now.

For the Cupcake

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Chop or crush about 1/2 C of peanuts and set aside. Do the same to 1 cup of pretzels, and also set them aside.

  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 C cocoa
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • pinch of nutmeg

Sift together the dry ingredients into a small bowl and set aside.

  • 1 C ice cream (from above)
  • 1/4 C almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/4 C organic sugar
  • 2 T agave
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract

In a large mixing bowl, or your stand mixer, combine a cup of the ice cream and all the other wet ingredients. If you were proactive and made your ice cream the day before, it’s probably best if you took it out of the freezer a few minutes before you started making the cupcakes. You can, of course, just use milk instead of ice cream, but I thought it would be fun to incorporate the ice cream inside the cupcake instead of just on top. If you do forgo the ice cream in the batter, be sure to up the ante on the other sugars.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until few, if any, lumps remain. Place a couple tablespoons of batter in each cupcake well, then pour in a bit of the caramel (1 – 2 T). You should have about half of the caramel left over after this (you’ll need it later). If you don’t have any caramel left, just make some more.

Fill the liners about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with the rest of the batter. Stir the batter with a toothpick to distribute the caramel around (or just forget like I did and nobody will know the difference). Divide the chopped peanuts amongst the 12 soon-to-be cupcakes, and if you’re feeling chocolately add some chocolate chips too. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the Icing

I know, I know. You’re thinking this recipe is NEVER going to end, but I promise we’re getting close.

  • 1/4 C vegan stick butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 C peanut butter
  • 2 & 1/2 T almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • ~ 2 & 1/2 C powdered sugar

So these measurements are typically what I’d make for a half batch of cupcakes, but you aren’t using a whole lot of icing on these since you’re also putting ice cream on them. If you feel like getting all crazy with the icing go ahead and double it, but you probably won’t need it.

Cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add the vanilla and milk. Add the sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If your cupcakes haven’t cooled yet you can place the icing in the fridge. If they are cool go ahead place a large star tip in your pastry bag and fill it up with the frosting. Pipe it onto the cupcakes.

Alrighty, this is where I almost screwed everything up. I get kind of excited when I bake things and I never want to wait for anything to cool completely. My ice cream cupcakes about turned into ice cream floats, but I managed to get the little guys back into the freezer before too much harm was done.

Take an ice cream scoop and put a scoop of ice cream on top of each cupcake, then sprint across the kitchen and put them straight into the freezer.

There’s probably a better way to get the pretzels on the ice cream, like putting them in while it was freezing, but I tend to do things the hard way first time around. Grab the crushed up pretzels and do your damnedest to get them on the ice cream without spewing them everywhere.

Stick the cupcakes back in the freezer once they are all pretzelified. The ice cream really needs to be frozen before the next step so wait several hours or overnight.

Once it is totally frozen, warm the caramel back up until it’s liquid again, but don’t boil it. It needs to be thin enough to drizzle but still be thick enough to not slide all over your cupcakes. You also need to get the chocolate shell together.

Chocolate Shell

I used a half batch of the chocolate shell recipe from Bakerella’s Hi Hat cupcakes, and you’ll probably still have some left over, depending how covered you decide your cupcakes should be.

  • Roughly 5oz chocolate chips
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 T canola oil

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or the microwave if you must. Add the oil and stir it in. Let the chocolate cool a bit before applying it to the cupcakes. Now, go grab your nicely frozen cupcakes out of the freezer. Get the bowl of caramel and the bowl of melted chocolate. Drizzle the caramel on each cupcake with a spoon. Do the same with the chocolate, starting with the first cupcake you put the caramel on as it should have hardened by now. Place the cupcakes back in the freezer, again.

You know, I knew this was a lot of work but it seems MUCH worse now that I’m typing it all out… Oh well. Honestly, if you get all the parts made first, which will really only take about an hour or so, it’s just a matter of waiting and walking to the freezer; really not that bad.

Anyway, you can call it quits at this point but I wanted a finishing touch. You should still have some icing left over so grab your pastry bag and pipe a small dab of icing on each of the cupcakes (yes this means you have to get them out of the freezer, again). Be sure to let the chocolate set before this step or you’ll make a mess out of of the top of Mount St. Cupcake. Then take 12 pretzels and dip them in the melted chocolate (not at the same time of course). Let some of the excess chocolate drip off before placing it into the dab of icing.

There. You’re done. Finally.

I’m not just saying this because I made these and I really want to win this contest, but these things taste freaking spectacular.The first time I mentioned the idea of a Take 5 cupcake to my friends they thought it would be way too sweet, but they surprisingly aren’t. The small amount of frosting combined with the extra salt in the batter and salt from the peanuts and pretzels really balances everything out. My husband and I have been eating these for about a week and neither of us are tired of them yet.

And, as an added bonus, they’re flexible. One day at school my chef instructor planted this idea in my head that my stacked version wasn’t quite what an ice cream cupcake should be. There is more than one way to stack a cupcake of course, so I tried doing a condensed version to see which one I liked better. Here’s version 2 of the Take 6 cupcake (same ingredients).

This one is good in a gooey-ice cream sundae-I got a sweet tooth that must be fixed right now-and I don’t mind getting caramel and chocolate all over my hands sort of way. Even though it’s all the same stuff, it’s just not the same. The lessened amount of cake and increased quantity of sweet ingredients throws the balance off. But it’s still an ice cream cupcake so who the hell cares. =) I think if I were selling them I’d perhaps go with the condensed version to ease transport, but my bakery has a few years before it’s gonna open (like probably 7).

Same as the previous version, just reversed the chocolate and buttercream.

I’m honestly not very competitive, so I don’t typically jump into contests or challenges, but I like baking and winning a whole bunch of dessert cook books sounds like a fantastic reason to make some cupcakes (not that I really ever need a reason). Aside from Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious, there are three food bloggers judging the contest. If you’re curious what makes them so special, hop on over to their blogs and take a look-see for yourself.

What’s your favorite cake and ice cream combination? I think it’s possible that the only time most of us see this decadent duo is during birthday celebrations, but honestly it’s far too awesome of a dessert to only have once a year. If you decide to hop into your kitchen and put your ice cream cupcake fingers to work, let me know how it goes!

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