Candy Bar Cookies

We have some experience stuffing delicious things into delicious things over here on Planet Byn. Oreos stuffed into Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cookie dough stuffed into Cupcakes. Bourbon Caramels stuffed into Spiced Cookies. So obviously I was totally in on these Candy Bar Cookies.

For this recipe, the Baked boys have you wrap cookie dough around little chocolate bars, and then double dunk them in white and dark chocolate. They suggest using Mounds (I think known as Bounty in Canada?), which is a coconut chocolate bar that I don’t really care for, so instead I used their other recommendations of mini Reese peanut butter cups and Rolos.

I tried one cookie plain before dunking, and didn’t find the dough all that sweet. You can see this is a strategic move, because with a chocolate bar on the inside, and a double coating of chocolate on the outside, it doesn’t need to be.

The only two recipe notes I have are that I added a tbsp of whipping cream to the dough, because although the boys note the dough would be sandy, mine wasn’t holding together all that well when I pressed a small piece in my hand. Also, I made a half batch, which should be 20 cookies, and only ended up with 10. I used about a tbsp and a half of dough, so I don’t think they were enormous. Curious to see if anyone else in the team had the same result.

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

 

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Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

Well, I thought we’d go out with a bang before it’s all Apples, Pumpkins and Pears* around here!  Since I started a new job right in the middle of the summer, it kind of upset my flow in the kitchen, and feel like I didn’t get to make as many pies, crumbles, popsicles and ice cream this year. Although, let’s be honest, I always feel like there’s never enough time to bake! For pretty much the entire month of August I was daydreaming about warm, peach pie with this ice cream melting into it. Summer bliss right there.

This ice cream is a boozy bourbon dream. I added the full tbsp plus an extra tsp of bourbon, and it was definitely the right decision. Since alcohol doesn’t freeze, the ice cream has a softer, very scoopable consistency, almost gelato like, which makes it great for adding on top of a pie or cake, but maybe not the best for ice cream cones. I think it would be outstanding on pecan pie, or warm butter tarts, or with these cupcakes (which Danielle recently made into a cake for her Mom’s birthday).

I’m not actually going to give a recipe for this pie, as it was just my go-to Smitten Kitchen crust, a heap of peaches with some lemon juice, brown sugar and bourbon, and a quick crumble topping. I sliced it warm because I couldn’t wait and all the juices gushed out, but after chilling overnight it held up pretty well.

We’re running out of time for peaches here in Ontario, so get them while you can! Plus you should make these Baked Peaches from my friend Christina while you’re at it…I sliced them and stirred them into my oatmeal this morning and they were heavenly.

*Every Fall I vow to bake with PEARS and it never happens! This year I swear I will

Brown Sugar Bourbon Ice Cream

Source: slightly adapted from Bon Appetit (I thought 6 egg yolks was overkill for this small batch, so I used 3 instead)

Ingredients

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

3/4 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tbsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 tbsp + 1 tsp bourbon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. First set a fine mesh strainer over a large (4 cup) measuring cup with a spout (or just use a bowl).
  2. In a saucepan, whisk together the milk, whipping cream and brown sugar and set over medium heat. Heat until just before it simmers.
  3. While that’s heating up, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl until smooth and the mixture becomes a pale yellow colour. Whisking this mixture constantly, every so slowly add the hot milk mixture, a splash at a time, and then slowly stream in the rest.
  4. After it’s all added, return the whole thing back the saucepan over medium heat, add a candy thermometer, and heat until 170 degrees.
  5. Pour the mixture through the strainer (to catch any lumps) into the measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, and chill overnight.
  6. Before churning, whisk in the bourbon and vanilla. (Don’t be alarmed if the custard separates a bit overnight, just whisk it all back together). Churn it in the ice cream maker until it reaches soft serve consistency, and then scoop into a storage container and freeze overnight.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

by byn on September 9, 2014

in Frozen

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

It’s a weird time, weather wise, in the Greater Toronto Area. Last week I flipped over all my calendars to September, which triggered an automatic craving for a Chai Latte & Pumpkin Scone from Starbucks. I also had a pumpkin recipe for Baked Sunday Mornings on the agenda for last weekend, and I was pretty excited and had already refreshed all my fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves) from Bulk Barn in anticipation of all this goodness. Turns out Mother Nature had something else in mind, as we had our hottest week of the entire summer, and our first 40+ degree day. My new department is in a really old building and the air conditioning wasn’t fully functioning last week and I felt like I was going to DIE.

Now in contrast, our friend Danielle who lives in the Greater Edmonton Area woke up to 15 cms of snow this morning, and NO POWER. So it’s hard to really decide what’s worse, and both scenarios just make me so wistful for a true fall, with crisp temperatures, and please, no humidity and NO SNOW. I addressed these daydreams by organizing my annual apple picking date with my friends for the end of the month.

With all this weather business up in the air, I thought I’d clear the decks this week, and close out the summer with some ice cream. For the past year I’ve been seeing recipes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams all over the place, but I was always kind of nervous by the fact that they used cream cheese and cornstarch, not eggs, to make the custard. I decided to make a true cheesecake ice cream recipe first to see if it was something I was into. Spoiler alert: I’m in!

The custard is so simple to make, and with no eggs to deal with, you just whisk everything together. Homemade blueberry sauce gets mixed in before churning, and then a swirl of additional blueberry sauce is added when your layering it up in it’s storage container.  I’m obsessed with the pretty purple colour of this ice cream too.

I nixed the graham cracker crumble, because I already made it for this S’mores Ice Cream, but I think next time I might try the graham cracker crumbs from the Compost Cookie.  Overall I was inspired by this recipe from Megan, but because it uses goat cheese (which I’m VERY nervous about…maybe next summer), I just googled for other cheesecake ice cream recipes and ended up here (obviously swapping the blueberries for strawberries).

At this point, I figure I’m basically an artisanal ice cream maker ;)

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Source: Ice Cream base from Baked by Rachel, idea + blueberry sauce from Take a Megabite 

Ingredients

Ice Cream

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 cup whipping cream

8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup salt

Blueberry Sauce

1 cup blueberries

4 tbsp sugar

Directions

  1. For ice cream, mix together all ingredients until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on the surface of the custard and chill in the fridge overnight.
  2. For blueberry sauce, mix together the blueberries and the sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and then turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or so. Pour into a bowl and chill in the fridge overnight.
  3. When ready to churn, stir half of the blueberry sauce into the custard, then churn until soft-serve consistency. Layer in a storage container with the rest of the blueberry sauce and swirl a little with a chopstick or spoon. Let freeze overnight.

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Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I was really excited for this week’s Baked recipe as the peanut butter consumption in my life has fallen dramatically over the past two months. See, my new cubicle neighbour at work has a severe peanut allergy, so I’ve stopped bringing peanut butter to work, which is really sad for me, but as I don’t want to be responsible for administering an EpiPen, it’s really the right thing to do. Anyway, I was looking forward to making this Peanut Butter Banana Bread so much that I even made my own Crunchy Peanut Butter (which the Baked boys also include a recipe for in the book) which was super duper easy.

This loaf is nice and hydrated, not too sweet, and has a nice balance of flavours. I didn’t find it overly banana-y or overly peanut butter-y, and it had just the right amount of chocolate chips and peanuts for crunch. I split my batter into two loaves so I could give one to my friend, and it reduced the baking time to about 45 minutes.

I had enough homemade peanut butter leftover to make one of the recipes I missed from this section: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones. As the Baked Boys point out in the book, these aren’t dainty little scones to serve with tea. They’re thick, dense and full of oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips, with a cookie-like texture.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones

So that bring us to the end of the Peanut Butter section of Baked Elements! Here’s a little recap of what I made and my favourite recipe from this section.

You can find the recipe for the Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Bread here and the Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Chocolate Banana Tart

This is actually a Baked Monday Night instead of a Baked Sunday Morning, but there’s another interesting twist here. See, I kind of cheated. I usually don’t read anyone else’s posts until I’ve written and posted my own, because I don’t want to be influenced by other opinions on whatever we’ve made. But today I broke my rule, because I was a day late and curious to see what my fellow BSM’ers thought of this tart.

Turns out there were some issues with the caramel (too lumpy/grainy), the ganache (too overpowering) and the fresh bananas (some peeps are just not a fan). So I went a bit rogue here, and this is what I ended up with. I made little tartlettes and filled them with caramelized bananas (two sliced bananas sauteed with 2 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and a tbsp of bourbon), and then drizzled them with a bit of melted dark chocolate. I prefer caramelized bananas (or Bananas Foster) poured over vanilla ice cream, so I don’t think I would make these again, but I still think they turned out pretty cute.

So that brings us to the end of the Bananas section of Baked Elements! Here’s a little recap of what I made and my favourite recipe from this section.

  • Recipes made: Bananas Cake, Banana Whoopie Pies, Chocolate Banana Tart, Honey Banana Poppy Seed Bread
  • Favourite Banana recipe: Honey Banana Poppy Seed Bread
  • Recipes I Didn’t Make: Banana Mousse Parfaits (the group made that before I caught up) and I passed on the Banana Caramel Pudding with Meringue Topping and Banana in a Blanket

You can find the recipe for the Chocolate Banana Tart (the way you’re supposed to make it) here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Fresh Mint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream

by byn on August 18, 2014

in Frozen

Fresh Mint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream

A few summers ago, my friend Danielle and I both got really excited about these ice cream sandwiches on Smitten Kitchen.  I, personally, have some issues with ice cream sandwiches in general, mostly because my teeth are really sensitive and I can’t handle the thought of biting into ice cream. Also, because I hate it when the cookie part is too hard/frozen, but the ice cream is soft, and it comes smooshing out the sides when you take a bite.  Anyway, Danielle went ahead and made that recipe, and declared that they were too much work, and the cookie part wouldn’t roll out properly, and we wrote them off.

But then she came to visit last year, and we went to Bakerbots as part of our mini tour of treats (which also included doughnuts from Glory Hole and various treats from Momofuku Milk Bar), and our interest in ice cream sandwiches was renewed. This is what happens at Bakerbots: customized ice cream sandwiches, where you pick your cookie flavor and your ice cream flavor to create your own masterpiece. But the key is that the cookies are FRESH! Not frozen! So simple! So smart! (You can also order 1/2 a sammie, which is ideal, as you can see below)

Bakerbots Ice Cream Sammie

So when I saw yesterday’s Chewy Chocolate Mint Cookies on our Baked Sunday Morning schedule, I knew they’d be the perfect vehicle for an ice cream sandwich a la Bakerbots, with some homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream. But there’s a twist! This ice cream is flavoured with fresh mint, instead of mint extract! It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but it’s herby and fresh and a fun variation on what your tastebuds expect that mint ice cream will/should taste like. And there’s one more thing. Since frozen chocolate chips are my nemesis in life (I once cracked a tooth on one, which eventually required a root canal and a crown, no joke), I refuse to have them anywhere near ice cream coming out of my kitchen. In this recipe, you drizzle in melted chocolate as the ice cream finishes churning, and it turns into an amazing chocolate crackle that melts in your mouth.

Of course now I want to make 67312654 other cookie/ice cream combos, and because it feels like Fall here, I might just start with these

Fresh Mint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream

Source: Cook Like a Champion

Ingredients

1 cup milk (I used 2%)

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups whipping cream, divided

pinch salt

2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves

5 egg yolks

5 oz dark chocolate, melted + green food colouring if you want

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream and salt until just before it bubbles. Remove from heat, add the mint leaves and stir. Cover the pan, and let steep for one hour.
  2. While that’s steeping, get a few things organized: a)  add the egg yolks to a medium bowl, whisk to combine, and cover with plastic wrap b) pour the remaining cup of cream into a large liquid measuring cup (at least 4 cup).
  3. Strain the mint mixture into a bowl, pressing on the the mint to extract all of the liquid. Pour the mint-infused cream back into the saucepan and heat until just before it bubbles. Slowly pour over the egg yolks, a little bit at a time, whisking constantly, then return to the saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour through a strainer into the cream, and whisk to combine. If you want to add green food colouring, now’s your chance.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the liquid, and chill overnight.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker, and when the ice cream reaches soft serve consistency, drizzle in the chocolate (I used a squeeze bottle, but you could just use a measuring cup with a spout).
  6. Add the ice cream to a storage container and freeze overnight until firm.

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Chewy Chocolate Mint Cookies

Last summer when I was recipe testing for Baked Occasions, one of my assignments was a Wintermint Cake. This was a triple layer chocolate cake, layered with chocolate mint ganache and peppermint buttercream. I made it on a scorching hot August afternoon, and I had to blast my air conditioning to keep everything cool. It felt strange to be making a chocolate mint dessert in the middle of the summer, but the cake was absolutely delicious, and I was questioning why I always save the chocolate/mint pairing for the holidays. It should truly be celebrated year-round.

Which is why I was very excited to make these Chewy Chocolate Mint Cookies this week. In contrast to last August, it’s honestly been feeling a lot like Fall around here lately (I’ve had to physically restrain myself from cracking open a can of pumpkin), so I made these cookies on a cool night with all the windows open. Love that. These cookies are pretty straightforward to make, and include a liberal pour of peppermint extract, and a hefty dose of corn syrup, which keeps the cookies very chewy. They’re also rolled in sugar before baking, which gives them a bit of sparkle and crunch, which I love. My only recipe notes are that:

  • I scooped the dough prior to chilling it. I’m done with recipes that ask me to chill the dough, and then scoop it to bake, because this is usually impossible when the dough is rock hard after a few hours in the fridge. I’m so in on the method I followed when making these Compost Cookies – scoop or roll the dough after mixing, then chill on a baking sheet wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • My cookies took closer to 15 minutes to bake, rather than the recommended 10 minutes.

Check back tomorrow, to see what I sandwiched between these suckers, because it was pretty amazing. You can find the recipe here! More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Vanilla Bean Malt Cake

Move over Poppy Seed Pound Cake, there’s a new favourite in town! This Vanilla Bean Malt Cake is hands-down the best thing I’ve made from Baked Elements so far. Is it the malt powder? The liberal pour of vanilla bean paste?  The bourbon? Yes, yes and yes. But one more thing: it was so FLUFFY! Like I could not get over how FLUFFY this cake was. I could have eaten the entire thing.

Although the recipe calls for some special ingredients (the aforementioned malt powder, vanilla bean paste and bourbon), the rest of the recipe is very straightforward. It’s supposed to make a mini-bundt cake, but I just used my regular sized bundt pan, and it turned out to be so cute. My glaze was pretty runny and started to soak into the cake right away, but it just made it more delicious.

So that brings us to the end of the Malt section of Baked Elements! Here’s a little recap of what I made, and my favourite recipe from this section.

  • Recipes made: Malted Vanilla Milkshake, Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
  • Favourite Malt Recipe: Vanilla Bean Malt Cake
  • Recipes I Didn’t Make: Devil Dogs with Malted Buttercream Filling, Malted Milk Chocolate Pot de Creme, Malted Madeleines (the group made all of these before I caught up), and I passed on last week’s Milk Chocolate Malt Semifreddo

You can find the recipe for the Vanilla Bean Malt Cake here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!

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Engagement Brunch

Our Gastropost Mission this week was The Art of Hospitality, which perfectly coincided with having my friends Nicole & Geoff over for brunch to toast their engagement. I thought this would be a perfect chance to make a bunch of recipes from the breakfast chapter of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, especially with Deb’s recent announcement that she’s writing another book! I have to get crackin’ on all the things I still want to make from the first one! I narrowed it down to three: Cinnamon Toast French Toast, Potato Frittata with Feta & Scallions and Cheddar Swirl Buns. I rounded it out with some fresh berries, yogurt, granola and some heart shaped Strawberry Rhubarb Scones (not from the book). Everything was delicious and while I was nervous about mixing all the sweet and savoury elements, my friends reinforced to me that this is totally encouraged.

To tie this into the Gastropost Mission, I wrote about my favourite entertaining strategy that I learned from the Barefoot Contessa many years ago, which is to prepare as much as you can in advance. Especially in the case of brunch, no one wants to wake up before the sun rises to start cooking, or to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else drinks mimosas and has fun. For this brunch I prepared almost everything the night before and all I had to do in the morning was reheat everything, rinse some berries and pop the champagne!

Cheddar Swirl Buns

It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I’m going with the Cheddar Swirl Buns, only because I’ve been meaning to make them for so long. You let the dough rise in the fridge overnight and then in the morning, roll them out, add the filling (cheddar, grated onion, a bit of dill), slice them up and let them rise a bit before baking. Brunch isn’t complete without some carby goodness, and these buns hit the spot.

Cheddar Swirl Buns

Source: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (adapted a tiny bit, only because I used active dry yeast, not instant yeast and dried dill, not fresh)

Ingredients

Dough

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 cup warm milk, 110-115 degrees

3 cups flour (13 1/4 oz or 375 grams)

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled a bit

Filling

1/2 cup (1/2 medium) grated white onion

1 1/2 cups (6 oz or 170 grams) grated cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp dried dill

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

+ 1 tbsp melted butter for brushing on top

Directions

  1. For the dough, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk, and let sit for 5 minutes until bubbly/foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the yeast/milk mixture and the melted butter, and stir together with a spatula until the dough comes together.
  3. Flour your counter, and dump out the dough. Knead for about 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and a little bit sticky, adding more flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter.
  4. Coat a clean, glass bowl with non-stick spray, and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot (I preheat my oven to the lowest setting, then shut it off, and let the dough rise in there) until it doubles in size, about 2 hours. (At this point, you can also put the dough in the fridge and let it rise overnight, and pick up in the morning. Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out).
  5. For the filling, mix the onion, cheese, dill, salt and pepper.
  6. Roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly 12″x16″, and spread the filling overtop, leaving a 1/2″ border. Roll up the dough as tight as you can, from the shorter end, and use a serrated knife to cut into 12 1″ rolls.
  7. Spray two 8 or 9″ round pans, or one 9×13″ pan with non-stick spray, and arrange the rolls with about an inch or so between them. Brush with a bit of melted butter, cover, and set aside to rise at room temperature until doubled again, about 2 hours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

 

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Aunt Shirley's Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberries have really gotten the short end of the stick here on Planet Byn. I’m not really sure why, as I can remember baking various blueberry cakes over the past few summers, but I haven’t blogged about them, or ever done a blueberry series here. That’s ending this week! It might have something to do with finally, publicly declaring my disinterest in raspberries last year, so I didn’t waste any time this year trying to convince myself otherwise. I think this paved the way for my current blueberry obsession.

And what a welcome obsession it is! I’ve been picking them up at the farmer’s market and mostly been eating them fresh, with granola and greek yogurt, and have plans for blueberry pancakes and scones this weekend. But first, I finally get to share my Aunt Shirley’s Blueberry Coffee Cake recipe. I took my Mom’s copy of the recipe last summer, and have thought I lost it about 85 times over the past year. Luckily I didn’t, and I can finally record it here.

My Aunt Shirley is my Dad’s brother’s wife, and she used to own a little bakery in a small town in Nova Scotia, so you know, she has some street cred with this recipe. I think the story is that she made it once when my parents were staying with them, and then my Mom made it when they were visiting us here, and then I basically begged for it all the time. There’s a heaping cup of sour cream in the mix, which goes a long way to a very, very hydrated cake. The cinnamon brown sugar topping is heavenly, and please take a minute to picture me taking a deep breath over the cinnamon and having a 60 second daydream about pumpkin, boots, scarves, crisp leaves, and other Fall goodness.

I packed up half the cake for my parents, and took the other half to my friend’s cottage this weekend, where it was a very welcome addition to our breakfast table. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Aunt Shirley’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

Source: Aunt Shirley via an old piece of paper in my Mom’s recipe filder

Ingredients

Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp butter, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8×8″ square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, then spray with non-stick spray.
  2. For cake, cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Stir in the flour and baking soda.
  6. Fold in the blueberries.
  7. Pour batter into the pan and smooth out with a knife or offset spatula.
  8. For topping, stir together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Use your fingers to rub in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, then sprinkle overtop of the cake.
  9. Bake for an hour (my Mom’s note is 40 minutes, but it took longer in my oven), or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

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