Relaxing after a long, busy day, watching Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. I’m a sucker for anything Whedon, well, except Dollhouse, which I bailed on after the first few months. The locusts are competing for my attention, singing their late summer song. They always bring back childhood memories of sitting on the porch swing, reading a book in the evening, trying to stay cool.
Went out to dinner with friends earlier and told them I made Watermelon Granita and their response was similar to mine, watermelon is perfect on its own, why mess with it? Why indeed? Partly because it is so pretty, partly because it is nice to have something cold, not too sweet and easy to make during the heat of summer. Granitas can be made with many flavors, I just happened to have a large seedless watermelon on hand this week.
Strawberries, lemons, oranges, a mix of berries, even coffee can be made into granita. Just substitute for the watermelon in the recipe below. Perfect, light and a burst of sophisticated flavor to top off any meal.
- 4 cups seedless watermelon, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
- fresh limejuice from 1 large lime or 2 small limes
- dash of lime zest
- mint leaves for garnish
blender, shallow dish
Blend together the ingredients (except mint) until smooth. Start with 1/4 cup sugar and add more as desired. 1/2 cup is the standard recipe, but I preferred less to let the watermelon shine through.
Pour into a shallow dish and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove and with a fork, scrape the mixture into small ice crystals. Place back into the freezer for another hour and repeat scraping. Freeze for additional hour, scrape again and serve with mint garnish. You can also top with fresh blueberries for a very pretty dessert.
It’s that time again. Time to dig out the ice cream maker and try out some new recipes. I cannot express how much I love the ease of the frozen bowl style machine. No fuss, no mess.
Pictured above is this summer’s first batch, Vanilla Nut Crunch, recipe here (where there is also a bonus kitteh)
And here are four of my favorites from the past summers:
Key Lime Pie Gelato, click here for recipes and photos.
Strawberry Ice Cream, two recipes here.
Blueberry Sorbet, recipe and photos here.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato, really my very favorite of all the recipes, is here.
For the pet lovers, in case you missed it, Bixby needed to cool off in a cute video here. He now has his own kiddie pool in the yard because flooding the bathroom nightly was not an option.
What’s on your menu for the weekend? Getting ready the big holiday? Any favorite frozen treat recipes?
Tonight’s featured recipe is one of the most chocolaty ice creams ever. It takes a full cup of dark dutch cocoa and just enough sugar so it’s not too sweet. The ice cream scoop in the photo was my very first Kickstarter contribution. It works great on the hardest frozen ice cream with little effort. But in all honesty, I contributed because the presentation was so funny and the inventor was a riot. I <3 engineers.
Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
- 1 cup dark dutch cocoa, unsweetened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 3-1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
mixing bowl, ice cream freezer
In the mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugars and salt, until well blended, add milk and use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.
Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).
After it has completed its freezing cycle, you usually have a soft serve consistency, you can freeze it until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.
That’s it for this week. There won’t be an exchange next week because of the holiday. I hope you have a great week and a terrific 4th! – TaMara
I’m busy baking for my annual gift boxes. These won’t be in them, because I”m working on two new cookie recipes I’ve never tried my hand at before. More on that later…
These are pretty and very tasty. They’re easy and just a touch above regular chocolate chip cookies.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- dash of salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or peanuts), chopped
mixing bowl and cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, flour and cocoa, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.
Originally posted Nov 2011
This was a much more successful pumpkin recipe. Very moist, very flavorful And if you’re creative, you can make it look like a pumpkin. Because I’m at high altitude, I should have remembered to add 2 tbsp extra flour. Next time.
Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake
- 2-1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 Tbsp buttermilk powder
- 3 tsp pumpkin spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 -1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk (more or less as needed)
- 1 tsp vanilla
bowls, bundt pan
Butter and flour bundt pan generously. In bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes), add eggs, beat 1 minute. Add pumpkin and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated, scraping sides frequently. Alternate adding the flour mixture and water until all are incorporated with the pumpkin mixture and batter is smooth.
Spoon into the bundt pan and gently tap pan on the counter to remove any bubbles and even out the batter.
Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert on a plate and remove from bundt pan. Let cool completely before frosting.
Icing: Add vanilla to powdered sugar and then slowly add milk until mixture is smooth. Pour evenly over cooled cake. (I added yellow and red food coloring for some Halloween fun)
I make these every year and they disappear quickly. This year was no different. Not all my pumpkin creations are a success. Playing around with an oatmeal pumpkin cookie, I came up with an inedible concoction. Luckily Bixby and his playmates were not quite so discerning, so it wasn’t a complete waste of ingredients. I was glad to whip a batch of squares up after that to restore my faith in my own cooking.
- 4 eggs
- 1-2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup oil or butter
- 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice (less if desired, I like them spicy)
mixing bowl & 13×9 baking dish, greased
Beat eggs, sugar, butter & pumpkin together, add dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread into baking dish, bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool & frost (frosting below). These are rich, so I would cut them into at least 24 squares.
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-3/4 cups powdered sugar
Mix together cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Mix until smooth.
You can frost & freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy.
Originally posted 10/2011
After friends let me test drive their Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, I bought my own, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit a whole week of frozen treats, which will conclude with the Friday Recipe Exchange. I thought it would be good to start with the basics. The first recipe is for a cream only ice cream and I’ll link to a JeffreyW post that has an egg custard ice cream. Then I’ll add strawberries to it. These recipes all make 1 to 1-1/2 quarts.
Vanilla Ice Cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 3 tsp high quality vanilla extract)
Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp – if you’re using extract, DO NOT add yet) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to barely simmering, about 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly – remove the hull of the vanilla bean or add extract at this point, stirring in completely. Pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture. Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. It will reach a soft serve consistency. Then spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.
Strawberry Ice Cream (or really Any Berry Ice Cream)
- Make the vanilla base (above), cooled overnight
- 2 cups of chopped frozen strawberries (or any quality frozen berry of your choice)
- 1 tbsp vodka
ice cream maker Toss strawberries with vodka, stir into the cold vanilla cream mixture. Add to your ice cream maker and freeze according to unit’s instructions. Again it will be a soft serve consistency when done, remove to an airtight container and freeze for 1 hour before serving.
As promised: For an egg custard ice cream, go to JeffreyW’s post here.
JeffreyW makes strawberry ice cream, too
Originally posted May 2013