Four* Layer Cookie Bars

*Four layers because that’s what I had around the house. You can add whatever else makes you happy.

First, the cookie dough: Continue reading

Frozen Treats: Vanilla Nut Crunch (and Bonus Kitteh)

Vanilla Nut Crunch

It was time to break out the ice cream maker and cool things off. I’d been focusing on gelatos the last couple of summers, but yesterday I wasn’t interested in standing over the stove and stirring an egg mixture. I dug out the instruction manual for my Cuisinart machine and sure enough, there were some simple cream-only recipes. I decided to start with vanilla.

I have two favorite ice creams, one was Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy, RIP (their new hazelnut is inedible IMHO) and Blue Bell’s Moo-llenium Crunch (fingers crossed they can come back from the shut down). I’ve mastered Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato and it’s a fine substitute for Wavy Gravy, so this time I thought I’d tackle the crunchy vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell.

From their description:

Classic vanilla ice cream with a combination of dark chocolate chunks, creamy caramel chunks, roasted pecan halves, chopped almonds and walnut pieces.

The nuts and crunch

Vanilla ice cream recipe? Check. Dark chocolate? Check. Caramel chunks? Nope, but we’ll get to that. Roasted pecans? Nope, will have to live without because I was not going to drop everything and run to the store. Almonds and walnuts? Check and check. On to the recipe:

Vanilla Nut Crunch

  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp really good vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds (raw or roasted, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (raw)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional 😉 )

mixing bowl, ice cream maker

In the mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt, 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, fold in nuts and chocolate. Freeze until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.

Remember the caramel bits? I had a bottle of caramel syrup which made a nice topping and when I was done, it was pretty darn close to Moo-llenium Crunch. I’m sure pecans will make all the difference next time.

And here is a bonus kitteh because he had to “help” me take the photos today.

Z-Man Whatcha making

For tomorrow – Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Until then – TaMara

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Thursday Recipe Exchange: Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time for cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be specific. JeffreyW cleaned out his pantry one day and came up with the ingredients for his Awesome Cookies w/Coconut.

JeffreyW’s Awesome Cookies w/Coconut

When I’m in the mood for a double dose of chocolate I make Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate chips.

There are a few recipes I get requests for often. My dark chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands-down the recipe that I get requests for the most. And instead of wanting a copy of the recipe, most people want me to make them, convinced they couldn’t get them to turn out as good. I disagree. There are a couple of simple tricks that make these foolproof. One is to melt the butter before mixing with the sugars. This gives you a crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside cookie. Another is to let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or more, this brings out the toffee flavors in the dough. And finally, pull them from the oven just before they’re done and let them finish on the baking sheet for the last minute or so, this gives you a perfectly browned cookie and lets them set up just enough to transfer to a…PLATE. I’ve tried a baking rack and they are too gooey and get stuck on the rack. You can put parchment paper on it first, which I’ve done, but a plate works just fine.

Now, what’s your favorite type of cookie? Chocolate, fruit, sugar, peanut butter? I’m always on the look out for the perfect peanut butter cookie. I’m still looking…

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugarcacao chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp dash of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 12 oz 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1-1/2 cups walnut halves, roughly chopped

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, and 2 1/4 cups flour, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add more flour as needed. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.  Keep remainder refrigerated while baking each batch.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Remove just before done and let finish cooking on the baking sheet. Cool on plate or baking rack covered with parchment.

Melting the butter gives you a chewier, crispier cookie.  Letting it rest in the refrigerator enhances the toffee flavor from the brown sugar.  Big cookie bakeries let theirs rest overnight before baking.  I don’t have that kind of patience, I want cookie!  Though I’ve been known to double or quadruple this recipe and refrigerate in an airtight container for a week and make a fresh dozen each day.

You can also freeze the dough balls on parchment paper placed on a baking sheet and then store the balls in an airtight container for quick baking later.

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice.

Perfectly Crispy and Chewy Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s another cold day here in the Rocky Mountain State.  Snow again tomorrow.  This calls for baking.

We’ve been here before, but I’ve updated a few techniques I’ve learned for chewier cookies with a deep toffee, chocolate taste.  Changes are in purple.

 I love my little cookie scoop.  Good for perfect cookies and filling muffin tins.

Let cool slightly before moving to baking rack.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

(this is a half-batch)

  • 1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup + 1 to 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1 cup walnut halves

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, and flour, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.  Keep remainder refrigerated while baking each batch.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Melting the butter gives you a chewier, crispier cookie.  Letting it rest in the refrigerator enhances the toffee flavor from the brown sugar.  Big cookie bakeries let theirs rest over night before baking.  I don’t have that kind of patience.  Though I’ve been known to double or quadruple this recipe and refrigerate for a week and make a fresh dozen each day.

You can also freeze the dough balls on parchment paper on a baking sheet and then store in an airtight container for quick baking later.