Tagged: chocolate

Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches

Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches
What’s your favorite summer sandwich? Mine is comprised of a thick layer of ice cream squashed between two cookies. Nothing beats an ice cream sandwich! They are the best way to use leftover homemade cookies, if you manage to save some, for that pint of ice cream stashed deep in the back of the freezer. I usually cut them into quarters once they are frozen, so they last a bit last longer.

For these black and white ice cream sandwiches, I baked thin chocolate cookies in rounds. Of course, I could have cut them into rectangles, but that required a ruler and too much precision for my laidback, summer vibe. I did take the time to freeze a layer of chocolate followed by a stripe of vanilla ice cream. I ended up with a lot of leftover two-tone ice cream scraps, but those marbled extras didn’t go to waste.
Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches
Black & White Ice Cream Sandwiches
Adapted from Bon Appetit July 2017

Makes 12 2-1/2-inch round sandwiches

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints chocolate ice cream
2 pints vanilla ice cream

For the cookies, combine the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and flour in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until pale, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance).

For the ice cream, line a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with two sheets of plastic wrap. Let the chocolate ice cream soften for 5-10 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a large bowl and whisk until smooth like thick cake batter. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let the ice cream freeze until firm, about 20-30 minutes before repeating the same process with the vanilla ice cream. Cover and freeze until solid, about 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 24 cookies, rerolling the scraps as needed. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined sheet pan, spacing them 1-inch apart. Prick the tops of the cookies with the tines of a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

To assemble the sandwiches, turn over half the cookies. Use the 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to carefully cut out the ice cream. (Save the extra ice cream for another use). Wipe off the cookie cutter each time to avoid smearing the ice cream layers. Use a spatula to place an ice cream disc on each of the turned over cookies. Place another cookie on top right side up. Work quickly to limit ice cream melting. Freeze 2 hours before covering with plastic wrap and freezing for an additional 8 hours.

Cocoa Mascarpone Bars

Cocoa Mascarpone Bars
Bars might be my favorite kind of cookie to make. Whipping up the batter takes no time at all, and then there is no fuss rolling out dough or using cookie cutters. Plus, the more lumpy and bumpy they look, the better. Once baked up nice and thick, they couldn’t be any easier to cut into squares and share. If I am trying to feed a crowd, I slice them even smaller, so they go farther.

There isn’t a brownie I’ve met that I don’t love. I have to control myself not to bake them every time I have the need for chocolate! These cocoa mascarpone bars were a departure since they were a cross between a blondie and an almost cake-like brownie. A combination of vanilla and almond extract made them fragrant and nutty. I loved their light, almost weightless crumb.
Cocoa Mascarpone Bars
Cocoa Mascarpone Bars
Adapted from Food52

Makes 16 bars

Non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, hot water and vegetable oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar followed by the egg, vanilla extract and mascarpone until fully combined. Fold in the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Spread 3/4 of the batter into the prepared pan. Stir the cocoa mixture into the remaining batter and spread into the pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean. Cool before cutting into 16 squares.

Tahini Banana Bread

Tahini Banana Bread
My husband and son are regulars at the coffee shop. It’s part of their weekend routine to stop by for a cappuccino and a banana nut muffin. Our little one will pick the walnuts out of the muffin and devour the rest himself. Even sharing a bite can be a challenge, but I can’t blame him for being so possessive. They are really good muffins, and it’s hard not to like banana baked goods.

Since the habit began, I’ve tried to bake banana bread at home, but my three-year-old hasn’t been interested. I still haven’t figured out why, but I finally had success when I baked a loaf of tahini banana bread. Maybe it was the bittersweet chocolate flecks dotting each slice that did it for him. With white whole-wheat flour and yogurt, this was a somewhat lightened version of the usual banana loaf.
Tahini Banana Bread
Tahini Banana Bread

Adapted from Cooking Light May 2017

Makes 1 loaf

Non-stick cooking spray
6 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat together the bananas, yogurt, tahini, butter, vanilla extract and eggs. Beat in both sugars until combined. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
I was a bit late to the spicy food party. I don’t know remember exactly when or why I decided to be brave when it came to heat, but I’ve never looked back since. I love that buzzy feeling on my tongue when I bite into something spiked with a chile pepper, no matter if it’s savory or sweet. Actually, I can’t get enough when desserts are surprisingly spicy.

When I saw the recipe for these Mexican hot-chocolate cookies, I knew I had to try them. With their combination of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and semisweet chocolate, these had a lot more going on than your standard cookie. I brought them to a get-together with friends, and they were a hit. I might be baking another batch for Cinco de Mayo.
Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living May 2017

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed-dark brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
1/2 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, cayenne and baking soda.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until the dough is just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough by the heaping tablespoon to create 1-inch diameter balls. Roll the balls in turbinado sugar before placing on the sheet pan 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 11-14 minutes until the tops are cracked. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

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