So easy to whip up, and lots of fun for the kiddos.
(Because nothing says happy Easter to a three year old like a neon blue bunny peep, am I right?)
So easy to whip up, and lots of fun for the kiddos.
(Because nothing says happy Easter to a three year old like a neon blue bunny peep, am I right?)
I was invited to a football party for the big games last Saturday, and I decided to make my dipped pretzel sticks in both teams colors (The Patriots and the Cardinals.)as well as taking along a few cupcakes.
The dipped pretzels are super easy, take only a short while to make, and are yummy, with that salty-and-sweet thing going on. Kids and grownups alike love them. All you need to do is pick up pretzel rods at the grocery or dollar store....they come in two length, and I like the longer ones. They are about eight inches long.
...and candy melts. (I get mine at WalMart...they have lots of colors!) pour some candy melts in a microwavable jar...
...and heat one minute. Stir until smooth and creamy. (Microwave an additional 20 seconds if not melted enough)
.....and dip and baste your pretzel rod with the melted candy-melt, the sprinkle with candies if desired.
Lay on a piece of waxed or parchment paper until set. Add additional color melts if desired at that point.
Place in a container to serve, or lay them in a row on a tray....they are pretty, and delicious!
I added a dozen sweet little cuppy-cakes to my tray and I was ready to go. (You know I love to bake and create desserts, and so I always have frozen unfrosted cupcakes on hand...well, almost always. This way, I can pull out however many I might need when friends pop by, or it's a special friends birthday, or, in this case, a playoff football game, and frost the cupcakes accordingly.) I frosted the mini cupcakes in simple homemade white buttercream, and made little cutie-patootie flags to go on top of them by snagging the teams logos from Google.
The kids at the party scarfed down the cupcakes, and the pretzels were a hit with everyone too.
(What? Doesn't everyone?!)
Aah, yes. The playoff games start this weekend, (And the next, and the one after that.) culminating at the grand-daddy of all games, the Superbowl.
I'm starting to scan Pinterest in search of unique and yummy recipes to try out on this year's buffet table, and I'm cheering for the Seahawks to make it to the biggest game of all. I like to feature something different each year, and right this minute, I am stumped on what my feature food will be. I've done pulled pork, and then sloppy joe sliders. Hot dogs and then chicken wings and pizza were featured in the past as well. I've even started the pre-game with biscuits and gravy, and so far this year I am undecided.
I could do a chili bar, or chowder bowls. (Or possibly tomato soup with mini grilled cheese sammies?) Hmmm, maybe even a mashed potato bar? (I did one a million years ago for a holiday party, serving the mashed potatoes in martini glasses, and it was a huge hit!) I haven't done a taco bar yet either...
I'm currently stumped on what to feature, as you can see. What kinds of foods do you like to serve (And eat!) for parties? I want to know!
In the meantime I wanted to share a quick post...
Daughter number one score me a copy of the original Farm Chicks Cookbook at a thrift store recently. (When there were two Farm Chicks...) Best part? She paid a buck for it, and it's great!
Just wanted to share that it is a good read, with great recipes and little articles about aprons and all sort of other things....
Incuding recipes ofr some pretty fabulous breakfast items...
It's a good read, and worth spending some time with. Check one out at the library, or buy a copy, and get yourself a cuppa something...
(Whaaaaaa....? How did that happen?)
Speaking of it being June...
It's graduation season, and I made cupcakes for one of my girlfriends. They had a graduation party for their son on Saturday. The school colors are blue and gold, so I went with my nearly world-famous white buttercream frosting recipe. (There is nothing more unappetizing, in my mind, than blue food, not to mention the gawd-awful long-lasting-blue-mouth-and-lips after-affects brought on by blue frosting.)I use a simple large star tip to frost both large and small cupcakes, going in a spiral motion from the outer edge of the cupcake to the center.
I added stars and flags on two thirds of them. The stars were made with a simple star die punch on glitter cardstock that I then hot glued to toothpicks. I created the Class of 2015 cupcake flags on my computer, and used a glue stick to attach the flags to more toothpicks.
The stars were placed on the large cupcakes, and the flags waved atop the baby cupcakes. I then placed the large cupcakes into extra blue and white checkered cupcake papers for an additional color-pop. I find that I do not have any success with printed cupcake papers when used to actually bake my cupcakes, and so I prefer to use plain white or chocolate brown cupcake papers for actual baking. I then use the cute, colorful printed papers afterwards as an embellishment.
See how easy that was?
I myself have done before dawn picnics, as well as late night sofa picnics, as alternatives to the expected picnic fare. Yesterday, I packed up a sweet little picnic breakfast, (Mother's Day!) and headed over to the Sewing Queen's home. (My Mom!)
My favorite portable container these days for caring individual beverage servings, ad well as items I want to pull from the fridge (Like fruit salads.) would have to be mason jars. Affordable, washable, and they can be found at most any grocery or big box store.
I made my easy coffee cake I shared last week, but this time in the form of cinnamon swirl muffins. I added individual servings of orange juice, and then a bigger canning jar of freshly cut mixed fruit.
A perfect light fare. I personalized my breakfast food by loading it all in a metal pan lined with cloth napkins and a couple homemade tags tied with red checkered ribbon. One of my tags was an old baby picture of me with my Mom.
I'm starting to think food-on-the-go is becoming almost as big of a passion as tablescapes are for me.
I keep an arsenal of spur-of-the-moment-ready-to-make-or-bake comfort foods in my pantry. Don't get me wrong, I love to cook and bake, but if a mix is aaaah-mazing enough to taste like scratch, I'm gonna keep some in my cupboard for those impromptu too-tire-or-short-on-ingredients-when-you-want-to-wow-your-unexpected-guests.
So, this is one of those kinds of stapes in my cupboard. The Krusteaz brand Coffee cale mix. (They call it a cinnamon swirl coffee cake) I am pretty sure you can find it at every grocery store in America.
People don't believe it's not scratch until I finally show 'em the box.
Best right out of the oven, my home smells like a bake shop, and the presentation is equally grand.
You need to pick up a box or three of this mix to keep handy to wow your friends and family.
(It's up to you if you share with them that's it's from a mix and not from scratch.)
So, I told you that I spearheaded a plan rather last minute-like, to put on a Chili-Mac-n'-Cheese-Dssert Bake Off. I myself planned on entering some sort of cup cakes. (That was a given.)
And then I decided to make and enter a mac n' cheese entry. Now, I hadn't ever made mac n' cheese from scratch, so naturally I went to Pinterest and googled up "best mac n' cheese" and about a gajillion recipes and pictures popped up,
After a bit of research, I selected this recipe. (The secret ingredient is crumbled Ritz crackers on top of the mac n' cheese.) I then decided that I needed a practice run at the recipe, just to be sure it was the best, and I ran to the grocery store and bought my ingredients.(In case you haven't made homemade mac n'cheese yourself, it isn't as inexpensive as the kind you make from the little blue box the people at Kraft put out, that's for sure.)
I followed the recipe to the letter, and served it up for my Rock n' Roll Buddy for supper Saturday evening, and sent the rest over to my daughter's home for a repeat performance for her family on Sunday.
Oh. My. Ga.
There are no words to fully describe the near out-of-body experience that occurred when we took our first bite.
One and a half pounds of Gruyere and cheddar cheeses, with two cups of heavy cream (Please, let's not think about the calories here) create the ultimate comfort food.
Oh yes, this recipe lives up to it's name.
I had the privilege of baking my daughter's birthday cake this past weekend, and we decided on coconut cream.(I had a craving and she indulged me.)
It was pretty close to perfect, if I do say so myself.
A light and fluffy, yet moist, white cake, with coconut cream filling done the easy way, with a simple package of coconut cream pudding, coconut buttercream frosting covered lightly with shredded coconut, and three variegated sizes of little pearly candy sprinkles for added shimmer.
I had actually planned on doing toasted coconut for the frosting, but I simply cannot seam to master the toasting part to save my life, no matter how many times I try. I always manage to turn away from the oven at just the exact wrong moment. This time, I had a complete brain lapse and put the oven on broil, instead of bake.
(How did I manage to do that?)
(As I said, it was a complete brain lapse....)
I slid the cookie sheet filled with a layer of fluffy white coconut into the oven on the top rack, and waited about thirty seconds. I peeked in...nothing happening yet that I could see...looked again fifteen seconds later (give or take one minute...) and discovered huge flames disco-dancing all over the cookie sheet of blackened-and-charred coconut remains. The flames were literally more than a foot high as I pulled the sheet from the oven, and doused it with water in the kitchen sink. The smoke alarm went off (of course) and it is out for debate as to whether or not my cookie sheet can be salvaged for further baking use.
I then changed my plan to un-toasted coconut out of the package for the frosting, and lit some vanilla candles in hopes of covering the smell of incinerated coconut.
Oh well. you can't be the best at everything.
Onward and upward, I opted for sheet music punched hearts for the cake-top decor, rather than the expected birthday candles. (once you pass a certain age, you are not always as thrilled with seeing that many candles ablaze at one time on top of your dessert, and I for one, had seen quite enough flames for the day, thankyouverymuch.)
I was happy with the finished product, and I think the birthday girl liked it too.
Lucky for me, baked potato chowder is ready in a New York minute from the deli counter, and the sourdough bread bowls are fresh at the bakery counter.
I added a bit of fresh cooked bacon, some scallions, and build a fire in the fireplace.
Oh yes-indeedy, we've got comfort food, for sure.
You remember this sweet little elephant, right? Well, I made Mr. Eight's smash cake for his first birthday party last night, (along with some cuppy-cakes for his guests) and I think it came out pretty cute.
His Mama wanted a simple vintage look so I stuck with the white buttercream (so yummy!) and simple candy stars around the side of the cake.
I'm off to the party, and will share more pictures later!
I've spending time at my cottage with a couple of the bigger grandsons this week while their parents are out of town. We started off our Saturday with bunnycakes.
I saw them on Pinterest, and I figured it would be easy.
I was wrong.
It took me several attempts before getting any pancakes to be remotely ear or foot shaped. (The first two griddles full tasted fine, but they were pretty odd looking, so I took the rejects for my plate.)
Little whipped cream tails, and sliced bananas for the pads of their feeties.(Syrup and butter added later, with sausage links and hot cocoa on the side.)
Okay, I try not to. Mainly because it is actually easier for me to google up a recipe I like than to flip through several cookbooks trying to find a recipe, but...
when I find a cookbook with an incredible cover...or title...or it's from a famous restaurant or bakery.....my knees get weak, and I head for Amazon. (Unless I am lucky enough to find the a fore mentioned cookbook in a thrift store, or at a yard sale. Then, I just grab it up.)
What can I say? I am a sucker for pretty pictures, and clever marketing.
Anyway, such was the case a couple of Saturdays back, when I spied with my little eye, a copy of this cookbook in a little shabby chic type boutique with my daughter. The cover melted my heart, and then, I read the inside cover and found out these are recipes from a San Francisco Bakery...And, oh! The scalloped pages? It was love at first sight.
I took a picture of the cover, and when I got home, I went to Amazon.com to snag myself a copy. It arrived yesterday, and my-oh-my, it is even better cover-to-cover than I imagined.
A recipe for homemade graham crackers? Shut the oven door. (Imagine those with a generous cuppa homemade hot chocolate....)
Cakes, and tarts, and cookies galore. All that is left is for me to decide which recipe I will try out first.
A couple of week's ago I attended my daughter's MOPs group and taught a cupcake decorating class. I shared how to make simple spiral posies and coordinating teeny tiny leaves on both average sized, and baby cupcakes.
It was a hands on class and the Moms all got to decorate their own cupcake as I went table to table demonstrating the easy technique. By using a number 2,3, or 4 tip and piping a simple spiral coil, you create a little posy. Using a leaf tip (number 352) you simply press the tip next to the posy, squeeze slightly, stop and tip the tip away, and voila'! You have aperfect little leaf.
So, Much. Fun.
And so yummy.
I whipped up a batch of banana pudding parfaits, which until recently, I assumed all Mom's in America had in their dessert recipe arsenal.
It turns out that a lot of folks here in the Pacific Northwest don't know about it.
So I thought I'd share it here today.
It's easy peasy, an takes only a few minutes to make. Simply take on package of instant banana pudding (make it according to directions and place in the refrigerator. Cut up one banana and open a box of Nilla Wafer cookies. (Now, I usually serve this yummy dessert all on one larger bowl, with the original sized Nilla Wafer Cookies, but for the cutie patootie parfait glases, the mini Nilla Wafers were a no-brainer.) Layer the banana slices, nilla wafer cookies, and pudding.
It's total comfort food.
Have you ever made this dessert, or some version of it?
When my son married the love of his life, some six plus years back, I got to help make these darling cookies, (in bags of raw sugar for sand!) for favors at the reception....remember them?
My company picnic was last weekend, and we had our second annual Bake-Off, so I got out my cookie cutters and made a batch of seashells and starfish, and then tossed them in raw sugar for a sweet little beach scene.
I took second place, behind a friend that did the yummiest individual little blackberry cheesecakes.
We all owe Ronald Reagan a big fat thanks-so-much.
Okay, maybe you didn't know that in 1984 Ronald Reagan declared the entire month of July as National Ice Cream month.
Mmmm hmmm...Happy National Ice Cream month!
You might remember from last summer, that I am a bit of a homemade ice cream fan.
(Oh, and here.)
You know, half of the fun for me is foofying up my containers, and turning the newest falor of ice cream into a party.
Anyway, I am currently gearing up to add a sweet (pun totally intended...har, har, har..) little line of ice cream accessories to my etsy shop, and I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at one a couple of the printable signs.
Oh, one more thing...The third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day.
This year, that date will be July 21st.
Now you know.
Mark your calendars accordingly.
And host an ice cream party that day, (homemade or storebought...) or, at the very least, plan on sharing some ice cream with someone you love.
We've been enjoying some pretty fabulous weather here in the PAcific Northwest, and warm weather makes me think of ice cream. Ice cream makes me think of coconut, and when I spotted a recipe for coconut limeade smoothies the other day on Pinterest, I knew we had to make up a batch.
All coconuty smoothness with a hint of citrus-y lime.
These babies are filling, so one smoothie is pretty much all I could imagine drinking, but...oh! Such a treat.
You see, when I bake cupcakes, I always make a few extras and pop them in a zip lock bag in the freezer, where I can pull them out as needed, for dessert, or for...well, little boxed prezzies for friends.
Today I went with a double papered look (the black cupcake paper is a bit larger than the white one I baked the cupcakes in) and decided to go with yellow and black.
I made a cute little tag with a birthday candle on it to accompany the usual Happy Birthday tag....a sweet, unexpected surprise.
I think she's gonna like it.
One of my friends at work had a birthday last weeka nd I wanted to do a little something special for her. I keep unfrosted cupcakes in the freezer, and so I pulled one out, along with some pink frosting I had frozen in a tub as well.
After frosting the sweet little cuppy-cake, I put it in one of my clear cube boxes, and to make it look more festive, (and to make it so the cupcake wouldn't move around in the box) I sprinkled Valentine (red, pink, white)candy corn around the bottom of the cube.
I added a big fat ribbon and a home made tag.....viola'!
Valentines day is hot on the heels of Superbowl Sunday, and I've been busy working on some pretty little somethin' somethins' for the occasion.
Last night I started things off by baking a batch of my very-nearly-world-famous signature croutons.
They're so easy to make, and it's a great use of left over bread, burger buns, or dinner rolls. At Christmas time I sometimes use tiny star shaped cookie cutters, and for Valentines day I decided to make them hearts. (Of course, most of the year I just cube up my bread and make them that way....they still taste yummy!)
To make them, all I do is melt some butter (or margarine) and add some Italian season, garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. Drizzle this mixture over your cut up bread in a bowl, and toss to coat.
Place coated bread on a sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and pop in a 425 degree oven until brown (around 13-15 minutes. Stir them around if you like mid-way through) Voila'!
If you don't eat them right off the cookie sheet hot out of the oven, that is.
I am embarrassed to tell you exactly how long I owned this tool before I ever tried using it.
Wait. Let em back up.
Maybe eight years or more ago.
I first saw this tool at a Pampered Chef party. I was wow'd, (wowed? wowwed?) but I couldn't bring myself to buy it because, even though I am a baker at heart, pies rather intimidate me for some reason. Well, that and the fact that I was suffering from sticker shock. This little baby is about fifty bucks, if you get the little wooden stand to go along with it. (which pretty much is a must, I think.)
Fast forward a few years, to about three years ago. My Pampered Chef friend was making her last order and I said, in a total weak moment of bakers insanity, "Order me one, please."
It arrived shortly thereafter. The mere thought of assembling the little wooden base seemed overwhelmingly too mechanical for me. Completely intimidated, it sat there in it's little Papmpered Chef box.
Mmm hmm, just like that.
Years passed (um, as I stated before...three years) and then, this past spring, while out yard saling with a friend, there on an old bookshelf in someones driveway, sat the identical Pampered Chef tool.
It mattered not that I already owned this too-cool-for-school-tool, I grabbed it. For three dollars, I had to. (That and that fact that it was ready to use...fully assembled!)
So, I gave one of my girls the new-in-the-box Pampered Chef Apple Corer Peeler (While I can agonize over dropping fifty bucks on myself, I have no problem giving a fifty dollar item to family or friends.) and I kept the thrifted one.
And, it sat there.
My Rock n" Roll Buddy called me one day last week at work and said he had just bought ten pounds of honey crisp apples and could I make a pie from scratch for Thanksgiving?
Well, certainly I could. (After all, I had that handy-dandy-ready-to-use tool.)
That brings me finally to the point of this post.(Hmmm, I got a little wordy I am now noticing. Oh well. You like that about me, right?)
Last Tuesday evening we got our the gadget and I realized I still did not know how to operate it. Luckily, Ralph is the King of YouTube, and so he immediately suggested we look there(He swears you can teach yourself anything on YouTube, and I do believe he is right.)
Oh yeah, baby.
After watching a thirty second video of a fifth grader demonstrating the corer-peeler, we were in business. Within five minutes Ralph had cored, peeled and sliced all the apples for the pie, thankyouverymuch.
He was having so much fun with it that I had to stop him, lest we have ten punds of skinless, cored apples on our hands.
The pie came out perfectly, by the way. Sweet, and juicy, and yummy.
I think 2013 just might be my year to take on mastering pie making.
I have been meaning to share the latest fabulous cookbook purchase I made for a couple of weeks now, but then other topics kept coming up and I very nearly forgot about sharing it. Last night I remembered, and here it is.
I had pretty much sworn off hard copy cookbooks, because I can find any and every recipe I might desire online.
But then I stumbled upon this cake cookbook, and since I have always been first and foremost, a cake-girl...well, I pretty much had to get it.
I know...I have been on a pretty extensive ice cream run of late, but cake will always be my first love.
And frosted and decorated sugar cookies.
Which are both still kinda-sorta in the same family if you think about it.
So. This cake-cookbook.
Not only does it have some absolutely mouth watering recipes,(and great photos)it's a good read. Melissa Gray works at NPR and her writing style is smart and witty. The premise of the book is that she began bringing in a different homemade cake each Monday, and then the book idea came from that. It's full of little stories about politicians, the chapter titles are a hoot, and you feel like you're sitting at a table chatting with her.
I love that.
So, while I have discovered that I prefer (for the most part)finding recipes online which saves me from having to dig through cookbooks looking for a certain old recipe, I still have a place in my heart for little gems like this one. Without gushing too much, I must tell you that this book inspires me. With each page I find myself wanting to whip out my mixer.
To run to GoodWill in search of old bundt pans.
To throw on my apron.
And, if you take a peek inside this book, I daresay, you will feel these things too.
Not ice cream.
Made with a not-to-syrup-y-sweet concoction of coconut milk, pineapple, and bananas. Perfect for a warm weather snack; complete and total yummy goodness, and only 117 calories, which really isn't too bad.
I got these most incredible popsicle molds last week.
I had to order them online, as all the ones I found in stores had plastic sticks attached, which is great for little kids, but not what I was after.
I love the fact that they use wooden popsicle sticks. They just have a more vintage-y look, if that makes any sense at all.
So very Martha looking, you know.
And, I am all about how my food looks.
So this set really wow'd me.
It's no secret to anyone that knows me that I love to entertain. I love planning the menu, coming up with a theme, (whether it is a color, or a type of food, or an event like the Superbowl...)and I especially love to design and set up the table scape and the buffet area.
Now, all of that might sound intimidating to some of you, and so today I wanted to share a little caterer's secret that I use. You don't always have to bake, or cook everything you are serving yourself when entertaining.You can make store bought pastries and fruit look like a million bucks.
You just have to make the right choices. WalMart, for example, has the most incredible itty-bitty-baby cinammon rolls.
To. Die. For.
And cute as all get out.
When I'm feeling really creative, I take a bit of powdered sugar, milk and a drop of vanilla or orange flavoring and make a runny frosting to drizzle over them...yummy (and totally like you-slaved-in-the-kitchen looking!) Stack them on a cake pedestal with some other pastries (or a giant pile by themselves) and the finished look is perfection.
So, there you go. If you want to wow your family, this is one easy way to do it.
So, yeah. Ice cream.
I can't decide if I am more enthralled with the taste of this heavenly treat, or the seemingly endless options and ideas for presentations and recipes for it. (Quite possibly it is the latter.)
We'll start with the coconut ice cream I made. I was talking with one of the kids at work (I can call them kids, since they are younger than any of my grown children...) and he was saying how much he loved Almond Joy candy bars. That got me thinking about the ice cream places that mix goodies into your ice cream. I decided to surprise my friend Nick with an ice cream that equalled the ingredients in an Almond Joy.
I took the last bit of the homemade coconut ice cream and I added more coconut, slivered almonds and chocolate syrup. I stirred it in just enough to belnd without turning it into chocolate ice cream, and I put it in one of my sweet little corregated cardboard containers....
I decided it needed a cute label, so I made some with my cheesy print program...
(I felt like my label came out a bit too wide, so next go round I will fine tune that)
...And I made a cute name tag with the darling ice cream scoop clip art I found. I added a couple of the butter wafer cookies and a wooden spoon, all tied with a coordinating ribbon. I took it in to work and called Mr. Nick, letting him know that if today was one of those days he might be "feeling like a nut" (as the Almond Joy tag line says..) I had a lil'-sumthin'-sumthin' for him.
I think it will make his Tuesday.
Talk about an easy-and-fun dessert set up that looks like you slaved all day! If you want to wow your guests, go with an ice cream buffet. That's what we did this past Saturday night. We had three kinds of ice cream for our friends to sample and make treats from; the two kinds of strawberry and the coconut.
First off, I got a fabulous assortment of cones and toppings. I got some of these cute little baby cones at WalMart (I think all the grocery stores sell them)... Before everyone arrived I made a few ice cream sandwiches with these oh-so-yummy butter wafer cookies from Trader Joe's....Here is my version of an Almond Joy sandwich, with coconut cream, chocolate , almonds adn toasted coconut...(sound good?)
I took ordinary sugar cones and dipped them in a small amount of melted chocolate, followed by dipping some of them in sprinkles or coconut. (chocolate chips, or the Wilton colored candy melts would work, but I used left over choclate from my chocolate fountain)Literally, all you do is melt the choclate and dip, then roll through the goodies as you like. Set them on wax paper to set up. Within minutes you have an assortment of pretty and impressive cones!
I also took my fabulous vintage cassolettes and set them out to use as ice cream dishes..perfect!
Needless to say, a grand time was had by all, and it really looked like I had spent all day prepping, when in reality it took less than a half hour.
We had plent left overs the next day, (another great thing about this dessert buffet...leftovers keep really well!) so I had my little men do some further taste testing...
In fact, all three of the boys got to sample...tee hee hee!
We're off and running, with the first round of the second flavor of ice cream in the ice cream maker. This time we tried a couple of different strawberry recipes. The first one (pictured above on the right side of the bowl.)was supposed to taste like Ben and Jerry's strawberry ice cream. I'd say it was an okay recipe over all. The recipe was very easy, but I think the strawberries needed to be cut into fairly tiny pieces, and I had simply cut them as I do when I make strawberry shortcake, so, if I make it again, I will do that. Better yet, pureeing the berries in the blender is an even better option.The second recipe (on the left side of the bowl.) was for a roasted strawberry ice cream, with a bit of balsamic vinegar (oh-so-very Italian!) and it is my personal favorite of the two recipes.This recipe has you roast the strawberries,mixed with sugar and the balsamic vinegar, and later, chop 'em up in the blender, which I think was what made it a more flavorful treat.
The reason I tried two recipes was that the first coconut ice cream recipe bombed, and I figured there was a chance it could happen again (but I hoped not!) I didn't want to chance anything. We are having friends over this Saturday night for a barbecue, and to play cards...and we'll need to have dessert...homemade ice cream! (Hence the need to find a really yummy strawberry ice cream recipe...)
( Of course, we will also have more of the homemade coconut ice cream as well, 'coz I want a variety, and it's so yummy too.)
The second batch of coconut ice cream came out so well that I decided to take a bit of it to share with a couple of my friends that help me out a lot at work today.
I ordered these fabulous little containers (and wooden spoons!) a couple of weeks ago from one of my all time personal favorite online shops. (This was when I was beginning to get excited about warm weather and the new ice cream maker I would be breaking in...)
Not only did I get the white pint sized containers, I also got a few of these equally darling corrugated cardboard tubs.(I plan on using these containers filled with ice cream as to-go favors at summer barbeques this summer when we serve homemade ice cream for dessert. Pictures will be coming, of course!)
I made labels that read "Ice Cream for daily happiness" and tags with "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" and "Life is short, eat dessert first" on them to add some whimsy. A foot of ribbon from my ribbon stash, and my hand-crafted,homemade tags, and...voila!
I think they're pretty cute, and tasty too.
See, I got an ice cream maker for Christmas, and I have been waiting for ice cream weather to get here so I could break it in. The moment finally arrived this past Sunday.
At least I thought it did.(We're back to rain and hail here today, and for the rest of the week, supposedly.)
I had ordered a cookbook all about ice cream, and it had arrived last Friday. (I'll be honest here and tell you I bout it partially for the fabulous cover, which I plan to set out on a book easel in the kitchen for the summer months...)After perusing the book for a half hour,I chose a coconut ice cream recipe from the back of the book. It was far more complicated than I remember ice cream recipes being. For starters I had to cook it. Five egg yolks, and a whole lot of cream. Coconut. Some straining, and more cooking.
My Rocker added his two cents, sharing that a secret tip he used in the past was to add pudding mix.
Hmmm, okay. That seemed like a pretty good idea.(Did I ever tell you how I love pudding? I do.)
Finally, the cooked, cooled ingredients made it to the ice cream maker on the back deck, with lots of ice and salt around the container.
Forty five minutes later, and still it wasn't resembling ice cream.
Uh-oh. Houston, we have a problem.
Still soupy...er...uncooked pudding-like.
At that point I realized that I was using the wrong salt in the ice for the ice cream maker. (I was using Kosher salt, not rock salt. Don't ask. I have no idea why, other than to claim a brain freeze.) Another hour later, and we gave up and sampled the cold pudding-ish creation. Not, bad, but not exactly good, either. (All I can say here is that the texture was weird.)
Undaunted, I decided to start over the next evenig after work. (When at first you don't succeed, try, and try again, right?)
Second night, second try. I was determined to get it right. I found another coconut ice cream recipe online. I picked up some rock salt. We re-read the instructions with the ice cream maker.
No cooking this time. No pudding. Back out on the deck, we added the ice, and the rock salt and plugged in the ice cream maker.
Forty five minutes later (give or take) and we called it good. We brought in the tub of ice cream, and...yes! It was ice cream... a soft serve texture of coconut goodness. I moved the ice cream from the container to a vintage loaf pan, and covered the top with waxed paper. In the freezer it went. (And it looked oh-so-vintage-and-yummy at the same time. Martha would have been so proud of me.)
We I couldn't stand waiting too much longer, so after an hour I pulled it out and we each sampled a bowl. Mine was dressed up with toasted coconut and a few slivered almonds on top, thankyouverymuch.
Ohmygosh. Yes. Ice cream!
We're going to tackle strawberry next.