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Entries in chocolate (34)


Product Review-UNREAL Candy

UNREAL41 (Candy Coated Chocolates)

Above: UNREAL41 (Candy Coated Chocolates)

Have you guys had a chance to try UNREAL Candy? I hope so! It’s starting to show up now in major grocery chains and drug stores. Reasonably priced, too!

What is UNREAL Candy? It’s simple. Candy--unjunked. It’s got all of the flavor without all of the junk! Read their story here.

  • No corn syrup.
  • No hydrogenated oil.
  • No artificial flavors.
  • No GMO’s.
  • No synthetic colors.

Reasonably sourced ingredients, including:

  • Traceable cacao beans from Ghana and Ecuador.
  • 100% sustainable and organic Palm Kernel Oil from Brazil.    
  • Dairy from free-range cows raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
  • All natural colors from plants like beets, red cabbage, etc.
  • 30% less sugar, 60% more protein, and 250% more fiver per serving on average compared to leading competing brands. 

Now after reading all of that, you’re most likely wondering how do the candies taste? They taste fantastic! My kids love them, too, and I can feel good about them having this kind of candy as opposed to the larger brands that are loaded with chemicals and artificial ingredients. My oldest daughter has an issue when she eats most chocolates on the market--it makes her throat burn. The UNREAL Candies do not!

With Halloween parties and Trick or Treating just around the corner, why not consider giving out UNREAL candies to your guests and the neighborhood kids? It’s a small change, but those small changes lead to large ones!

UNREAL54 (Candy Coated Chocolates with Peanuts):

UNREAL54 (Candy Coated Chocolates with Peanuts)

UNREAL77 (Peanut Butter Cups):

UNREAL77 (Peanut Butter Cups)

UNREAL8 (Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Bar):

UNREAL8 (Chocolate Caramel Peanut Nougat Bar)

UNREAL5 (Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar):

UNREAL5 (Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar)

So the next time you’re out shopping or running into the store for a quick candy snack, look for UNREAL Candy. You won’t be disappointed in the taste and you won’t feel guilty about such a good cause. Click here for availability.


Disclaimer: I received some samples of UNREAL Candy to try at no charge. This did not influence my opinion of the product.


Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream and Cuisinart Giveaway

Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

“What the what?” (I can hear you saying…) Let me explain. Peanut brittle, with added chunks of sugar cone. So Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle. But I don’t want any of you to break a tooth on frozen brittle (I don’t want  your dental bills, ha!), so we’re going to take that brittle and process the heck out of it so it becomes a velvety “butter.” Like nut butter, only better. Way better! It’s a burnt sugar bonanza in your mouth. Good on a spoon, or dip a pretzel in it, or heck, dip your face in it. But save some for the ice cream!

The contest is closed, but the recipe still rocks, so check it out below! The randomly chosen winner is Renee - Kudos Kitchen. Congratulations, Renee and thank you to all of you for playing along!

We’re not only going to mix some of that brittle butter into the ice cream base, but we’re going to swirl some in at the end for added burnt sugar goodness on your taste buds. With some chopped peanuts and chocolate flakes for good measure.

This is my latest entry for Scoopapalooza. And oh hell, it’s a decadent one if I do say so. You can read all about Scoopapalooza on our Flickr Group page, and also Like us on our Facebook page. This way, you’ll never be at a loss for ice cream ideas! And as always, please join us if you like! Making ice cream just makes you happy. Bad day? Ice Cream! Annoying boss? Ice cream! Kids going nuts? ICE CREAM!


And in addition to all of this ice creamy goodness going on, Heather from He Cooks She Cooks and I have a fabulous giveaway to kick off Summer and a Summer of Scoops! We’re each giving away a Cuisinart 2 Qt. Ice Cream Maker ($145.00 Suggested Retail Value).

Yes, that’s right. We each have one to give away, so you have double the chances of winning one. Cuisinart has generously provided each of us with an ice cream maker to use and review, and two more to get a couple of lucky readers a jump on a summer of ice cream! (A huge thank you to Rachel!) Read on to find out how to enter.

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE-30BCCuisinart Ice Cream Maker ICE-30BC

Using the Cuisinart ICE-30BC is so much fun! It works great, and looks good on the counter, as well. From the website:

  • What's better than a quart of luscious homemade ice cream, sorbet or frozen yogurt? Two quarts! The fully automatic Cuisinart® Pure Indulgence™ makes 2 quarts of your favorite frozen desserts or drinks in as little as 25 minutes. It's easy -- an integrated motor, double-insulated freezer bowl and automatic mixing paddle do all the work. Results are consistently smooth, cleanup is easy, and the brushed metal styling is simply sensational.
  • Double insulated freezer bowl holds up to 2 quarts of frozen dessert
    Brushed metal housing with embossed logo
    Fully automatic
    Heavy-duty motor makes frozen desserts or drinks in as little as 25 minutes
    Large ingredient spout for adding mix-ins
    Instruction/Recipe book
    Limited 3-year warranty
    BPA Free

You’ll love using this ice cream maker, and with a trusted name like Cuisinart, you don’t need to worry about it breaking down. The large ingredient spout is worth the price of admission alone! My last ice cream maker had a small one--and size does matter in this case. And just think about how much fun you’ll have making ice cream this summer!

Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

Makes 2 quarts

3 cups half and half
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (totally optional)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of the sugar cone peanut brittle butter (recipe below)
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled, broken into "flakes" (instructions below)
Remaining sugar cone peanut brittle butter to swirl in

In a medium bowl, whisk the half and half with the sugar and salt until their dissolved completely. Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla powder (if using) and extract. Now whisk in 1/2 cup of the brittle butter. You'll have to work it in, and there may be some small lumps left, but don't worry, it's all good in the end.

Make sure the mixture is nice and chilled. Chill in the fridge if need be. I whisk mine up in a medium bowl set in a large bowl with ice to keep it cold while I work.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. This should take about 25 minutes.

While that's working, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring at each interval. When completely melted, spread very thin on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer to chill. When it's completely chilled, remove it and using the paper, break the chocolate into "flakes." I used a dough scraper (straight edge) to help it along.

When the ice cream is done freezing in the machine, add the chopped nuts and chocolate flakes and let the machine stir them in. This should only take about a minute or less.

Turn the ice cream out into an airtight container, and working quickly, plop the remaining sugar cone brittle butter into the ice cream--in smaller clumps, not one large one, and swirl it in with a knife or rubber spatula. Freeze for a few hours or overnight and then pig out!


Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Butter

Makes a little more than one cup

1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
6 sugar cones, broken up into small bits (about 1 cup total)
1 tbsp coconut oil (if you don't have coconut oil, use canola or some other neutral oil)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly butter the parchment.
Pour the sugar in a heavy 10-12 inch skillet, and heat it over low heat for about 20 minutes.
The sugar should start melting around this time. If you're impatient like me, you can turn the heat up a little, but watch it carefully. Swirl the pan around if the sugar seems to be getting too dark. If the sugar isn't melting in the center, stir it just a bit with a wooden spoon--not plastic!

When the sugar is all melted and caramel colored, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, nuts, and sugar cone pieces--again--using a wooden spoon.
Return the pan to low heat and stir to coat the nuts and cone pieces.
Heat until the caramel starts to bubble.

PLEASE remember that this is extremely hot, so be careful.
Pour it out on to the parchment, and separate the big clumps. Let it cool completely. When it's cooled, break the brittle into pieces and set aside 1/2 cup for eating or garnish. Add the rest to your food processor. 

Pulse the brittle until it's a fine powder. Continue processing until the powder starts to come together in a smooth paste. This will take a few minutes--maybe 7-10? Mine needed a little help at this point, so I added the 1 tbsp of coconut oil and it turned into a paste immediately. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.


  • This ice cream is creamy and rich--and not too sweet with the added nuts. The chocolate chips I use are Ghirardelli Bittersweet, so they cut the sweetness factor, too. It scoops well and satisfies your cravings for sweet, salty, crunchy and smooth, all in one. 


Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

The rules are simple.

Leave us a comment here telling us if you could make any ice cream flavor at all - what would it be. No answer is too weird. You know you want that taco ice cream.

For additional, completely optional entries:

1. Tweet about this contest: "Win a Cuisinart 2qt ice cream maker from @MyCuisinart & / @elleskitchen  #giveaway." Then come back and leave an additional comment telling us you tweeted.

2. Share this giveaway on Facebook. Come back and leave an additional comment.

3. Stumble this page with a thumbs up and you’ll get one more comment. Be sure to let me know that you did!

4. Like Cuisinart on Facebook, and leave yet another comment here.

SO that would give you a total of FIVE entries to win this AHMAZING ice cream maker. Head on over to Heather’s blog to check out her ice cream and get more entries! And laugh your butt off--man, she cracks me up!

A random winner will be chosen on Friday, June 22nd. You must leave a valid email address so you can be contacted. You’ll have two days to respond or another winner will be chosen. Open to US residents only.


Disclaimer: We were given the Ice Cream Makers to review at no charge.

Sugar Cone Peanut Brittle Ice Cream


Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

A real mouthful, for sure! Not only to say, but to eat. Just the way I like my ice cream. I went with the Ben & Jerry’s let’s pack a lot of stuff in there so you get chunks in every bite method. I think that’s what I love the most about Ben and Jerry’s. They’re geniuses. This ice cream is a flavor packed mocha with extra dark cocoa and deep, rich coffee. I then added in brownie chunks and large pieces of English toffee that’s enrobed with milk chocolate and chopped pecans. Oh, yes, please!

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

So--what brought this ice cream on was that I was talking to Heather about Scoopapalooza. That’s our ice cream project that we dreamed up two summers ago. Summers full of scoops! This ice cream doesn’t quite follow the “local ingredient” guideline, but it’s still a fabulous scoop, so I’m going to have to add it. If any of you are interested in joining us for this summer’s Scoopapalooza, please, feel free! We’re super laid back about rules and stuff, so don’t worry--we won’t be breathing down your neck or looking over your shoulder. We’re too lazy (busy) for that!

We were talking about making ice cream and I was saying most of my ice cream ideas just didn’t gel last summer…and Heather reminded me that I had just baked fabulous brownies. This ice cream was the result of that conversation.

The brownies are my new favorite recipe. I don’t  have any left to photograph, but I’ll be making them again soon so I can post them here. I guarantee you’re going to want to try these right away. They’re made in a way I’ve never made brownies before, but will now always want to. The English toffee is from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any kind you like. Heath bars would be fine here!

Coffee! Let’s talk a bit about the coffee. I don’t drink instant coffee, but I do keep it on hand for baking. I usually keep espresso powder on hand, but someone finished that up, so while at Trader Joe’s, I grabbed their instant. One day when I had a headache and needed caffeine, Billy grabbed it and made me an iced coffee with it. Holy coffee, it’s fabulous! Like fresh brewed coffee! If you’ve been on the fence about picking some up, you shouldn't be! Even if you just keep it on hand for enhancing chocolate baked goods, you won’t be sorry. But just once, try drinking it. Seriously.


Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

Makes roughly one quart
Adapted from Ben and Jerry's

2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
1 cup milk
3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark was used here)
3 tbsp very good quality instant coffee, DIVIDED (mine is from Trader Joe's)
2 eggs (See note below)
1 1/4 cups brownie chunks (about 1/2 - 1 inch cubes)
1 1/4 cups toffee chunks (don't break them up too small!)

Start by cutting the brownies into chunks. Set aside, and then put the toffee in a quart sized Ziploc bag. Smash it up, but don't make the chunks too small. You want to have nice large pieces to make this a truly chunky ice cream. Place the toffee and brownie chunks in the freezer to chill while you work on the ice cream. (I won't hold it against you if you swipe a few of the chunks for yourself. Because you *know* I did.)

In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa and 2 tbsp of the coffee. Make sure all of the sugar is dissolved before you proceed. Whisk the eggs in a smaller bowl until light yellow in color. Pour the eggs into the cream mixture and blend well.

Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions for freezing. Just as the ice cream is finishing up it's freezing thing, add the remaining 1 tbsp of coffee, and the brownie and toffee chunks. Let those mix in, and then transfer the ice cream to a container to finish freezing. In the freezer, of course. After you've had a few bites. Because it's the law--you have to.

  • NOTE: I recently had a comment calling me out for using raw eggs in ice cream. I have been using the same method that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book does, and that’s to use raw eggs. I use fresh eggs and don’t worry about it. Salmonella is found on the outside of the eggs, so wash them gently first if you like. I wouldn’t serve it to someone who was pregnant or had a compromised immune system. My kids eat these ice creams--and we’ve had no issues. If you’re worried about it, use an Egg Beater type product or pasteurized eggs. Or use a cooked base that you feel comfortable with.
  • This ice cream is everything you want in a chunky ice cream. It’s creamy and velvety, and absolutely loaded with chunks of brownies and toffee. For those times when you want serious chunks in every single bite.

Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream


Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle

Microwave Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle

You could call this “Caramel Corn, Part II.” I’ve posted my all time favorite caramel corn recipe already. As I said in that post, I’ve tried so many recipes over the years, but they were never just right. Always too sticky, too messy, too complicated…you name it. This one is simple and delicious. I thought I couldn’t make it any better. But I did! Which may or may not be a good thing, because damn, it’s addictive! I added mini pretzels, peanuts--and if that wasn’t enough, an over the top chocolate drizzle, that’s sprinkled with salt.

Oh. My. It’s funny--when you try it all together, it’s like a sweet and salty chocolate chip cookie! The chocolate, butter and brown sugar mingle on your tongue and you’ll just want more and more. And more! Which is why I sent most of it to the office with my husband this morning, and I just got word that it’s a big hit.

Microwave Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle

So, yeah. This is a microwave recipe. There’s no standing over the stove or wondering if your caramel is at the correct stage, and no baking. It’s so simple! But here are a few things I’ve learned over the years:

  • Use a glass bowl--not plastic. I finally got a bigger microwave and thought I could switch to a larger plastic bowl, as opposed to the 2 QT. Pyrex glass bowl that I’ve always used. No. No, no, and no. I burned my first batch the other day, and as a result, the bowl melted on the bottom. Oops! What a mess. So stick with glass, and have potholders close at hand in case the bowl is getting hot. If you’ve got a 3 QT. glass bowl and it fits in your microwave, even better!
  • In my old, small microwave, in the “cook for 4-6 minutes” step, I needed the 2 minute intervals to get the caramel to get darker. In my new larger one, it only takes a few minutes, stirring every minute, and maybe every 30 seconds toward the end to avoid burning. And I’ll be damned, but I cannot see how many watts our new oven is, no matter where I look! So play it by ear, erring on the side of shorter cooking/stirring intervals. Because it stinks to have to toss out an entire batch of caramel corn!
  • When you add the popcorn into the caramel and start to stir it in, you may be thinking “Oh that Elle! What the hell did I get myself into?” But LISTEN. Add half the popcorn, stir, then add the rest. A few kernels may jump out of the bowl, but pop them back in. And keep stirring, because as the kernels get coated, it gets easier and easier to stir. Trust me.
  • After you pop the popcorn, please be careful to remove the unpopped kernels. You definitely don’t want friends coming to you with a dental bill because they broke a tooth on your caramel corn.
  • Speaking of popcorn, you can use microwave popcorn, or like we do, get out your Whirley Pop and pop your own! It takes just a few minutes longer, but it tastes so much better and fresher than chemically processed popcorn. I find that lightly spraying the popped corn with this canola oil, then sprinkling with salt makes it perfect! I don’t even miss the butter. I’m serious!

Whirley Pop

When all is said and done, this is a fast, easy recipe. Once you get it on the baking sheet, it cools in about 10 minutes and you can start pigging out. So you know what that means? This isn’t only good for planning ahead to serve, but it’s fantastic for a last minute snack attack! Oink!

  • Game snacks!
  • “At home” movie night with the family.
  • Kid’s sleepovers.
  • Holiday gifts.
  • Office party snacks.
  • Anytime!

Microwave Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle

Microwave Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle

Makes about 4 quarts

For the caramel corn:

2 quarts plain, salted popped popcorn or 1 (3.5 ounces) bag microwave popcorn
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup, or Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda

For the caramel pretzels and peanuts:

4 cups mini pretzel twists
2 cups lightly salted peanuts
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light or dark corn syrup, or Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda

Chocolate drizzle:

One 11 oz bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, or your favorite
your favorite salt (I used Kosher)

Prepare popcorn as directed, either in your own popper or in the microwave. Remove any unpopped kernels. (This step is really important, because a broken tooth is not a good gift.)

In a 2 quart microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter on high until melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in sugar and corn syrup, and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and baking soda until well blended.
Stir in popcorn, mixing well. (It may be a bit tricky to mix the popcorn in at first, but the more you stir, the easier it gets. I like to add half, stir it to coat, than add the rest.)

Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes to coat popcorn evenly. Watch it carefully--if you have a very powerful microwave, watch closely so it doesn't start to burn, and you may can reduce the intervals to 30-45 seconds. Transfer caramel corn to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.

For the caramel pretzels and peanuts, repeat the same steps as above, but without the popcorn. When it's done in the microwave, transfer to another parchment lined baking sheet.

When cool, break up the caramel corn and the caramel pretzels and peanuts, and mix them all up in a large bowl. Spread it all back out on the two parchment lined sheets, and melt the chocolate:

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt 3/4 of the chocolate chips, stirring after one minute, and microwaving again for 30 seconds to one minute at a time, stirring after each time. When it's completely melted, add the remaining chocolate chips to the melted chocolate, and stir constantly until all the chips are melted. Transfer the melted chocolate to a squirt bottle (or a small zip top bag , then cut off a small tip.) I've found that drizzling chocolate is the easiest when you use a squirt bottle--and they're dirt cheap! I picked mine up for 99 cents, so stock up on a few!

Drizzle both pans with chocolate, and immediately, before the chocolate completely dries, sprinkle with salt. Let it all dry completely, and store in an airtight container.

Microwave Caramel Corn with Pretzels, Peanuts and Chocolate Drizzle


Brownie Crisps and Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownie Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches

You need some chocolate. You want a cookie. Maybe not too sweet, just some good, deep chocolate flavor. What? You’re out of cookies? How about a brownie? Yeah--that’ll do! Oh. Nope, fresh out of brownies. What do you do? You make these brownie crisps. You can have these in the oven in five minutes. I’ll bet you even have everything on hand! Brownie Crisps are a dark chocolaty brownie condensed into an ultra thin, crispy cookie. They’re also fast and easy. Instant gratification. Well, they do have to bake, so--roughly twenty minute gratification.

I made two batches in no time at all the other day. One with pecans, too. But I didn’t press the nuts into the batter, and they didn’t stick. Nothing like picking up a nut topped cookie, just to have the nuts roll off! Well, it was kind of funny, looking back. Rolling nuts, ha. So the moral here--if you’re adding nuts to these, press them in and hope that they stick! If they don’t, rescue them. You’ll at least have some toasted nuts to use in another recipe. Positive outlook, right?

They’re also perfect for ice cream sandwiches! When cutting the crisps after baking, I used a square biscuit cutter. They immediately struck me as the perfect size for an ice cream sandwich. They were!

I’m eating the last ice cream sandwich right now. I hid it in the back of the freezer. Shhhh. Don’t look at me like that. The kids had their share. You’d do it, too! Ha! The espresso powder in the crisps makes these a grown up friendly ice cream sandwich, as well. They’re not overly sweet, which is rather nice. They also don’t get soggy and stick to your fingers like store bought ice cream sandwiches. So no messy finger licking.

If you decide not to make these ice cream sandwiches with them, that’s ok, too. They’re addictive cookies!

I made a couple of changes in the recipe: I used less butter (6 tbsp instead of 8), and I added a bit more chocolate (1 1/2 oz instead of just 1 oz).

Brownie Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownie Crisps

Adapted from Boston Tea Parties

6 tbsp butter
1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp instant espresso powder (or instant coffee)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave for about 45 seconds and then check. Give it a bit more time, then stir--it should all melt together  by then. If not, give it about 15 more seconds at a time till all melty. Or you could do this over low heat in a saucepan.

Stir until smooth, then add the espresso powder and stir to dissolve. Stir in sugar, then the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Add the salt and flour  next, then mix until smooth.

Line a 15x10 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the batter on the parchment using a rubber spatula. If you're going with nuts, add them now and press them lightly into the batter.

Bake for 15 minutes. When done baking, remove the pan from the oven and cut the cookies immediately. I used a square biscuit cutter, but you can use whatever you want. Use any shape cookie cutter you like. Set them on a rack right away to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container. I got about 16 per batch, but I cut them about 4 inches square. You’ll get more, of course, if you cut them smaller.

To make ice cream sandwiches, just use your favorite ice cream. I used the same biscuit cutter to cut squares of strawberry ice cream. Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Brownie Crisp Ice Cream Sandwiches