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Entries in toffee (3)

Wednesday
Mar212012

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



Thursday
Jan202011

Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks, Two Ways

Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks

Chocolate craving! Crunchy, sweet/salty-ish would be good, too. Chocolate-check. Pretzels-check. Dried fruit-check. Nuts-check! Count down to snacks in 5..4..3..2..1…

These are so easy, your little kids could make them. I saw a recipe in a magazine and realized--damn, I always forget how simple haystacks are! They make a quick snack, great for after school, or anytime, really. Like I said, easy for the kids, too--and so versatile! I’m going to make more and change them up. I’ll bet you even have the stuff on hand for these.

This one’s not snobby, pretentious, or made with 10 kitchen tools, 13 pans, and 20 techniques. There’s no being stuck up when it comes to haystacks, is there? They’re simple, good old snacky-type snacks. They’re not fancy, and they’re certainly nothing new--but they sure taste great!

So-this snack covers it all: crunchy, sweet, salty, good--and easy! I’ve been snacking on them all week. Really, they’re even sort of good for you--what with the bittersweet chocolate, dried fruit, almonds and low fat pretzels. Nearly guilt-free!

Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks

Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks

Adapted from Family Circle
Makes 2 large sheets full--about 30? (I forgot to count!)

1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used a gorgeous blend from Trader Joes--Golden Berry Blend: Golden Raisins, Cherries, Cranberries & Blueberries)
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups broken up thin pretzel sticks
8-10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (I always use Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
Optional: I added about a capful (1/2-3/4 tsp?) of almond extract to the melted chocolate-just stir it in!

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, wax paper, or even foil.

Stir together the dried fruit, almonds, and pretzels. Set aside.

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips. Heat for one minute to start, them in 15-30 second increments, stirring after each time, till the chips are all melty. Add the extract if you want to.

Stir the fruit/nut/pretzels into the melted chocolate--use a rubber spatula, and fold them all in until completely coated. Using a spoon, drop mounds of the chocolaty/salty/sweet/crunchy goodness on to the lined sheets. I even sprinkled one sheet of haystacks lightly with kosher salt. Optional, but I'll throw it out there for you to decide!

Set aside to let them cool. I didn't need to throw them in the fridge, thank goodness. (Who can fit two full size baking sheets in their fridge? If you can, don't tell me. I don't want to know.) After about 15 minutes, they were fine. Summertime? Yeah...make room in the fridge, please!

Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Pretzel Haystacks

Bonus Recipe!  Which, to be honest, I almost feel silly calling a recipe, because it’s so simple, but if you’re interested… And really, these aren’t at all very good for you. What? Don’t look at me that way. They don’t all have to be good for you--where’s the fun in that?

So--I finished writing this post, or so I thought, then realized I had some good stuff to make another batch of these, and you know, change it up a bit--so I ran (Really, I ran. Knocked a couple dogs out of the way in the process.) into the kitchen and whipped these up in no time at all. (Ok, I didn’t really run. But I walked with purpose.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Haystacks

4 oz Nutter Butter Bites cookies, coarsely broken up
1 1/2 cups peanuts (lightly salted, roasted-but use what you've got)
2 cups broken pretzel sticks
1/2 cup Heath Toffee Bits
11.5 oz bag Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips

Follow the same directions as above!  They remind me of Snickers, sort of. Chocolaty, peanutty--so good!

_______________________________________________________________________________

So, yeah--no food snobbery allowed with these. They are what they are. Bits of good things, all mixed up, and doused in chocolate. Simple. Get an easy candy fix this way. Mix them up-take a trip through your pantry and see what you’ve got. Enjoy!



Thursday
Jun182009

Cashew Toffee Cookies

You know you want these! When you have that first bite, you’ll know it was meant to be. When you bake them, you’ll thank me. Or, you may hate me--because these are hard to stop eating.

I bought this tub of little cookies at Trader Joe’s months ago. In fact, I made these months ago, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. You know how it goes. You make something, take the photos, eat or give away all of the goodies, and the cycle begins again. Before you know it, you have a bunch of recipes and photos sitting around, waiting their turn. Plus, life happens and you’re busy, maybe you can’t get to your blog as much as you’d like. My train of thought has left the station…

Back to the cookies! I can’t remember what the Trader Joe’s cookies were called, but oh my gosh, were they good! Bits of cashew, pockets of caramel, crunchy cookie. I’d guess they were called something along the line of Caramel Cashew Cookies. See how I made that connection? ;)


I wanted to try to make them at home, and figured it couldn’t be too difficult. And as it happened, I’d picked up the April edition of Everyday Food. There was a recipe in it for Pecan Sandies that had all of the flavors I was looking for in the cookie base, so I ran with it. And don’t believe the reviewer on the site that said the recipe needed an egg, it doesn’t. It’s basically a shortbread cookie, which doesn’t need an egg. (Yes, I know, my mom’s shortbread does use an egg, but it’s an old family recipe, and I’m not messing around with that one. It’s untouchable, like most treasured family recipes are, right? Plus, my mom loved it, and she’d be thrilled that I shared it with all of you.)

I didn’t change much in the recipe, but I did double it. Because if you’re making cookies, why would make only 18 of them? And I increased the salt, to play off the sweetness of the toffee bits. mmmmm….


Bonus! There’s no egg in this, so if you’re inclined to eat raw cookie dough (and seriously, who isn’t?), then this one’s for you.

Cashew Toffee Sandies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup toffee bits (like Heath)

 

Heat oven to 350. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla and salt.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour, mixing until combined.
Fold in cashews and toffee bits.


Roll the dough (it's really easy, not sticky!) into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place them on parchment lined sheets.
Wet the bottom of a glass, and lightly flatten the dough balls. (you'll need to re- wet the glass a few times.)
Bake 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. If you put more than one sheet at a time in the oven, rotate them halfway through baking time.
Cool on wire racks, and store in airtight container.
Makes about 36 delicious cookies.