Mint Chip Brownie Ice Cream “Cake”

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My daughter just turned 9! This birthday celebration-worthy dessert was super sweet and decadent – my daughter called it “amazing”! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie Layer – adapted from Handle the Heat

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (*next time I think I’ll use bittersweet chocolate*)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch or a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. (*I didn’t do this, but it makes for easier pan removal and slicing later on*)

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Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Stir to combine and take off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and salt, folding gently until combined.

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Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still attached, 35 to 40 for the 8×8 pan, or 20-25 minutes for the 13×9 pan. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight in preparation for the ice cream layer.

For the Mint Chip “Cake” – adapted from Glorious Treats

Ice Cream Layer- 

  • 1 carton (1.5 quarts) Mint Chip Ice Cream

Chocolate Layer-

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream Layer-

    • 1- 8oz tub of Whipped Topping (*I used Truwhip*)

Garnish/Toppings-

  • Chopped Andes Mints, and/or mini chocolate chips

Directions –

Ice Cream Layer

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Allow a carton of ice cream to sit out at room temperature about 20 minutes, until soft enough to spread over the cooled brownies. Once the ice cream has been evenly spread, place the entire pan in the freezer to allow the ice cream to re-freeze.

Chocolate Layer

WP_20150410_008 1Heat the cream in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until hot (watch it so it does not boil). Add chocolate chips to the hot cream and set aside (undisturbed) about 3 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. After 3 minutes, stir the chocolate until the cream and chocolate are fully combined. Set aside and allow to cool to about room temperature. Once cool, pour the chocolate over the ice cream layer, and spread evenly. Return pan to freezer.

Whipped Cream Layer

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Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate layer, then garnish with toppings of your choice. Return pan to freezer and FREEZE AT LEAST 3 HOURS before serving. The entire dessert can be made ahead, and kept in the freezer (covered) up to 3 days in advance.

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The “I want Chocolate Cake” Cake

My son turned 12! Good grief, where did the time go? PicMonkey Collage
The “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake – adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

Cake

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table or fine sea salt

Frosting

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoons cream or whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions –

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and either butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan, or spray the interior with a nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy; scrape down bowl. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until combined, then the buttermilk and mix again. Scrape the bowl down well and don’t worry if the batter looks uneven. Place your flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a sifter (I find this step necessary because my cocoa is very lumpy) and shake it over the batter bowl. Stir on low until just combined; scrape down bowl a final time. Scoop batter into prepared pan and smooth flat.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes in cake pan on cooling rack, then flip out onto rack or serving plate to completely finish cooling before frosting.

Make the frosting: Place frosting ingredients in a food processor and run machine to to mix. Scrape down bowl then process for another 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and somewhat fluffed. Scoop the frosting onto the cooled chocolate cake and swirl it around. Cake keeps at room temperature for a day or two, or in the fridge up to a week,.

Brownie in a Mug

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Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate, it has to be warm and vanilla ice cream is a must! Good quality cocoa powder is so important, and I used my stash of Valhrona 🙂 Yes, it is worth the $1 + an ounce price! This brownie is rich, moist, and more cakey than fudgy and hits all the right buttons. I’m kind of mad at myself for making this! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ice cream

Directions –

Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

Add the butter, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 20 seconds. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Paleo Frappuccino

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This blended coffee drink is so tasty, healthy and cheap! I modified the recipe slightly to suit my taste and I have made it about four times in the last week 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Paleo Frappuccino – adapted from You Hunt, I Gather

  • 1 small, frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 – 1 cup cold coffee
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions – 

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 1 minute or until desired consistency is reached.

Carrot Cake for My Gram

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My kids and I recently came back from our trip to California. While I was there, I used an entire 5 pound bag of flour…yeah, I went a little overboard spoiling my parents and my Grandma during those two short weeks 😉 I was glad to, and honored to cook with my 85 year old grandmother – the one who inspired me to cook in the first place. While it was a lot of time and effort to make so much for them, I was flattered to hear that my Gram actually learned from me!! and my Dad said my cinnamon rolls reminded him of his mother’s 🙂

Because Gram’s birthday happened the week after we flew in, I told her I would bake her a birthday cake. She couldn’t eat chocolate (huge bummer), but she loved carrot cake. Problem for this baker was that I have never made one, let alone eaten a piece in over 10 years!! Thankfully, a quick search at Pinterest led me to find this recipe that sounded tasty – kind of flimsy evidence to go on, but I went with it. I didn’t try any of it because of my Whole 30 craziness, but the family really enjoyed it and said it wasn’t too sweet and the frosting was perfect. That sounds like a win to me! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Carrot Cake – adapted from Sprinkle Some Sugar

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar (or dark)
  • 5 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (about 7-8 carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Directions –

For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of two 9″ round baking pans with parchment paper and lightly grease and flour sides. Be sure to get every inch! Set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clover all together and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together. Add in the eggs one at a time, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined making sure everything is well mixed. Fold in the grated carrots by hand with a rubber spatula or spoon. Batter will be thick, this is okay. If you are adding pecans or raisins, do so now.
Distribute the batter evenly into both pans. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking cake at 25 and check every 2 minutes after that. Once a toothpick comes out clean, cakes are done. Let them cool on wire rack or counter for 20 minutes. Flip pans over and cakes should pop right out onto wire rack or parchment or wax paper lined counter. Let them cool completely. While they are cooling, mix up the frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and light in color. Add in the vanilla and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time on low until combined. Whip frosting for another minute or so until smooth and creamy.
Once cakes are completely cooled, cut the domed tops off so they are completely flat and even. Place one cake on the bottom of a cake stand, facing up. Spread some frosting on top until completely covered. Add second cake, bottom up, and frost the rest of the cake. I found it much easier to do one thin layer of frosting, set it in the fridge and as it firmed up a bit, add another thick layer – the frosting looks much more even this way. This cake is even more moist and flavorful the second day once the flavors have all settled in with each other.
Store cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Milkshake

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This dessert hits the spot and makes me feel like I’m cheating on my diet! It’s a great fake-out dessert because the frozen bananas create a thick, ice cream-like consistency. Even my husband and kids enjoy this – that’s a win for clean eating! 😉 I have made this at least five times in the last two weeks, actually, I could go for one of these right now 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Milkshake – adapted from Detoxinista

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • ¾ cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ice cubes (about 2 handfuls)

Directions – 
Throw all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately!

Chocolate Cream Pie with Oreo Crust

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Quick Post: I know I’m late to the game here, but this was our first year to “celebrate” Pi Day. This chocolate cream pie was amazing, and the flavor was even better with age. The first day, it was all mocha; but the next day it became the most perfect chocolate flavor – swoon worthy, amazingly rich, velvety and thick! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Chocolate Cream Pie – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Crust – *recipe link*

  • 24 Oreos
  • 4 TBSP butter, melted

Filling –

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for richer chocolate flavor
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 2 cups milk

Stabilized Whipped Cream – *recipe link*

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 2 TBSP water
  • pinch of salt
  • chocolate curls (optional)

Directions –

For the Crust – 

In a medium-sized bowl or a food processor, add the Oreo cookies and blend until the texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until well combine. Place the ground crumb mixture into a 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie pan and press onto the bottom and up the sides evenly. Try to make the crust about 1/8 inch (1/3 cm) evenly all around. Refrigerate the crust for at least an hour before you add the filling of your choice.

For the Filling – 

1)Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a 2-quart mixing bowl; set aside.

2) In a medium saucepan away from heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of the cream. Whisk in the egg yolks.

3) Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk.

4) Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens; boil for 1 minute.

5) Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the reserved chocolate and butter.

6) Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

7) Pass the filling through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps.

8. Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly.

9. Pour the chilled pudding into the chilled Oreo crust and top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

For the topping – In bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Scald 2 tablespoons of whipping cream and pour over gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate about 15 minutes. Then whisk until smooth. Mix remaining cream, sugar and salt. Mix in smooth gelatin mixture stopping to scrape bowl twice.

Tres Leches Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding is the nostalgic comfort food of my childhood. My dear Gram would often make a big pot of arroz con leche for breakfast, which I happily ate then and will continue to enjoy – even if the pot is all for me. Sadly, (and strangely) my family doesn’t have an appreciation for this kind of treat. Last night, I did get my girl to try two small tastes of this (she’s the picky one), and she said it was pretty good. I will make a believer out of her yet! 😉

Most recipes call for chilling the pudding for a couple of hours in the fridge – forget that! Why wait when this stuff begs to be eaten hot with just a pinch of cinnamon on top? This pudding was luxurious and creamy and not too sweet. Near perfect! Gram’s will always be the standard, but I think she’d approve of this 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Tres Leches Rice Pudding – adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

  • 1 cup (180 grams) long- grain white rice
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • One 12- ounce can (11/2 cups or 355 ml) evaporated milk
  • One 13.5- ounce can (1 cups or 415 ml) unsweetened coconut
  • One 14- ounce can (11/4 cups or 390 grams) sweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, to finish

Cook the rice: Put the rice, 2 cups of water, and the salt in a medium saucepan with a tight- fitting lid. Bring to a boil- you should hear the pot going all a flutter under the lid and puffing steam out the seam. Reduce to a low simmer, and let the rice cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove the rice pot from the heat.

Once the rice is cooked, whisk the egg in a medium bowl, and then whisk in the evaporated milk. Stir the coconut and sweetened condensed milks into the rice, then add the egg mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook the mixture over medium- low heat until it looks mostly, or about 90 percent, absorbed (the pudding will thicken a lot as it cools), about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then divide the pudding among serving dishes. Chill your puddings for at least an hour if desired – I love mine warm with a sprinkling of cinnamon 🙂

Hungry for More??

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Coconut Milk and Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

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Arroz con Leche

Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs

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These are a perfect special occasion (ahem, Valentine’s Day), treat that any chocolate lover would appreciate. My husband was pretty excited about these because the original is one of his favorites, so how bad could the addition of brownie be? The brownie bakes up thin, chewy and fudgy and it sticks really well to the frozen dough ball. As I rolled the brownies around the cookie dough I decided that these win the prize for messiest dessert ever – my hands were coated in sticky brownie, but in the end these were worth the effort. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs – adapted from Handle the Heat

For the cookie dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 – 3 tablespoon milk (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the brownies:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the chocolate coating:
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 teaspoons coconut oil (or more if needed )

Directions –

For the brownies:

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Meanwhile, make the brownies. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang.

In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until well combined, mixture will be thick. Let cool if the butter is still hot. Stir in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, stirring very well after each addition. Stir until the batter is very well blended. Add the flour and stir again until very well blended. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through but still very moist and fudgy. Let cool.

For the cookie dough:

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In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until very well combined and fluffy. Add in the milk and vanilla. On low speed gradually add the flour and salt. Stir in the miniature chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into 2 teaspoon-sized balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for an hour, or until firm.

To assemble:

Cut the brownies into 1-inch squares. Flatten a square with the palm of your hand. Place a cookie dough ball into the middle of the flattened brownie and wrap the brownie around the cookie dough ball. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just try to get as much of a round shape as possible, rolling the ball between your palms. Repeat with the remaining brownie and cookie pieces. Freeze the balls for 30 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

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Combine the chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, and continue heating in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts, until the chocolate is melted.

Dip each brownie ball into the chocolate to coat completely. Allow the excess to drip off then return to the baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting

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I decided this holiday season to start some new traditions for my family. Before Christmas, the kids and I attempted to make a gingerbread house from scratch…next year we’ll work out all the kinks and I’ll post those results 😉 We never do anything for the New Year, so I decided it would be fun foods for dinner (the kid’s choice) and a cake to celebrate and make a “wish” on (actually, we’re going to announce what goals we’d like to meet for the New Year).

Verdict: Yum! The cake itself is fairly lean, but the three sticks of butter and cup of mascarpone cheese more than makes up for that! 😉 This cake is a new favorite and I love that it makes a double layer 8-inch, cute, little cake 😉 Oh, and the frosting! It’s fluffy, rich, but not too sweet. It makes a huge batch (about 4 cups) so I used about half and froze the rest. Oh, and I piped “2014”  with melted white chocolate with some coconut oil mixed in to make it thin it out and make it smooth. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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One-Bowl Chocolate Cake – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached cake flour (150 grams) or AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup water + 3/4 tsp espresso powder (*espresso optional*)
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions –

Preheat oven to 3o0 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep); grease and line each cake pan with parchment paper. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, water/espresso powder, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide batter between pans (my portions weighed 1 pound 2 ounces). Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, face-up, to wire racks. Let cool completely. Wrap and freeze layers if desired.

 

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Dark Chocolate Mascarpone Frosting – adapted from Not So Humble Pie
*frosts a 8-inch two or three layer cake 

  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, finelly chopped
  • 6 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups or 339g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (or in a pinch, cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch salt

Directions –

Combine the boiling water and dutch processed cocoa. Mix well to remove any lumps and then set aside to cool.

Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler and then set aside to cool. Allow the melted chocolate to come to room temperature before using (otherwise it will melt your butter and that’s bad), this should take 25-30 minutes.

Once the chocolate is cool, beat the butter and powdered sugar in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy (roughly 4 minutes).  While it is mixing, combine the mascarpone cheese with the cocoa powder slurry.

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Once the butter is light and fluffy, add the cooled melted chocolate to the butter and beat until uniform, scraping down the sides as needed.  Then add the mascarpone cocoa mixer and beat until well combined.  The frosting should be ready to use, however if it seems too soft you can place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and it will firm up.