Ever since I got my ice cream maker a few months back, my children have been asking for chocolate ice cream. While I could have been boring and made just that, I decided to add a little something to the ice cream. Personally, I think peanut butter tastes great with chocolate, and I don’t think I am ready to put chunks in my ice cream yet so I attempted to do a peanut butter swirl. I ended up with something less than a swirl, but the ice cream itself is amazing.
Since it is more a frozen custard than ice cream, it is very rich. I can usually eat a lot of ice cream, but even I had problems eating what I gave myself.
I created a double batch since there are 7 of us. If you need or want less, you can easily cut the recipe in half.
What? Lynn, another post about chocolate? Yes, yes it is.
Delish recipes will often show up on my Facebook feed. A recipe for Chocolate Apple Pops popped up and a friend asked me if I could make them. I said I probably could. Now, before I make them for my friend, I wanted to make sure I could actually make them! So I did a test run of the recipe on the Delish website.
This recipe isn’t very hard to make, but there are a few things I wanted to mention about what I will change for my next batch of these.
Number one: Use Granny Smith apples.
I used Honeycrisp apples. I adore Honeycrisp apples. They are my all-time favorite apple. My kids love them too. We all win. But I think my favorite way to eat them is just plain sliced with nothing on them.
They worked okay in this recipe, but I really think Granny Smith is the way to go.
Number two: Try to slice the apples so that you miss the core.
I kept the core in this batch and later realized that I probably should try to slice on either side of it. No one wants to bite into an apple seed unintentionally! And… what happens to all the chocolate covering that part… I guess you have to eat it off the core! I know this is probably a little thing, but I just think it’d be more enjoyable to eat if you don’t have to worry about biting into the core of the apple, even if it is supposed to be a little like eating a caramel apple.
Number two and a half: I’m considering making more of a chocolate hard shell coating (like the ice cream topping) for these, but I am not sure about that yet.
Number three: There is no number three! Just… boy, these are yummy and we pretended they are healthy even though they are covered in chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, and sprinkles! Did I mention they are covered in sprinkles… twice?
Definitely kid-approved, 4 out of 5 of my kids liked them (Gwen ate all the “good parts” off her apple and left the “healthy part.” lol) A little messy to eat but hey, that’s part of the fun! We went out to eat after my kids tried these apple pops. Most of them had chocolate smears somewhere on their clothing. Oops!
I didn’t originally plan to write a blog post about chocolate, but I thought about mentioning a particular brand I buy in my mocha macaron post and then realized.. “Hey! Why not write a post about it?” So here it is!
About 6 months ago or more, Josh and I were at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market in downtown San Diego and we ran across a vendor called Nibble that was selling single-origin chocolate made with only organic cocoa beans and organic cane sugar. Now before tasting this chocolate, I wasn’t very picky about the chocolate I ate. And now because of this chocolate, I am very picky! I think I mentioned this vendor in a previous post about the Little Italy Farmer’s Market.
Their chocolate lasted me a few months! And when I ran out, I wanted to buy more. Fortunately, that opportunity came a few months ago when a friend of mine was in town and my children and I took her to Old Town San Diego for a day. I love Old Town! It’s a great day trip and it’s fun for kids and adults to visit! I hadn’t been there in a while and we were walking through one of the shop areas and there was a Nibble store there! Of course, we had to stop in and I was able to buy a new four bar flight of chocolate. My kids love Nibble chocolate also (they prefer very dark chocolate over semi-sweet or milk), but I don’t usually share. I know, I’m a mean mom. I let them try a few of the samples at the store though. Maybe for Christmas, I’ll buy them their own jar of the Nibblelitos.
I’d love to bake with this chocolate but it is too expensive for baking with, so I use Guittard extra dark chocolate chips if I can get them on sale. I also buy Ghirardelli chocolate bars for baking, also when they are on sale. I’ve thought of trying Scharffenberger, but I’m not sure I’m ready to pay that much for baking chocolate yet. Probably soon! There is Valrhona chocolate, but that is even more expensive. Maybe some time I will do a comparison bake using each kind in chocolate chip cookies. Now, that would be a fun bake! My kids would love it! Chocolate chip cookies for four days straight!
Nibble chocolate is what I eat when I need a chocolate fix (which is almost every day!) Usually, one square will do it, which is why four boxes lasts me a long time!
Three of my kids have birthdays in May. This makes May a very, very busy month. It also isn’t very good for our health! I guess you could say that May is like our second Christmas with all the birthday cake and sweets I end up making!
This year, I changed up our usual birthday happenings. On each boy’s actual birthday, I made them the flavor of birthday cake they wanted. Ian picked a giant chocolate chip cookie with chocolate frosting. Corran picked a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Thias picked a chocolate cake with caramel frosting. I won’t be posting pictures of these cakes because I am an awful cake decorator! One of my future goals is to learn how to decorate cakes properly. Also, Corran’s red velvet cake ended up being more like a brown velvet cake. I also had multiple things go wrong with each cake! Oh well, it ended up being very good practice for me, but they don’t make for very good blog posts unfortunately. At least, the cakes tasted good, even if they didn’t look like much!
For the boys’ combined family birthday party, I asked them which dessert they wanted me to make, instead of a birthday cake. Yesterday, we had their party. So this past week has been a little bit crazy!
Corran wanted a chocolate cream tart, which was pretty straightforward. Ian wanted Minecraft cookies, which ended up being pie crust Minecraft cookies instead of sugar cookie Minecraft cookies. Thias wanted his very favorite dessert: macarons! Specifically, double chocolate macarons. He has been asking me to make these for a few months. So for his birthday party, I was finally able to make them.
With this kitchen experiment, I produced my first macaron fail! I should have just stuck with my usual macaron recipe that I know (heating a sugar syrup to 245 degrees F), instead of trying a new one, which used confectioner’s sugar and no stovetop work.
I’m not quite sure what I did wrong with these. Maybe I will give this recipe a try another time when I’m not making them for a specific reason. I suspect that not weighing out my almond flour could have been the problem though.
I can’t seem to find the recipe I used online. So I won’t be posting a link to it.
After my macaron fail, which took about 3 hours, I started my second attempt, with my usual recipe using Italian meringue. The only change I made was to add about 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to the sifting part of the recipe.
The star of this macaron though was the ganache in the middle that I used for the filling. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for chocolate ganache but I made 3/4 of the recipe instead of the full. Even with the 3/4 recipe, I still had leftover ganache, which I had no trouble using… or eating!
1 Ghirardelli chocolate bar, 72% cocoa
1 Ghirardelli chocolate bar, 86% cocoa
3/4 cup plus about 3 teaspoons heavy cream
3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
Break the chocolate bars up into small pieces (as small as you can) into a glass bowl. Heat the heavy cream in microwave-safe container in the microwave until just boiling. Pour half the hot heavy cream over the chocolate in the bowl, wait 30 seconds, and gently stir in a circular motion until the chocolate melts into the cream. Pour in the rest of the cream and continue the gentle stirring until the ganache is smooth and shiny. Stir in the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time, making sure the butter piece is melted before adding the next. The ganache will be too thin at this point to use as a filling for macarons. Let it sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until thick enough that it won’t fall out of the middle of the macarons.
My family likes dark chocolate, so that is why I used the 72% and above cocoa bars. Feel free to use the cocoa percent you are comfortable with.
I let these little beauties sit overnight in the fridge before we even tried them. As usual, it was worth the wait!
I’ve promised Josh that I will make jasmine-flavored macarons for him for Father’s Day. It may be sooner than that though because I have egg whites in the fridge I need to use!
I think I am in love with pastry cream (or creme patisserie 🙂 and I wanted to try making it again. But this time, I went with chocolate! I also have a new tart pan that has been sitting around waiting for me to use it! The poor thing has been here since before Christmas!
All the recipes I used are from my Baking: From my home to yours cookbook by Dorie Greenspan. Josh bought me this cookbook for Christmas and it has seen a lot of use!
This was a pat-into-the-pan tart crust. I know I made this crust a little too thick at the bottom of the fluted edge, but this was my first tart crust. I used a sweet tart crust recipe.
Here is my tart crust after baking. It ended up a little darker than I wanted. But I have a good reason for missing the timer on the oven for this!
I was outside with 4 of my kids, my mother-in-law, and 2 of my nephews and we were chasing two chickens! We have about 7 neighbors whose yards touch our property. One particular neighbor has a LOT of chickens. Their yard used to slope down to a fence that borders our side yard. Then they leveled their backyard and built a high retaining wall and then put another fence on top of that. The retaining wall is incredibly ugly and blocks out the sun, but there isn’t much we can do about it. Anyway, when they did all that work, we thought that our chicken problems were over. But no, somehow their chickens were still finding a way to escape into our yard! Yesterday, two of their chickens were in our yard and couldn’t find a way back to their home. My kids and nephews had a great time trying to chase them out of the yard but it didn’t work. There was no where for them to go! Since I was outside, I didn’t hear the timer beep when my crust was done.
Josh talked to the neighbor last night and they said they would come around to pick up their chickens. I’m not sure if they did or not.
I didn’t get any pictures of my custard as I was making it but here is the assembled tart. I used a recipe for chocolate pastry cream. I did have to push the custard through a sieve before I refrigerated it. This cream wasn’t quite as smooth as the vanilla pastry cream I made a few weeks ago.
The spatula I used to smooth the custard into the tart crust was full of chocolaty goodness after I was done. My oldest son and I almost had a fight over the spatula. He won.
The custard was divine. Pudding from a box just doesn’t have the same oomph as this stuff!
I tried to make an Italian meringue frosting two days ago but it didn’t turn out quite like I wanted. My kids didn’t seem to mind it though and were eating it by itself. I used the frosting to make Marshmallow Fluff Brownies, but I had a lot of it left over! So I decided to use it on this tart as decoration along with some cocoa powder. Whipped cream would have been better, I think. I didn’t like the texture of the frosting.
My dislike for the frosting didn’t stop me from eating my slice though! I told Josh that eating this tart made me want to kiss him. He just looked at me like I was crazy. lol
This past week has been one of those crazy ones, but I think the week (and days!) before Thanksgiving will always be like that. My youngest son, Rhys, turned 4 on Tuesday, and I wanted to do something special for his birthday party that we had today. Usually, when we have family over for a birthday party, I go all out on the food (lumpia, pancit, maybe Filipino barbecue, and any other delicious dishes my family brings to the party). This year, I decided to try something different and make Rhys’s birthday cake. Most times, I buy a fun birthday cake from the grocery store or will buy one of Costco’s huge birthday cakes. Cake is not one of my baking talents.
It was not the easiest cake in the world to make. In fact, my first attempt did not work out (the cake layers stuck to the pans) and I used one of the cake layers as the cake crumbs that were pressed into the frosting. So, it took me 3 days to fully make this cake. On Thursday, I had my failed attempt, on Friday, I successfully baked two layers for the cake and refrigerated them overnight, and today, I made the frosting for the cake and assembled it.
I also was not able to make the Italian meringue frosting that was used in the recipe. I only had 4 hours this morning to assemble the cake as well as clean the house. So I went with a simple cream cheese frosting from probably my favorite food blog: Simply Recipes by Elise Bauer. The frosting part was the easy part. Getting the cake crumb topping onto the cake was more difficult. Which is probably why it looks a bit of a mess.
The cake was very brownie-like and fudgy for a cake and it tasted great. It wasn’t too sweet and the chocolate flavor shone through. I used a 60% cocoa chocolate bar for the bittersweet chocolate and Hershey milk chocolate for the chopped chocolate.
The adults all liked the cake, but the birthday boy hardly ate any of his! This is funny to me because he is the one who requested a chocolate chocolate cake. I was also surprised that one of my nephews, who does NOT like cake, ate his whole piece and wanted more! So I guess it really was more like a brownie. 🙂
I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the Italian meringue, so I am going to try and make it for my husband’s birthday in January.
Tomorrow, our Sunday School class is having a breakfast potluck. I wasn’t sure what to bring as I was a bit baked out from the birthday cake ordeal. I told my husband about the potluck, and then I went looking for something that was quick to make but would still taste good.
I was about to make some Cream Cheese muffins and set about preparing to do so when Josh walked into the kitchen and asked if we could bring cookies. I was a little surprised. Bring cookies to class for breakfast? Then, he specified that he wanted to make Vanilla and Earl Grey tea cookies.
We have been wanting to try making these for a while, ever since we saw Earl Grey tea biscuits on a biscuit episode of the Great British Bakeoff. They were actually not that hard to make, especially with Josh and I both working together. I had a lot of fun baking with him. We should do that more often!
We have had this processor since we got married! That was almost 13 years ago.
Josh had some issues with the tea escaping through one of the outlets in the cover, which was covered.
We should have just taken the lid off the food processor to put in the rest of the ingredients: flour, salt, powdered sugar. But this lid isn’t very easy to put on. If we start using the food processor more, we might be in the market to get a better one. We made quite a mess getting all the ingredients in there. Also, because the finer ingredients kept escaping out of the bowl, Josh was not able to grind up the two vanilla beans completely. We had to sift out the larger pieces of vanilla beans using a mesh strainer. To replace the chunks of vanilla beans that were not ground, Josh added some vanilla extract.
All of my children except one liked these cookies. The one who didn’t like them probably had issues with the ground tea leaves. He is very particular about the texture of his food.
The tea flavor is very subtle in these cookies. I was able to taste the black tea but not very much of the bergamot. The vanilla is the best part of the cookies though. They are buttery and perfect with a cup of tea!