Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carvel Who?

1st snowstorm of the year calls for an ice cream cake, doesn't it?

Ok, well not exactly. More like a birthday boy (who happens to like ice cream cake) and a cancelled flight due to the snowstorm. Not only did we miss out on our visit, we were also left with a birthday cake to tend to (by tend to, I mean eat of course). Tough week...

Don't get me wrong, when it comes to ice cream cake, I like Carvel just as much as the next guy.  And if you're local to the Lehigh Valley, the ice cream cakes at The Bethlehem Dairy Store (aka The Cup) are no joke either! making it myself, I had something to blog about.

The layers speak for themselves (fyi...he's a vanilla kind of guy)...


Now, I said I made the ice cream cake, not the ice cream. Breyers was my brand of choice, along with Cool Whip, store bought caramel topping and cookies....assembly required!

I considered a cookies and cream crunch layer, but decided to keep with the traditional chocolate cookie crunch. So instead of running out to buy plain chocolate wafers, I scraped the cream out of the Oreos that I had on hand. No worries, my kids were in heaven. You've all heard of double stuffed Oreos, well my guys were quadruple stuffing theirs. And with no food processor on hand, I took out some aggression by crushing the cookies with the end of a rolling pin. Aaah!

Last but not least, I'll let you in on a little scoop (no pun intended). Somewhere, some time ago, I read about Carvel's secret to their chocolate crunchies...a coating of an ice cream topping similar to Magic Shell. Top secret?? I guess not, considering it's all over the internet.

Ice Cream Cake
2 half gallons of ice cream
chocolate wafer cookies
Magic Shell ice cream topping
caramel topping
Cool Whip

Allow 1 half gallon of ice cream per layer to soften (not melt) and stir until smooth, folding in any additions at this point (ie: chopped candy, nuts, etc). Spread bottom layer into 9" springform pan. Place in freezer.

Crush cookies. Add the Magic Shell to the cookies crumbs slowly and just until coated. Spread cookie crunch over bottom layer. Place in freezer.

Add top layer of ice cream. Place in freezer. Spread layer of caramel topping over top layer. Place in freezer. Once cake is completely frozen, remove outer ring of springform pan. Place in freezer.

Ice cake with Cool Whip. Place in freezer. Decorate as desired.

If you haven't figured it out by my repetition of "Place in freezer.", it's important to return the cake to the freezer between steps allowing each layer to set.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Cheatin' Heart Chocolate Chip

"Really, aren't you going to make chocolate chip?"

Seriously? After 2 days of rolling kiffles, this is what I get? Not to mention the shopping, the cleaning, and come on people, these presents aren't gonna wrap themselves!

The guilt got the best of me, my hubby wants chocolate chip, my hubby will get chocolate chip.

But you see, I have another cookie recipe waiting to be baked by tomorrow, as well as another very special treat that needs my attention (be sure to check back next week).

Priorities right?

And frankly, chocolate chip bore me. Don't get me wrong, they are absolutely delicious, but there are so many other recipes to I cheated.


All of you bakers out there... please forgive me. All of you busy moms...high fives all around!

Thank you Nestle Toll House!

Question is, do I fess up? Hmmm???

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kiffles...A Christmas Tradition

Every Christmas, I make kiffles, lots and lots of kiffles.

Many years ago (10 give or take), I swiped the recipe from my mother's kitchen drawer. However, the word recipe may be stretching it a bit...

The recipe originally came from my aunt's aunt. That would be my father's brother's wife's mother or father's sister (or possibly sister-in-law). Did you get that? Gotta love a recipe with some family history!

It's your traditional cream cheese kiffle dough, maybe not quite as flaky as some other recipes out there, but trust me, they melt in your mouth. Mmmmm! There was a time or two when I thought about toying with a different recipe, but the consensus around here was 'DO NOT CHANGE A THING!' So if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Now, as far as filling...lekvar for mom, raspberry in the annual attempt to entice my hubby*, and apricot for everyone else, but most importantly...the more, the better!

That's a matter of taste though, some like just a hint of flavor. Not my gang. My gang goes more for the jelly donut concept, bite in to one end, the filling squishes out the other. Time to make the kiffles!

*Much to my dismay, my husband is not a fan of the kiffle. He wants to know where the chocolate chip cookies are...ugggh!

24 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 lb unsalted butter (6 sticks)
6 cups flour

Cream butter and cheese, slowing add flour until soft dough forms. Form ball and chill dough for 2-3 hours, or 2-3 days in my case ( I just don't have a whole day to commit to kiffles, so I make the dough and hope for the best). Split dough into smaller balls and roll in confectioner's sugar before rolling flat with a rolling pin, cut into 2" squares, place dollop of filling in center of each square and roll corner to corner. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar when cool.


Friday, December 10, 2010

White Christmas Cocoa

'Tis the season...

We're decking the halls!

Tree is up, stockings are hung, and shopping has begun. (One gift down, dozens to go!)

Dreaming of a white Christmas? I am!

Let it snow!

While waiting on mother nature and thinking of some more cheesy Christmas cliches, some white chocolate hot cocoa might hit the spot. When I found this recipe, I couldn't resist. (Thank you Food Network!)

Such a festive treat, topped with marshmallows or whipped cream and garnished with a candy cane stirrer.

We also tried rimming the mug with melted chocolate and dipping it in crushed peppermint. (I'm a margarita drinker, can you tell??) The kids loved this one, a bite of candy with every sip. It was the perfect end to a long, cold day.

How about some holiday cheer? White Christmas Cocoa with a little (or a lot) of peppermint liquor, cheers! Or get creative, I added my favorite...

Mmmmmm, talk about warm and cozy!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! (sorry, couldn't resist)

White Christmas Cocoa
1 cup white chocolate chips (don't be shy)
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract
whipped topping or marshmallows
candy canes

Melt white chocolate with heavy cream over medium heat, stir continuously until completely melted. Stir in half-and-half and vanilla. Continue stirring until heated through. Pour into mugs and garnish with topping and candy.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Snickers Surprise

It's been awhile...

I can tell you that I've been getting lots of rest, but that's not really the case. Actually, that's not the case at all. I've been itching to post, but since our return from Disney, my camera charger has been M.I.A. That said, the following pics were taken with my iphone and I'm still trying to figure it out. Just got the phone this week, it was an early Christmas gift. Woot, woot, thanks Santa! (Yep, I just said woot, woot.)

Ok, I don't make cookies for a reason...well, with the exception of my banana bread cookies (YUM!) of course.

I did, however, try my hand at these Snickers stuffed peanut butter cookies.

So what's my reason for not making cookies? I get easily distracted. Such a short baking time doesn't allow me the necessary buffer needed to walk away. By the time I have the "Oh, my cookies!" moment, it's already too late.

Don't walk away or set a timer...great advice, and sounds so simple doesn't it?! (Sigh)

Warm from the oven, the gooey center was a sweet surprise. Dark bottoms or not, they still got a thumbs up from the critics. Although, there are still some left, which is highly unusual with this bunch.

I think I'll leave the cookie making to someone else. Good thing I have a couple of friends and a sister-in-law that make cookies to die for, so no worries!

I used the 1-1-1-1 peanut butter cookie recipe and wrapped 1/2 of a miniature Snickers in the cookie dough, making sure to cover the candy completely to avoid having a melted mess on the cookie sheet. With the following recipe I made 1 dozen Snickers surprise cookies, and 1 dozen mini peanut butter (unstuffed).

1-1-1-1 Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar (some variations use a mix of brown and white sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

miniature Snickers bars - halved

Combine all ingredients, wrap dough around candy pieces or drop teaspoonfuls (for regular pb cookies) on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approx 8-10 minutes (not 10-15!)

For crisscross pattern on stuffed cookies bake a couple of minutes to soften candy then use sugar coated fork an GENTLY press. For unstuffed, press pattern onto cookies prior to baking.