Monday, July 25, 2011

olive oil granola with dried apricots and pistachios

(photo by Julia Bender)

Remember how I'm obsessed with granola? I see a new variation, and I can't help but try it. This was my latest discovery, and I sure do love it. I found this recipe from the New York Times, via thekitchn (have you noticed I like that blog? Cause I'm siting it in almost every post? Can I work for them, please?) It's so delicious. It's got a bit of a savory vibe, working with a little bit of sweet. It's like a sophisticated granola. The ingredients are a little on the expensive side, so in the future, I'd like to try swapping out different nuts and seeds to make a less expensive version. But try this at least once, you'll love it! I know I did. Lots.

Olive Oil Granola With Dried Apricots and Pistachios

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, hulled
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup coconut chips
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
Fresh ricotta, for serving (optional)
Fresh berries, for serving (optional).

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats,
pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil,
brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed
baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every
10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to
combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.

Yield: About 9 cups.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ice cream sandwiches: roasted cherry coconut ice cream with gingersnap cookies

(photo by Julia Bender)

As it turns out, I have pretty rad and talented friends. I know a lot of people say that, but allow me to brag for a moment. Julia is a gorgeous and talented photographer, not to mention fun roommate and travel companion and secret code talker. We lived together in SF for 4 years and became like sisters. This summer has been extra fun for me, cause she's been in town, and we've been recreating our old times of awesomeness. Including this little mini photoshoot of a practice round of ice cream sandwiches and some granola (this recipe is coming, just you wait). Isn't she awesome? Also, while in SF, we became good friends with Chef Tom Call. I talked about him before here. Well, the ice cream sandwiches I was testing and Julia was shooting were for this event. When I got my ice cream maker, all I could think about was ice cream sandwich combos. This was the first one I thought of. I liked the idea of cherry ice cream with gingersnaps. I felt like the combo of a chewy and slightly spicy cookie with the freshness of a summer fruit was pretty ideal for an outdoor summer meal. I did a lot of practice tests and research on possible recipe combinations. For the ice cream, I loved this recipe by Faith Durand; who's recipes are always so on point. She doesn't disappoint this time, either. I mean, c'mon, it's got COCONUT MILK in it. You know I'm down for some coconut. (I don't know how her ice cream stays white, I've made this recipe a few times now, and it always ends up pink with the juice from the cherries. Still tastes delish, though.)

Quick Coconut Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries
(makes 1 quart)

For roasted cherries:
1 pound Bing cherries
2 tablespoons sugar

For coconut ice cream:
One 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup cream
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat the oven to 450°F. Toss the cherries with the sugar and spread them out in one layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring several times, and watching to make sure the sugar and juices don't burn. Remove from the oven and let cool. Pit the cherries and set them aside.

Whisk together the ice cream ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure the sweetened condensed milk has been thoroughly mixed into the cream.

Put the ice cream mix in your ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions. When the ice cream is the texture of soft-serve, scrape it out and fold in the roasted pitted cherries. Transfer to a bowl or container and cover the ice cream with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is in full contact with the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for another 2 hours, or until firm.

Tip: Chill the separate ingredients (coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk) for an hour in the refrigerator before mixing everything together. This will help the mix be colder and therefore freeze faster when you put it in the ice cream maker.


For the cookies, I tried a few things, but I settled on an adaptation of this cookie from Martha Stewart (when in cookie doubt, go Stewart!). I really don't know what the deal with this recipe was, but I made it four different times, and I could never get them this fluffy, and mine were much darker than the picture. I wanted these to be really chewy, too, so I added ground oats and more flour. It also helped when the dough was refrigerated overnight and rolled into balls and put in the oven to bake when still cold.  I wanted to make sure they were solid enough to hold ice cream without leaking, but not so thick that it overpowered the ice cream. I think with the few tweaks I noted, that it's a great cookie solution. Here is the original recipe:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I ended up with 1 1/4 cup)
(I added 1/2 cup of ground oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar plus some for sprinkling (I didn't sprinkle any extra)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture holds together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, vanilla, and molasses. Mix on medium speed until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Place the dough on parchment paper and roll out into an 8-inch-long X 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Freeze until firm, up to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the log into 1/4-inch rounds, place on a baking sheet 1/2 inch apart, and sprinkle with sugar (I skipped this part, because I was filling these bad boys with ice cream - no extra sugar needed!) Bake until the cookies crack slightly on the surface, about 12 minutes (9 minutes was my magic number). Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Monday, July 11, 2011

peanut butter ice cream

I was hangin' with my awesome niece this weekend, and we decided we wanted to make ice cream. I think it's well established that I love all things peanut butter, so naturally, that was what I was looking for. Thankfully I found this recipe. And I'll tell you what, it delivered. I loved it, the niece loved it, and so did all the other taste testers. So bottom line is, you need to make this! Like right now!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Yield: About 7 cups of ice cream
Prep Time: 12 min + processing time

A peanut buttery ice cream with chocolate peanut butter cup chunks mixed in...

1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate peanut butter cups (I used a bag of the mini Reece's peanut butter cups)

1. Make the base: In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine peanut butter and sugar until smooth. Add milk and mix on low until sugar is dissolved- a full two minutes. You don't want to be tasting crunches of sugar in your ice cream, so give it a chance to dissolve. Mix in heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined and smooth.

2. Process the ice cream: Turn on your ice cream machine, pour the base in the freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. A couple of minutes before you're ready stop the mixing, add in the chopped peanut butter cups. The ice cream will be a soft-serve consistency. You can eat it right away, or freeze to eat later. If you freeze it for later, it will be more ice-cream-scoopable. Let it sit out for a few minutes before you try to scoop it.

Source: (adapted from The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker recipe booklet)