Jeni’s Spinalong #4 – Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy

halloween ice cream - wee eats

With the extension and expansion of our Jeni’s Spinalong project we’ve gone monthly! This gives us a much better grasp of being able to have a “month-centric” theme. For me, October is a lot of things. It is colorful fall leaves, brisk cool air (well, it used to be at least). Since October in Phoenix is apparently a high of 106 today, it’s hard to get into those “cool fall flavors” so I stuck with something that can be “October-y” wherever you are in the country – HALLOWEEN!

Meanwhile, Shannon over at A Periodic Table made a super alluring PB+J Sandwich with Milk Ice Cream Terrine because she wants me to die from excitement.

I didn’t go crazy and dye my ice cream orange, and I didn’t #PSL the place up, instead I took a bunch of Halloween candy, chopped it up, and threw it into some ice cream. Because who doesn’t find themselves with a pile of extra Halloween candy at the end of October?

I was going to spin these chopped up candies into the standard sweet cream base, but I’ve already used that base so many times before that I felt like I was cheating you guys out of a real new recipe. Instead, I decided to be daring and make the base out of one of Jeni’s custards. That means separating whites from yolks. That means tempering eggs. That means… being a little bit scared because there is a little bit more room for error than with her standard egg-free bases. BUT, fear not, because if I can do it then you can certainly do it too.

Additionally, Jeni’s “Salty Vanilla Custard” recipe offered the perfect amount of salt to balance and complement all the sweetness from the Halloween candy we were throwing in. I suspect that a ribbon of salty caramel sauce would also be great here, maybe even a ribbon of fudge, too, to keep that whole salty-sweet thing going on. But the ice cream is great without them, too. I know because that’s exactly how I ate it.

Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy


  • 2 ¾ cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 ounces (more or less) chopped up Halloween candy


    Make the base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the egg yolks and cornstarch; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the softened cream cheese, salt, and vanilla together until relatively smooth.
  3. In a large (4 quart) saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Whisk to combine and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, boiling for 4 minutes.
  5. Slowly stream 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs by pouring it onto the side of the egg bowl and letting it stream in, whisking vigorously the entire time. Repeat this process 1/4 cup at a time until you have mixed about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks.
  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula.
  7. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and strain through a sieve into the cream cheese bowl. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice water. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
  9. Once chilled, you can spin immediately or remove the bag from the ice water bath, dry it off, and throw it in the fridge until you're ready to spin your ice cream.
  10. Spin the ice cream
  11. When ready to spin the ice cream, pour the base into your ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer's directions.
  12. While the ice cream is spinning, chop your Halloween candy to the desired size. Note that the smaller you chop it, the easier it will be to scoop (but larger chunks are more recognizable).
  13. Add the candy chunks in the last 30 seconds of spinning.
  14. Transfer the ice cream to a container (a large Ziploc storage container works here) and freeze at least 4 hours until firm.

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]


wee hacks her wedding cake – white cake with berries and whipped cream frosting

wed cake 2 1117It’s official! Mr. Eats and I have officially survived our first year of marriage and, as far as I can tell, neither of us has murdered the other yet! Go us! In fact, I could even say that I like him more now than ever, but don’t tell him that. I don’t want him to get a big ego.


They say that the tradition for your first year anniversary is “Paper.” I did try to think of something cool and romantic that was made of paper, but most of the stuff on the internet was like “Pay $50 for something you can draw with a marker!” so then I saw that the modern equivalent is “Clocks” How they went from paper to clocks, I have no idea. I found a really cool clock online, but apparently it doesn’t exist yet so I could hardly buy him that. So then my brain went where it usually goes after I spend too much time thinking about something… to cake!

On account of the special occasion, I decided that I would try to re-create our wedding cake. We were married in sunny San Diego and picked up a regular 10-inch “Frasier” cake from one of their local bakeries. Their cake has layers of pillowy white cake, bathed in kirsch and filled with layers of raspberry buttercream, whipped cream, and berries. Then topped with more whipped cream and fresh berries and a coating of shaved white chocolate. It’s truly a beautiful cake.

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As you can see my cake is not nearly as ornate as theirs… I’m not that skilled with frosting, in fact I am remarkably UN-skilled in the area of cake-frosting. Once I completed frosting the cake with whipped cream I debated whether the bakery may actually cheat and have a layer of whipped buttercream on the outside… but by then it was too late. And I couldn’t drive back to San Diego to find out, so I just ran with it.

The result was actually very tasty (though notably less pretty). I think I may need to invest in one of those spinny thingies to make cake-frosting much easier. If I’m going to keep at this whole “cake-making” thing I should probably also get one of these guys too, as my layers were, uh, less than even. That would be the kind way to say it.

wed cake 1120

But, as luck would have it, You can cover up a lot of those mistakes with frosting (or whipped cream, in my case). Is your cake too thin on one side? Just add some extra frosting between those layers to even it out. Nobody will be any the wiser. Also, and this is very important, if you ensure that you position your cake just-so while photographing, nobody will ever know that it slopes slightly upward to one side. Suckers!

For the cake, I used the Whiteout Cake from the Baked cookbook. For the frosting I used a raspberry buttercream and a whipped cream. Then I filled the cake with chopped strawberries and raspberries. I did not use kirsch when making this because I didn’t have any. I was going to substitute some chambord liquer but then I forgot, which happens sometimes when it’s 9:00 pm and you’re still assembling your cake. It’s ok. Next time I will plan ahead and order some online.frasier cake 1129

This is another long recipe, but like everything else I do it can be broken up into separate parts. You could make the cake as far in advance as you like, just slice, soak with kirsch, wrap, and freeze until needed. You can make the whipped cream an hour or a day ahead of time, depending on how you feel. Chop up the berries a day ahead too, if you feel so inclined. Save making the raspberry buttercream until just before you need it, though.

Oh, and those cake toppers? They’re still married and living the dream, too.

cake toppers

wee hacks her wedding cake


    For the Cake Layers:
  • 2½ cups of cake flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1½ cups ice cold water
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • For the whipped cream frosting
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the raspberry buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup raspberry puree (from about 1 pint of raspberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • For assembly
  • Kirsch* (optional - can substitute anything from another liquer to apple juice or simple syrup)
  • About 1 cup of chopped fresh berries (I used strawberries and raspberries)
  • 8 whole berries (raspberry or strawberry)


  1. Make the Cake
  2. Preheat the over the 325 degrees F and prepare three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment and butter. Dust with flour, knocking out the excess flour. (or use "Pam for Baking" spray with flour in it)
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar and vanilla, increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.
  6. Scrape down the bowl, add the whole egg, beating until just combined.
  7. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three separate additions, (1/3 flour- 1/2 water-1/3 flour-1/2 water-1/3 flour). Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds to ensure everything is combined.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
  9. Stir about 1/4 of the egg whites into the cake batter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter, being careful not to overmix.
  10. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes** SEE NOTES **, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely.
  12. Make the whipped cream (Can be made ahead of time)
  13. Place bowl and whisk in refrigerator to cool.
  14. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of whipping cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and heat over medium heat stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and almost reaches a boil.
  15. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl; set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (I put mine in the fridge and stirred it every five minutes or so for about 20 minutes. I am bad at planning ahead.)
  16. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining heavy cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken and the beaters leave a trail in the cream. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  17. Slowly add the powdered-sugar/cream mixture and beat again until incorporated.
  18. Taste and adjust as needed, adding up to an additional 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until the frosting is as sweet as you want it.
  19. Make the raspberry buttercream
  20. Puree the raspberries and push the juice and pulp through a sieve into a small bowl; set aside.
  21. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine butter and salt and beat at medium speed until pale and creamy.
  22. Add powdered sugar and continue beating until the mixture almost doubles in size and is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  23. Turn mixer to low and stream in 1/4 cup of the raspberry puree. Return mixer to medium speed and beat just a few moments longer to fully incorporate the raspberry puree.
  24. Assemble the cake.
  25. Before assembling the cake ensure your cake layers are completely cooled. I made mine into a 3-layer cake, which means I had an extra whole 8-inch cake and an extra cake layer from the cakes I baked. My extra cake parts were wrapped in saran and foil and placed into the freezer for a future cake.
  26. Wash and roughly chop the berries that you have chosen to fill your cake with, set aside.
  27. Your raspberry buttercream should be freshly made and your whipped cream frosting should be cool.
  28. Place the first cake layer cut-side up and brush with kirsch (if using). Spread 1/3 of the raspberry buttercream over the top of the layer and place in the refrigerator to firm up the buttercream.
  29. Repeat this with the additional 2 layers. Use the bottom of one of your cakes for the top layer of the tiered cake, frosting the un-cut side to ensure you have a nice flat top for your cake.
  30. After about 10 or 15 minutes, remove the cake layers from the refrigerator.
  31. Place the bottom layer of your cake on your serving platter with the buttercream side up. Top with a generous helping of whipped cream, spreading to the edges. Sprinkle with half of your chopped fruit and top with second layer of cake. Repeat the steps with the second layer of cake.
  32. Top with the last layer of cake and spread with whipped cream frosting. Spread the frosting over the sides of the cake as well for full coverage. Top with whole berries and set in refrigerator to firm up and let flavors mingle.


* My cakes took closer to 30-35 minutes to bake completely.

*I only own 2 8-inch rounds (and only need two for the cake) so I poured the remaining batter into a 9-inch round cake pan and baked it once the 8-inch cakes finished baking. You could also make the remaining batter into cupcakes or anything else your heart desires.

*I made mine into a 3-layer cake, which means I had an extra whole 8-inch cake and an extra cake layer from the cakes I baked. So I could have doubled my filling ingredients and made two 3-tier 8-inch cakes, added an extra tier to my current cake, or any number of things. My extra cake parts were wrapped in saran and foil and placed into the freezer for a future cake.

*I did not use kirsch when making this because I didn't have any. I was going to substitute some chambord liquer but then I forgot.

*If your frosting skills are about as good as mine, feel free to throw some shaved white chocolate or sprinkled onto the side of your cake to hide your awesome, uh, skills...

[Cake recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking]

[Whipped cream recipe adapted from Food52]

drumstick cupcakes

drumstick cupcake 1032

Imagine, if you can, a world in which you can have all the flavors of ice cream … inside of a cake. Are you there yet? It might not require too strong of an imagination, but you catch my drift.

I’ve been dreaming up this recipe baby for awhile now and had a few kinks to figure out…

1. How do I make the cake taste like a drumstick ice cream cone?

2. How do I make the frosting taste like ice cream?

3. Do I fill the cake with frosting too, or just put it on top?

These are life’s tougher questions. What can I say, making recipe babies is hard work and is definitely not for the faint of heart.

drumstick cupcake 1036

In the end, I solved the first problem by grinding up ice cream cones and adding them to the cake batter. I was worried it would make them dry, but it didn’t. It does however make the batter a bit lumpy, so they aren’t the prettiest things to look at when they’re unfrosted. Don’t let that scare you.

Problem 2 I took another direct approach to, it stands to reason that if I want my frosting to taste like ice cream, I could just add ice cream to my frosting. Seemed to work OK for the cake at least, right? Well, yeah, actually. I let a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream melt and added it to the frosting towards the end of the beating cycle. You may want to note that you can scale back the sugar a bit depending on the ice cream that you use, because it will likely be rather sweet as well. Afterwards I decided that an ounce or two of cream cheese would probably help to balance the sweetness as well, so you can keep that in your back pocket too. I did not try it with the cream cheese, but I definitely plan to throw it in on the next go-around just to see how it is.

As for number three… I just put the frosting on top. You could definitely fill yours, too, I don’t think a single person would complain. After trying to pipe the frosting on (did I mention that I am the WORST at all things frosting-related?) I realized that if I had instead ice-cream-scooped the frosting on top of the cupcake it would be even more drumstick-y! So, that’s an option too if you wanna get all fancy. If you are better at piping than I am, pipe away! I’m seriously laughably bad.

For the dip I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate, because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to use what you like (or even buy some of that fancy magic shell topping, I won’t tell)

drumstick cupcake 2 1034

drumstick cupcakes


    For the cake
  • 1 1/4 cup ground ice cream cones (waffle or sugar cones, not those styrofoamy ones)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • For the frosting
  • 1 1/2 sticks unslated butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 ounces cream cheese, softened (optional)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons melted ice cream
  • a pinch (1/8 teaspoon-ish) salt
  • For the magic shell
  • 12 ounces chocolate of your choice, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Toppings
  • Salted nuts, finely chopped


    Make the cupcakes:
  1. Whisk together ground ice cream cone crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  5. Add the crumb/flour mix in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture (crumbs-milk-crumbs-milk-crumbs).
  6. Divide among cupcake pan and bake for approximately 20 - 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  8. Make the frosting:
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and salt until pale and soft. (If you are using cream cheese, add the cream cheese here).
  10. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low until incorporated, then increase speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  11. Reduce speed to low and add melted ice cream, one tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.
  12. Continue beating until desired consistency is reached.
  13. Use frosting immediately to top and/or fill cupcakes as desired.
  14. Place frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  15. Dip the cupcakes
  16. Make the magic shell by combining your chocoate and coconut oil in a medium metal bowl; set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost melted.
  17. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth.
  18. **Or you can melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, but be very careful not to burn it!**
  19. Pour into a tall plastic cup (you want it to have a lot of space to dip) and set aside for about 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  20. Place a wire rack over a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.
  21. When ready to dip your cupcakes, hold the cupcake firmly at the base and dip into the chocolate. Lift and allow excess chocolate to drip back into the cup. Place on the wire rack to harden. If desired, you can dip a second time for a thicker shell.
  22. Sprinkle with chopped nuts before the chocolate hardens.
  23. Set aside 1 hour to harden, or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Jeni’s Spinalong #3 – S’mores Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallow and Fudge Ripple

smores ice cream 1011

With the third installment of our Jeni’s Spinalong Series, Mrs. Table and I chose a nice, broad theme. Our original plan was a “back to school” theme, during which we discovered that we were creating quite literally the same. exact. ice cream. So, we decided to think bigger and broader with this month’s theme and went for a simple: “Welcome to Fall” theme, or -more accurately – our feels about fall. The recipe requirement? Gravel.

Everyone has their own ideas about fall and what it should entail. No doubt many of you equate the autumn season with pumpkin spice lattes and changing leaves. Shannon thinks about fall harvests and late summer bounties – she, being ever the adventurous one, churned out some crazy good buttermilk sage ice cream with toasted cumin honey and cornbread gravel. Like a delightful marriage of sweet and savory enveloped in creamy, tangy ice cream with crunchy cornbread gravel, it’s the kind of ice cream I can imagine seeing on the menu of my favorite fancy-pants restaurant.

But for me, autumn always evokes memories of backyard bonfires and pullover sweaters. The smell of burning leaves in my hair and the crisp, cool air, burning roasting marshmallows alongside friends and family and squishing them between two crisp grahams. So, for my ice cream, I took this warm, gooey treat and turned it into a firm, cool ice cream. Which is an especially good thing for me since we are still enduring triple digit heat here in Arizona and if I want to feel like I’m standing nearby (or inside of) a bonfire all I need to is take a few steps outside. Now I can finally enjoy my favorite fall treat without any of that ruthless desert heat.

smores cone 1071

Serve it in a waffle cone, or as a sundae topped with a freshly-toasted marshmallow, or even turn it into ice cream sandwiches by pressing the ice cream comfortably  between to graham crackers (a quick dip into some melted chocolate doesn’t hurt, either).

Along with the unveiling of our third Jeni’s Spinalong is an announcement. When you take an over-achiever like Shannon and combine her with an indecisive person like myself what you end up with is a recipe list a million miles long and only 4 installments to shove them into. So, without further adieu, we announce that we will finish out 2015 with MONTHLY installments of the Jeni’s Spinalong series! Aren’t you thrilled?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy some stretchy pants.

smores ice cream 1043

S’mores Ice Cream


    For the ice cream base:
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped graham crackers
  • Mix-ins
  • 2 to 3 cups marshmallows, toasted
  • Salty Graham gravel (recipe below)
  • Chocolate shell (recipe below), syrup , or fudge sauce
  • Chocolate shell:
  • 12 ounces chocolate of your choice, chopped (Hershey's for authentic "S'more" flavor!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Salty graham gravel:
  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 13 crackers)
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine seasalt
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted


    For the ice cream base:
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese with the salt until smooth.
  3. Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside.
  4. In a large 4-quart saucepan, mix together the remaining mil, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring o a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch-milk slurry.
  6. Return the pan to the heat and return to a boil, stirring with a spatula, for about 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Be careful, it might try to boil over
  7. Carefully whisk a bit of the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining hot milk mixture and graham crackers and stir to combine Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes while the graham crackers dissolve.
  8. Working in batches, pour the ice cream through a sieve, pressing the graham crackers through with a spatula. Continue until all of the liquid has been pressed through the sieve. Transfer to a gallon-size Ziploc bag and close the bag.
  9. Submerge the bag in the ice water until cold, about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you may spin the ice cream, or dry off the bag with a towel and store it in the fridge until you are ready to spin (u to 1 day).
  10. For the gravel:
  11. Preheat oven to 275F.
  12. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  13. Combine everything except the butter in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  14. dd the melted butter and stir until large clumps have formed and the mixture resembled wet sand, ensuring all of the mixture is moistened.
  15. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and spread evenly.
  16. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the pan from the oven. Toss the crumbs with a spatula to break them into smaller pieces and return the sheet to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the gravel is golden brown.
  17. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  18. Make the magic shell
  19. Combine dark or white chocolate and coconut oil in a medium metal bowl; set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost melted.
  20. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth.
  21. **Or you can melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, but be very careful not to burn it!**Also, you can buy magic shell at the store because I mean, come on, you're already making everything else.
  22. Let cool slightly (if it’s too hot, it’ll melt your ice cream), 10–15 minutes.
  23. Toast the marshmallows
  24. Line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat your oven's broiler to high.
  25. Place marshmallows in one layer on the parchment and broil just a briefly until toasted.
  26. Set marshmallows aside to cool slightly.
  28. When ready, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream machine and spin according to manufacturer's directions. Once it reaches something akin to soft serve, you're ready to package it.
  29. **HERE YOU HAVE A CHOICE** I layered my chocolate shell, but it will be much easier to scoop if you drizzle it in during the last few seconds of spinning (you don't have to use all of it). This breaks it up into tiny flecks of ice cream that melt as soon as they hit your tongue. If you're using fudge or a liquid sauce, DO NOT mix it in, or it will just mix into your ice cream and not be swirled. Now, let's move on to packaging...
  30. Pour a bit of ice cream into your container (mine filled about 4 to 5 cups of space, so I used two containers). Top with a layer of graham gravel and some toasty marshmallows. Drizzle with your magic shell (unless you mixed that in at the last minute of spinning, in which case, good for you!)
  31. Add another layer of ice cream, gravel, mallows, and chocolate and end with a final layer of ice cream.
  32. Press a piece of parchment against the top of the ice cream and close with a tightly-fitting lid. Place in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours to firm up. Once firm, you can have more fun!


Want s'more cones? Pour a tablespoon or two of magic shell into the bottom of a sugar cone and swirl around to coat the inside of the shell. Place the cone upside down over parchment-lined baking sheet until the shell hardens. Then stuff some toasted marshmallows, graham gravel, and ice cream into the cone. Top with a scoop of ice cream and Macgyver a way to keep this contraption upright in your freezer (my contraption is a mix of foil and plastic wrap stretched tightly over a tupperware container. I poke holes in the foil and shove the ice cream cone in. It's not pretty but it sort of works. I have a bottom-style freezer so I usually forget to be gentle when closing and end up with ice cream smeared on the wall of my freezer anyway (oops?). ANYWAY, after about an hour in the freezer, remove the ice cream cones from the freezer and dip them into the chocolate shell mixture - two coatings is ideal. Sprinkle with some gravel and return the cone to your Macgyvered contraption for another hour or so.

Want a s'more ice cream sandwich? Smear bottom of your grahams with some chocolate shell (or don't!) and set aside to harden. Press some toasted marshmallow on the graham (or not, it's in the ice cream too, remember!) and add a scoop of slightly-softened ice cream. (If this is your main goal, maybe freeze the ice cream on a saran-lined baking sheet instead, and then you can cut it into squares? I've never tried it but it seems like it should work). Anyway, from here you want to gently press the second graham on top and quickly wrap it tightly in saran wrap, pressing again to try to form some good angles at the edges. Place back into the freezer for another hour or so, then remove for an optional dip into some magic shell. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (that will fit into your freezer) and return to the freezer another hour. Remove and wrap in plastic wrap and/or foil for storage. I recommend freezing them overnight before eating.

[ ice cream base & gravel adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

[ chocolate shell from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ Check out Shannon’s recipe here! ]

vanilla bean macarons

berry macaron | wee eats

Macarons are probably the most finnicky cookie you will ever come across. So, in my laziness, I was overjoyed to learn that I could find them in freezer section of my local Trader Joe’s store. Of course, curiosity will always get the better of me, so I had to try to make them on my own.

This was not the first time I had made macarons, I made them successfully years ago, less successfully once after that, super unsuccessfully about a month and a half ago (That was the recipe’s fault, not mine. Well, my fault for not doing more research I suppose) and finally, this last time, super successfully. With the help of a small refresher from Sur La Table.

So, finally, the masochism paid off and I got my macarons. And they were delicious! So, to spare you the heartbreak of failure, let’s review what I have deemed to be important to your macaron success.

vanilla macaron | wee eats

1. Weigh your ingredients. You will find plenty of recipes that offer cups instead of grams. Just skip those all together. Honestly you should always be weighing things but I’m far too lazy for that so I opt for cups in almost all my recipes. Macarons, however, will not stand for that. They just won’t. So get out your scale and get to weighing. I have an older version of this one and it seems to work fine.

2. Sift, sift, sift! Large chunks do not a happy macaron make, so sift your almond/powdered sugar mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard any large chunks that are left behind. Your cookies will thank you for it.

3. Gel colors only! Macarons are a very careful balancing act of liquid to solid ratio and you want to disturb that as little as possible. So, if you would like to color your macarons, opt for gel coloring and add it towards the end of your egg-beating (once you have just reached the stiff peak stage). Add more color than you think you need because the color will fade when the macarons bake. I use these colors. The macarons at the top of this page are really just vanilla shells with red gel coloring and berry filling.

4. Find the Goldilocks zone. Overmixing your macarons will give you a runny batter that is impossible to manage. Undermixing will result in a batter that is too thick and the macarons won’t spread or settle properly (you may notice that your macaron has a “point” after it is piped). Your batter should have the consistency of magma – not too thick and not too thin.

macaron magma gif

5. Use a real piping bag and tip. I’m forever cheap and try to avoid buying piping bags when I am convinced a Ziploc bag with the end cut off will do. This will NOT work with macarons (trust me, I’ve tried). It’s not worth the heartache, just cough up the cash for a couple tips and disposable bags and get on your way. I wouldn’t tell you to buy them if I didn’t think you needed them. I promise.

6. Hands off! After you have tapped your baking sheet to release the air bubbles, you can quickly pop any remaining bubbles you see with a toothpick if you like. But then it’s HANDS OFF for at least 30 minutes. Forming this skin is critical to creating the feet for your baby macarons so use this time to make your filling, preheat your oven, or to say a few prayers for your precious baby cookies. You will know enough time has passed when the tops have changed from shiny to dull and you can gently drag your finger across the top without any issue.

7. Time + Temperature are the two keys to success. (AKA: More Goldilocks stuff.) Remember to turn down your oven as soon as you put the macarons in. If you think you will forget this step, you can preheat to the baking temperature of 300F instead of the higher temperature. If you see your cookies are browning too fast, cover them with foil. If you think they’re cooking faster or slower than the specified time, go ahead and follow your instinct. If you over-bake the cookies, they will be dry and crumbly. If you under-bake them, they will be soft and gummy inside. You want a perfect balance of crisp shell with a chewy interior. It might take a few tries to get it right, but when in doubt I always err on the side of slightly under-baked.

Below you can see two sets of macarons – and the ones on the left are NOT chocolate. The left batch baked at too high of a temperature and over-browned. The others I lowered the oven temperature and covered with a bit of foil to prevent over-browning.

overbaked macaron

8. Be creative! You can get creative with your filling – don’t feel like making a buttercream? Go ahead and use a ganache instead, or simply spread a bit of jam or fruit curd between the cookies! Here I did a ring of buttercream with a dollop of jam in the middle.

macaron filling


9. Practice, practice, practice! If at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to try again! Once you make them, you’ll see that they actually come together quite quickly and since you can freeze them you can have like a month’s supply of macarons at the end of all your hard work! I’m far from a macaron master, but I can confidently say that I can make a darn good macaron and plan to get plenty more practice to up my skill level to play with other flavors and techniques.

macaron practice

vanilla bean macarons


    For the macarons:
  • 110 grams almond flour
  • 200 grams confectioners sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • For the vanilla filling:
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For strawberry filling
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


    Make the Macarons
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment and preheat the oven to 375F. YOU WILL TURN THIS DOWN WHEN YOU PUT THE MACARONS IN. DON'T FORGET TO TURN IT DOWN!
  2. Pulse the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground and well blended.
  3. Sift almond mixture into a bowl (or onto a large sheet of parchment if you don't feel like dirtying another bowl. Discard any large chunks that will not go through the sieve.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy, then scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod into the mixing bowl.
  5. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms, then add vanilla extract and beat a couple seconds more just to incorporate.
  6. Add 1/3 of the ground almond mixture to the meringue THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE VERY CAREFUL Over-mixing your batter will make it super runny and hard to work with, and your macarons won't get their tiny feet.
  7. Gently fold the 1/3 of almond mixture into the meringue until it is completely incorporated. Add remaining almond mixture and gently fold that in, it will take about 100 strokes (it sounds crazy, I know) - You want it to reach the consistency of "magma' (ha-ha!). So, it should be relatively thick, but still flow easily. When drizzled from above, the ribbon should sit on top of the remaining batter, then slowly be absorbed within about 2 seconds. Another way to check is to run your spatula down the center of the bowl, the two sides should "kiss" within about two seconds (see video in the post above).
  8. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip (I used a 1/4 inch tip because it's all I could find). Pipe into small rounds spaced about 1 to 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets - you want to avoid "spiraling" while you pipe, just pipe into the center and allow the batter to flow outward on its own. Each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter.
  9. Once piped, bang your baking sheet on the counter about 2 to 3 times to release any air bubbles that are in the batter. Let sit out uncovered 30 minutes to an hour to form their "skin" - The skin is what will help them grow their feet! They are done when the tops are dull and you can touch them gently without leaving a mark.
  10. When ready to bake, turn the oven temperature down to 300F and place the macarons into the oven. I bake mine one sheet at a time (since sitting on the counter doesn't hurt anything). Bake anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. If they start to brown too quickly, once they have their feet you can cover them with a sheet of foil and continue baking.
  11. When finished baking, place baking sheet on a wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely before moving. When ready to move, use an offset spatula to scrape under the cookies to remove them from the parchment.
  12. Match into approximate pairs that are similar in shape and size for filling.
  13. Make the filling(s):
  14. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until it begins to become light and airy. Add powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste or extract and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add jam (if using) and beat until fully incorporated.
  15. Scrape into piping bag and set aside until ready to pipe.
  16. Fill the cookies:
  17. Fill cookies by piping filling onto one cookie (I do use the spiral method for this, to ensure the filling reaches the edges) and gently pressing the top cookie onto the filling, flat side down.
  18. Once all cookies are filed, place into the freezer for at least 1 hour. I like to wrap mine individually in cello-wrap to keep them fresh and store them in the freezer. You may thaw cookies before eating. Store in refrigerator prior to serving.

[ See the original cookie recipe on Annie’s Eats ]