cherries and cream biscuit pops

cherry pop 1457 close

My love for Jenis Ice Creams is no secret around here.

I don’t let my inability to stop by their shop get in the way of my love. Aside from stuffing my face with ice cream and sharing their recipes on the blog, I harrased a number of I ran an impassioned e-mail writing campaign to bring Jeni’s to my local grocery stores. Though it may or may not have had an effect on the fact that I can now stop at my local grocer and pick up a pint of Jeni’s whenever the urge strikes, I like to give myself at least a little credit.

See, people,  if you annoy enough people if you chase your dreams and they really can come true!

My next goal is to get a local scoop shop! (Really guys, I will go in early and churn the ice cream just give me the storefront!)

I was so excited when I found out that my beloved Jeni’s was releasing another cookbook  that even FH knew about the book’s release – and totally surprised me by ordering me a copy FOR NO REASON! Seriously, how often do boys not only a> notice something that you like, or b> get you something out of the blue, let alone DOING BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

Note: It is entirely possible that the real FH may have been abducted by aliens – but I like this new one so I think I’ll keep him.

The only downfall of this amazing plan was that the book arrived mere days before we started our Whole 30 diet. Sooooo, no ice cream for us.  As soon as the diet ended, though, I dove headfirst into the book and picked out any number of recipes that I decided I needed to make.

In the end I settled on Page 36 – Cream Biscuits with Peach Jam Ice Cream. I gathered my ingredients and got ready for a day of ice cream making… only to realize that my peaches mysteriously disappeared.

Does that ever happen to you? You go to the store and you know you purchased something but then as soon as you go to actually use it… it’s nowhere to be found? Happens to me all the time, guys. Seriously. ALL. THE. TIME.

I wasn’t going to let this hiccup derail me though, so what if I was missing one of the three main ingredients of making this ice cream? We are chefs, we improvise!

So improvise I did – with cherries. The other recipe I’m dying to make from this book is the White House Cherry Ice Cream, but it requires something called “cherry blossom extract” which is a bit outlandish for the home cook and I haven’t yet been able to justify the purchase… so I took the cherry swirl from that recipe and used it in place of the peach jam from my original recipe and – TADAA!

cherry pop 1

Cream biscuits with cherries and ice cream – but that’s a bit of a mouthful so let’s just call it “Cherries and cream biscuit ice cream.” I guess that’s a bit of a mouthful too.

The slight cherry syrup is bright and crisp and pairs perfectly with the sweet ice cream base and the not-too-sweet tender biscuits. Oh, and I made these into Popsicle molds because I couldn’t help myself.

They are amazing.

[ Note: THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has nothing to do with this post and doesn't even know I exist - I just love them SO MUCH that I really think you should buy their books, check to see if they are at your local grocer, or even if you might be lucky enough to have one of their scoop shops nearby! ]

You can get their new book here: (It’s only $11.99 so you really have no excuse not to buy it)

or pick up a copy of their original book (it’s only $9.99 right now, guys!)

cherries and cream biscuit pops

Yield: 12 pops, with some left over

Ingredients

    For the ice cream base
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sweet cream shortcakes (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup cherry swirl (recipe below)
  • For the shortcake biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt to 1 cup all-purpose flour and whisk well to combine)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • For cherry swirl
  • 1 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

    Make your ice cream base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside (this will be your ice bath)
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix 1/4 cup of heavy cream with the cornstarch and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the remaining cream with the sugar and corn syrup until it comes to a boil.
  5. Boil the mixture for 4 minutes and remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the saucepan to heat and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened (about 20 seconds).
  6. Gradually whisk the cream mixture into the cream cheese until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk.
  7. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon ziploc bag and submerge in ice bath about 30 minutes.
  8. Transfer the ice cream base to the refrigerator until you are ready to churn your ice cream.
  9. Make the shortcake biscuits:
  10. Preheat oven to 450F and line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment.
  11. Pulse flour, sugar, and butter in a food processor until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Add cream and pulse just unti lthe dough comes togehter.
  12. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it together.
  13. Fold the dough over itself, gently kneading, few times until it is no longer clumpy. Spread/press dough into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
  14. Allow to cool completely, then crumble shortcake until you have 1/2 cup of biscuit crumbles. Set aside.
  15. You will have a lot of shortcake left over. (What a problem to have!) I cut mine into individual servings and wrapped them and put them in the freezer for when the urge for shortcake strikes.
  16. Make the cherry swirl:
  17. Combine cherries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently.
  18. Remove cherries from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  19. You have the option to drain and/or puree the strawberries, I left my sauce as-is and just didn't add all of the liquid when mixing the cherries into the ice cream.
  20. Churn and assemble the ice cream:
  21. When ready to churn, pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
  22. If making pops:
  23. Layer into ice pop molds (ice cream, cherries, biscuits, repeat) starting and ending with the ice cream. Leave 1/4-inch gap at the top of the ice cream molds (it will expand when it freezes). Top with lid and insert popsicle sticks - freeze until completely solid.
  24. You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)
  25. To remove mine, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.
  26. If making standard ice cream:
  27. Layer ice cream into storage container, layering with biscuits and cherries. Press parchment paper onto the top and cover with lid. Place in freezer and freeze until firm.

Notes

*You will have extra of everything - I layered my extra into a smaller storage container and had scoopable ice cream as well (hooray!)

*To remove my popsfrom their molds, I wrapped whatever popsicle I was removing with a damp warm towel and wiggled until the popsicle came free.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/08/25/cherries-and-cream-biscuit-pops/

blueberry-coconut coffee cake

blueberry buckle 1

I was recently burdened with an overabundance of blueberries. (What a hard life I have, I know)

As much as I love blueberries I was nearing the end of my week and still had more than I could eat sitting in the fridge taunting me, threatening me that they were going to turn at any minute. The worst thing about berries is that they turn from delicious to inedible in the blink of an eye.

What was I to do with these berries? How could I possibly relieve myself of this awful burden?

The same way I solve all of my other problems, apparently, with cake!

As though it was meant to be, I came across the Bon Appetit recipe for a blueberry buckle and the clouds parted and the angels sang and all was right in the world again….

blueberry buckle 2

And I thought I would kick up the summer appeal by adding a bit of tropical coconut… because coconut = summer, right? Something like that.

I’m not sure what exactly differentiates a buckle from a coffee cake or any other cake for that matter… then again, who does? According to this article, this thing isn’t even a buckle, anyway! I think this counts as “coffee cake” in my book, but if they want to call it a buckle, I’m down for that too.

“A cake by any other name still tastes as sweet…”

Right?

But this buckle/cake/coffee cake/sugar-flour-butter-baby was amazing.

This was one of the most tender cake/cake-like-items that I have ever put in my mouth. The fact that it was filled to the brim with tart-yet-sweet blueberries and topped with glorious cinnamony streusel just made it all that much better. This cake “buckle”  is just as suited to accompany your morning coffee as it is for you after-dinner scoop of ice cream.

blueberry coconut coffee cake

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

    For the streusel
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
  • For the buckle
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces blueberries

Instructions

    Prepare for baking
  1. Prepare a 9-inch round spring-form pan with flour and butter (or use baking spray) and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Make the topping
  3. Whisk all streusel ingredients together except butter.
  4. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and cut into the streusel mixture until evenly distributed.
  5. Make the buckle
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on high until the butter is pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  8. Turn speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the coconut cream, just until incorporated.
  9. Gently fold in the blueberries into the batter and scrape the batter into the pan. The batter will be thick and chock-full of blueberries. Gently press the batter into the pan with your hands or a spatula until it covers the bottom of the pan.
  10. Top batter with streusel and bake 80 to 90 minutes until baked through. Cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack still in the pan.

Notes

* You will want to use a spring-form pan here since you cannot turn out the cake (or you will lose all of the delicious streusel)

* Though blueberries are used here, feel free to use any fruit you like or no fruit at all. This cake is AMAZING.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Apetit, July 2014

http://wee-eats.com/2014/07/28/blueberry-coconut-coffee-cake/

watermelon margarita

watermelon margarita 1325

This margarita was not supposed to be here today.

This margarita was supposed to be a different kind of margarita instead.

And then it was supposed to be a cake, but that’s another story for another day.

Today’s story is about my quest to make you a delightfully southwestern margarita full of prickly pear juice and limes and tequila.

Unfortunately, both prickly pears (also known as “cactus pears”) and limes were in short supply in my neighborhood.   Which is funny because I distinctly remember almost buying a bunch of them last week, but not knowing what I would do with them so deciding against it. As luck would have it, now that I wanted to use them, they were nowhere in sight.

I searched my store high and low for those same prickly pears that were piled high just last week and finally found two hiding underneath some mini bananas. I quickly grabbed them up and immediately regretted my decision.

To say they were “over-ripe” would be an understatement. They basically turned to mush in my hands. Those poor two prickly pears had probably been hiding under those bananas for weeks, months, or maybe even years… thinking they were safe… until I came along.

Ok, so maybe not years. But definitely for awhile. It probably doesn’t help that bananas tend to help things ripen. Did you know that? It’s a very helpful factoid when you are stuck with an underripe avocado and a craving for guacalmole.

Would you like to know another helpful factoid? Prickly pears are prickly, and not just in the way you might think.

Prickly_pear_cactus_beed

Stores often remove the fruit’s larger spines to help save their poor customers’ hands. What they do not always remove, however, are the super tiny, almost invisible, hairlike spines that grow on them as a secondary defense.

At least, my store doesn’t… So after I set down my prickly pear mush, I discovered that my hands were now covered in tiny, almost invisible, cactus needles.  My poor poor hands.

Have you ever tried grocery shopping or driving a car with thousands* of needles poking into your hand? It’s rather difficult.

*Ok, so maybe it was more like ten…

I grabbed the tweezers when I got home and immediately began my emergency surgery. Time spent holding prickly pears: approximately 6 seconds. Time spent looking for and removing tiny cacti needles out of my had: approximately 26 minutes.

Lesson learned – always wear gloves when touching cacti-related objects.  No matter how safe they look.

You know what’s not prickly? Watermelons.

watermelon margarita 3

Watermelons are quite smooth, actually.  In fact, watermelons may be one of the least prickly things on the planet.

I’m not sure if there have been scientific studies or not to back this up, but if there were I’m pretty sure they would uphold my hypothesis.

Unfortunately, watermelons are also not prickly pears.  They do, however, have a similar flavor profile. While I would say prickly pears are a bit sweeter than watermelons, Shannon aptly described them as, “A prickly pear is like if a watermelon and some bubble gum had a baby.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, this Cinco de Mayo, I give to you a not-prickly-pear margarita. No gloves or tweezers necessary. Limes, however, are necessary. You do not want to be out running around to four different stores at the last minute because you realize that you are a big dummy and you forgot to get limes.

If you need more ideas for you Cinco de Mayo fiesta, you can check out this roundup.

watermelon margarita

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 3 Margaritas

Serving Size: 8 oz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup tequila (I use Sauza blanco)
  • 2 Tablespoons simple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cointreau
  • 1 lime, sliced (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Process watermelon in a blender until liquified. Strain if necessary to remove any seeds.
  2. In a large cup or shaker, combine watermelon puree, tequila, cointreau, simple syrup, and juice of one lime. Shake or stir with ice to combine.
  3. Strain into ice-filled glass and garnish with lime slice to serve.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/05/03/watermelon-margarita/

watermelon margarita - wee-eats.com

 

whole wheat roasted banana muffins

roasted banana muffin 0985

I first made these muffins on a whim, I had two super-ripe (on the verge of garbage-can-ripe) bananas sitting in my fruit bowl begging not to be thrown away. I stared at them for a long time, thinking,  relatively certain that every banana bread recipe in the world requires more than two bananas. I could have made some banana pancakes, but at 7:00 PM on a weeknight (after we had just eaten dinner) it might have seemed just a touch odd to start making pancakes.

So, I pondered a moment and decided in a moment of genius to ROAST the bananas. In my big dinosaur brain I figured with SAT-style math equations that two ripe bananas plus the roasting power of the oven (divided by the square root of the deliciousness of regular banana bread) should equal the flavor of at LEAST three bananas… Then I decided to amp up the flavor with a bit of whole wheat flour and tweaked the moisture content just a bit to make sure the texture doesn’t go bananas on me (ha- get it? BANANAS).

Et, voila!

Banana bread was had. Well, banana MUFFINS, to be more exact. But in my world banana “muffins” are really just banana bread poured into a muffin tin.

roasted banana muffin 0998

They ended up being FRIGGIN DELICIOUS and I couldn’t wait to share them with you guys… except that I didn’t have any to share. Because instead of sharing them with you I shared them with my belly. So I had to buy some more bananas and play that dreadful game we all play when we want to  make banana bread: The Waiting Game.

Buy bananas now, eat banana bread in 5 to 10 days.

Must not consume all of the bananas before said day arrives.

I also fully intended, now that I had purchased a surplus of bananas specifically to make these muffins, to do that thing where you bake a slice of banana on top of the muffin and it looks super pretty.  Unfortunately, due to a fierce smoothie addiction that is apparently contagious (since FH caught it), I ended up with the same issue as last time – only two bananas.

No extra banana fanciness. Maybe next time. For now, make the bananas, maybe press a piece of sliced banana in the top and let me know what kind of magic happens. Throw on some streusel while you’re at it, or stir in some chocolate chips… Or, if you’re evil like me, trick your Future Husband (or person of your choice) by whispering to them menacingly after they’ve raved about how good the muffins are, “Psst – they have whole grain flour in them…” and watch the color drain from their face as they stare at you in horror for making them eat something (almost) a teeny bit healthful.

You monster.

roasted banana muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 to 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 (or 3) ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup regular all purpose + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up) and roast about 20 to 30 minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, mash roasted bananas. Once the bananas close to room temperature, whisk in the sugars and oil until incorporated.
  5. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  6. Add the flour in two additions, and gently fold until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Notes

*If you would like to top these with streusel or just a bit of crumbled brown sugar, it will yield a slightly sweeter muffin.

*You can still see little chunks of banana in my muffin - if you don't want chunks just mash your bananas to be chunk-free!

*These were great with 2 bananas (which was all I had on hand) but if you want to add a third banana (mashed or chopped) I would keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/03/11/whole-wheat-roasted-banana-muffins/

Apple Muffins

apple muffins 1

Apple season is upon us, and as we’ve already discussed that pies are not my favorite thing to make, and after achieving great success with apples in cake form, I turned my focus to the next logical apple vessel: muffins.

I recently inherited a wonderful America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, called the “Quick Family Cookbook.”  While it’s not winning any awards in the style department, it is chock-full of AMAZING recipes.  And, I see that it’s super cheap on amazon.  If you don’t own this book, quickly run to amazon (or your local bookstore, whichever you prefer to support) and pick up a copy right now.  Like, “now,” as in before you even finish reading this post.

Do it.

Anyway, back to the muffins!

They require ingredients that you probably have on hand and very minimal effort, and  what you get in return is a light, flavorful muffin packed with apple flavor.  This muffin is light enough that it won’t make you feel guilty about going in for a second one, and flavorful enough to sate even the strongest apple craving.

 

Apple Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees and prepare a 12-cup muffin tin (either grease or line with liners)
  2. 1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine.
  3. 2. In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Whisk in the melted butter until smooth, then whisk in the eggs one at a time, being careful not to overmix. .
  4. 3. Gently fold the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. It might be a little lumpy, that's OK.
  5. 4. Portion batter into prepared muffin cups, Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing from the pan.

Notes

These are great with a sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar (because what doesn't taste better with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar?) For my usual cinnamon-sugar, I mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1 Tablespoon of sugar).s - sprinkle on top of muffins before putting them into the oven.

Try adding chunky applesauce or some apple chunks to boost up the apple-appeal even further.

http://wee-eats.com/2013/10/29/apple-muffins/

[ Adapted from The America's Test Kitchens Quick Family Cookbook ]