jenis spinalong #6 – cookies (and coffee) for santa

jenis coffee ice cream sandwich 2

Hello and welcome to the final installment of our 2015 Jeni’s Spinalong Project! There are no plans yet to carry this into 2016, but I’m pretty sure Ms Table is going to try to talk me into it… We’ll see.

In case you just got here, this is what you’ve missed so far:

Which brings us to…. December! Ms. Table created icelandic wedding cake frozen skyr with lingonberry swirl and kransekake (what a mouthful!).

My December theme was a sort of “cookies for Santa” type of deal. Except I filled these cookies with delectable coffee ice cream, because I imagine that Santa get pretty sleepy traveling house to house all night long. Since we all know that Santa loves cookies, I couldn’t think of a better delivery system for the caffeine than in a cookie (ice cream) sandwich!

So, this project was twofold: 1> Make the macaron sandwich cookies 2> Make the coffee ice cream. Since I had extra coffee ice cream (this recipe made two pints), I filled a second container with those good ol’ Nabisco Famous Wafers, for more cookie & coffee deliciousness.

coffee and cookie ice cream

I chose to go with the chocolate version of Jeni’s macaron cookies, thinking that the coffee and chocolate would complement each other perfectly, and I was right. This match is reiterated again in the coffee & cookie ice cream.

My piping bag was way to small for all of the macaron batter, so as I got closer to the end of my batch, the macarons started coming out a bit flatter. I suspect this was due to over-mixing the batter (as scooping and stirring was required in between each fill of the bag).

The cookies were a bit lumpy because, although I would normally sift the almond flour/sugar mixture, I did not opt to sift these because I am pretty sure that when I get the cookies at Jeni’s they are actually a little bit lumpy themselves and I’ve grown to appreciate the extra texture it adds to the ice cream sandwich. If you would like to ensure a nice, smooth batter, then go ahead and sift your flour/sugar mixture to remove any clumps that might be hiding in there.

So this year, pull out your ice cream maker for Santa. But maybe just leave him a note to check the freezer. You don’t want these babies to melt before he gets to them! Maybe if you’re lucky he will leave you one of the Jeni’s books!

chocolate + coffee macaron ice cream sandwiches

Ingredients

    For the cookies:
  • 8 oz almond meal
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 to 7 eggs) room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • For the ice cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup coarse-ground dark roast coffee beans
  • 7 to 14 nabisco wafers

Instructions

    Prep
  1. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, trace 12 circles onto the parchment paper to use as a guide for when you pipe, then flip the parchment over so the drawings are on the bottom side. (They should still be plenty visible from the top).
  3. Make the cookies
  4. Pulse the powdered sugar, cocoa, and almond flour in a food processor until incorporated.
  5. Sift the powdered sugar mixture through a sieve onto a clean sheet of parchment paper, discarding any large pieces that remain in the sieve. (I skipped this step)
  6. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy.
  7. Once frothy, add the granulated sugar a tablespoon or two at a time, until all the granulated sugar has been added. Continue whipping until the meringue becomes shiny and holds medium peaks, about 5 minutes.
  8. Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the almond mixture into the whites. Repeat with the remaining 2/3 of the mixture, adding 1/3 at a time. Be careful not to overrmix.
  9. Fit a large pastry bag (or gallon size Ziploc) with a 1/4-inch plain tip and fill the bag with the macaron batter.
  10. Pipe & bake the cookies
  11. Pipe in a spiral into the circles you traced onto the parchment, reducing the pressure as you reach the end of your spiral to allow the edge to taper off. Repeat with the remaining batter until you have piped all of your batter.
  12. Lightly tap the the baking sheet on the counter twice to remove any bubbles and set aside for 30 to 40 minutes until the tops become dry and take on a matte finish.
  13. While the cookies are resting, preheat the oven to 300F degrees.
  14. Bake cookies for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until they are baked through.
  15. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
  16. Using an offset spatula, lift the cookies from the parchment. Move to a baking sheet and place in the freezer approximately 30 minutes. Once frozen, transfer to a gallon size freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready to use. Note Be careful, they can be very fragile!
  17. Make the ice cream base
  18. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch; set aside.
  19. Place cream cheese and salt in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  20. Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high hea. Allow to boil for 4 minutes, then remove from the heat and add the coffee.
  21. Let the coffee steep for 5 minutes, then strain the milk mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze the coffee in the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible and discard the grounds.
  22. Return the cream mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the corn starch slurry, Return the mixture to a boil and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
  23. Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until completely combined. Carefully add remaining milk mixture, whisking to combine, then transfer the mixture to a 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag, ensuring the bag seals completely.
  24. Submerge the bag in a bowl filled with ice water until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  25. Once chilled, you may spin your ice cream immediately, or place it in the fridge overnight until you are ready to spin.
  26. Spin the ice cream
  27. Pour ice cream base into the ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer's directions until it is the texture of soft serve ice cream.
  28. Transfer to a storage container (mine filled two pint containers), stirring Nabisco Wafers into one (or both) if desired.
  29. Place in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until you are ready to make your ice cream sandwiches.
  30. Assemble the ice cream sandwiches
  31. Place your ice cream out to soften, if it's not already softened.
  32. Once slightly soft and easy to scoop, remove cookies from the freezer and place them on a baking sheet that will fit into your freezer.
  33. Top half of the cookies with a generous scoop of ice cream and, using the palm of your hand, gently press another cookie on top of it until the ice cream spreads towards the edge.
  34. Place baking sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes until the ice cream has firmed back up, then remove the sandwiches from the freezer and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store the ice cream sandwiches in a gallon-size freezer bag until you are ready to eat them.

Notes

* In case you're wondering, the other ice cream sandwiches are filled with this delightfully chocolatey ice cream , also from the Jeni's book (of course).

http://wee-eats.com/2015/12/02/jenis-spinalong-7-cookies-for-santa-coffee-and-cookie-macaron-ice-cream-sandwiches/

Thinking of starting your own spinalong? Here’s what I used along the way:

  • An ice cream maker – Last year I upgraded from this guy to this beast, and I love it so much! Not only do I not have to give up precious freezer space to freeze the canister, but I can spin multiple batches back-to-back (like I did this day with the coffee ice cream and Mr. Eat’s favorite chocolate)! That being said, either one will work just fine. So long as you aren’t going to be making ice cream on the reg, you should be just fine with the cheaper option!
  • Jeni’s books, of course – Her first one is chock-full of ice cream recipes (including both recipes above) while her second book has some ice cream recipes, but really focuses on desserts and add-ins – ways to upgrade your regular ice cream game.
  • Storage – Far too late in the game, I finally picked up a pack of these pint containers. (Previously I was just using large plastic Glad storage containers). The pint containers are 4 for $10.00 at our local Sur la Table, or I could get 25 on Amazon for practically the same price. So it was really a no-brainer. Plus, they’re good for more than just storing ice cream – they’ll make great containers for holiday cookies and treats.

halloween candy cheesecake brownies

kit kat brownieIt’s about that time of year where our houses are filled with candy and we need to figure out what exactly to do with all of it. Well, fear not, I am here to help you out! A couple weeks ago I showed you how to turn our leftover candy into ice cream, last year we made a Halloween candy bark, and now, we take it one step further by shoving that delicious candy into brownies.

You’re welcome.

I found this original recipe in a “Kit Kat” version on Bakerella’s gorgeous blog, though I modified the technique a bit per this article on Epicurious. I did make some with Kit Kats, but also some with toffee and some with Oreos, too… You know, for science.

I think the Oreos were my favorite version, but all of them were surprisingly delicious. Feel free to wedge whatever candy your heart desires between your brownie and cream cheese layers, though I would personally stay away from the fruity stuff. That’s just weird.

kit kat brownie 4

halloween candy cheesecake brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 30 brownies (depending on cutting size)

Ingredients

    For the brownie layer:
  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Candy of choice: Kit Kat bars (9 ounces, broken into individual sticks), Oreos (24 cookies), or whatever other candy/cookie your heart desires or any combination thereof
  • For the cheesecake layer:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with foil and parchment; spray with baking spray or brush with butter.
  2. Make the brownie layer
  3. Stir flour, salt, and baking flour together in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the eggs are very pale yellow and reach the 'ribbon' stage.
  6. Whisk the cocoa powder into the butter until homogeneous. Then fold the egg mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour-mixture into the egg-butter mixture until no flour streaks remain.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and press candy and/or cookies into the top of the brownie layer.
  8. Make the cheesecake layer
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and salt with the whisk attachment until smooth.
  10. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Then add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  11. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  12. Once combined, pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie layer and spread with an offset spatula to ensure the entire top of the brownies are covered.
  13. Place pan into the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will turn a golden brown, if it begins to brown too much you can cover the top with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so of baking.
  14. Remove from oven and cool in their pan on a wire rack before cutting. *I find that all brownies cut much cleaner after they hang out in the fridge for a few hours.
  15. Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

*I find that all brownies cut much cleaner after they hang out in the fridge for a few hours.

*Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

*Kit Kats, Reeses, Oreos, and pretty much any other candy bar you can think of are great for these brownies - feel free to experiment to your heart's content!

http://wee-eats.com/2015/10/15/halloween-candy-cheesecake-brownies/

[ Recipe adapted from Bakerella ]

peep eggs

peeps 0572

You’ve still got a whole week (plus one day!( til Easter comes and if you haven’t prepared yet, it’s time!

My idea? Adorable Peeps “eggs” – made of chocolate. They are basically the easiest thing in the whole world to make, will take about 30 seconds each (plus drying time), and are too cute not to love. I mean, JUST LOOK AT THEM!   Continue reading

pistachio cherry bark

pistachio cherry bark 0548

Easter is just about two weeks away and, as you may remember from last year, that means that I have to put on my candy-making hat and hop on into the kitchen. Last year, feeling exceptionally motivated, I made peanut butter eggs. This year, however, I decided to cater to the less-motivated crowd with chocolate bark!

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good day sunshine bars

DSC_0446

Baked Bakery’s “Good Morning Sunshine” bars have been on my ‘to do’ list for practically forever, and who knows why because they’re so fricking easy to make that I basically feel like the laziest person ever for not making them. I finally got around to make them, but as i was reading through the recipe I just wanted there to be more.

The standard recipe is pretty solid on its own, it’s got cereal, peanut butter, sugar (duh), and a drizzle of chocolate on top, but it also had chopped peanuts which for some reason I am generally not a fan of in my snacks. I like peanuts, I eat them quite frequently, but crunchy peanut butter? No thank you. Nuts in my cookies? Get out of here.  Nuts in a quick bread? Pass. I know, I’m a crazy person.

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