Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crazy for Cookie Dough

I love books, but I don't like to spend money on them when I can get them for free at the library.  I have always been a regular library goer and don't understand why everyone isn't.  They have some good stuff in that  place!  Of course I do not like how my tax dollars are being spent on filling the place up with more and more DVDs.  It's a little off track for me.... How is that supporting literacy? But don't get me started.

Anyway, I was deep in the shelves of the cookbook section looking for some of the newer released books I have seen on the blogs when I came across this :

It was the beginning of a multi-day cookie dough bender.  I couldn't get enough of it and made three recipes in three days.  

I started with the cookie dough donuts.  I am a big fan of donuts, but have never made them before.  I am not crazy about having to use all that oil to fry them so I was happy to these donuts were baked.

The cookie dough for all the recipes is eggless so it is safe to eat raw. They tasted best right out of the oven and had my fill after eating two.

The unglazed donut holes were good too, they tasted like yeast rolls and I ate a few of them too. I love bread and fresh baked bread is even harder to resist.

Next, I started on the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough ice cream.  The ice cream base needs to sit overnight so I had to get that going first.   Instead of traditional cookie dough I went with peanut butter because is goes perfectly with chocolate.  The recipe makes A LOT of cookie dough.  This is how much I had to mix into the ice cream even after trying a few hunks.

Homemade ice cream rules and this was excellent!  I like it best when it is in its soft serve consistency right out of the ice cream maker. The only thing I would change next time is to not use all the cookie dough.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but you can have too much in the ice cream and the flavors aren't balanced.

After donuts and ice cream I moved onto cake-Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Layer Cake.  It is a three layer cake with ganache and cookie dough separating the layers of cake.  This is one of my new favorite cakes and I will be making it again. I changed the frosting on my cake to a traditional buttercream.  The one in the book is made with brown sugar and I thought there was enough of that flavor in the cake and cookie dough.  

Brown Sugar Cookie Dough Layer Cake
For Cake
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
2 eggs
6 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla 

For Cookie Dough
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For Ganache
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

For Frosting
8 tablespoons butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Prepare three 9 inch round cake pans and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl combine cake flour, baking powder, sugars and salt,  Add butter and 1 cup of milk.  Mix on low until evenly moistened, increase speed to medium high and beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. 

In a small bowl whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk with whole eggs, egg whites and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture a little at a time mixing well between each addition. Divide batter evenly among three pans.

Bake 22-25 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer to a cooling rack. 

Begin making the cookie dough by beating butter and sugars on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Beat in milk and vanilla.  Add flour and salt until combined and stir in chocolate chips.  Set aside.

To prepare the ganache, place chopped chocolate in heat proof bowl. In small saucepan, heat cream over low heat until it simmers. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for about 30 seconds.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature. 

For frosting, blend butter in mixing bowl on low speed until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and vanilla. Blend on low until sugar is incorporated.  Increase to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy.  Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if frosting is too stiff.

To assemble the cake she recommends leveling each layer prior to stacking.  (I did not and my cake did crack a little)  On each layer spread one-half of cookie dough and top it with one-half of ganache. Cover entire cake with butter cream frosting.

Adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook.

This officially ended my cookie dough craving, at least temporarily.  I loved this cookbook and would consider buying it. There were more recipes I wanted to try, but for another time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Milkshake

In case you haven't heard on the TV, on Twitter, on the internet, or on the's HOT outside, everywhere!  In times like this you need a way to cool off and that's just what this chocolate shake does in addition to making you feel happy all over from its delicious goodness.

The best part of this milkshake is the light fluffy marshmallow whipped cream.  I could just sit and eat it with a spoon. I keep trying to come up with other things to eat it with.
It is perfect with the dense double chocolatey ice cream. 

This recipe claims to make four shakes, but it's more like two for me. The idea is to create layers of the chocolate milkshake topped with whipped cream and then repeat ending with whipped cream on top. So not only is it heavenly to eat it is also beautiful to look at as you gobble it up.

Chocolate Marshmallow Milkshake
Makes 4 shakes

Marshmallow Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Milkshake
1 cup cold milk (whole milk is best)
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
3 cups chocolate ice cream

In cold bowl with cold whisk (I put both in the freezer for 5 minutes before I start) add heavy cream, marshmallow fluff and vanilla.  Whisk briskly until stiff peaks form.  Set aside in the refrigerator.  

In a blender combine milk, ice-cream and chocolate syrup.  Blend until smooth.

Fill glasses with layer of chocolate shake, then add some marshmallow cream, now more milkshake and top with cream.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Santa Fe

I just visited New Mexico for the first time.  I was in Santa Fe for a work related conference.  Talk about perfect weather  - it was heaven!  No humidity, no bugs, cool evenings...... quite a nice change from Florida.   

Many interesting wind vanes.
As a side note, I flew in and out of Albuquerque, NM  and I kept thinking there was a song about that town, but I couldn't remember what it was.  During my travels it came to me... I'll give you a few hints and maybe you can guess it.
1. It was sung by a TV family who had a band. 
2.  They drove around in a multicolored bus.

YES.....The Partridge Family!
Point me in the direction of Albuquerque is not one of their big hits, but I definitely remember the chorus.  I was a fan of this show and thought my family should start a band too.  We didn't.

Although I spent most of my time working, I did get a chance to check out the town's food and shopping.  One night I had dinner at The Anasazi Restaurant located at the Rosewood Inn.  The food was excellent.  I want to recreate this entree but haven't clue if gnocchi is difficult to make or not.

Vegetable Gnocchi
Mexican Brownie

The local cupcake shop - Dream Cakes, had many flavors to choose from and they all sounded good.  At $4.50 a piece I was only going to try one. I got the Ebony and Ivory - half chocolate/half vanilla cupcake filled with caramel topped with half caramel and half chocolate buttercream.  It was beautiful, but not as flavorful and fresh as I was hoping. I still ate half of it anyway.

The shop I liked best was Oleaceae. They sell fresh olive oils, vinegars and sea salts.  It was such a unique place.   The entire store was filled with silver jugs of oils and vinegars that you could taste test, just like you do at the yogurt shop. Plus a large selection of flavored sea salts to try.

It was an incredible experience and I was fascinated by all the flavors.  I tried and liked many from the Tangerine/Clementine white balsamic vinegar to the Chipotle sea salt.

I decided on the Tuscan Herb olive oil and the Tahitian Vanilla dark balsamic vinegar.  I would have never thought I would like vanilla vinegar, but the taste is incredible! I have never eaten anything like it and am having trouble describing the flavor.  It has a savory/sweet thing going on and it tastes great drizzled on yogurt and fruit and is adding a depth of flavor to my summer fruit.

I did find a great pair of shoes here too, that I love.  They make me tall without killing my feet!

I even found $20 bill on the sidewalk during my morning walk through town!  There's nothing like that to make your day! As you can see I was nice enough to put it right back into the economy of Santa Fe.

The highlight of my trip was meeting and listening to the well known educator Ron Clark. He was Disney's Teacher of the Year, a guest on Oprah and the subject of the movie, The Ron Clark Story, starring Matthew Perry. He currently runs a school in Atlanta, GA.

He is an amazing speaker, moving around the entire time and even standing on chairs!  He was funny, inspiring and touching.  He makes you want to be the best  person you can be and to do what's right even when it's not easy. Teachers can make such a difference in the lives of children!

We were given an autographed copy of his most recent book The End of Molasses Classes and I can't wait to read it. 
This was a thrill of lifetime to meet him!