Coffee Ice Cream…and other obsessions

OK…I am obsessed.  (with things other than ice cream and the color of  this bowl…seriously, if only I could paint my world in that color, then I would be content.)

Obsessed with the new Mumford and Sons album, Babel.  I know it just came out Tuesday, but since Tuesday morning, I have listened to nothing but Mumford and his sons (who aren’t really his sons…it is just the band name, figured I should clarify that since my mom asked this question and she may not be the only one wondering about their relationship.)  It is on constant repeat or shuffle or whatever Apple is calling it these days.  I have been looking forward to this week since they first announced the release date earlier in the summer.  Pre-ordered the extended version as soon as it was possible.  Was giddy with pure excitement and adoration when I saw them in concert in August….where they played nearly half of their new album along with most of their first.  I have told everyone with ears about them and kidnapped several, making them listen or watch youtube videos of them.  I even have my dad listening to them…this my friends is a big feat…he is not a fan of newbies in the music world.  I stayed up well past my bedtime last Saturday to catch them on Saturday Night Live…keeping myself up, but also a good friend…who was kind enough to set his phone alarm to make sure we didn’t miss them … you see, SNL has way too many commercials and my eyes become quite heavy between segments.  My foot sleepily tapping along during both performances…knowing full well that I looked ridiculous tapping my foot while in my pajamas at midnight while laying on the couch on a Saturday night.  I could seriously sit and listen/watch them for hours at a time…the voice, the lyrics, the instrumentals…I am hooked.   People, I actually look forward to driving TO work…new music will do that to you.

So there, go and buy the album…I am 99.78654% sure you will love it…especially if you enjoyed their first album and if you are new to them (which I understand, there is a ton of music out there) get your butt over to itunes and thank me later!  suppose they need a spokeswoman?

 

On a completely different note … I made you coffee ice cream.  No bigs.

Coffee ice cream is a flavor I have recently started to correlate with fall.  A few years of repeat trips to Rhode Island, where cool September evenings were spent wolfing down waffle cones overflowing with a deliciously rich and strong coffee ice cream, are partly to blame.  If you are ever near Narragansett, Rhode Island…check out Brickleys.  If you are near Point Judith…check out Aunt Carries Ice Cream.  I have done extensive research and neither one will disappoint.  This I know.  But beyond trips to RI, coffee flavored treats are more welcoming in the fall and winter than mid-summer….and coffee ice cream is no exception.

Personally, I think coffee ice cream is best when eaten while lounging in sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt while watching the new NCIS or Grey’s Anatomy or New Girl or on cool Saturday afternoons while watching college football from the comfort of your couch. Or my favorite,  sitting on a beach, in jeans and a sweatshirt, where the salty air is slowly rejuvenating your summer weary soul, and the wind is whipping your hair…where you sit with your mom, aunt, and grandma, shoulder to shoulder.  Where words are not spoken beyond the ‘oh my Gods‘ or ‘why can’t we get this in Ohio?‘ or ‘I don’t think I should have eaten that last clam cake‘ or ‘suppose anyone would notice if I unbuttoned my jeans…I seriously might explode‘…

There are many recipes out there for coffee ice cream…but when I saw Ina Garten (an east coaster) steep whole coffee beans years ago on her show and then saw the same step repeated in David Lebovitz’s recipe … I knew this was the most important step … a step necessary in getting that uninhibited strong coffee flavor that is key to a true coffee ice cream.  Therefore, I should warn you, if you don’t like the taste of coffee…or prefer just a hint of coffee flavor…this is probably not for you.  Just sayin’.

And…I have a dream of making ice cream sandwiches with this ice cream…but instead of chocolate cookie, how about glazed donuts?  Yeah.  I went there.  And I don’t plan on returning.

 

 

Coffee Ice Cream…and other obsessions
 
Makes 1 quart Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups whole coffee beans (I used espresso roast, as that is what I had on hand and I truly wanted intense flavor. Can also use decaf)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon heaping Espresso Powder
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine whole milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and ½ cup heavy cream. Place over medium heat and cook until mixture is warm and steamy, but not boiling. Stir occasionally.
  2. Once warm and steamy, remove from heat and cover. Let mixture steep for 1 hour at room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, place remaining cup of cream in a medium sized bowl, and place entire bowl over ice in a larger bowl. Place a mesh strainer over bowls. Set aside.
  4. One hour later, place coffee bean/milk mixture back over medium heat and reheat mixture until warm and steamy again, do not boil!
  5. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks. SLOWLY pour in coffee bean/milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly so the eggs are tempered and not cooked.
  6. Pour egg/coffee bean/milk mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat.
  7. Constantly stir mixture with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and pour mixture through mesh strainer into the bowl containing the cream. Stir to combine.
  9. Press the coffee beans with the back of your wooden spoon into the mesh strainer, extracting as much coffee flavor as possible. Discard beans.
  10. Stir in vanilla extract and espresso powder.
  11. Cover and place in fridge. Chill thoroughly ( at least a few hours) and then freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.
  12. Enjoy!

Apple Pie

Apples, quintessential fall food, right?
Sure they are great year round, but fall…fall is when they are at their peak.
During my childhood, fall was always filled with apple desserts….not pumpkin.  Apples.  Apples were always in abundance because mom and grandma would take us apple picking.  A small orchard (and in all reality I haven’t a clue to the real size of the place…I was young, but telling you it was small makes sense for some reason) anywho….we would pick apples by the bushel and when we were done, a tractor pulling a flatbed trailer would sweep by and pick us up.  This was my favorite part.  A tractor ride.  And would still be today…swear, you just can’t take the country/child out of this girl.

Apple pie, crisp, applesauce, stewed apples, apple dumplings…this is what my fall tasted like.

I went through a long stretch of falls where apple picking didn’t happen…you know high school where it wasn’t really cool to be picking apples with your grandma…but it totally should have been…Dear teenager self…go pick apples with grandma.  She will enjoy it, as will you.
Thankfully in college…I started it back up again, this time with friends and roommates.  We would traipse out into a local orchard, in old jeans and hoodies, cups of coffee and warm apple cider, and empty bushels.  We would pick way too many apples…eating more than intended, climbing higher than advised, and looking forward to the apple crisp and pies that would be made.


I haven’t been apple picking since college.  It currently is on my fall bucket list…But until I can make my way to an orchard, I depend on the grocery/farmer markets.  Which I am thankful for, because last week, I needed apple pie.  Or wanted.  Such a thin line I walk.  I spent the entire weekend stealing sweet cinnamony apple slices from the depths of a flaky pie crust with each sweep through the kitchen.  Boy do I love pie.

 

Good Ole Apple Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Double Pie Crust
  • 5 Small Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 Medium Fuji Appels, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Roll out bottom pie crust and fit (do not stretch) into 9 inch pie plate, leaving edges hanging over and place in freezer until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, combine apple slices, corn starch, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss to combine.
  4. Pour filling into bottom pie crust.
  5. Roll out top crust and lay over apple filling. Crimp edges together using either a fork or pinching with thumb and pointer fingers.
  6. Brush top with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cut small slits in top of crust to let steam escape.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes until crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

Apple Spice Cake with Walnut Brown Sugar Glaze

Windows open.  Cool crisp air seeps into the house.  My feet are oddly chilled and I search for a pair of thick socks.  I enjoy a few deep breaths, the evening fall air filling my lungs and giving me a bit of a rush.  A warm cup of coffee warms my hands as I gaze at the evening sky, streaked with pinks and oranges, and many many many jet streams (where are all the people coming from and going to?).  Stan stands at the screen door, completely entertained by the moths just out of reach.  September baseball plays quietly on the TV … all while the first of many fall desserts bakes away in the oven.

A hint of cinnamon mingles with the fall air ….warm and inviting.  Like a hug from an old friend you haven’t seen, in like, 9 months…

That is what fall is.  An old friend.  An old friend that brings apple desserts and cardigans.  Football games and hooded sweatshirts.  Cool evenings and warm blankets.  Oh fall, I have missed you.  Welcome back.

To celebrate his return (fall is a dude in my brain, and if you were wondering – spring and summer are women, and winter is a sweet old man with grumpy moments).  To celebrate, I made a cake.  I bake cakes for most anything.  If there is reason or room to celebrate…I am ready and willing to bake a cake.  And fall, well you and your return are more than deserving of a cake.  And apple cake, spiced with cinnamon and ginger, drizzled with a sweet brown sugar glaze that is heavily studded with walnuts…this is the cake I made for you, fall.

You are welcome.

Apple Spice Cake with Walnut Brown Sugar Glaze
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Oil (used canola)
  • 1+1/2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Apple Butter (used Mussleman’s)
  • 3 Small or 2 Medium Granny Smith Apples; peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, diced
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, roughly Chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter (generously so) and flour a bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together vegetable oil and sugar.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions.
  5. Add apple butter and shredded apple, mix to combine.
  6. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
  7. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in chopped walnuts.
  8. Pour batter (it will be thick) into prepared bundt pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean with only a few moist crumbs holding on.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on a wire rack before turning cake out onto a cake stand. Let cool.
  10. When cake is near room temperature, prepare glaze.
  11. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream. Place over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Let boil for 3 minutes.
  12. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts.
  13. Pour warm glaze over cake.
  14. Enjoy!
Notes
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my Home to Yours.

 

Fall Food Round Up

So, before I go plastering the pages of this blog with apples and cinnamon… smearing pumpkin from one end to the next.  Would anyone be opposed to some mac and cheese?  Ya know…Pretty much have you thanking the heavens for sweatshirts and bulky sweaters…I figured I should do a bit of a recap of the fall like flavors that have already appeared on the pages of this blog.  From cookies that pair well with hot cups of coffee to muffins that host apples and cinnamon.  Or some warm chicken chili, which is always in heavy rotation in my humble abode.

These are just a few of my favorites…give the recipe index a once over if you are looking for more fall/comfort foods.

P.S….you can also see the learning curve that has happened with me and my camera.  Oh do I just wanna go and remake and retake some photos!  Yikes.

P.S.S  Have a great weekend!

Chai Sugar Cookie


Chocolate Espresso Bean Shortbread  Cookies


Chocolate Walnut Biscotti


Molasses Pumpkin Cookies


Oatmeal Pecan Apple Raisin Cookies


Cinnamon Sugar Pound Cake


Granola Bars


Apple Cider Muffins


Cinnamon Swirl Raisin Bread


Pumpkin Bread


Caramel Popcorn


Cassoulet


White Chicken Chili


Creamy Tomato Soup w/ Blue Cheese

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I just made Goober, in bar form.

Remember the stuff?  I do.  Peanut butter and grape jelly, mixed yet separate, in one jar.

My freshman year of college I spent a good amount of time stealing Goober.  I used to travel with a spoon down to my friend and cousin’s dorm room (yeah, I lived 4 floors above my cousin and friend, both of whom I went to school with since kindergarten.)  and would literally eat the stuff straight from the jar.  I may also have sent requests for it over AOL Instant Messenger…as in, “next time you stop by, bring the Goober.”  Yep, I totally typed that sentence, and more than once.  I am not sure whose mother kept refilling the Goober stash…but, I was always thankful that they did.  They probably thought their son loved the stuff, little did they know that the blonde girl upstairs was eating the large majority of the pb+j concoction  Ha!

I think my infatuation with this genius combo was because I had never encountered it until I was in college.  I lived such a sheltered life.  I grew up living old school, with pb and jelly coming from separate jars.  College, oh the things you will experience.

I hadn’t thought about Goober for sometime, that was until I took a bite of these bars.  ( OK, I saw my cousin 2 weeks ago, and we talked about Goober, but that doesn’t count )  One bite and I was 18 again with a spoon in my hand.

I had no intentions of making these bars this weekend…that was until I kinda, sorta, quite possibly screwed up a batch of grape jelly.  My CSA, for 2 weeks in a row, has contained concord grapes.  And the only thing I know how to make out of concord grapes is jelly…but come to find out, I don’t exactly know how.  The final product, while it tasted just like I remember, the texture was off.  More grape preserve than grape jelly.  Womp Womp.   I still could have used it for morning toast or pb+j sandwiches…no doubt, but I was planning on giving the jelly away, because I don’t eat toast or pb+j sandwiches often enough to use 2 jars of jelly ( I didn’t can them, so they weren’t going to last indefinitely).  And I wasn’t about to give away grape something or other…since I wasn’t sure if it was a preserve or a jam or a jelly.  Grape spread?

So I baked with it.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.

And these peanut butter and jelly bars…well they turned my kitchen failure into a success.  While I wanted jelly for toast…I ended up with a perfect filling for a dessert.  A simple change in expectations…

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
 
Recipe Adapted from Epicurious
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups All_Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1+ ½ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ¾ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 + ½ Cups Grape Jelly (or your favorite flavor) – will spread easier if at room temperature.
  • ½ Cup Roasted and Salted Peanuts, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13inch pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter. Add sugar (white and brown) and continue to cream until well mixed.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.
  5. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  6. Press ½ to ⅔ of the mixture into the prepared pan. Evenly spread jelly over crust.
  7. Scatter remaining crust over top of jelly and top with chopped peanuts.
  8. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until top is golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.