Chocolate topped ice cream treats

For those of you who love an ice cream treat, but just can’t have a whole bowl, here is a great way to portion out a delicious dessert.  I scoop out Edy’s Vanilla ice cream into eight large cookie balls with my cookie scoop.  Freeze them on a tray and then make a quick ganache topping.  This time I melted 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate with 4 ounces unsalted butter (or 6 ounces to be able to dip the ice cream balls) and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup in a double boiler on the stove top.  When the ganache is melted and ready, working quickly, pour over the ice cream balls or dip the ice cream into the ganache.

The treats could be topped with sea salt, sprinkles, or chopped nuts.  Return to the freezer immediately until just ready to serve.  They must chill at least 30 minutes to set for presentation.

Oven Baked Stone Fruit

We have had a Winter warm-up of temperatures in Michigan, which makes me feel like Spring might be on the way. Stone fruit is in the market, with peaches, plums and apricots being my favorites. I decided to bake some peaches and top with some vanilla sugar a few days ago, and they were delicious.

Baked stone fruit is delicious as a warm dessert with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I sprinkled the sugar, and then added a shave of margarine to the tops of the sliced open fruit.

     

The fruit baked in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. So simple but so tasty. Other options would include adding ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg to taste.

Bavarian Apple Torte

Just like others, I have recipes that I have made for my family for years. This one, in particular, I have made dozens of times over the past 30 years.  It is a classic.  I obtained the recipe from a friend of mine from the very first garden club I had ever joined, back in 1979.  To say that the recipe is delicious is an understatement.  It has always been well received from anyone I have ever served.  Two keys to success to this recipe are: using a 9 inch non-stick springform pan, along with slicing the apples quite thin.

Here is how I made this recipe–gather these ingredients for the different steps:  1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 8 ounces light cream cheese/softened, 1 egg, 4 cups very thinly sliced apples, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/3 cup sugar.

Preheat the oven to very hot–450 degrees.  In a stand mixer, cream butter, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Stir in flour until a soft dough is formed.  Press this dough in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan–about 1 inch high on the sides of the pan.

Next, beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla and pour onto the crust in the pan.

Then, combine the apples, cinnamon and remaining sugar in a large bowl.  Layer over the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the almonds on the top.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, LOWER the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes until done.  Cool before removing from the pan.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Makes 6-8 servings. Other options for serving include–add whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Mocha Chip Meringues

One of my favorite cookies happens to be a meringue.  We loved the taste of these cookies over the Christmas holiday this year.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe and as every one of her recipes, it worked perfectly. These cookies were crispy, but soft inside the center of the cookie.  The chocolate taste was just perfect and not overpowering.  I opted to use mini chocolate chips in the recipe, instead of the full size chips.  I found the substitute to be perfect and a nice improvement to her recommendations.

How to make the mocha chip meringues–gather these ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 egg whites at room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with two racks divided within the oven.  Add parchment paper or silpat mats to the cookie sheets.  In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy on medium speed.  Then add sugar mixture slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat about 6-8 minutes until very stiff. I used my stand mixer with the whipping whisk.  Add espresso powder and cocoa next.  Fold in chocolate chips at the end with a spatula.

Drop onto cookie sheets, one tablespoon at a time.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from cookies sheets.  Great recipe and these cookies are light and delicious.

Snowman Chocolate Bark

From another food blogger (theDecoratedCookie.com) comes this great idea for snowman chocolate bark.  The directions were very easy to follow.  And, the result is very cute. Just perfect for the winter season, especially for children of all ages.

Very few ingredients are needed. To make the bark, I used these ingredients: 16 ounces of Ghirardelli dark chocolate melts, 1 tablespoon shortening, Ghirardelli white candy melts, pretzel sticks, white sprinkles and decors, black and orange icing.

Place a silpat mat on a baking sheet.  Melt dark chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave following the directions on the candy bag.  Spread on the silpat mat to fill as much of the tray as possible.  Arrange the white candy melts into snowmen.  Add the broken pretzel sticks for the arms.  Sprinkle the white sprinkles and decor around the bark.  Decorate the snowman heads with the black and orange icing.

Place the baking tray in the refrigerator to set the bark for at least 30-45 minutes.  At that time, the bark can be removed and broken into segments for serving.  Individual bark pieces could be used as a garnish alongside an ice cream dessert.

Snow on the rooftops

Well, it is still winter here in Michigan.  So, here is a fun way to keep the children happy on a cold snowy day.  How about an updated Rice Krispies treat recipe to make and share?  I named this one– snow on the rooftops, since I use butterscotch chips and peanut butter for the color of a brown roof and then, add white sprinkles on top to look like snow. I made them this Christmas and featured them on the top of my cookie plate.

I use a familiar recipe of 3 cups Rice Krispies with 6 ounces of butterscotch morsels mixed with 1/2 cup peanut butter. The cereal is placed in the mixing bowl, while I melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a double boiler on the stove top. Stir together with the cereal, and when fully melted– press into a square pan which has been buttered. Top with white sprinkles.

  

 

I chill these for at least one hour until firm before cutting into squares. Very cute and tasty. Store in the refrigerator to keep firm for several days if desired.

 

Cinnamon Biscotti

While relaxing in front of the fireplace this cold winter, why not try a great homemade cinnamon biscotti cookie?  These cookies are crisp and crunchy and are perfect to dunk in a warm mug of tea or coffee. I have made several other biscotti recipes, but this one is one of my favorites.  The cinnamon sugar taste is just perfect and provides just a hint of sweetness.

To make this recipe, gather the following ingredients:  2 cups flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper. In a bowl, mix flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. In a mixer, beating 1 cup sugar with butter until fluffy.  Add 1 egg and beat, Add egg yolk and mix into the bowl.  Mix in vanilla and then the bowl of dry ingredients.

     

Move dough to waxed paper.  Divide dough into two sections and roll into 9 inch long logs. With the remaining egg, beat and brush the logs when placed onto their baking sheets.

Bake 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and slice the logs into the biscotti cookies.  Place on their sides and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake another 20 minutes until done.

Cool.  These cookies will store for at least 1-2 weeks at room temperature in an airtight container.