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.

Snowman dessert

Living in Michigan during the winter months encourages a love for all things cold and snowy.  We enjoyed these cute snowman desserts over the holiday, but they could be enjoyed all winter long.  Children would love these cute little snowman and they are super easy to construct.

The only ingredients are: vanilla ice cream, whipped cream in a can, mini chocolate chips, red Twizzlers, slivered almonds, butterscotch chips, large marshmallows, maraschino cherries with stems, and red decors.

I made the marshmallow heads in advance and kept them in the refrigerator.  I used the mini chocolate chips for the eyes, the slivered almond for the nose, the red decors for the mouth–using a bit of white icing to attach.  I cut the Twizzlers in advance and blotted the cherries to make certain they did not have any extra cherry juice for the finished product.

The butterscotch chips are used for the buttons and the whipped cream is used at the base of the snowman to resemble snow and finish the look on the plate.  Quite simple and cute for the winter months.

Other ideas for the body parts could include: candy canes for the arms, dried cranberries for the eyes, other small candies for buttons.

Affogato

Coffee and ice cream are a match made in heaven.  By combining the warm coffee liquid with very cold ice cream, the palate has a chance to taste a spectrum of flavor.  This has to be the easiest dessert on record.

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Scoop  vanilla ice cream into attractive glasses and simply pour your favorite coffee blend over the ice cream and serve.  Flavored coffees will add another dimension to this mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, coconut, chopped toffee bits, peppermint, or shaved chocolate to add additional texture to the dessert. Serve with long dessert spoons.

Oh so delicious, even on a winter’s eve.

Kilwins chocolate kitchen tour

Kilwins Chocolate shops are located all over the country in many states from Florida to New York.   But, Michigan is home to 24 shops.  Just about every small town up North has a Kilwins, which is known for delicious  boxed chocolates, taffy, caramels, fudge, caramel apples,  handcrafted marshmallows and even ice cream.

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Walking into Kilwins is an experience, as the fragrance of chocolate fills the air.  The displays are beautiful, and the chocolate presentation is equal to any fine chocolate company in the world.  This past week, we visited the Petoskey shop (among others) to sample some nut clusters and tour the chocolate factory.  This location offers free tours, which last about one hour.

A history of the Kilwin family is shared, along with information about how the candy is decorated and produced.  Every one behind the glass walls making the candy has a smile on their face. The candy is handmade, and some of the equipment dates back to the 1940’s, 1950s and 1960s. Don Kilwin began his business in 1947.

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With 80 shops, it should be easy enough to find one that is near your home or a friend’s home for a visit.  Or, you could just check out their website for more information:  https://www.kilwins.com/stores/all

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frozen strawberry almond yogurt

For years I have used my ice cream machine for making only ice cream.  However, it is capable of making many other products. A few days ago, I made homemade strawberry yogurt for the first time.  I adapted a recipe for blueberry and basil yogurt, changing the fruit ingredients, as my husband is not a fan of blueberries.

This is a very good basic recipe and is very tasty.  It can be made as easily as my basic ice cream recipe, but also requires a chill time of several hours.  We usually freeze our homemade treats overnight.

Gather these ingredients to get started:  3 containers of Greek style vanilla yogurt, 2 cups half and half, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup light corn syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract, and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Other flavors could be substituted; I used almond for this recipe, but the original recipe used vanilla extract.

Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.  Add mashed fruit, about 1 1/2 cups maximum.  Pour into the ice cream maker and process for 20-22 minutes.  Store in freezer several hours before serving.  This recipe makes another great summer dessert.

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Happiness comes with the right scoop

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People often tell me that they don’t enjoy cooking or being in the kitchen at all. Sometimes I think it is because they are busy people and just don’t have the time to relax and enjoy the process of making a nice meal.

Another reason could be not having the proper tools, which seem to make the process easy and sometimes even fun.  Over the years I have collected many tools, some of which do the same thing.  As an example, I have several types of ice cream scoops.  Different engineers have decided the best way to scoop ice cream, whether it be to use an ice cream spade or different sizes of stainless steel scoops.

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Since manufacturers have changed the size of ice cream containers within the past few years, some of these scoops do not work as well as they may have in the past.  Recently, I was sent a stainless scoop to try and review for my blog.

And, I had a great first experience with this ice cream scoop design with rock hard ice cream. By warming the stainless portion in warm water, the scoop moves through the cold ice cream very easily.

My new scoop is well made and not flimsy. It is solid and built to last. The hand grip is padded for comfort and helps with the scooping process.

The size is perfect for a variety of ice cream products. It is neither too wide nor too long for ease of use with smaller ice cream containers, especially for my home-made ice cream container.

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Past ice cream scoops have had flaws (too flat, too wide, too long, too thick), but this product seems to have overcome all of them.  If you need to update your ice cream scoop, this might be the answer for you too.

For more information on this scoop, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PTSTST2

easy chocolate croissants

I am certain this is not a new recipe, but I just happened to find this one on the Food Network website.  It uses Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls for a quick and easy dessert.

This recipe tasted great and was made within five minutes of preparation time.  Baking is 15 to 20 minutes.  Having a recipe like this one handy could fill in for those last-minute occasions when there is not much lead timeSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES for baking a cake.

I decided to make a couple of changes and serve the croissants a bit more upscale.

I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a splash of powdered sugar with a drizzle of caramel or chocolate syrup.  That made the presentation even more attractive.

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How to make the croissants:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Separate the dough into 8 triangles.  Place chocolate chips on the wide end of the dough.  Roll and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 or more minutes until brown.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Serve with ice cream and a drizzle of syrup. A small bit of real whipped cream could make this dessert even more delicious.

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