Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Ice Cream

IMG_6301-2

Guess whose back, back, back?

Back again, again, again?

It’s me.

I’m BACK. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I have so much I want to tell you. SO MUCH.

It’s been over six months. Do you know how many things have happened? Like a zillion and seven. That’s kind of a lot. And, also, totally one hundred percent an exaggeration. I’m a lot more boring than you may think.

But, really, I feel like a bag of popcorn you just put in the microwave. I keep popping with things I want to share, but I also totally don’t want to overwhelm you. Or, come off as that crazy lady that just keeps spewing [it feels somehow wrong to use that word on the baking blog…but, let’s just go with it!] random tidbits on her first post back in foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Just bear with me, okay?

IMG_6224-2

I should probably start with school. The blog hiatus was mostly caused by anatomy, microbiology, anatomy lab, microbiology lab, studying, ALL THE STUDYING, no time…mainly because of work and said studying, and my desire to occasionally get some sleep. And, then the semester ended, and the year ended, and everything was kind of merrr, and I just felt burnt out. There was no creative juices, no artsy-ness, and even though I wanted to be in the kitchen, I just didn’t go in there.

Why? I don’t really know. And, I’m sorry, I know I could definitely be more eloquent with my feelings, but at the end of the day, I just wasn’t feeling it. And, the longer I stayed away from baking the more awkward I felt about getting back into it. And, I know that probably makes absolutely no sense, but for me, it completely does.

I’m kind of an awkward turtle, guys. I just hope ya’ll love me enough to except that. But, serious time. I missed you. And, the blog. And, writing. And, baking. And, taking pictures. Anddddd, just everything about this. I’m back in school again this semester, but it’s definitely much more manageable than the last one. So, I’m ready to be back. And, I hope you’re ready to have me back.

Now, lets talk some ice cream.

IMG_6308-6

Guess who got an ice cream machine for her birthday?

Yup, this girl. Thanks to my best friend, I can now make ice cream on the regular. Which is pretty much the best thing ever. But, also, sort of a problem. I want to turn everything into ice cream.

EVERYTHING.

How does Cheez-it ice cream sound?

IMG_6220

And, because I want to make everythinggggg into ice cream, I couldn’t decide what to make first. See, weird, awkward turtle over here. No big deal. I figured I couldn’t shouldn’t eat the entire carton ALL by myself, so I asked around and got a suggestion for Peanut Butter, which I felt would be too plain for my come-back recipe, so I decided to add Nutella. Great decision, right?

RIGHT.

The base of the ice cream is a creamy peanut butter mixture that is extremely fluffy and mousse-like in texture. This isn’t one of those ice creams that will leave you wanting more peanut butter flavor. It tastes almost as if the entire jar of peanut butter magically turned itself into ice cream form. And, then of course, I had to swirl Nutella throughout the entire ice cream, because why not?

IMG_6323-3

Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Ice Cream
Serving size: about 1 quart

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
¾ dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
¼-1/3 cup Nutella

Directions:
Using a hand mixer, or stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the peanut butter and sugar until smooth.
Slowly add in the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix on low until the sugar has dissolved—don’t worry if it seems a little grainy, the ice cream maker will smooth it out.
Pour mixture into the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (it should take about 15 to 20 minutes).
Once the ice cream is frozen, and has thickened, transfer it to an airtight container.
Add dollops of the Nutella, and using a butter knife swirl (don’t mix!) the Nutella throughout the ice cream. If the Nutella seems a little too thick for swirling, heat it up for a few seconds before adding it to the ice cream.
Ice cream can be served immediately as a soft serve or can be frozen for about 2-4 hours for a thicker, ice cream consistency.

NOTES:
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Recipe from She Wears Many Hats

 

IMG_6254-1

Advertisements

Mini Banana Cakes with Banana Cream Pudding and Nutella Drizzle

Mini Banana Cakes

THIS cake. I’m ALL about it.

Just look at it. Wouldn’t you be all about it?

I’m pretty sure you would be.

It’s so mini,
andd so cute,
anddd so darn delicious.

And, GAHHH.

You’ll have to excuse me here. I just can’t help the gushing. This is my favoritest—let’s pretend that’s a real word—recipe I have ever, EVER, posted on the blog. I’m so ridiculously proud of it, guys!

You’ll cut me a little slack on the excessive gushing, right?

Perfect. I knew you would.

Now back to cake talk.

Mini Banana Cakes

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the cake section on the blog is seriously lacking. As in, I have five cake recipes. FIVE. Can you say embarrassing? Don’t worry I’m saying it for you.

It’s not like I hate cakes either. It’s just, well…they aren’t my favorite thing to make. And, by that I mean I kind of hate making them.

Does that make me weird? Maybe, but I do have a reason. A realllly good reason.

The only time I make cakes are for birthdays. Everyone needs something to stick their candles in, and I sort of made it my job to give people the best birthday cake EVER. Already, I’m sure, you can see the pressure I’m putting on myself. I start off by taking flavor requests—chocolate, coconut, caramel, fruit-filled—and then I plan out my recipe. In theory, it should all work out.

But, in my reality, it never does.

Never.

Partly because I’m a perfectionist.

Partly because I usually get rushed by people that want cake.

And, partly because I have bad luck with cakes—if you ask my brother, however, he’ll tell you I just can’t make ’em.

Mini Banana Cakes

I’ve made cakes where the flavor is spot on, but the presentation is off. I’ve made dry cakes, burnt cakes, I’m-about-to-cry-because-this-looks-so-bad cakes, and I could go on, but I’m pretty sure you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I do make my fair share of successful birthday cakes, but it’s the bad ones that haunt me. Bad cake dreams, anyone? And, I always feel like if the cake is off, or doesn’t quite meet my perfectionist standards, I’ve ruined the person’s birthday. I know, how dramatic.

Oh, and all those successful cakes never seem to get photographed, hence the lack of cake recipes on the blog.

EXCEPT for this cake.

This beautifully delicious mini banana cake filled with banana cream pudding and drizzled with nutella.

That title, right? So, so much perfection. I can’t even. I may be shedding tears of joy right now.

Mini Banana Cakes

Are you wondering whose birthday inspired these little beauts? My friend Kp. He requested—more like I had to drag out of him because he’s too sweet to request a birthday cake—a plain vanilla cake with banana filling. Guys, remember when I said I like to give people the kind of cake they want? Well, sometimes, I like to have creative freedom.

Plain vanilla was just too…plain.

He deserved better. It was his birthday! I couldn’t just give him something so boring (sorry, vanilla lovers of the world!). So, the vanilla cake went out the window.

And, I’m so glad it did.

Mini Banana Cakes

Banana is the name of the game here.

Super, super, moist banana cake layered between a banana cream pudding that I had to stop myself from face planting in. Seriously, this pudding has the perfect amount of banana flavoring and is oh so ridiculously creamy. Did I mention the banana slices? The middle of each mini cake has banana slices on top of the banana cream pudding. I don’t think I could have packed more banana flavor in here if I had tried.

And, then there’s the nutella drizzle. Why? Because no (banana filled) birthday is complete with out it.

I want to keep gushing, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.

So, I’ll stop.

Mini Banana Cakes

But, I will say, you absolutely NEED to make these.

Like now.

RIGHT NOW.

Even, if you don’t have a birthday to celebrate.
Just do it.

Mini Banana Cakes with Banana Cream Pudding and Nutella Drizzle

Ingredients:
Banana Cakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups (about 3 large bananas) mashed bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Banana Cream Pudding*
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups whole milk
3/8 teaspoons Lorann Banana Cream Flavor Oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Assembly & Nutella Drizzle
4 to 6 bananas (depending on size), sliced
1/4 cup nutella
1 to 2 teaspoons of water, optional

Directions:
Banana Cakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour each well of the mini cake pan (or, baking dish of choice). Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in sour cream and eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl when needed. Add mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix until combined. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda until batter comes together.
Pour batter into prepared pan—about 3/4 of the way up—and bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool, in the pan, for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Using a small spatula gently pull away the sides of the cake from the pan to make sure they aren’t sticking. Invert the pan using a wire cooling rack and gently lift the cake pan up. Allow cakes to cool on the rack completely. Once cooled, cut cakes in half using a sharp knife (or, cake cutting tool).

Banana Cream Pudding
In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar, cornstarch, egg, egg yolk, banana cream oil, milk, and salt over medium heat. Whisk together until combined, then continue whisking for about 9-11 minutes or until pudding begins to thicken and bubble (you’ll know it’s done when the bubbles start making ‘plopping’ noises). Remove from the heat and whisk in butter until melted—at this point taste your pudding, if you think you want a little more banana flavor add another 1/8 of a teaspoon, but keep in mind as the pudding sits the banana flavor will intensify immensely. Pour pudding into a bowl and allow to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or until set and cool to the touch.

Cake Assembly
Once pudding has cooled, transfer it to a piping bag with a large tip. Pipe a decent amount of pudding on to the bottom layer of the cake. Top with sliced bananas. Place the top half of the cake on the banana slices and gently press down. Drizzle the tops of each cake with nutella—I wanted a thinner nutella glaze, so I whisked in some water to make it easier to drizzle, but if you don’t want a thin glaze, just drizzle the nutella as is on the cakes.

NOTES:
*I made the pudding a day in advance and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
Cake recipe from Cooking Classy
Pudding recipe slightly adapted from The Crepes of Wrath

Mini Banana Cakes

Pineapple Mimosa Granita with Vanilla Ice Cream

Pineapple Mimosa Granita

It’s true.

I’m in love. Complete and utter love.

GUYS, I’ve never felt this way before.

Do you know about granita? ‘Cause it just walked into my life. And, I know this may be soon, but I’m never letting it go.

Never, ever, EVER.

I know, how clingy of me.

IMG_5355-2

I don’t know how I survived this long without knowing about it. It’s so simple. It’s so genius. It’s so damn delicious.

Quick lesson for those that may not know about it. It’s a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water, and flavoring of your choice. Think snow-cones here. Except, you don’t have to leave your house to get it. All you need is a freezer. Pretty simple huh?

But wait, it doesn’t stop there.

Think boozy snow-cones. Then think boozy shaved ice on top of ice cream.

Can you imagine anything better?

Neither can I.

IMG_5396-1

I really owe Honestly Yum a huge thank you. That’s how I met granita. When I saw the recipe for Red Wine Granita with Vanilla Ice Cream, I knew I had to make it. Except not with red wine. Fun fact: I’m not a red wine fan.

But, the good thing about granita is that it’s versatile. You can match any flavors you want and it’ll still taste good.

Now that’s a recipe that caters to your tastes. See, why I’m in love?

Pineapple Mimosa Granita

I’m really into mimosas. It’s my go-to drink at brunch. What’s not to love about them? A little a lot of bubbly, a little orange juice, and ta-da you have a drink. Except, I like my mimosas with pineapple juice. Please tell me you’ve tried it. It’s absolutely life changing.

Seriously, try it.

In fact, drink one while you wait for your granita to freeze up. That’s the one thing about making granita. There is a lot of waiting time. The whole process takes about 4 to 5 hours. Don’t let that be the reason you don’t make this though. It’s honestly one of the simplest and easiest recipes I’ve ever shared on the blog. And, as of now, it’s also my favorite recipe.

Pineapple Mimosa Granita

So, Pineapple Mimosa Granita with Vanilla Ice Cream. What does that mean exactly?

It means at the bottom you have a layer of vanilla ice cream, in the middle you have a layer of pineapple granita, and on the top you have a layer of champagne granita.

Oh, lets not forget the little pineapple wedge.

It’s trying to look nice for you.

How sweet, huh?

Pineapple Mimosa Granita

Pineapple Mimosa Granita with Vanilla Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Honestly Yum

Ingredients:
Pineapple Granita
18 oz of pineapple juice (I used 2 pineapple juice cans from Trader Joe’s)

Champagne Granita
1/2 bottle champagne (I used a brut)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water

For Assembly
1 pint of vanilla ice cream
pineapple, for garnish

Directions:
Pineapple Granita
Pour pineapple juice in a shallow baking dish. Place in the freezer and after one hour scrape the ice crystals forming on the side of the pan with a fork towards the center. Repeat every hour until flaky (think shaved ice consistency). Should take about 3 to 4 hours total–it’ll vary based on your freezer.

Champagne Granita
Pour 1/2 bottle of champagne in a shallow baking dish. In a small pot, heat water and sugar, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved. Add sugar-water mixture to the baking dish and combine with the champagne. Place in the freezer and after one hour scrape the ice crystals forming on the side of the pan with a fork towards the center. Repeat every hour until flaky (again, think shaved ice consistency). Should take about 4 to 5 hours total.

Assembling Dessert
Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a small glass and top with a heaping layer of the pineapple granita, followed by a heaping layer of champagne granita. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.

In sum, pineapple + champagne + shaved ice + ice cream =

TRUE LOVE.

Pineapple Mimosa Granita

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Donuts.

That’s the answer.

It’s the only possible solution to the problem.

Wait a minute. I messed that up, didn’t I?

I forgot to even ask the question. Insert monkey emoji here.

You know, the one where the monkey sees no evil so it’s covering its eyes. Yeah, that one. I would totally send you that right about now. But, we aren’t texting, so, let’s settle on saying: Ooops. Ohhh, or, even better, palm to the face. Or, palm to my face to be more exact. Sorry guys, I’m off my game day today. And, being all rambley, which apparently isn’t a word, but it should be, but… okay, I’ll stop now.

Iwilljustshutmyselfupwithadonutorseven. You didn’t catch that, right? Perfect.

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Annnnnyways, let’s try this again.

How do we survive the mid-week blues?

Come on, I know you know the answer.

Donuts you say? Why, yes, you are correct? It’s almost as if you read my mind.

I have the smartest internet friends.

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Why donuts? Better question, why not donuts?

Donuts equal happiness. It’s that simple. I mean, can you actually name a person who doesn’t like donuts?

Probably not. And, even if you can, I guarantee if they ate the right donut, the perfectttt donut, they would love it.Because, I repeat, donuts = happy. And, honestly I’m at a loss as to why they don’t teach us that formula in math. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Right?

So, Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts.

Umm, yes please.

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

I love days that start with chocolate cake, I mean, donuts for breakfast. What? Come on. You know we can’t only occasionally shouldn’t eat cake for breakfast. It’s just not a thing people do. Well, most people. And, I get it, I do, but sometimes Wednesday’s call for extra sweetness.

So, yes, these donuts taste like a chocolate cake lovers dream, but they are one hundred percent donuts. I repeat, donuts. Moist, cakey, soft chocolate donuts with milk chocolate chips dipped in hot fudge sauce and covered with an excessive amount of chocolate sprinkles. Seee, totalllly a donut. A decadent one, but still, a donut.

And, since it’s a donut, it’s totally acceptable to eat five for breakfast, which isn’t as much as you think considering they are bite size.

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts
Donut recipe slightly adapted from Buns In My Oven
Yields: about 16 mini donuts

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce*
chocolate sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease mini donut pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and chocolate chips.
In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk the egg, vanilla, milk, vegetable oil, and sour cream until just combined. Using a spatula, stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients until incorporated. Spoon or pipe (I found the piping method to be the easiest!) donut batter into prepared pan. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Let donuts cool completely.
Once donuts have cooled, warm up fudge sauce for 10 seconds or until of drizzling consistency. Dip the bottoms (dipping the bottoms gives you a nicer, rounder, donut top) of each donut in the fudge sauce and then sprinkle generously with chocolate sprinkles.

NOTE:
*Store-bought or homemade fudge sauce will work. I had a batch of this fudge sauce sitting in my fridge, so that’s what I used. The only change I made to the recipe was using 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate instead of dark or bittersweet.

 

Mini Chocolate Fudge Donuts

Did you notice the fudge dipped, and chocolate sprinkle covered, milk glass? Tell me you noticed that. Best. Idea. Ever.

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies
Hey, serious question time.

Out of all the smells on earth, which is your absolute favorite?

I know, this is kind of personal for a Wednesday, but I feel like we’ve reached that level in our friendship.

And, also, I can’t decide for myself.

I’ve been over the question, in my head, mostly, for the past few days and I can’t settle on one answer. There is too many smells that I love. Seriously, though, like the Juicy perfume I wear, or fresh laundry, or Thanksgiving dinner, or that manly man smell—you know the one I’m talking about—or baby smell, or even the smell when you open a brand new book. How is one supposed to settle on a favorite?

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies

You just can’t. It’s impossible. Or, I should say, it’s impossible for me.

What I can do though, is settle on two. I can’t tell you which is first or second, but I can tell you, without hesitation, these are my absolute favorite smells on earth. PERIOD.

You ready?

My two favorite smells are….

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies

Freshly brewed pot of coffee AND cookies baking in the oven.

I know, kind of predictable considering I consume rant about coffee more than your average person, and have a baking blog that quite often features cookies. But, it’s the truth, predictable or not. Those two smells are absolute heaven to me. Really, they need to be bottled and sold. Don’t you agree?

I’d buy it in bulk. And then I’d send you a bottle of each. Okay, fine, two. But, only because I like you.

The problem is, like I said, I can’t narrow it down to one smell.

I just can’t. 

Or, can I?

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies

Oh hi Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies.

What’s that you say? You have coffee in you? And when you bake you leave a faint smell of coffee in the air?

Oh my. How wonderful.

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies

Toasted coconut shreds, mini chocolate chips, and coconut coffee grinds all combined into a soft and doughy cookie. Oh, and I stuffed the cookies with coffee cheesecake, because…well, because why not?

It’s coffee + cookie + coconut + cheesecake. 

I mean, get in my belly, right?

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies
Yields: about 21 cookies

Ingredients:
Toasted Coconut Mocha Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 teaspoon fine or coarse coffee grounds, coconut or mocha or coconut mocha flavored
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sweetened coconut shreds, toasted
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mocha Cheesecake Filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 (.07 oz) packet instant coffee dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Directions:
Toasted Coconut Mocha Cookies
In a large bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda,salt, and coffee grinds. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together melted butter and sugars until no clumps remain. Whisk in the egg, and then the egg yolk. Add coconut and vanilla extracts, whisking until incorporated.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula until just combined. The dough will be soft, but very thick to work with. Using the spatula fold in the toasted coconut shreds and the mini chocolate chips. Cover the dough and let chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days–I let mine sit overnight.

Mocha Cheesecake Filling
While the cookie dough is chilling, make the mocha cheesecake filling. Using a mixer combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1/2 of the instant coffee mixture. Mix until smooth–it’ll have the consistency of a no-bake cheesecake. Place bowl in the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours–I let mine sit overnight.

Assembling the Cookies
Once dough and cheesecake filling have chilled, start assembling the cookies. Roll about a tablespoon and half of cookie dough into a ball. Make a deep thumbprint in the middle of each dough ball, sort of like a well. Place a teaspoon of the coffee cheesecake in the center of the well and fold the edges of the dough over, using your fingers to enclose the cheesecake in the dough ball. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes–the cookies will look soft and underbaked. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: I had extra coffee cheesecake, which I dipped these cookies into and ate, but if you don’t want extra, I suggest cutting the cheesecake portion in half.

Cookie Dough recipe adapted from this chocolate chip cookie recipe.

 

Wait, don’t think I forgot, I told you my favorite smells and now it’s your turn to share. That’s how this friendship thing works. I think.

Toasted Coconut Mocha Cheesecake Cookies