Sunday, August 28, 2011

BAKED Sunday Mornings: Coffee Ice Cream

Amazing!  A Baked: Explorations recipe that didn't involve every dish in the house.  This week's pick was coffee ice cream.  Now, I am not a coffee person, but I love coffee ice cream.  I have made David Lebovitz's coffee ice cream before and it is good ice cream, but the bitter coffee flavor is a little bit too strong for me.  Maybe it is the beans I am using?  I was hoping that this version might have a different coffee flavor, since it uses espresso powder and Kahlua to give the coffee flavor.  I think something might have gone wrong when I added the salt (like maybe I added 2 teaspoons by accident or something), because the base was really salty.  It actually reminded me more of salted caramel ice cream than coffee ice cream. It was actually really interesting and I enjoyed eating it, but I want to make this again to see what it really tastes like.  Head over to the Baked Sunday Mornings blog to see how everyone else did.

I put this ice cream on top of a chocolate cake with coffee glaze (that I will blog about later) and the combination was great.  The cake was able to cut some of the salt flavor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adventures with the Ice Cream Maker: Our Favorite Late-Summer Ice Cream

We’re coming to the end of summer, and it’s very sad. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and soon all the delicious summer produce that floods the farmers’ markets between June and September will be gone. But fear not, there’s still some time to make this tastiest of ice creams: peach sour cream. We’re serious; if you only make one more ice cream this season, make it this one. It's so easy - it doesn't involve egg yolks or custards or anything of the sort, you pretty much just cut, stew and blend. Daddy and I both agree that it’s the best ice cream we’ve ever had. How good is it? I dipped in a spoon to take a taste while it was churning, and after I tried it, I literally exclaimed aloud, “Oh my God, this is good,” even though there was no one else around. It’s so good that I practically had to drag Daddy to Grom, which has the best gelato in the city (in our opinion), because he just wanted to stay home and eat the peach sour cream ice cream. You shouldn’t even be reading this. Go, make a batch right now. That’s what Daddy and I are doing tonight.

Peach Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop

Yield: 1 quart


  • 1 ½ pounds [600 grams] ripe peaches [about four large peaches]
  • ½ cup water
  • a quarter cups sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice


Peel the peaches, slice them in half, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into chunks and cook them with water in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice, until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the sugar, then cool to room temperature.

Purée the cooked peaches and any liquid in a blender or food processor with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until almost smooth but slightly chunky.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Salty Brownies for Sweet Katy

Two weeks ago today was my first day of work. I love it so far but, as with any new job, there is a lot to learn! Luckily, I am helped along mightily by Katy, another assistant in the office. She has been training me, and has been so surpassingly kind and helpful and patient in answering even my dumbest questions. (Sample: Sarah: I can't find the Zingales contract, where is it? Katy: Have you checked the contracts folder? Sarah: Oh, thanks.) I wanted to give her a token of my gratitude, and the way I give tokens of gratitude is by baking. Luckily, I had wanted to make the sweet and salty brownies from Baked for a while, ever since finally caving and buying a box of fleur de sel, and this gave me a fine excuse.

As with all Baked creations, this was very buttery, very yummy and very complicated. I was a little disappointed with the caramel flavor, or lack thereof. Maybe I was too cautious because I didn't want it to touch the sides of the pan and so I didn't use enough of it, but I barely tasted it in the finished product. This was probably because of the overwhelming chocolateyness, although next time I will take the suggestion to drizzle the leftover caramel on top. When you eat these brownies, make sure you have a glass of water or milk on hand, because they are EXTREMELY rich. I baked them for 40 minutes instead of 30 and they were still slightly undercooked, but that's how I like 'em. The fleur de sel was definitely worth the purchase, and it really added a special something to the brownies. Between these brownies and showing every how to make PDFs using OpenOffice, I was totally the office hero on Friday.

You can find the recipe here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baked Sunday Mornings: Grasshopper Bars

Just noticed something...this is our 200th post!  Wow.  Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

Another Sunday, another Baked recipe that uses every bowl and utensil in the kitchen.  These were among the recipes that I was most excited to make because I love the combination of chocolate and mint.  However, I had a couple of significant issues with this recipe.  First, Kosher Creme de Menthe does not seem to exist.  Anyone out there know anything about that.  I figured I would just leave it out.  The filling tasted fine, but it did not whip up light and fluffy (as you can see in the pictures).  I don't know if the flour/sugar mixture was too hot when I added the butter, although it felt cool to the touch or what, but no matter how long I whipped it, it would not whip up and I didn't have the patience to try again this morning.  Then, when I put the glaze on, it seemed to melt the mint filling, so it got swirled into some of the glaze instead of creating a nice shiny top.

Despite all that, I really enjoyed the flavor of these.  I hope to try them again and try to get the mint filling right because I think it would have provided a nice balance of texture.  As they were, I thought they were a bit to heavy and fudgey, but overall yummy.

You can find the recipe and what other people baked at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adventures with the Ice Cream Maker: Keeping It in the Family

Note: Today's double-header is brought to you by Sarah and the Baking Sisters' dad, Irv.

If you're like me, then you believe that there are certain things that define summer. Beautiful sunset walks along the Hudson in Riverside Park...


And these small, ripe, intensely flavorful strawberries that start to pop up in farmers' markets around June.
For me, this summer has also brought some exciting news - I finally got a job! I started last week and I love it so far. Conveniently, the night before I started my job happened to be Erev Rosh Chodesh Av. For those of you scratching your heads, that means "the evening of the first day of the month of Av" (Av being the fifth month on the Jewish calendar, and Jewish days starting at sunset.) Despite my happy employment news, Av is considered the saddest month on the Jewish calendar because both of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on the Ninth of Av, plus a lot of other sodding things supposedly happened on that date that I won't get into here. One of the ways that we show our sadness is by not eating meat or doing various other happy things for the nine days leading up to the Ninth of Av. So between our impending meat deprivation and my entry into the world of wage labor, the situation obviously called for some meat. And when the situation obviously calls for some meat, there is an equally obvious call for parve dessert.

My contribution came in the form of brownie bites from Kosher by Design: Short on Time. They are a snap to put together, they are moist and fudgy and last for ages, and when I gave one to my friend she didn't even realize they were parve! You obviously don't have to cut them just the way the recipe says but I agree with Susie Fishbein that it's waaaay fun to eat the edges around the brownie circles. I didn't do all that business with flipping the brownies out of the pan; I found that if you just use a biscuit cutter, they come out pretty easily. I also didn't roll them into balls because in my experience that's always made a huge crumbly mess, but if you want to try it best of luck to you.

Brownie Bites
From Kosher by Design: Short on Time (page 240)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, melted and placed in refrigerator to cool for 10 minutes
3/4 cup good-quality Dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coating: confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, edible glitter, colored sanding sugars

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a 7- by 11-inch brownie pan with parchment paper and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the melted margarine, cocoa powder, oil, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla. Beat to combine.
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
When the brownies are cool, run a knife around the edge of the pan. Flip the brownie out onto a piece of parchment paper on a hard word surface in one whole piece. Using a 1 1/2 inch diameter round cookie cutter, cut circles from the center of the brownie, leaving the harder crust. Roll the circles between the palms of your hands to form into balls, and roll into coating of your choice.
Store in airtight container.

Over to you, Dad!

The Baking Sisters’ father is glad to be back for a guest blog. When Sarah graduated from college and returned home with her ice cream maker, I decided to experiment. (I guess it’s in my blood, since my father owned a drive-in ice cream store when I was growing up, and I worked there every summer when I was a teenager.) This recipe was one of my best finds.

Everyone knows that there are two kinds of strawberries: those made for travelling and those made for eating. The travelling kind – the ones you get in the supermarket year-round that are bred to make it across the country in one piece – look beautiful but are hard and white on the inside and have no taste. The eating kind are small, sometimes misshapen, but red all the way through and almost oozing sweet juice. So while summer lasts, get to a greenmarket or farm stand and buy some locally-grown berries. Then turn them into this amazing strawberry sorbet with flavor even more intense than the berries themselves. You can make it with “travelling” berries, but why bother?

This recipe is adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. It makes about 4 cups.

1-1/3 lbs. (yes, pounds) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

1 cup sugar

1-1/3 tsp. kirsch (optional, but it adds a nice punch)

1-1/3 tsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Slice the strawberries and toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar and kirsch, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand for one hour, stirring every so often.

Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth (I prefer the blender). There is no need to strain out the seeds.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Enjoy, and plan to make more soon, since this batch won’t last.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Like Summer in Bowl: Peach Raspberry Crisp

Oh summer. You are so wonderful with your long days, your time off and your delicious ice cream. (We won't mention the oppressively hot weather.) But perhaps the best thing of all-- summer fruit, sweet and fresh, enjoyed plain, with whipped cream or baked into a dessert.

A couple of weeks ago, the program I'm teaching in had a Shabbat program for the college students and I had the pleasure of hosting some of my students for lunch. In addition to being lovely people and excellent Talmud scholars, they have been asking me about my baking and so I wanted to make something to impress them. However, this was also in the midst of a 100 degree plus heat wave-- not a moment for anything heavy, or for spending too much time in my (un-air conditioned) kitchen. The solution? A peach raspberry crisp!

I love this recipe, but for some reason I forgot about it. I am very glad to have rediscovered it, though, because it is amazing. Originally from a family friend, it is great either hot or cold at any time of day (even, apparently for breakfast.) It is also super easy to make, although you have to be careful about draining enough liquid out of the peaches, otherwise it gets runny. To me, this is a great way to celebrate summer in all its glory. The recipe is below.

Peach Raspberry Crisp:

4-5 lbs firm, rip peaches (10 - 12)
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/4 C. sugar
1 C. lt brown sugar
1 1/2 C. plus 2-3 T. flour
1/2 pint raspberries
1/4 t. salt
1 C. quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 lb butter, diced

350 degree oven
Butter 10 x 15 x 2 1/2" oval baking dish
Immerse peaches in boiling water 30 seconds, then place in cold water.
Peel peaches and slice into thick wedges and place in lg bowl. Add
orange zest, 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 C brown sugar, 2 T. flour. Toss well.
Gently mix in berries. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. If there's a lot of
liquid, add 1 more T. flour. Pour peaches into baking dish and gently
smooth top.
Combine 1 1/2 C. flour, 1 C. sugar, 1/2 C. brown sugar, salt, oatmeal
and butter in electric mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until butter is
pea-sized and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of
Bake 1 hour until top is browned and crisp and juices are bubbly.
Serve immediately or store in fridge and reheat at 350 degrees for 20-30
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