Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chocolate gelato

Yummy note: This month has begun to get away from me at bit. It was literally just Halloween, I thought... then I looked at calendar and yikes, halfway to Thanksgiving already!?! what happened to November. Oh, I recall, we have been having some amazing warmer weather days for us in the Midwest and we've been taking advantage of it some. Sneaking in those extra park trips, walks outside, fishing, and playing in the yard and raking up all those leaves! I thought it was going to slow down a bit since the soccer and other fall activities wrapped up but I guess I was wrong. With this nicer weather, the kids thought it would be fun to make ice cream. We haven't made ice cream in while so I told them sure, and convenient enough, it was Secret Recipe Club time!  So why not start there.. I was in luck, my blogger for this month was Jane from over at The Heritage Cook! Yeah, I love Jane's site, perhaps it is that she has this feature called Chocolate Mondays.. Oh boy, Chocolate Mondays! What a great concept, I sure would enjoy some chocolate goodies after a long weekend to start the week off right ;)  Jane has such great a variety of recipes that you are bound to find a recipe that fits your taste buds. Also, Jane does such a great job lending a hand out in our Secret Recipe Club too, so she is a busy lady! Back to the task... Kids want ice cream.. so here's the short list..  Darkest-chocolate-in-the-world-ice-creamPumpkin-ice-creamsummer sorbets, and chocolate gelato... the Heritage Cook offers many dietary alternatives, so I was thrilled to find a few potentials. However, the one requirement I had was the recipe must be both dairy-free and nut-free so that both kids could enjoy it, as I was not up for making two different batches today. This chocolate gelato recipe was the winner, also I've never made a gelato before so this was new. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, is a winner in my book at home. This chocolate gelato sure doesn't taste free of anything though! It was amazing rich and full of chocolate goodness.

 Chocolate Gelato 
 Original recipe from The Heritage Cook

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 (14 oz) cans of "lite" coconut milk (about 3-1/2 cups)
1 tsp of vanilla extract 
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp of sugar 
2 tbsp of cornstarch 
1/8 tsp of salt 

Measure cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in a small amount (no more than 2/3 cup) of coconut milk to make a smooth paste and then stir in the vanilla. In a separate sauce pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in the remaining coconut milk into the sugar mixture and heat over medium heat. Stir coconut milk mixture frequently. Once the mixture begins to just simmer, keep stirring. The mixture should simmer for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes to fully cook the cornstarch. Note- keep stirring mixture constantly to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan. Next, pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the cocoa paste. Whisk both together until it is well blended. Let chocolaty mixture just sit without touching it and let it cool for about 45 minutes. Then cover bowl and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3-4 hours. This gelato mixture can be made days in advance if needed. Next pour the gelato mixture into the frozen ice cream maker bowl. Run the gelato in your ice cream maker according the the directions. My ice cream maker turned the gelato into a softer set after about 25 minutes. To store, freeze the gelato in an airtight container. It should last in the freezer for a week or so. For the best gelato texture, let it soften slightly before scooping and serving. This recipe yielded about 1 quart of gelato.

Use quality ingredients with this simple recipe makes all the difference in taste. 

Mix the warmed up coconut mixture into the cocoa paste. 

Pour gelato mixture in the frozen ice cream maker container.  

Process ice cream for about 20-25 minutes or until soft set. 
Get ready to enjoy your homemade chocolate gelato! 

A rich dessert served with berries and chocolate sauce drizzle.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Dessert

Yummy note: I rarely make desserts like these, as they are oh so rich and amazingly sinful. My sister-in-law pointed this chocolate and peanut butter layered dessert recipe out to me a few months ago from 365 Days of Baking and More. I just got around to making it recently. Oh boy, it was as delicious as expected; I mean we already knew the peanut butter and chocolate combo was a winner, but the addition of the peanut butter cookies, cream cheese, and then more chocolate on top, mmm, yummy. I don't even want to count the calories in this dish,  so I knew I couldn't keep the whole pan in my house... So guess what I brought to the last family get together, yep, I was like I want to bring a dessert- hello, the chocolate peanut butter dream dessert. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Dessert

1 (16-ounce) package of peanut butter sandwich cookies, divided
1/2 stick of butter, melted
4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 (8-ounce) container of Cool Whip, divided
1 (3.9-ounce) package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of milk chocolate and peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finely crush 24 of the peanut butter cookies in a food processor or blender. Next, mix together the crushed cookies and the melted butter. Press cookie crumbs into an ungreased 8 x 8 baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool. In a small bowl, mix the pudding with 1 1/2 cups of milk. Then in another bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and peanut butter together and then fold in 1 cup of the Cool Whip until blended. Spread the chocolate pudding over the cooled crust. Then layer the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate layer. Next, spread the remaining Cool Whip on top. Chop up the last of peanut butter cookies and chocolate/peanut butter chips and sprinkle on top. Refrigerate several hours or until dessert is set before cutting.
Peanut butter cookies - aka Nutter Butter
Chocolate and peanut butter layers of goodness 
Cookie crumbles and chocolate peanut butter chips top the dessert.
Delicious layers of chocolate, peanut butter, and cream cheese ready to enjoy.