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Classic Summer Treat :Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Its essential during the summer months to have a cold drink in hand along with a cool spot to appreciate it. Although, the baker in me feels the most important part of these days, is to find delicious recipes that will help everyone beat the heat. Therefore, the rules to go by are finding recipes that do not use the oven at all or only at short increments, all the while creating treats that will cool everyone down.

So,for me I have found a dessert that settles in the category of short heat duration as well as extreme cool down.A recipe that brings back memories of childhood nostalgia, of sitting on the sidewalk enjoying an ice cream treat all the while listening to the melody of the ice cream truck.We of course all miss those days;but what if I said you can now have a piece of that in the home to introduce to your own family. Of course, you would say "Yes"

Well I have your answer.A simple recipe for homemade ice cream sandwiches are really all that you need ,especially when its the most classic summer time treat from every ones childhood. Although, as any adult, you can make as many as you desire and for cheaper the cost.It is also a very versatile dessert where you too can choose anything in the recipe from the cookie all the way to the ice cream filling.Its whatever will help create your own dessert masterpiece.

 Homemade is always the way to go with any baking,but with ice cream sandwiches it is the best choice. With a version like this,you will definitely receive the classic taste that you all remember and love.A soft chocolate drop cookie with a creamy vanilla ice cream.Although,a recipe is just a loose guide and it will always give you the opportunity for new ideas to be born. So, its all in good fun with creating these ice cream treats and even better in taste testing.

So, go ahead and try this recipe, so that you too can have a pile of delicious ice cream sandwiches to enjoy all summer long.Although, with how good these versions are,they may only last a couple days with a crowd.Go on and create your own treats today.

Chocolate Drop Cookies
 Adapted From Betty Crocker Cookbook 2006 Edition
Yields about 24 ice cream sandwiches

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine,softened
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup buttermilk
(Alternative: Mix 160 ml milk + 2 tsp lemon juice= buttermilk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate,melted and cooled
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1.Preheat oven to 400F. Grease cookie sheets with shortening or spray with cooking spray.

2. Replacement to buttermilk.Mix 160mls of milk with 2 tsp of lemon juice in a medium liquid measure.Let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Chop 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and place in a small glass liquid measure. Microwave,at 30 second increments.Stirring after each, until completely melted.Let cool.

4. In a large bowl,beat together granulated sugar,butter,buttermilk,vanilla,egg and melted chocolate.Use a handheld mixer on medium speed.Then stir in the dry ingredients,all purpose flour,baking soda and salt.

Tip:If butter is still too cold,Use a grater to grate the butter.

 5. On cookie sheet,drop dough by tbsp and place about 2 inches apart..Bake for 8-10 minutes or until almost no indentation remain when touched in center.Remove from cookie sheet right away and cool completely on a wire rack. Bake an even amount of cookies.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

2L Vanilla Ice Cream (Used Chap mans)
Parchment or Wax paper
Twine (string) or elastic bands

1. Be sure to match up cookies to create ice cream sandwiches.Then cut up pieces of paper to wrap the sandwiches and cut pieces of twine,if using.

2. Scoop vanilla ice cream to one cookie,place another cookie on top and gently press together.Then wrap the sandwich with the parchment paper and tie with the twine gently to help secure the paper.Then place in the freezer,until set.

3. Tips: Make about about 6 at a time and if the ice cream gets to soft,place in the freezer and wait for about 30 minutes. Prep everything ahead of time before taking the ice cream out of the freezer and work quickly.Let ice cream sandwiches sit overnight to completely freeze.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Souffles

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Warm summer weather is finally upon us on beautiful Vancouver Island.To celebrate,I am sharing a delicious dessert that everyone can simply make,using a slow cooker.Decadent single serve chocolate souffles are a splendid treat to enjoy this summer.A rich dessert made with simple ingredients and includes minimal prep work.The slow cooker does all the work for you in one hour,while keeping your home cool as well as putting time towards other projects.

These mini souffles are a great recipe choice for two to three guests.They can be easily kept warm once ready to serve and can be easily garnished with just about anything you desire.For example, a simple take would be a light dusting of icing sugar and if you prefer a fancier choice ,then a dollop of ice cream topped with fresh fruit and mint would create a defiant crowd pleaser.Although,you can easily decide to keep them untouched, since they hold themselves quite well.

Every spoonful of this dessert is incredibly creamy with the spectacular richness of chocolate. Chocolate souffles are such a delicate dessert and carry such bold flavor as well as texture in every morsel. Overall,this recipe deserves a two thumbs up for its flavor,texture along with how easily it can be made using a slow cooker. 

So, I highly recommend everyone try this recipe out and enjoy it this summer.
Individual Chocolate Souffles

From Slow Cooker Desserts:Jonnie Downing

3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat.

2. Then in a small bowl,whisk together the sugar and cornstarch,until no clumps appeared.

3. Then whisk in the chocolate mixture,egg and egg yolk into the dry mixture,whisking until smooth.

 4. Then transfer the mixture into three 3 inch ramekins,not filling them all the way.This recipe fills 3 and fit three in the slow cooker.Then layer the slow cooker with foil or use a trivet to place the ramekins on.Then cover and cook the souffles on high for 1 hour.When done, the middle will still be sort of jiggly.Remove and serve.

 5. To garnish: dust them with icing sugar,serve with ice cream,whip cream, or fruit etc

Celebrate Easter With Bunny Cupcakes!!

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Happy Easter Everyone!!!  

Be sure to enjoy this holiday weekend with your family and friends, along with indulging in comfort foods and goodies.

If you're like me though? You will certainly need that special homemade treat to help celebrate this occasion.So to give you an idea for this year's treat, I will share with you these adorable bunny butt cupcakes that will certainly impress children as well as adults.

So to get you started, we have cupcakes that are made with a pretty basic cake recipe with simple directions as well as inexpensive ingredients.They include no butter or eggs,which creates a very allergy friendly cake, plus it's  quite adaptable to any ones preferences. It also creates a cake that is very moist as well as flavorful and is still a big favorite amongst my family and friends.So you definitely cannot go wrong with this recipe.

This overall creation also includes a creamy Swiss meringue butter cream,which is an excellent frosting for piping and helps create vibrant color.Its definitely my go to recipe for any cake or cupcake;however everyone must be warned it does include a large amount of egg whites and will take an extensive time to make.Although its well worth the effort for its buttery flavor and silky ,smooth texture.You just cannot resist it.

Then finally,we have the overall decorating process, which includes a piping of butter cream on each cupcake as well as a light dusting of graham cracker crumbs.Then each cupcake is placed with a decorated cake ball to construct a bunny butt and then each is fitted with bunny feet as well as a marshmallow tail.This overall decorating, creates the
illusion of a Easter rabbit digging head first in a cupcake,possibly finding Easter eggs while showing off its bunny butt. Trust me,its super cute!

In the end, you will have created an Easter chocolate and vanilla cupcake that every adult and child will love.They might even both want to decorate one for themselves.So try this creation out for yourself because the time and effort are definitely worth it.Also,your welcome to bring your own ideas to the table.

Wacky Chocolate Cupcakes & Vanilla Wacky Confetti Cupcakes
Adapted From Martha Stewart's Wacky Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup cold water

1. I preheated the oven to 350 F and lined the muffin tins.

  2. I sifted together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl,then set it aside.Then I mixed the wet ingredients together in a large bowl with a whisk.

3. Then I added the dry mix to the wet mix,whisking until smooth.

4. Then with the cake batter I filled each liner less then three quarters.Then I baked the cupcakes at 350 F for 20 - 25 minutes.Until a toothpick came out clean.Then I let the cupcakes cool completely.

Confetti Cupcakes

 1.Using the same recipe I removed the 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, and stirred in confetti/Easter sprinkles last.Then I baked the cupcakes at 350F for 20 -25 minutes and let them cool completely.

Wacky Vanilla Cake (Bunny Butts)
Adapted from Grade 12 Foods (Wacky Chocolate Cake)

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vinegar
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

1. I sifted together the flour, sugar, cocoa,baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.I  then mixed the wet ingredients together in a large bowl.The vanilla,vinegar,water and oil.

2. I then added the dry mix to the wet mixture,stirring until fully combined and smooth.

3. I greased a 9 inch square pan, then poured into the prepared pan.Then I baked the cake at 350F for 25 - 30 minutes,until it springed back and toothpick test was clean.

Creating Bunny Butts

1. Once the cake was cooled I used a small cutter (donut hole size) to cut as many circles in the cake as I could.Then I used the cake scrapes to create the reminder cake balls that I needed. There were 32 cakes balls for 32 cupcakes;however cupcakes will vary of course for two recipes. Then I set them aside to cool.

Swiss Meringue Butter cream
Adapted From (Doubled)

2 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups large egg whites (14 eggs)
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups cold unsalted butter,cubed

1. Without using a double boiler.I filled a medium pot with water,less then half fill on low-medium heat and placed a large glass bowl over top,without touching the water.

2. I then whisked in together the sugar,salt, and egg whites.Then I began constantly whisking, until the sugar dissolved and the mixture reached 140 F on my candy thermometer or uncomfortable hot to the touch.
3. Then once the egg mixture reach the right consistency. I poured the mixture into my stand mixer bowl and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks formed and the mixture was cooled to room temp.Then I added in the vanilla.

Tip:Clean any equipment that will come in contact with the egg whites.Any small trace of grease will ruin a batch of meringue.Easy trick is to dampen a paper towel or cloth with lemon juice or vinegar to wipe down all equipment.

4. Then I weighed and cut my butter into small cubes about 1/4 inch in size.Then I slowly added two-three cubes of butter at a time to the cooled egg mixture,while beating.I did this until the butter was fully incorporated and the icing was smooth and satiny.I did have to turn up the power slightly at the end to help the icing come together.It will look curdled in the process,but I kept beating and it will correct itself.

5. I reserved about 1 cup of white butter cream to frost the bunny butts and attach the bunny tails.
6.With three bowls, I took about 1 1/2 cups or more of butter cream for each bowl. Colored one pink,purple and green,or desired colors. Then I used Wilton's gel colors to create vibrant colors. Then I used a toothpick to add color and mix with a small spoon.Then set aside at room temperature or up to 24 hours at room temp.


Bunny Butts

1. Frosted the cake balls slightly with the white butter cream,dipped them in coconut flakes and set them aside in the fridge to set.I used one bag of coconut flakes.

Rabbit Feet

1. Without using a double boiler.I filled a medium pot with water,less then half fill on low-medium heat and placed a large glass bowl over top,without touching the water.

2. I chopped up two lindt white chocolate bars and placed them in the glass bowl.Melted them over medium-high heat.Once melted,I turned the heat down to low.

 3. I then covered a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and used a piping bag to create bunny feet. (32 pairs of bunny feet for 32 cupcakes)

4. Then I melted Wilton's purple candy melts based on the packages directions.Melted the candy melts for 30 seconds,took out, mixed,repeat, until smooth.Added vegetable oil to help create a smoother mixture.

5. I then used a toothpick to decorate the feet with the candy melts and then placed the rabbit feet into the fridge,until set.

Decorate Cupcakes

 1. Using the Wilton's color swirl 3 color coupler.I filled each piping bag with each color and then piped each cupcake using a star tip.

2. Then I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs on the top or Oreo crumbs to create dirt. Then I placed the coconut cake balls on top and then attached the rabbit feet. Lastly,I added one mini marshmallow  to  the top of the cake balls to create a bunny tail.I repeated the process for each cupcake.

Slow Cooker Raspberry Chocolate Casserole

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This Raspberry Chocolate Casserole is surely a crowd pleaser. A quick and easy dessert prepared with a slow cooker, along with simple ingredients and a recipe that embraces creative change. 

Every spoonful of this treat is loaded with rich,melted chocolate and tart,sweet raspberries. This lovely dessert is also nothing without its staple of sweet Hawaiian bread as well as a garnish of whip cream upon every serving.

This slow cooker dessert keeps it simple for everyone and bakes rather quickly. Here all you need to know is how to measure,mix and layer. Just how any casserole is formed

However, If your not a raspberry fan, then feel free to mix it up. Blueberries,blackberries or even strawberries are a great option.

Although, I certainly advocate to save this recipe for when that chocolate and raspberry craving kicks in. You won't be disappointed.

Raspberry Chocolate Casserole
Slow Cooker Desserts By Jonnie Downing
(My Adaptions In Brackets)

6 cups cubed brioche,challah or Hawaiian bread
(Used Hawaiian rolls,cubed)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
(Used 2 cups)
1 cup fresh raspberries
(Used 2 cups frozen raspberries)
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Greased the inside of my 8 quart slow cooker.Poured in half of the cubed bread,along with half of the chocolate chips and half of the raspberries.Then layered again with the remaining bread,chocolate and berries.

2. In a medium bowl, I whisked together the heavy cream,eggs,sugar and vanilla,until well mixed.Then I poured the liquid mixture in the slow cooker.

3. Covered the slow cooker with the lid and cooked on high for 1 3/4- 2 hours,or until set and golden brown. Then I let it stand for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recommendation: Garnish with whip cream. Used the left over heavy cream and beat, until it reaches stiff peaks.Add a spoonful of granulated sugar, if desired.

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