Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

 

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

Meringues are one of my favorite things to bake. I love how just a few simple ingredients—egg whites (often leftover from another recipe), sugar, and flavorings—come together to make something that tastes so great. These have dark chocolate swirl throughout, making them a bit more decadent than your average meringue. Out of the all meringues I’ve made (and I’ve made many), these were definitely my favorite! I seriously could not stop eating them.

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

 

Chocolate-Swirled Coffee Meringues

3 large egg whites

Large pinch salt (I used kosher salt, but any salt is fine)

1/2 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine, because that’s what I had on hand)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground instant coffee

7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line to sheet pans with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When foamy, add the salt and the vinegar, and beat the mixture until you get soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture has stiff peaks. Add the coffee, and beat until incorporated. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the meringue mixture, but do not mix in.

3. Using two spoons, dollop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake for 1 hour and then turn off the oven. Leave the meringues in the oven for a few more hours, or even overnight if you make them in the evening.

Makes about 24 meringues

Inspired by Bakers Royale
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Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

It was right around this time last year that I made Blood Orange Sorbet in a Chocolate Shell. Well, blood oranges are back in season, and I just could not resist buying two big bags full when I came across them last week. When I unloaded them I realized that there were a ton of them, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them all. I mean, yeah, we could snack on them. But I’m a food blogger—I wanted to make something with some of them!

After a quick search, I found a recipe for blood orange ice cream. It’s a slightly lower fat recipe since it has no heavy cream in it, just whole milk and egg yolks (both of which I had in the house). I’m not going to lie, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as regular ice cream, but it was still delicious.

I then used the leftover egg whites to make some vanilla meringue cookies, and sandwiched the ice cream in between them.

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

Vanilla Meringue & Blood Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Blood Orange Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 vanilla bean, split open

Generous pinch of salt

2 tablespoons blood orange zest

4 large eggs yolks (reserve the egg whites for the meringues)

1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice

For the Vanilla Meringue Cookies:

4 large egg whites

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Make the ice cream:

1. Combine the milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean, salt, and orange zest in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.

2. In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly ladle some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly (you wan to warm up the egg yolks, so that when you add them to the hot milk you don’t end up with scrambled eggs). Add the egg yolk mixture into the pot with the milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Strain the mixture into a bowl and allow to cool. Stir in the blood orange juice, cover, and place in the fridge until very cold.

4. Process according to your ice cream maker’s directions. transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.

Make the Meringues:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Trace 12 3-inch circles onto parchment paper with a pencil, flip the parchment over so that the pencil circles are on the bottom, and place on a sheet pan.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a handheld mixer, or, if you’re feeling  brave, by hand with a whisk), beat the egg whites until they’re foamy. With the mixer in medium-high, beat in the vinegar and salt. Keep on beating until you get soft peaks (when you lift the whisk out of the egg whites, a peak will form but won’t hold it’s shape). At this point you want to start adding the sugar. Add it slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time, to allow the sugar to fully dissolve into the eggs. Beat on high speed, until the whites are stiff and shiny. Add the vanilla, then sprinkle the cornstarch over, and beat just until incorporated.

3. Pipe or spread your meringue mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet pan, using the circles as a template. You may have extra meringue, which you can pipe onto another parchment-lined sheet pan, for extra cookies to snack on.

4. Place in the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 300°F. Bake for 30 minutes, and then shut the oven off. Leave the sheet pan(s) in the oven to allow the meringues to completely dry out, several hours at least.

5. Remove from the oven. When the meringues are completely cool, gently remove them from the parchment paper. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 5 days (or freeze for up to a month).

Assembly:

Remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften a bit. Spoon or spread some onto 6 of the meringues. Do this very gently, because meringues can be very fragile! Top each one with another meringue. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap, and freeze. Remove the sandwiches from the freezer a few minutes before you want to eat them, just so the ice cream is not too hard to bite into (I like it best when it’s just starting to soften).

Makes 12 sandwiches

Ice cream recipe from Pictures and Pancakes

Meringues adapted from Meringue, by Linda K. Jackson & Jennifer Evans Gardner

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I love my ice cream maker. I mean, seriously love it. I’ve become obsessed with making ice cream in the 6 months or so that I’ve had it. Any time I have heavy cream left over from something I’ve made I use it as an excuse to make more ice cream.  I can never get myself to make something for dinner with 2 cups of heavy cream (meals around here are generally healthy). But in a dessert? No problem!

These ice cream sandwiches are from a really fun cookbook I got last summer, The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook. The book was lying on the kitchen counter, and when Chaim saw these ice cream sandwiches on the cover he mentioned that he’d like if I made them. Well, what better way to use up the extra heavy cream I had from making his birthday cake then to make these? And these were definitely a good choice!

To start with, this ice cream is not at all stingy with the cookie dough, which is enough to make any cookie dough lover happy 🙂 But not only that, the ice cream base itself is the flavor of cookie dough. So if you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to mix up a batch of cookie dough (not that mixing up a batch of dough is all that difficult), you can just add some chocolate chips to the base (or drizzle in some melted chocolate, as in THIS recipe) and have a chocolate chip cookie flavored ice cream. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

And then there are the cookies. These cookies are soft, and so deeply chocolatey. When you put these together with the ice cream, it puts any ice cream sandwich that comes in a box to shame.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

Note: The ice cream base can be made in any machine that has a 1-quart capacity. After you add the cookie dough, the ice cream will yield 1 1/2 quarts.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

For the ice cream:

2 cups heavy cream, divided

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Pinch salt (I used a very generous pinch)

4 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cookie dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoon milk or cream

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a medium heatproof bowl, and set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, milk, sugars, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture starts to steam. Remove from the heat.

3. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in some of the warm cream mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, until about half the cream mixture has been added and the egg mixture is warm to the touch.

4. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula (about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165°F to 170°F). Make sure not to let it come to a boil. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the reserved cream, discarding any solids left behind. Stir in the vanilla, and allow the mixture to cool. (You can place the bowl into an ice bath, and stir the mixture until it cools.)

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, making sure to press it onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in the fridge until completely chilled, at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

6. While the mixture is chilling, prepare the cookie dough: Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes). Add the salt, vanilla, and milk, and mix well. Slowly add the flour, and mix until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

7. Once the cookie dough is chilled, drop marble-sized balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until ready to use.

8. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the frozen chucks of cookie dough until they’re evenly distributed. Pour into a 9″ x 9″ baking pan lined with foil of parchment paper, using a small spatula to spread it evenly. Cover well and freeze until firm.

Soft Chocolate Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dark or Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Water, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Mix in 1 cup of the flour, followed by 2 tablespoons of water. Add the remaining flour, followed by another 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well, until no dry ingredients remain. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky. If needed, add more water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out the dough using cookies cutters (or a knife and ruler to make 3-inch squares). Transfer to a prepared sheet pan, and repeat with the remaining dough. Place the sheet of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes.

4. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until the tops are matte and the cookies are just set. Make sure not to overbake.

5. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.

Assemble the Ice Cream Sandwiches

Carefully remove the ice cream from the baking pan by pulling the foil or parchment up out of the pan, and set it on a cutting board. Using the same cookie cutter you used for the cookies, cut out pieces of ice cream (or use a knife to cut out 3-inch squares). Place one piece of ice cream between 2 chilled cookies, and press lightly to adhere. Freeze until ready to serve.

Makes 9 sandwiches of making them as 3-inch squares. Yield varies for other sizes/shapes.

From The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, by Lindsay Landis

Lavender Shortbread with Earl Grey Glaze

Lavender Shortbread with Earl Grey Glaze

Shortbread has long been a favorite of mine. I love how a few basic ingredients (that I pretty much always have in the house) can be turned into something so delicious. As with cheesecake, I usually tend to stick with vanilla shortbread. Vanilla just shines in such a simple cookie. But it was time to try something new. Not just a new shortbread, but a completely new-to-me flavor: lavender! Of course I’d seen lavender used all over the place, but until now I had never tasted it.

Lavender

When I opened the jar of lavender I was a little concerned. I’m not a huge fan of the scent of lavender, and I was nervous that my shortbread would end up tasting like soap. But I needn’t have worried. These were delicious—crumbly and buttery, with just a soft floral scent.

In the introduction to this recipe, the author of the cookbook mentioned that the first time she tasted lavender it was in a lavender Earl Grey iced tea. Since I can hardly ever leave well enough alone, I just had to add an Earl Grey glaze to these.

Lavender Shortbread with Earl Grey Glaze

Aren’t they pretty?

Lavender Shortbread with Earl Grey Glaze

For the shortbread

1/3 cup (70 g) superfine sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried culinary lavender, plus more for garnish

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 sticks (350 g) unsalted butter, cubed, slightly softened

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour

For the glaze

1 Earl Grey tea bag

1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup (114 g) confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine the two sugars, the lavender, and the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a minute or so, until the sugars smell of lavender. (You can also just rub the lavender into the sugar with your hands.)

3. Beat the butter into the sugar mixture until well combined. Mix in the flour on low speed until just combined.

4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat the dough down as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the top with additional superfine sugar.

5. Bake for 40-55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan.

6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, place on a large cutting board, and cut into 24 squares. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, place the tea bag into the boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag and allow the tea to cool completely.

8. Place the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the cooled tea. Mix well. If the mixture is too thin, add some more confectioners’ sugar. If the mixture is too thick, add some more of the tea.

9. Spoon some of the glaze onto each cookie and garnish with some lavender buds.

Makes 24 cookies

Shortbread recipe from Tea with Bea, by Bea Vo

Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Classice Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

I love trying out unique recipes, those that have unusual flavor combinations or new-to-me ingredients. It’s part of what makes baking, cooking, and eating so much fun.

But sometimes? Sometimes I just want something classic.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) vegetable shortening

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup (8 ounces) dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (9 1/2 ounces) creamy (or crunchy) peanut butter

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the shortening, sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and peanut butter. Stir in the flour.

3. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the lined baking sheets. Press down on each cookie with a fork to make a crisscross design.

4. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Remove from the oven, allow to sit on the baking sheets for a minute or so, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies (I got quite a bit more than that, but I made them on the small side)

*Recipe from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion