Tahini Crunch Ice Cream

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Taking a break from sewing for the moment (wow, I’ve been doing a LOT of that)…

My family recently hosted our annual ice cream social, which of course meant that I had to come up with some original flavors of homemade ice cream to serve! You’d think that it would get harder and harder every year to find something interesting and new to make, but there are just so many flavor combinations that I’ve never lacked for inspiration.

I really wanted to use chocolate-covered cornflakes as a mix-in this year, and was trying to decide on an ice cream base when I spied a jar of tahini in the fridge. Just like that, a new flavor was born!

This tahini ice cream is faintly reminiscent of peanut butter but with an added savory element, set off nicely by the dark chocolate-covered cornflakes and a swirl of caramel sauce. It churns up relatively quickly, perhaps aided by the added fat content of the tahini– like many homemade ice creams it freezes up pretty hard, but once it softens enough to scoop it doesn’t collapse into a melty puddle, so it has that going for it. As an added bonus, it pairs wonderfully with dark beer.

*By the way, did you notice my awesome skull-shaped spoons?

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Chocolate Decadence Cake

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I definitely inherited my love of chocolate from my dad– he’s a huge fan of chocolate, the darker the better, and back when the extra-dark chocolates weren’t widely available I remember him melting semisweet and unsweetened together to make his own bittersweet chocolate blocks, which he kept in the freezer and which I totally never pilfered for snacks… (whistles innocently)

In any case, when his birthday comes around, that’s my excuse to come up with rich, dark, decadent chocolate cake, the blacker the better. Having gone through the standard flourless chocolate cake recipes, a recipe involving layers of whipped and melted ganache, and an extremely dark chocolate ice cream (caused by my inadvertently doubling the amount of cocoa I was supposed to use… it was fabulous), this year I wanted to try something a little different.

This creation isn’t exactly a cake– or rather, it’s not just a cake. It’s really a combination/adaptation of three recipes I’ve had on the blog before– the basic chocolate cake, the nutella crunchies, and the easiest chocolate mousse ever. But they combine to make a fabulous amalgamation of flavors and textures that is a one-of-a-kind chocolate experience.

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Apple Galette with Cornmeal Crust

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So this is definitely the coolest kitchen gadget ever. It’s not high-tech, it doesn’t take up a ton of space, and it dates back to the late 1700s! My dad had one when I was a kid and I used to love turning the crank and playing with the resulting perfect spiral-cut apples. When I saw this one in a secondhand store for only $3.99 I knew it would be coming home with me.

apple-galette-machine

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Chocolate Nutella Crunchies

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I was recently faced with an emergency– I needed to make something sweet and decadent for a work gathering, and I basically had an hour to make it. Talk about short notice! (well, it wasn’t really that short– I’d known the night before I needed to make something and then completely forgot until I woke up the next morning) I took a quick survey of my pantry ingredients and was inspired by the Honey Cornflake Crunchies I’d made earlier, along with a jar of Nutella on the shelf.

For a starting point I googled “nutella cornflake cookies” and found a recipe for a no-bake candy involving just three ingredients– cornflakes, Nutella, and chocolate. How could I go wrong with those? I fiddled with the recipe a bit, doubling it. substituting dark chocolate for milk chocolate (I always have dark chocolate on hand) and adding more cornflakes for texture, but it really couldn’t be easier. And the results?

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Honey Cornflake Crunchies

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Taking a break from sewing for a while, here’s something sweet!

After I made my Faux Fried Ice Cream Cake I had a decent amount of extra cornflake topping, which I regularly used to make “fried ice cream” on its own by topping vanilla ice cream with the cornflakes and a drizzle of honey. I kept the extra topping in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and when I ran out of vanilla ice cream I just started crunching it by the handful for a treat. Something about the crunchy, buttery, sweet mouthful made it supremely snackable, and I wanted to figure out a format I could use to make an easier-to-eat version.

Imagine my joy when I came across multiple recipes for honey cornflake cookies, which basically sounded like the perfect way to interpret this flavor/texture combination. They couldn’t be easier– only a few ingredients and minimal preparation. I even let my preschooler do the majority of the work, and she loved it! (now, if only I can teach her how to temper chocolate)

These turned out cute, crunchy, and reasonably good. Not “oh my god make these right now” good, but if you’re looking for something simple to make with your kids that won’t overload them with sugar or fat, these would work. Bonus– nut free, egg-free, and they’re made of cereal so you can bill them as “healthy treats” if you bring them to school for a party or something.

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Faux Fried Ice Cream Cake

fried IC cake

At the outset, I feel compelled to note that everything but the cake in this Faux Fried Ice Cream Cake is “faux”– there’s no real frying (sauteeing at the most), and there’s no ice cream. But there is cake, and it’s a decadent, delicious cake at that, I promise. It’s inspired by an actual ice cream cake from Sprinkle Bakes, one of my favorite baking blogs.

I was first introduced to fried ice cream as a teenager when I went to a Mexican restaurant with my high school Spanish Club. It was, of course, ice cream that had been rolled in a crumb coating and deep-fried just until the outside got crunchy, leaving the inside frozen. Really tasty (what’s not to like?), but a lot of trouble to make without a deep-freezer and a fryer.

However, if you take crushed cornflakes and sauté them in a little butter and brown sugar, they take on an amazing caramelly-buttery flavor that’s reminiscent of the fried ice cream coating from days of yore. It’s incredible served over actual ice cream, but since ice cream desserts don’t travel well I decided to incorporate it into a 9×13″ cake, perfect for those end-of-summer barbecues where you won’t necessarily have a freezer handy.

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