Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream

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I think I’m finally becoming a true Texan.

Not to say that I haven’t been an ACTUAL Texan these years, but let me tell you… I HATED Summer. Loathed it, even. I yearned for that week of Winter. For years I’ve loved Winter more than any other season. Now I find myself looking forward to the warmer weather.

Ok. Maybe it’s not the actual warm weather I’m looking forward to, but instead everything that warm weather brings with it.

Summer fruit, hello! Shorts. Beautiful flowers. Bright, sunny days. Laying poolside with a margarita in hand. Campfires and s’mores. Weekends at the river. And most importantly… ice cream.

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Any and all ice cream. It’s a must down South, it’s kinda hot. Take it from a girl that could get perfectly ripened peaches a month ago. Maybe I should make some peach ice cream next!

But for now, I’m sharing a strange pairing with you: blackberries and chocolate. It works. Use amazing chocolate and ripe blackberries, and a splash or two of heavy cream and never look back.

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Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream
Yields about 3 cups of ice cream

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 Tablespoons (40 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
2 cups (240 g) blackberries, fresh*
small pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoons dark rum, optional

* I used fresh blackberries but frozen berries should work just fine. I would suggest to let the berries sit in it’s bath a bit longer.

Instructions:

Measure the heavy cream, cocoa powder, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan and whisk to combine (to make things easier I set my saucepan on my scale and measured all ingredients in it to save dirty dishes).

Set the pan over medium heat and, whisking frequently, bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil. My mixture was pretty thick to start out with, but this is OK, it will thin out once it heats. Turn off the heat under the pan, add the vanilla extract and dark rum and give it a good whisk. Then add the blackberries. Cover the pan and set aside for 10 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a blender, immersion blender or a food processor, making sure that there are no large clumps of blackberries left. Strain mixture into a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (overnight is good). The mixture will be thick – almost like pudding – once chilled.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to airtight container and store in your freezer. Top with whipped cream, a healthy dose of unhealthy toppings and dive right into Summer!

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Adapted from The Perfect Scoop via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies

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If you haven’t been here long, you probably don’t know that I’m a Texan. If you have been here for a while, you’re probably tired of me making references to the fact that I’m a Texan. Not the kind that wears cowboy boots with skirts and rides to work on a horse named sugar, but a Texan no less.

I can’t help it, I’m a Texan. It’s a pride unlike any other.

You won’t find better Tex-mex anywhere, steaks seem just a bit bigger, beautiful bluebonnets transform regular hills into waves of blue, seeing cows from the side of the road is perfectly normal, margaritas are a staple, BBQ is an art form, the night sky isn’t more beautiful anywhere else, and pecans run rampant across this great state.

Texas, I made you brownies. Brownies you wouldn’t mind calling home. They have rum and pecans in them, you’d be proud!

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Do yourself a favor: if you hate rum or aren’t crazy about the strong flavor of rum in your baked goods, don’t make these. There’s a half cup of rum in these, they are not for sissies. If you don’t like pecans, you can sub for any other nut just be sure to toast them or the flavor will get lost. If you don’t like browned butter, you’re in the wrong place ;-) BUT, you can just as easily use regular melted butter in place of browned. If you don’t like chocolate… we can’t be friends anymore*. If you want to smother these brownies in vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and a drizzle of dark rum for good measure… I think we can be the best of friends.

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Rum, Brown Butter and Pecan Brownies
yields 12-16 brownies

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, cut into 16 small pieces
175g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
190g (about 3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
75g (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8×8″ pan with foil or parchment paper, taking care to leave an overhang on at least two sides for easy removal later. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally until all the butter has melted. After several minutes, the butter will begin to bubble and this is your sign to really pay attention to your butter. The milk solids will separate: stir it frequently at this point, so that the milk solids do not settle at the bottom of the pan and burn (there is no saving burned butter, trust me). Continue stirring as your butter changes from a light brown to a medium brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, toss in your chopped chocolate and pour the browned butter over it (swirl the bowl a bit to make sure all the chocolate pieces are submerged in butter). Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Using a whisk, mix the chocolate and butter together vigorously until it is satiny and combined. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. When both eggs are in, give it a good vigorous whisking for about 10 seconds. Add the rum and mix well.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together over your chocolate mixture. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until almost combined and then toss in pecans and fold until combined. Pour batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mins, begin checking early to ensure your brownies don’t overbake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan until room temperature. Remove the brownies from the pan using the overhang, cut and enjoy!

Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

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Boozy Spiced Dark Chocolate Cake

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I really don’t drink much alcohol.

There are a few drinks that I like (my latest obsession being Malibu Coconut Rum, pinapple juice and a slash of club soda, Hawaii in a glass!) but usually I can (and do) say no. Beer tastes like horse piss gross to me and I’m not big on shots of straight liquor (Tequila being the exception). I’ll be the one nursing the same drink in my hands for the entire night.

As I said, not a big drinker.

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But dang, do I LOVE baking with it!!! It’s Christmas and to me that means that I get to find ways to put Bourbon, Rum, Kahlua and Bailey’s in EVERYTHING!! Ok, maybe not everything (I’m very obviously being dramatic) but I do take a minute to wonder how I could sneak booze into every recipe.

Please tell me I’m not alone…

I blame this time of year.

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Boozy Spiced Dark Chocolate Cake
adapted from food and wine via How Sweet Eats
makes one 12-cup bundt cake

Ingredients:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper (trust me)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kahlua (or any coffee liqueur)
1 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Melt chopped chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments (I usually go for 3 intervals) stirring between each interval until melted and smooth; set aside to cool a bit while you prep your dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder (sifting it in if your cocoa is lumpy), baking soda, salt and spices and mix with a wire whisk until combined.

Once the melted chocolate has cooled a bit, whisk in oil, bth sugars, vanilla and heavy cream until smooth, then whisk in egg.

In a 2 cup measuring cup (or anything larger, but not smaller) combine water, Kahlua and buttermilk and give it a quick stir just to combine.

Add half of the flour/cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate mixture, alternating with half of the buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined (so it’s: flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk).

Pour batter into your prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out almost clean.

Let cool, then dust with a light coating of powdered sugar or drizzle with glaze of your choice. Enjoy : )

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Bailey’s Brownies

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I have spent the better part of my time after Thanksgiving worrying, stressing, listing, scratching out and listing again all the things that need to be accomplished before Christmas gets here.

Christmas shopping usually begins on black Friday. Then it’s a mad dash to get everything on our list in the 3 weekends before Christmas, stop at 3 million stores until we have 80% of what we need then decide to “screw it” and buy the rest online (ok that last part might just be me), throw a party for our friends (or friendsmas, as I call it) to get together, wrap gifts, bake enough crap to kill a small horse, box and send everything off, have Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve, leave super late, sleep for a whopping 4 hours, and the get on the road out of town to spend Christmas with the in-laws.

Stressssssss, major.

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During these times I tell myself that pouring a stiff drink would be totally ok, encouraged even. But I never end up reaching for the mini bar we have collecting above our cabinets.

Instead I reach for brownies. And by “reach for” I really mean to say bake some. Because I don’t keep brownies on hand (too dangerous, you understand.) So yes, I stand in the kitchen and bake some damn brownies to calm my nerves.

So on SUPER stressful times like these, I tip some Bailey’s into my brownie batter.

Make some. It’s a good idea. In fact, I encourage it.

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Bailey’s Brownies
adapted from The Craving Chronicles

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Line an 8Γ—8-inch pan with foil and lightly spritz with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until combined. Set aside.

Place chocolate and butter in a large microwave-proof bowl and melt in 30 second spurts, stirring in between each interval until completely melted. Set aside to cool a bit. (Alternatively, melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan set over low heat, stirring frequently until melted. Set aside.)

Once the chocolate mixture is warm (not hot!) add eggs, one at a time, whisking constantly to incorporate the eggs. Whisk vigorously for about 10 seconds to incorporate fully. Add sugar, vanilla, and Baileys and whisk until combined.

Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, folding until just combined (the flour JUST disappears).

Pour batter into the prepared pan, give it a quick wiggle to even out the batter. Bake at for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Enjoy and de-stress : )

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