Monday, August 15, 2011

German Chocolate Ice Cream

What do you get when you combine toasted coconut and pecans, deep, dark chocolate, cream and eggs?

German chocolate ice cream. Not the ooey gooey confection that sits on the eponymous cake, but an irresistible bowl of crunchy, chewy, chocolaty goodness.

My friend Margaret of Tea and Scones talked me into making this ice cream with her. The original recipe called for German chocolate, which I don't have because it's just too sweet for me, so I substituted semisweet. Margaret suggested toasting the coconut (she didn't but thought it would enhance the coconut's flavor). I was hesitant to use whole eggs in a "custard" but since you strain and process the custard in the blender, the risk of cooked egg bits was close to zero. I might try making this with all egg yolks next time to get an even more luscious ice cream.

Because of the straining, blending and multiple bowls and appliances required for this one, it isn't a low maintenance dessert but I think you'll agree it's worth it.

German Chocolate Ice Cream - adapted from Blue Ridge Mountain Ice cream Maker Store
Printer-friendly recipe
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
½ cup toasted chopped pecans

Make an ice bath: fill a large mixing bowl with ice water and place a 2 quart bowl on top, resting in the ice bath. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium, stirring every ten seconds or so, or in the top of a double boiler. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, milk and sugar. Cook until bubbles form around the edge and mixture is warm to the touch. 

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and slowly whisk in several spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture to the eggs to gradually warm them, then slowly add the rest of the hot milk, whisking constantly. Add the mixture to the same saucepan and continue to cook over low heat, whisking constantly. Mixture will thicken slightly and reach a temperature of 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir in the warm melted chocolate and vanilla. 

Pour the mixture into the bowl in the ice bath to cool the mixture. When cool, pour the mixture through a strainer into a 1 quart measuring cup and then into the container of a blender, cover and process until well combined. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to freeze. 

Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions for freezing. Just before the ice cream is completely frozen, stir in the 3 coconut and pecans and stir to combine ingredients. Transfer to a container and freeze until ready to serve.

Makes about 1 quart

*******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. I will be responding to comments but not keeping up with my Google Reader or visiting bloggers other than those who leave comments. I'll be back around August 31st with a spirit refreshed by this blessed month of fasting and prayer. Peace.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Carrot Spice Muffins/Cocoa Meringues

The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers have been exploring Baking From My Home to Yours one recipe at a time since January 2008. With the majority of the recipes in the cookbook chosen up to this point, one would expect the remainder to be the less desirable ones.

Not so. Last week, we had a light, easy cocoa meringue cookie made with almond meal and peppered with chocolate chips. It was knock-your-socks-off delicious, too good to eat just one, wildly popular with everyone who had one. Mike of Ugly Food For an Ugly Dude chose this one and I am forever grateful. I probably never would have made this one on my own even though there is a photo in the book and I love chocolate. These were fantastic and I'll definitely make them again.

This week, my buddy Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs picked the carrot spice muffins, an erstwhile morning glory that I made with carrots, pecans, coconut and dried cherries. I was excited to make these and made them the day after the recipes for this month were announced. Muffins are usually easy to put together as they require minimal mixing, but these were a little labor intensive. I shredded the carrots in my food processor, and toasted the coconut and nuts in the oven while I measured the wet and dry ingredients.

I normally double most recipes since I take most everything in to work but this time I made the recipe as written. When I make muffins from this book, I always get a higher yield than Dorie specifies in the recipe. With this recipe, I forced myself to pile all the batter into 12 muffin cups and was rewarded with 12 large, perfectly baked muffins. They were crunchy on the outside and moist and flavorful inside, all elements of a perfect muffin in my book. And they were great the following day, and the day after that. Definitely a repeater around here. Nancy has the recipe for you here.

*******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. I will be responding to comments but not keeping up with my Google Reader or visiting bloggers other than those who leave comments. I'll be back around August 31st with a spirit refreshed by this blessed month of fasting and prayer. Peace.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Revisiting My Dirty Little Secret

Back when I first told you (and showed! yikes!) my dirty little secret, I can admit now that I was frightened and overwhelmed by the prospect of where to start. It seemed so daunting. I was paralyzed.

If the longest journey starts with a single step, then the messiest pantry clean up starts with a single shopping bag.


That's right. It was the little shelf stuffed with shopping bags that got me off the sofa and into toss it/give it/use it mode. I literally couldn't jam one more shopping bag into the narrow vertical shelf most use for storing cookies sheets but I use for shopping bags. One weekend afternoon, I looked at it with exasperation and thought "Enough is enough!" I pulled them all out and piled them on the ottoman, then I sat down and got brutally honest with myself.

What exactly am I planning? To be nomadic, with all our possessions in shopping bags? I hope not, but the truth is even if we were, there's a limit to how many we can carry at one time. I love seeing the shopping bag from the duty free shop in the New Delhi airport, the one from the grocery store in Gilleleje, Denmark. Multiples from bakeries, chocolate shops, and cookware stores both here and abroad. They bring back memories. It would be one thing if I used them, but I seldom do. Ruthlessly, I cut handles off, recycled paper bags, and limited myself to just one or two of my favorites (Pierre Herme, Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat). The rest - gone. Bye bye.

The resulting look of order and restraint in that little slot in my big pantry was an epiphany. IF I DO MORE OF THAT, THE WHOLE PANTRY COULD BE TRANSFORMED!

So I did, and still am.

It's a work in progress, but everything is off the floor, unused serving pieces have a new home at the thrift store or Salvation Army, and like things now live together.

I did the majority Sunday evening of the July 4th weekend, and I stood there for about half an hour staring at the transformed space. Don't get me wrong, there's still work to be done, but I can easily get to things. I don't have to move the stack of bundt pans and a large serving tray to access the sheets of parchment paper.

Baking is now easier, packing lunches is easier and I'm not embarrassed any more when someone comes over and the pantry door is open. There aren't enough shopping bags to contain the great feelings I got from doing this.

Another benefit of my pantry epiphany is it carried over to the kitchen cabinets. I used to collect old Spode china, and I still had several sets that I never use because it doesn't go in the dishwasher, yet my formal china was still in boxes in the garage where it had lived since it was boxed up for the kitchen renovation. I felt ready to let go of this beautiful old china so it could be enjoyed by someone who would use it. That made enough space to bring in our formal china.

A few things I learned:

  • I had eight shopping bags from some stores, mostly small or impractical shapes. I kept the two I was most likely to use and recycled the rest.
  • We rarely entertain large scale because our home is small. The large serving dishes I had for that once-in-a-decade party were taking up valuable real estate. I can borrow from friends the next time we have 30 people over.
  • Keep the things you use all the time in a convenient spot. I put my steel cut oatmeal (fabulous overnight recipe here) in wide mouth Mason jars, but stashed the jars way back in the pantry and frequently knocked them over when reaching for other things. They're now in a cabinet, directly over the spot where I prepare my oatmeal each week.
  • Consider how you use your kitchen. I bake a lot, so having a variety of mixing bowls easily accessible is more important to me than a variety of sippy cups, but if you have kids, put the sippy cups directly over where you prep your child's drinks.
  • If letting go of something you've collected is hard, keep one or two pieces that you particularly prize and let the rest go with love. Imagine someone's thrill at finding that perfect object they've been searching for. I kept one place setting from one of my sets, and a simple square luncheon plate from the other. 
  • When you're packing things up and letting go of something just feels wrong, allow yourself to keep it. Just don't feel that way over every single object. When I was boxing up my Spode, I couldn't make myself give up the third set. It turned out that was the favorite of the seven patterns (yes, seven) that I used to collect. I couldn't bear to let it go, so I didn't. I may at some point decide I'm ready but for now I look forward to using it on weekends when I don't mind hand washing as much.

Because I didn't acquire this stuff in a day, the pantry won't get cleaned in a weekend. This is a project that, for me, has to be done over time. I still have two ice cream makers and more containers for storing leftovers than any three families can use. Those things will change in time, but for now I am thrilled to open the pantry door, reach for something, and not have to cover my head. We'll revisit the pantry when it's done. And now if you'll excuse me, I want to go sneak another peak.

*******PLEASE NOTE: Lethally Delicious is on hiatus for the month of Ramadan. I will be responding to comments but not keeping up with my Google Reader or visiting bloggers other than those who leave comments. I'll be back around August 31st with a spirit refreshed by this blessed month of fasting and prayer. Peace.