Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chewy and Creamy Carrot Cake Sandwiches

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I just can't seem to catch up. Maybe it's because instead of spending the time I'm online updating my blog, I spend it on facebook doing nothing of importance. (See Urban Dictionary for a glut of facebook related terms.)

And my poor little blog ends up neglected. Like with these ice cream sandwiches that I've been meaning to post for a week and a half now. That isn't that long of a time, but considering that I moved them to the top of my list of things to post, as unchronologically sound as that is, there is no excuse for this delay.

Other than neglect, that is.
ice cream

I got the idea a couple months ago when I stumbled across Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies from Gourmet. But I thought they'd be so much cooler if instead of a cream cheese frosting filling they had a cream cheese ice cream filling. But I didn't feel like making ice cream then and bookmarked the link.
Then the weather started to warm up, and looking through my bookmarks the week before memorial day, I saw the cookies and remembered the ice cream sandwich idea. I looked in the fridge, had everything for them, so instead of making lemon curd cupcakes like I'd been considering, I made these instead!

They were a hit. Next time, apparently, I need to make a double batch. Or make them larger.

ice cream sandwich 0003
Chewy and Creamy Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches
makes... I don't remember, somewhere between 18 and 24 sandwiches, I think
adapted from Gourmet and Bri's Ginger Cheesecake Ice Cream

For cookies:
1 1/8 cups (about 5 oz) all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup, 4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (2 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 5 1/2 oz) coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup (3 oz) walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) raisins, chopped if large

Preheat oven to 375F and place racks in top and bottom third. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins at low speed; add flour mixture and stir or beat until just combined.

Drop 1 tablespoon batter per cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of baking sheets (top to bottom, front to back) halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch; about 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cookies cool on pans 1 minute; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For Cream Cheese Ice Cream:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Beat in vanilla.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until bubbles just start forming around the edges. Slowly beat the hot milk into the cheese mixture. Stir in the cream and cover and refrigerate until chilled (about 4 hours) or overnight.

Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

To assemble sandwiches:

Prepare lots of flat area in your freezer and some shallow plastic freezer-safe containers or plates.
Take 1 cookie and top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cream cheese ice cream fresh from ice cream maker, or after being frozen and slightly softened. Top with another cookie and place in freezer immediately.
Repeat with remaining pairs of cookies.

Freeze 2 to 3 hours or until set. They thaw fairly quickly, so you don't want to remove them too soon from the freezer before serving.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I've Got A Major Backlog!


It's been almost a month since I've last updated. And I have been cooking. I have not been making a lot of new things (lots of repeats, but I've never blogged or photographed them), or taking good pictures. I haven't even downloaded my camera since the beginning of May.

It's also been busy, being the last month of school and all. I've also had apathy for just about everything. Especially food styling. I have a list though, and I'm excited. Plus, summer means more light and outdoor shots, which are more fun. Except for when it's muggy.

Some of what I've neglected to blog about: the soda bread muffins from June's Bon Appetit the day it came in the mail because I felt like it; cocoa fudge cookies (for the fourth time); lemon buttermilk cookies (via Molly/Orangette); malted chocolate cookies for a Whoppers fan; actually tasty adventures with nopales; super easy peanut butter ice cream and some not as simple milk chocolate ice cream as birthday presents; oven fries I've been wanting to make since January; tried something new with the buckwheat calamari salad from Delicious Living; a newfound obsession with buttermilk and pancakes galore; finally trying coconut oil and making coconut mini cakes with pineapple; carrot-banana oatmeal muffins to sort of clean out the fridge; a memorial day dessert of inside-out carrot cake ice cream sandwiches (which are next on my list because they're apparently by a consensus of seven people the best frozen dessert I've made, and those plum ice-cream sandwiches are awfully tasty!) just because I had everything for the cookie part and had them bookmarked; gazpacho salad (via Deb over at Smitten Kitchen); amazing black-bean brownies that really are amazing (via Heidi@101 Cookbooks); and a lemon-poppy seed cake last night, my very first bundt cake.

I guess I was a tad bit busy. But most of those lack photos, or now that I just downloaded them, are pretty bad. Most are blurry. Some have terrible composition. It's pretty much a lose-lose situation. My layout's not pretty enough, and my writing far too bland.

But I'm starting with the coconut cakes before I lose the recipe that I wrote the receipt on the back of as I put it together. I adapted it from the golden vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. I wanted to try out coconut oil. Had I used soymilk, this recipe would have been vegan as well, but my goal wasn't vegan, it was just an easy yummy coconut cupcake to go with the pineapple we had in the fridge. Or in, other words, a simple but elegant dessert that I could put together with what I already had in the house.

The mini cakes, which I baked in a dessert bar pan, can also be made in a muffin pan but will probably yield a few more. I was expecting between 6 and 8, but only ended up with five. The milk can be substituted with soymilk, or the milk and vinegar with buttermilk. Canola oil would also make a fine replacement for the coconut oil (use a bit less) and increase the coconut extract.

Coconut Mini Cakes
Makes about 5 cakes

1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (45 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30g) whole wheat pastry flour (or more all purpose)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (50 g) coconut oil
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (75 g) sugar
1/2 or 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 6 muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with liners.

Combine the flours, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk the milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

In a large bowl beat together the coconut oil and sugar. If coconut oil is too hard, microwave in oven to soften/melt.

Sift in half of flour mixture and then the soymilk mixture and coconut extract, mixing well. Sift in remaining flour mixture and stir until no large lumps remain.

Fill liners 2/3 way full and bake for 20 minutes or until done. Transfer to cooking rack to cool.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Spanish Class Project


For our project in Spanish class we had to find a recipe from a Spanish-speaking country for something we'd never made before. The day we were assigned this, the Good Eating section of the Tribune highlighted Mexican immigrants and Mexican cooking. There was a picture of nopales, or prickly pear cactus, on the cover of the section so my partner and I decided we'd make something with cactus.

Our group decided on ensalada de nopales (though I thought the stuffed fried nopales sounded good - but like they wouldn't hold up), and hoped it would be tasty.
Today we made it and nopales are well, kind of boring. The salad itself isn't assertive at all and other than a slight sour flavor, is pretty bland. I'm guessing either we did something wrong, though we followed the recipe, or we just didn't have good nopales or a good recipe.
Even though it was a simple and straightforward recipe, it still took us an hour to make the salad, so it's probably a good thing that we didn't choose something more complicated.

But in case you want to make this boring recipe, here's the recipe, straight from our project:

• 6 tazas de nopales picados
• 1 taza de cebollas verdes
• 1 taza de rábanos
• ½ taza de cilantro
• 4 cucharadas de aceite de oliva
• jugo de 2 limes
• ½ cucharadita orégano
• sal y pimienta
• 3 chiles de serrano

• Una tazón
• Unos cuchillos
• Una cuchara

Primero, píca y limpia los nopales. Segundo, ponlos en agua hirviendo. Lava los vegetales y pícalos. Escurre los nopales cuando termina cocinarlo. Mezcla todos de los ingredientes en el tazón. Revuelve y tira la ensalada para una hora. Servir alado de carne, pescado, pollo, o tortillas.

The recipe we used, in English, is at Mexico Connect.

I still have two packages of nopales, and I know my mom likes them, so maybe she can figure out something to do with them.