Thursday, July 17, 2014

Frozen Cheesecake Pops

I froze you guys something.

I haven't turned on my oven in over two weeks now, I am going for a record. I have, however, consumed an absurd amount of peanut butter toast, iced coffee and cold pasta salad (Jeff makes the best.)

So as not to break the streak, I made little frozen cheesecake pops. No bake, just freeze.

Egg-less cheesecake batter gets piped into popsicle molds, topped with a Graham Cracker crust and thrown into the freezer.

CHEESECAKE! The other night, I made dinner out of one of these and a gin and tonic... don't judge.

Frozen Cheesecake Pops
makes 6

8 oz cream cheese, soft
1/4 c Greek yogurt
3/4 c confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 Graham Cracker sheets, crushed into fine crumbs
1 1/2- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
pinch cinnamon
dash salt
1 teaspoon sugar
- - -
1. Combine Graham Cracker crumbs, sugar, salt cinnamon and coconut oil until mixture clumps together slightly; set aside
2. In a stand mixer, mix cream cheese (with a paddle attachment) until smooth; add sugar and mix until combined
3. Add vanilla and lemon juice, mixing to combine
4. Add yogurt and milk; mix until smooth
5. Pour/pipe cheesecake base into your popsicle molds, leaving 1/4-1/2 inch gap at the top for your crust mixture
6. Spoon the Graham Cracker mixture onto the top of each popsicle well
7. Insert the popsicle sticks and freeze for at lease 6 hours
8. To remove, soak mold in warm water for 1 minute and then remove popsicles!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Summer Bucket List

Weekend! Yours is over, mine is starting.

This is a different sort of list post. A few of my favorite blogs have featured summer bucket lists lately. I like this idea. I have so many things I want to do this summer and I need a real kick in the ass to make them happen. So here I am, summer bucket listing.

Before I list it out, I need to show you  this burger...


Funnel cake buns. That sounds like a nickname. But seriously this exists in real life and I am very intrigued. OK, onto the list...

1. Pick strawberries and make jam... no more Christmas jam gifts made with frozen berries

2.  Try bowling again... I have avoided it for a long time because I am so bad at it

3. Read more books... I'm shooting for a book a week

4. Go to a fair... preferably the one in Spokane

5. Take more mid-day naps

6. Go see more live music

7. Picnic in a park... and find a discreet way to bring wine/booze along

8. Swap houses with my brother and sister in law (and swim in this lake)

9. Buy a tent and go camping

10. Run Mt. Si

11. Get my next tattoo

12. Make weekly doughnuts a priotity

I think this is a manageable list.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Iced Vanilla Latte

If you are like me, your coffee preference changes seasonally. During fall and winter, hot coffee from my French press is what motivates me to crawl out of my warm bed and make my way to work in the dark. I will also drink the occasional peppermint mocha from Starbucks because you really can't not. Cappuccinos are nice too, especially at Zoka.

During the warmer months, my caffeine-addled self wakes up wanting coffee but the idea of brewing a pot of hot coffee has zero appeal. This poses a problem. I have a solution- homemade iced vanilla lattes made with cold brewed coffee.

Make your vanilla simple syrup and cold brew your coffee ahead of time. I used this recipe for cold brew and having the concentrate on hand is a game changer. It means delicious iced coffee is at the ready always! This is ideal when you wake up late and want to drink an iced coffee on your walk to work. Don't feel like cold brewing? No worries, just substitute the concentrate for strong, chilled coffee or (if you are fancy and have the machinery) espresso.


Iced Vanilla Latte
makes 1

4 oz cold brew coffee concentrate (or very strong brewed coffee, cooled)
4 oz milk
1/2-3/4 oz vanilla simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like your drinks)
- - -
1. Combine syrup and coffee concentrate in a glass, stirring to combine
2. Add ice then top with milk, stir gently to mix
3. Drink!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Simple Syrups

I am doing all the laundry and drinking all the lattes. And by that I mean, I am trudging through post-trip chores and drinking homemade iced vanilla lattes like it's my job.

It is hot inside and outside and this just seems like the right thing to do.

Some excitement... remember when I made some recipes with these extracts? The extracts are now on the market! You can (and should) purchase them online asap. I will include a link to the website at the end of this post.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to use these extracts to make drinks. Only drinks. Because it is summer and I am not about to turn on my own oven after baking all day at work. These extracts are perfect for infusing simple syrups and spiking your happy hour cocktails with.

So, let's simple syrup.

Sugar plus water plus heat will give you simple syrup. I love adding simple syrup to my coffee because it adds sweetness without the grit of granulated sugar.

The ratio for simple syrup is 1:1... equal parts sugar and water. Simmer these ingredients in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer cloudy. I let my syrup cool slightly in the pan before transferring it to a jar and storing in the refrigerator. At this point, the syrup can be used to sweeten any beverage you like.

We are going to take it one step further and flavor our syrups with these lovely extracts.

I divided the cooled syrup between these three jars and then flavored one with lime extract, one with orange, and the third with vanilla.

Slap a label on these syrups and keep them chilled. Then make all the drinks with them. I am excited to share the drinks these extracts inspired with you! Leading off will be iced vanilla lattes.

Simple Syrups
made with Ballard Extracts

15 oz granulated sugar
15 water
2 1/2 Tablespoons Ballard Extract's Lime
3 Tablespoons Ballard Extract's Orange
1 Tablespoon Ballard Extract's Vanilla
- - -
1. In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar; stir gently to combine
2. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until all the sugar has dissolved and mixture is no longer cloudy
3. Allow syrup to cool slightly before transferring to a jar to chill completely
4. Divide chilled syrup into three jars
5. Add lime extract to one jar, orange to another and vanilla to the third; stir each gently to combine (I tasted my syrups along the way, feel free to add more or less flavoring depending on your preference)
6. Store sealed jars of syrup in your refrigerator for use in coffees, cocktails and other summery drinks!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ice Cream Sandwich Layer Cake

The other night I had heat-induced insomnia. Temperatures outside spiked over ninety degrees during the day and the city held the heat into the night.  I tossed, turned and got up repeatedly to drink cold water.

Even though it is a bit uncomfortable, I love the heat. And the summer. And this ice cream cake.

This cake is a no-bake situation. Technically the only part you will actually "make" is the ganache topping. The rest is all ice cream sandwiches, cookies, and melty pints of ice cream. It is no-fuss summer food.

You can use any flavors of ice cream in this recipe. Strawberry and chocolate? Nice! Coconut gelato and lime sherbet? Insane! Mint chip and chocolate chip? I like your style! Here I went with blackberry and lemon custard.

After ample freezing time, a quick glaze and one last chill to set up the ganache, it is time to slice!

Had this cake been in my freezer on that ninety degree day, it wouldn't have stood a chance.

Ice Cream Sandwich Layer Cake

makes a 9x5 loaf cake
From Bon Appetit Magazine

8-10 ice cream sandwiches
2 pints of ice cream, slightly softened (any two flavors you want!)
1 1/2 c crushed cookies of your choice (I like Oreos or Teddy Grahams)
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
4 oz heavy cream
- - -
1. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with aluminum foil
2. Arrange 4-5 ice cream sandwiches on the bottom of the lined pan; you will need to cut some to make sure they fit... it doesn't need to be perfect, just make sure the entire bottom of the pan is covered in the sandwiches
3. Spoon 1 pint of ice cream on top of the sandwich layer; spread into an even layer with a knife or offset spatula
4. Arrange 4-5 more ice cream sandwiches on top of your first flavor of ice cream, pressing them down slightly to ensure there are no gaps
5. Spoon the 2nd pint of ice cream on top of the sandwich layer; spread into an even layer
6. Sprinkle/arrange your crushed cookies on top of the final ice cream layer
7. Freeze for at least 4-6 hours until ice cream is firm
8. Heat cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate, stirring until a smooth ganache comes together; cool slightly
9. Invert frozen cake onto a cooling rack set over a baking sheet (cookie side down)
10. Pour warm (not hot) ganache over cake, it will coat the top of the cake and drip down the sides
11. Place the cake (still on the baking sheet/cooling rack) into the freezer for at least 20 minutes, or until ganache is set
12. Run a knife around the bottom of the cake and transfer it to a platter/cake plate; slice and enjoy!