Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vanilla Bean Gelato

Summer feels like it is never going to stay in Southern California.  But since it is supposed to be  really warm this weekend I decided to make some ice-cream.  I have a couple of recipes that I have wanted to try - so many recipes, so little time!  I started off with a Nutella Ice-cream that was super easy and delicious!  Unfortunately the hubby ate it all before I got a good pic!  I guess I'll have to make it again :)

I saw this recipe for Vanilla Bean Gelato on Tasty Kitchen and decided to go for it - I have some vanilla beans in my cupboard that have been begging me to work with!  I am usually a chocolate girl but since trying and becoming obessed with the Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Yogurt I have started to love vanilla!

This recipe was my first attempt at making gelato and it was wonderful! I did only make half of the recipe because it seemed like a lot!  I decided to strain mine because I always get nervous when tempering eggs.  Try some this weekend!

Vanilla Bean Gelato

5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium-sized bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly. In a large stockpot, combine sugar, milk and cream. Heat over medium heat just until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan, whisking continuously. Using a large ladle, slowly add approximately 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the beaten eggs, whisking the egg while pouring it in. Repeat, adding 1/2 cup more hot milk to the eggs. Once the milk has been incorporated into the eggs, slowly pour the egg mixture into the stockpot, whisking to combine. Over medium-low to medium heat, continue to cook the mixture for another 7-8 minutes until it becomes thick, stirring continuously.  
Remove the mixture from heat and strain.  Allow to cool slightly. While it is cooling, split the vanilla bean down the center, and then, using a knife, scrape the seeds out. Stir the vanilla seeds and the extract into the gelato mixture. Refrigerate until completely chilled, four hours or overnight.
Once the mixture is fully chilled freeze in your icecream maker and ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strawberry Vanilla Popsicles

You could tell it was summer this weekend!  I decided to try out some popsicles based on the Firecracker Popsicles that were in the July/August issue of Everyday Food.    I have a big flat of strawberries from Costco and needed to find some ways to use them up before they went bad.  It can be hard with two people!  This was a delicious and refreshing way to use them up!  You can substitute any fruit - next I think I'm going to try blueberry and lemon! YUM!

Strawberry and Vanilla Popsicles
Adapted from Everyday Food

1 cup of strawberries
1 - 2 Tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet your strawberries are
1 cup vanilla bean yogurt

Puree the strawberries and sugar until smooth.  You can strain the seeds out if you want, I left them in.

Alternately layer the strawberries and yogurt in the popsicle molds.  Take a knife and swirl in the mold.  Freeze 2 -3 hours or until frozen.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

My Aunt made these a couple of weeks ago and my mom was raving about them, so I decided to whip up a batch and I am so glad that I did!  The recipe is super easy and the result was fantastic!  The office claimed that they were the best cupcakes that I had ever made!  The cupcake is your favorite chocolate cake recipe with a surprise center of cheesecakey goodness!  Whip up a batch and enjoy!

Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Cheesecake filling
8 oz room temperature cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz. mini chocolate chips

Beat together cream cheese, egg and sugar until well incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake cups half way with your favorite chocolate cake mix.  Add a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture to the cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack and once fully cooled topped with your favorite frosting, I used a combination of creamcheese frosting and chocolate.