Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream

It’s starting to seem like ice cream is all I ever make anymore..but considering how hot this summer has been, I’m more than ok with that! This has been one of my favorite ice cream flavors from Publix for years, I have no idea why it took me this long to try making it on my own! It is a chocolate lovers dream, and even better homemade!

 

Chocolate Moose Tracks | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Not only is this chocolate ice cream very rich, but hidden in there are ribbons of chocolate ganache that make it even richer! I used the Reese’s minis, chopped, but if you have smaller peanut butter cups (I love the ones from Trader Joe’s, but didn’t have time to go) I would recommend leaving them whole!

Chocolate Moose Tracks | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Enjoy!

Chocolate Moose Tracks Ice Cream
Ingredients
For Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup mini peanut buttercups

For ganache:
4 oz heavy cream
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Directions
For Ice Cream:
In a medium saucepan, heat up 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder. Whisk thoroughly while the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove saucepan from the heat and add in the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining cup of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.

For Ganache:
Make the ganache an hour or so before churning your ice cream, to give it time to cool off.
Place chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Heat up the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the chocolate is hot and melted completely (but not boiling), pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.

Churn the ice cream according to manufacturers instructions. Once done, transfer to your freezer storage, swirling the ganache in in layers and sprinkling with peanut butter cups. Freeze for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Print Recipe!

I’m still here!

Sorry for the long hiatus. We have been VERY busy since my last post (all the way back in February!!). Just to name a few things:

1. I got a new job mid-March. It was a great move for my career, and I’ve been really loving it so far!

2. We got engaged! He proposed while we were out on Sanibel Island. We decided to talk a sunset walk on the beach before dinner when he popped the question.

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3. We bought a house! We’ve been soooo busy with moving/unpacking and furniture shopping, but we’re finally starting to feel settled (although we still have quite a bit of furniture shopping to do).

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4. We adopted a dog! We had been discussing it for awhile when I spotted this little guys picture on the Humane Society website. The next day we took him home!

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I have a very long list of recipes that I’m dying to try out in my new kitchen, so I hope to be sharing many things soon!!

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake

I’m pretty picky when it comes to bananas. Once they have a single spot on them any chance of me eating them is pretty much gone…they can either go into a smoothie or a baked good. This means a LOT of banana bread, muffins, scones, etc. I usually try to stick with things that are somewhat healthy that I can eat on my way out the door in the morning, but sometimes I want something a little more decadent.

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

This coffee cake is probably one of my favorite banana recipes. It’s ridiculously moist and flavorful. It’s got plenty of banana flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. I’ve tried many different combos and never get tired of it.,,if you really want to amp it up, I recommend chocolate chips instead of the blueberries ;)

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

 

Blueberry Banana Coffee Cake
from: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • For Topping:
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • For Cake:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ ts baking soda
  • ¾ ts baking powder
  • ¼ ts salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tb buttermilk
  • 1 ts vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cups overripe bananas, mashed (approx 3 bananas)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a springform pan or 8x8 metal baking pan.
  2. Combine brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients and blend well.
  5. Spread half the batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half the blueberries and half the topping. Repeat with remaining batter, followed by remaining blueberries and topping.
  6. Bake about 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool coffee cake in pan on a rack, remove outside of pan if using a springform.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.

Heart Chocolate Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

I have a bit of a weakness for cookie cutters. I can never pass up fun shaped cookie cutter, especially if they’re a good deal (or nautical).  And I definitely can’t leave Sur la Table without at least one cookie cutter from the awesome $1 rack.  The only problem is that I really don’t like most cut out cookies. Sugar cookies aren’t bad, but there are plenty of fun (and chocolatey) things I can make instead! Luckily I finally found a chocolate roll-out cookie that is totally worth the effort!

Heart Chocolate Brownie Roll-out Cookies | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Come summer I’ll be dusting off my nautical cutters to make these again! And maybe next time I make peppermint ice cream, because they would be perfect for ice cream sandwiches!

Chocolate Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer, then add in the eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Once well combined, gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth.
  3. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.
  4. Roll out cookie dough on floured counter and cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (Any excess flour will disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly worry if they go into the oven looking a bit white.)
  5. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Buttercream

Blood oranges are kind of a new discovery for me. Every year around this time Honeybell oranges are everywhere in Southwest Florida. Fruit stands, grocery stores, and the farmers market are ALL about the Honeybells, so I was surprised when I spotted bags of Blood Oranges at Target last week.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Buttercream | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

I’m pretty much obsessed with blood orange soda and love it as a cocktail mixer, so I knew the first thing I had to make would be cocktails. The obvious choice being Margaritas. Can you say awesome?!! I did scale down the recipe a bit though…I’m not going to say we couldn’t have had the whole pitcher, but it was probably best that we didn’t!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Buttercream | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Last week was a long, busy week. We had a surprise corporate inspection, which of course means STRESS, but I’m very happy and relieved to say that we did very, very well. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes to bring in for my coworkers and of course the blood oranges were calling to me!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Buttercream | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

I love the combo of chocolate and orange, plus the deep red juice makes a perfect pink frosting…so perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Oh and this is somehow the first cupcake recipe I’ve posted??! Kinda sad when cupcake is in the name, but I promise there will be more to come!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Buttercream
from: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2½ ts baking soda
  • 2¼ ts baking powder
  • 1¼ ts salt
  • 2 large whole eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1¼ cups almond milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 ts vegetable oil
  • 1¼ ts pure vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1¼ cups warm water
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup fresh blood orange juice
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, orange zest, and warm water. Beat with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ⅔ full Baking for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.
  4. While the cupcakes are cooling, cook the orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Cream the butter, vanilla, and reduced orange juice until smooth. Add two cups of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, add more powdered sugar if necessary, a little at a time.
  6. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with buttercream and decorate as desired.
One-bowl Chocolate Cupcake Recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

 

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars

Last week I got the strong urge to bake lemon bars. I honestly can’t tell you why…I’ve never made lemon bars, and I’m about 95% sure that I’ve never actually had one either. Yet I had the very strong desire to make some!

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

So Friday I made the trip to Target to grab some lemons…about an hour of Target wandering later I had pretty much forgotten about the lemon bars and found myself buying some yoga pants, peppermint chapstick, and a jar of raspberry preserves to make these jam bars. I should have known better than to think I could go to Target and actually leave with the items I intended to buy!

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Nothing against lemon bars, but I’m SO glad I went with these! The raspberry flavor really shines and I LOVE the crumbly texture of the base and top which are similar to almond shortbread. If you had some caramel just laying around I think that would be amazing in place of the jam…maybe even with some chocolate ;)

Raspberry Jam Crumb Bars
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cubs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (7oz) almonds, finely ground
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ ts salt
  • ¾ - 1 cup jam of choice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 11 x 7 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixtures resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Press half the crumb mixture into prepared baking sheet. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and use a large spoon or spatula to press dough evenly into pan. Make sure the dough is firmly packed with no holes or cracks.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Spread the jam over cooled crust and scatter with remaining crumb mixture.
  6. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until the topping begins to turn light golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before lifting out of baking dish and slicing.
  8. Bars are best served at room temperature.
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

 

 

Cranberry Almond Granola

I have tried many different granola recipes and techniques over the year. Most of them are quite tasty, but never quite what I’m looking for. I’m happy to say I’ve FINALLY found a recipe that I really love!

Cranberry Almond Granola | Life, Love, and Cupcakes
We really like the Back To Nature Cranberry Pecan Granola and usually would stock up when Publix has it BOGO, but now we don’t have to because this is wayyyy better. Plus it’s totally customizable! Use whatever nuts and dried fruits you’ve got on hand! I think it would be amazing with dried cherries and walnuts, and of course you can sub out the juice for whatever you’ve got on hand. Just be mindful of the amount of sugar or you’re looking at a dessert granola rather than breakfast!

Cranberry Almond Granola | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Do you have a favorite granola recipe, or do you usually just stick with store bought?

Cranberry Almond Granola
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup maple agave syrup
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 tb almond butter
  • 1½ ts ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped roasted and salted almonds
  • ¼ ts fine sea salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the agave, brown sugar, cranberry juice, almond butter, and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds and salt.
  4. Pour the syrup mixture over the oats and combine well. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and stir in the cranberries. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture begins to brown.
  6. Allow to cool completely before storing.
Note: Granola will still be a bit soft when you remove it from the oven, but will get crunchier as it cools.

Recipe adapter from Giada de Laurentiis

 

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream

Now that the holidays are over the cookies are gone and we are back to our mostly healthy eating habits. But there is one thing we will never give up: ice cream.

peppermint-stick-ice-cream
I have a tendency to buy a bunch of candy canes, then not eat a single one, so this was the perfect recipe to put them to good use. The crushed candy mixed into the ice cream give it a nice little crunch and adds extra mint flavor without going over the top. The chocolate is just a given.

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What I like best about this ice cream is that I can eat a small bowl and be completely satisfied. Yes, I COULD sit and eat the whole tub…but I’m just as happy with a reasonable amount. And that to me is what ‘diets’ are all about: balance.

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And for those of you that live up north and aren’t really feeling ice cream this time of year….I’m sorry, I’ll eat a bowl for you!

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • ½ cup crushed peppermint candies
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate
Directions
  1. Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the half and half, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a simmer, watching to make sure it does not boil.
  2. Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh sieve on top. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour some of the heated cream and sugar mixture into the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly, then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture over medium heat scraping the bottom often with a rubber spatula. Allow to thicken until it coats the back of the spatula (it should be at about 170 degrees).
  5. Pour through the mesh sieve into the remaining cream, then stir in the vanilla and mint extract. Cool down over an ice bath, stirring occasionally.
  6. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before churning.
  7. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Add in the chocolate and crushed candy 5 minutes before it is done churning. Freeze until firm.
Adapted from 'The Perfect Scoop'

 

Fresh Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Peas

If your New Years resolution was to eat healthy and lose weight, then this dish is not for you. But if you’re like me, you have to cheat every so often. And this is the PERFECT cheat meal. The sauce is simple, but it’s such a great way to highlight the fresh pasta.

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Serve this with a bottle of good wine and you’ve got winter comfort food at it’s finest. I seriously don’t think there’s much better than this.

You can find my recipe for fresh pasta here. You don’t have to make your own pasta, but I absolutely recommend doing so!

Fresh Pappardelle with Prosciutto and Peas
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of pasta
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz prosciutto, minced
  • 3 oz asiago cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the peas in boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Bring the cream and prosciutto to a simmer in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the peas and cheese and add salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until tender; about 3 minutes if using fresh pasta, or according to package instructions.
  4. Combine the pappardelle and cream mixture in a large bowl.
  5. Serve immediately, topping with more asiago if desired.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Complete Pasta Cookbook

 

Homemade Pasta

The first time I ever tried homemade pasta was on my first trip to Italy. I was probably about 12 at the time and although I really enjoyed it, I definitely didn’t appreciate it like I would now. From what I remember we were at a really neat restaurant in Rome inside a cavern of some sort, we watched a pasta making demonstration and then ate pasta a million different ways. I’m dying to go back.

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

It wasn’t until recently that I started to contemplate making my own pasta, and I must say that it is soooo worth it. I’m already adding a pasta machine to next years Christmas list. If you don’t have one, it’s still totally doable, but you’ll certainly get an arm workout between the rolling and kneading the dough!

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Have you made homemade pasta before? There are so many possibilities that I can’t wait to explore, but ravioli is definitely next on my list!

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta | Life, Love, and Cupcakes

Later this week I’ll share the recipe I made with my homemade pasta. It was absolutely amazing, but definitely a “cheat meal” for those of use who just made resolutions for the new year!

Homemade Pasta
from: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb all purpose flour
  • 4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • kosher salt
Directions
  1. Add flour to a large mixing bowl, or onto a clean dry counter. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, olive oil, and salt.
  2. Use a fork to beat the eggs together, then begin to incorporate the flour.
  3. Once the eggs have been mostly incorporated into the flour, begin kneading with your hands. If the dough is too sticky dust with flour while kneading. If it is to dry wet your hands and continue.
  4. Knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes, pushing the dough away from your with your palm , then turning clockwise. Continue this pattern of pushing and turning until the dough is smooth and velvety.
  5. Cut dough in half and let rest for an hour.
  6. When ready to roll, dust the counter and top of the dough with flour. Start in the middle of the dough and push away with the rolling pin. Keep weight towards the middle of the rolling pin to keep the dough from creasing. Continue rolling until you can see your fingers through the dough. Let dry for 10 minutes.
  7. Dust the top of the dough with flour and fold loosely a few times. Cut dough into ¾ - 1 inch wide slices.
  8. Unwrap and place on a sheet pan until ready to boil.
  9. To cook: Boil in water for 3 minutes, strain well, and serve immediately.
Recipe from Anne Burrell, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef