Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Look at this ice cream. It is decadent, velvety-smooth, and swirled with delicious bites of graham cracker pieces and tart lemon curd. The richness of the whipping cream and cream cheese is balanced by the lemon. It is, not to brag, probably the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever made. :-)  As usual, no ice cream maker is required for this recipe, or my others here, here and here.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

During one of the nearly 90° days in DC last week, I had a spark of creativity; I really wanted something with lemon, but didn’t want to turn on the oven. So, natch, lemon ice cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

This is just so pretty, I love it. It tastes good too, this was confirmed by a second source, my husband, who was skeptical of this flavor combination, but ended up eating two bowls once it was ready.

Not to mention, photographing ice cream is actually fun. It is easy to style and is a playful food to begin with; normally taking pictures is not something I like about food blogging. Ironic, no? Am I the only food blogger out there that feels this way?

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

When the weather turns sweltering, you don’t have to ignore your urge to bake- turn to ice cream as your medium!

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp (I used about 6 oz. ’cause I ate some)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • zest of 1 lemon, juice from half the lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd, at room temp
  • 1 tsp creme bouquet (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 6 graham crackers, broken into small pieces, but not crumbs.

Place the bowl of your electric mixer into the freezer. A very cold bowl will help your cream whip in no time. Meanwhile, break up the graham crackers, zest your lemon, and measure out your lemon curd and set aside. Once bowl has chilled, whip the pint of cream on medium-high speed until fluffy and peaks form. (My Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment does this in no time, I love it). Add in the lemon zest and whip on low briefly, just to incorporate. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and creme bouquet. Mix for 2 minutes on high. Gently add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold in with a spatula. Don’t mix aggressively, but so the cream cheese mix is mostly incorporated into the whipped cream.

Melt the butter and drizzle over the graham cracker pieces, stir to coat. Dump the graham crackers onto the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture, then dump the lemon curd on top of the crackers. With a spatula, gently fold/swirl 2 or 3 times (only!!)  the crackers and lemon curd into the mixture. This will create pretty swirls and pockets of lemony goodness like you see in the pictures. Transfer to a 8×8 metal or glass pan and cover tightly. Freeze overnight. Let the ice cream sit for 5 minutes before scooping, it’s easier that way.

*NOTE: This ice cream does not require an ice cream maker and if you put it into a maker, I have no idea what will happen.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispies

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treat

Wow, I love that word. It is semi-obnoxious. It is also semi-awesome.

So there.

Funfetti Rice Krispy Treats

I sent these to my brother as a thank you gift for helping us settle into our new apartment. He was literally the best house guest. He cleaned. He picked up after himself. He worked tirelessly and fixed things that were broken.

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treats

He didn’t complain or ask for money.

Rice Krispy Treats with Sprinkles

He was happy when we took him to that place with sushi on the conveyor belt at the mall for dinner.

IMG_3697

And for that he got a well deserved thank you package with rice crispy treats with an awesome new name. Don’t worry, I sent him some other stuff too. Oh, and of course, never-ending sisterly love.

That’s a lot right?

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treats

  • 1 package marshmallows (10 oz)
  • 6 cups rice krispy cereal
  • 5 tbl butter
  • 2 tsp creme bouquet
  • 2 tbl sprinkles, plus more for topping

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, grease a 9×13 pan with shortening (to help with sticking). Once the marshmallow mix if fully melted, remove from heat and add in the creme bouquet and stir. Then, add in all six cups of  cereal at once and stir quickly until the rice krispies are totally coated. Add in two tablespoons sprinkles and give one last stir.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture into the 9×13 pan. Grab a piece of wax paper, fold into a square and grease on side with shortening. Scatter more sprinkles on top, then press the rice krispies all over to flatten and level. Don’t press ‘em too flat.  Let cool, cut and serve!

Enjoy!

- Erin

 

Muchi Curry-Spiced Chickpeas

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Hi dear readers. I moved! Yes, three weeks ago I moved to a new apartment ( I should specify the husband came too), and we really like the new place. The space is smaller overall, but more useful, if that makes sense? It currently smells like curry… nom nom.

I’ve been thinking about healthy DIY snack foods lately. We really like Trader Joe’s crunchy wasabi peas for a snack, but it is so easy to blow through a whole bag and they are really salty. Making my own crunchy snackypoos allows the sodium usage to be much reduced, happily.

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

These little chickpeas are toasty from being oven roasted, spiced with muchi curry and have the addictive crunch many of us look for in a snack food. These are really easy too, it is three ingredients: 1 can chickpeas, oil and spices.

Curry Spiced Chickpea Snack

Ta-Da! A snack you can feel good about. :-) In order to get these nice and crunchy, please be sure to wash and dry the chickpeas well. Rub them with a folded paper towel to help release the skins (pick these out) and remove extra moisture. See below.

IMG_3678

Once the surface moisture is removed, you’ve won half the battle. The oven needs to be really hot for the first part of the roasting, then you’ll turn it down and continue to roast for over an hour to get out the remaining moisture so these stay crunchy after they’ve cooled.

It does take some time, but it isn’t active time, you can watch TV, clean the house or unpack moving boxes while the oven works its magic!

Curry-Spiced Chickpeas (serves two)

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1/2 heaping tsp muchi curry (this is a savory based powder, heavy on cumin and fenugreek)
  • 1/4 heaping tsp cajun seasoning (I used McCormick)
  • Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°.  Drain and wash the chickpeas. Lay out onto a paper towel to drain, and rub with another paper towel. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to dry off. Remove the transparent skins that come loose from some of the chickpeas.

In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas, oil, spices and salt. Toss gently to coat.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and spread the chickpeas out in a single layer. This is important, these must be in a single layer in order to toast properly. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. The  chickpeas should become very fragrant, but not smell like burning!  Next, turn the heat down to 350° and continue to roast for 20 more minutes, stirring often. Turn off the oven, but leave the chickpeas in for another hour while the oven cools down.

Remove and serve warm, or let cool before storing in an airtight container to nosh on later.

*Note: Don’t use olive oil, it doesn’t have a high smoke point and will start burning to soon, these chickpeas need to cook for a long time to get all the moisture out. Vegetable oil has a much higher smoke point and it will not impact taste.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Snowquester, or, Experiments on a Rainy Day

Hi friends. How many of my dear readers live in the DC area and were bombarded with news reports about “Snowquester”, the biggest snowstorm of the year.

Well, then you already know Snowquester was more of a Snowtease. Despite being letdown by a dismal amount of snow accumulation, my husband and I were determined to do our Snowquester baking experiment.

Aunti Anne's Pretzels At Home

Last night, we went to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials, beer and snack food. Of course. We saw a box of Auntie Anne’s make-it-at-home pretzel mix and thought, yes, this we must try.

DIY Auntie Anne's Pretzels

So, since we are both at home today rather than work (snow is deadly, remember) we busted out the box and got to baking for an afternoon snack.

How to Roll A Pretzel

How to roll a pretzel

We topped them with salt, cinnamon sugar (included in the kit), and also tried Old Bay and Cajun seasoning on a couple others.

Auntie Anne's Pretzels at Home

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

My take on the do-it yourself version of Auntie Anne’s is this, 1) it’s not as easy as it looks at the mall, 2) it’s really messy and 3) there is no way two adults can consume the amount of pretzels this kit makes, so do this at home with kids or a group. Actually doing this with kids seems like a nightmare due to the mess factor and many steps. You should see our kitchen after two adults tried this.

Most importantly though, how do they taste? Although our pretzels were sometimes uniquely shaped, they more or less tasted like the real thing. The thinner ones were not as good.

This one tasted the best, notice it is proportionally shaped?

Homemade Pretzels

You were better because you were pretty. It’s true.

Classic, buttered with no salt- my favorite. :-)

Did anyone else out there do some Snowquester baking? Let me know!

- Erin

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chips Cookies

If for some reason you are planning to have an open house in the near future, I suggest you have a tray or two of these cookies baking at all times during the event to make your home seem as inviting as possible.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chips Cookie Dough

These oatmeal cookies smell so heavenly when baking, like sweet vanilla, butterscotch and wafts of cinnamon.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

A while ago I bought a bag of Hershey’s cinnamon chips out of sheer curiosity, and they worked quite well in this recipe. My fear was an overwhelming cinnamon taste, but the brown sugar mixing with the chips really create a nice butterscotch and spice combo.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

I brought these to a coworkers ‘moving party’ and they were gobbled up with many a compliment from my more than willing  guinea pigs, er I mean colleagues.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chips Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cup quick cook oats
  • 1 10 oz bag cinnamon chips

Heat oven to 350°. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour and baking soda and add bit by bit to the butter mixture. Mix well. Stir in oats and cinnamon chips.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Don’t overdo the scoops, the cookies will spread when baking. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size. Cookies will be browned on edges and mostly set in the center. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on a wire rack. Best eaten warm or within a couple days.

Recipe from Hershey’s

Enjoy!

- Erin

Whole Wheat Molassas Bread

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is all about luuurrrvvv. How about not romantic, sexy time love, but let’s say friendship love.

‘Cause I have a lot of love for my friends. I love them because they come through for me when I need them too. Like just knowing I need a hug, even though I would never, ever, ask for one.

Friends like that deserve baked goods.

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

Baked goods make awesome gifts, but it becomes awesomer if you give the treat in a baking dish your friend can keep.

I chose this red Le Crueset loaf pan to hold this slightly sweet and deliciously nutty dark quick bread.

A perfect homemade gift; screw all that overpriced chocolate crap at the store.

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread

  • 1 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a 9×4 loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and molasses. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour and stir to combine, but don’t over-beat it. Bake for 45 minutes. I rotated the pan with 20 minutes left. I also checked the loaf for doneness with a toothpick. If it’s too wet, stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes.

Let cool in the pan (you are giving it away, remember!) on wire rack. Wrap in cellophane and ribbon and give to a loved one. :-)

The original recipe suggests serving with butter, cream cheese or Nutella.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Sigh. Is the busyness of the holidays catching up with anyone else? I’m feeling exhausted as I write this, and the mental list of things I need to do before heading to my parents is causing a bit-o-anxiety.

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

I had a thumbprint for dessert. It didn’t bring me inner peace…. but it was tasty.

Anyways, you aren’t here to listen to me complain- you are here for recipes!!!

Yesterday I posted a new cookie recipe I added to my arsenal; today, I’m going back to a traditional family one. These thumbprints have the right amount of peanut butter and a chewy, yet melt in your mouth texture. I find some p.b cookies to be dry and have a weird, crumbly mouth-feel that is off putting. Don’t worry about that here, just worry about how many ‘extra’ Hershey Kisses you’ll be popping while mixing up the dough.  I recommend not skipping the step of rolling the dough in sugar. This makes the cookies a little sparkly and contributes to the pleasant texture. Just some friendly advice ;-)

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

Peanut Butter Thumbprints

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 18-24 unwrapped Hershey kisses
  • small bowl of white sugar for rolling dough

Preheat oven to 375°. In an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes. Add in peanut butter, egg and vanilla and continue beating on medium speed for another 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  With the mixer running on low, gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet.

Using a small spoon, scoop out dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch (or so) balls. Roll the balls in the white sugar, then place on a lined baking sheet.  Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the cookies are lightly cracked on top. 1 or 2 minutes into baking, quickly remove the cookies from the oven and gently press down a Hershey Kiss on each, put back in the oven and finish baking.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Question of the Day: How do you cope with holiday stress?

The Wonder of Natural Honeycomb

In November I went to visit my family in Michigan and we went to one of my most favorite destinations: the Dexter Cider Mill.

We’ve been going here forever and hands down it is the best cider you will ever have because it is not pasteurized and the apples are pressed in a traditional fashion between layers of wooden boards to squeeze out the juices.

While I was wrapped in the warm blanket of nostalgia, sipping my cider and feeling completely contented to be reliving a childhood memory, several stacks of natural honeycomb caught my eye.

Natural Honeycomb

Be still my heart! If this was Spinal Tap, the nostalgia just got kicked up to an 11.

My mom would pick this up at the farmers market and cut off dripping hunks of golden goodness my brothers and I would chew with delight. You spit out the wax when you are done, sort of like those wax soda bottles with the sweet liquid inside, remember?

Natural honey tastes so much better than what you buy at the store, it is sweeter and thicker and just…better.  Some even believe it has natural antibiotic properties.

Now that I’m an adult, I chose to serve this honeycomb in a more mature fashion you could say.

Served with a drizzle of honey from the comb

Served with a drizzle of honey from the comb

A plate of sharp cheeses, like creamy parmesan and goat, alongside fresh figs and assorted charcuterie are an absolutely elegant way to use honeycomb.

Of course, I just chewed a piece for old times sake, and it was as good as I remember. :-)

Enjoy!

- Erin

Rosemary and Pink Salt Sweet Potato Fries

My husband came up with the idea of doing brown sugar sweet potato fries. This sounded awesome, and it was even awesomer that he was thinking about dinner.

I wanted a savory variety to pair with the sweet fries, so I sprinkled dried rosemary and Trader Joe’s Pink Himalayan Salt onto some of the potato wedges. Yummy, when the fries bake in the oven the rosemary becomes so fragrant and delightful!

Brown sugar fries on the plate, rosemary and pink salt fries in the paper

This was a fun way to eat one of the season’s most plentiful root vegetable. Since these were cooked in the oven and not fried, I feel like they are a healthier way to eat fries so you don’t have to feel guilty about them.

So which flavor was the best? Honestly, the few fries that got a mix of both the  brown sugar and rosemary were by far the best! Hum, so what does that tell you; two heads are better than one? :-)

Brown Sugar or Rosemary and Pink Salt Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2 very large sweet potatoes or yams
  • 3 tbl brown sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbl dried rosemary, to taste
  • coarse salt, such as Pink Himalayan
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with tinfoil. Peel the potatoes and slice into wedges, about 1/2 inch wide (not to thick or they won’t cook evenly).  Spread the fries in a single layer on both baking sheets. Do no pile them onto each other or they won’t crisp up properly.

Drizzle the potatoes generously with olive oil and toss to coat. Then sprinkle salt over the potatoes, toss to coat. Sprinkle the rosemary over one tray of potatoes and sprinkle the brown sugar over the other tray (or combine!). Toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and flip all fries. This ensures the fries can get crispy on both sides. Bake for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Enjoy!

- Erin

Homemade Applesauce

Even though the summer garden bounty is gone, and mostly (hopefully)  put up, there are plenty of apples to preserve. I highly recommend using a combo of Stayman, Winesap and Granny Smith apples for sauce because they are sweet and tart at the same time with firm flesh that breaks down beautifully while cooking.

On left, chunky-cinnamon applesauce; on right, smooth applesauce

If you want to preserve this in jars, you can. However, you can also just freeze the applesauce in quart containers. Pull it out when you want to use it and let it thaw in the fridge.

I love heating the chunky-cinnamon applesauce up and eating it warm, it’s so comforting. :-) Or, you can use it in place of oil in baking to add more healthful flavor to cakes and muffins, like I did here.

This recipe is forgiving; if you are planning on freezing versus canning it, you can adjust the amounts of apples, sugar and spices to suit your taste. If you can the sauce, I suggest sticking more closely to the recipe- for safety purposes. I made two types of applesauce, both of which I canned.

Homemade Applesauce*

  • 8 lbs of peeled, cored and quartered apples

For Chunky-Cinnamon Applesauce:

  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice

For Smooth Applesauce

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice

In an extra large saucepan, combine apples with just enough water to prevent sticking, Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the apples are tender and have broken down a bit. This time will vary greatly depending on the firmness of your apple.

Remove from heat. Split the apple mixture in half into two separate pots, one pot will be for chunky and one pot will be for smooth. For the smooth batch, puree the apple mixture in a food processor and return to the pan. Stir in the white sugar and the lemon juice. Stirring frequently, bring to a low boil. If canning, fill your jars now.

For the chunky batch, use a potato masher to break down the apple mixture a but, leaving some large apple pieces behind. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Stirring frequently, bring to a low boil. If canning, fill your jars now.

Process the filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool and store.

*Note: This is for a split recipe, half chunky and half smooth. If canning, this will yield about 7 pint jars of applesauce.

Enjoy!

- Erin