whisk: peanut butter oreo brownies

In my office, I tend to be the person in charge of birthday celebrations (no surprise).  I tend to take advantage of these special occasions and use them as opportunities to try out my craziest recipes.  Today, I made these:

I had seen a photo of these on Pinterest but was unable to find a source website for this (if you know of one let me know and I will link back to it).  Essentially these are the easiest things in the world.  Here is what you need:

  • 1 box Brownie Mix (My favorite is Ghiradelli)
  • 24 Regular Oreos
  • Creamy Peanut Butter

Mix your favorite brownie mix according to the directions on the box and preheat your oven accordingly.  Then place paper liners in a muffin pan.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Then sandwich two Oreos together with a decent layer of peanut butter between and on top of the cookie and place in the muffin pan.  Once you have assembled 12 oreo sandwiches and placed them in the muffin tin, take an 1/4 cup measuring spoon and pour the brownie batter over them until covered.  Then bake for between 20 – 30 minutes so that a toothpick comes clean when used to inserted into the brownie.

Happy Thanksgiving from both of us.  We hope that you have wonderful weeks filled with family, celebration and good food.  And don’t forget, if you need something to do with the leftover stuffing, consider our stuffing bread!



whisk: salted caramel ice cream

Last summer on a whim, I bought an ice cream maker. I previously had one back in the early 2000s but primarily used it to make pina coladas and had lost it in all of my moves.  So when I was in the store and found it on sale, I impulse purchased it.  One of the best decisions I’ve made in years.  I spent last summer playing around with different recipes and happened upon this one for Salted Caramel Ice Cream from Gourmet.  To this date, this is the best ice cream I have ever made or tasted.  The beauty of it is that it is a custard so its extremely creamy and there is just a hint of salt which really brightens the caramel flavor.  It’s reminiscent of the Baskin Robbin’s Pralines n Cream flavor.  Over the last year, I’ve continued to make it for special occasions and parties and it continues to be one of my most requested recipes.  I’ve mixed in pretzels and nuts, rolos and chips.  While it is a great base for other flavors, it truly is perfect on its own.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Gourmet 2009

+ 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
+ 2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
+ 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
+ 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
+ 1 cup whole milk
+ 3 large eggs

Start by making the caramel.  Place 1 cup of sugar in a dry skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Stir with a fork so that the sugar cooks evening.  Then once the sugar starts to melt stop stirring and begin swirling the pan over the burner.  Once the sugar is cooked to an amber color, slowly add 1 cup of cream.  This will cause the sugar to solidify again, using your fork, stir over low heat until the ingredients are smooth.  This part can take up to ten minutes, just be patience.   Pour in a container, add the vanilla and let stand until it is room temperature. Once at room temperature, stir in the salt.  Maldon is my personal favorite for this.

Then in a heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat the remaining cream and whole milk until just a boil.  In a medium sized bowl, beat the three eggs until combined.  Then in a slow steady stream, pour half of the milk and cream mixture into the eggs stirring the entire time.  This is to bring the eggs up to temperature of the milk so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.  Then add the egg and cream mixture back to the remaining milk and cream mixture and over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches about 170°.  If you go over 170°, you will have scrambled eggs.   Once the cream mixture is at 170°, remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the caramel mixture and chill for at least 3 hours if not overnight.  Once it has chilled, pour into your ice cream maker and stir for 30 minutes or until chilled.   Refrigerate or serve immediately.



whisk: deconstructed ice cream sandwich ice cream

If you follow us on Facebook, you saw my post earlier this week about this great article on Brooklyn’s Ample Farms Ice Cream.  What an inspiring story for anyone thinking of starting a small business, that if you work hard and have a good product, success is possible.  Of course, the article also talks all about the amazing flavors of ice cream that they sell and with my mouth watering, I decided that it was time to break out the ice cream maker.  At first I was going to make my favorite salted caramel ice cream and mix in some animal crackers but then I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen about homemade ice cream sandwiches and I knew I had to give it  a whirl.

But with a twist — I decided to make a batch of Vanilla Custard Ice Cream and mix in the homemade ice cream sandwich cookies.  At its core, this is really a Cookies n Cream ice cream but the cookies are better and what a treat, this is delicious.  And I’m now convinced that I should buy a cart and open an ice cream stand and take on Ben n Jerry’s!

Here’s the recipe:

+ 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
+ 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra dark or Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
+ 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
+ 1/2 cup granulated sugar
+ 3/8 teaspoons table salt
+ 1 large egg yolk
+ 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

High Altitude Adjustments:
+ 1/4 cup granulated sugar
+ 1 large egg (both white and yolk)
+ Increase oven temp to 375ºF and decrease cooking time to 14-16 minutes

Ice Cream
+ 2 vanilla beans
+ 3 cups heavy cream
+ 1 cup whole milk
+ 1 1/2 cups sugar
+ 3 large egg

Special Equipment
+ Ice Cream Maker
+ Candy Thermometer that goes to at least 170°F.

The Steps

1). Make the cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a sheet pan with silpat or parchment and set aside.  Then sift the flour and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside.  In your mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt until fluffy (beat them on medium high for 2-3 minutes).  Add the yolks and vanilla and mix until combined.  Then add the flour mixture in three parts mix until combined each time and scrap down the sides.   When the dough is mixed, remove and form into a disc.  Chill for up to 10-30 minutes until it is firm enough to roll out.  Remove from fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  Roll out and cut into rectangles.  Try to make them even but they don’t need to be perfect as they will be crumbled once cooked.  Place on the baking sheet and cook for 16-18 minutes.

2). Make the ice cream

Start with a knife and halve the vanilla beans lengthwise.  Scrape the seeds into a heavy saucepan and add the pods.  Then pour in the cream, milk and sugar.  Heat over medium heat until it has just come to a boil, stirring frequently and then remove from heat.  Make sure that the milk mixture is around 170ºF.  Stir to cool until it is 170, you don’t want it hotter than that or you will cook the eggs.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then pour the hot cream mixture into the eggs in a slow steady stream while whisking.

Then transfer back to the sauce pan and heat over low heat until the mixture is once again at 170ºF.

Then place a strainer or sieve over a clean bowl and pour the mixture through it.  Cover the custard with wax paper (press the paper to the surface of the custard) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Once it is completely cooled, place into your ice cream maker and turn it on.

3). Mix to combine

Crumble the ice cream sandwich cookies into bite size pieces.  Then about 20 minutes into the ice cream maker chilling process,  once the ice cream has the consistency of soft serve ice cream, stir in the crumbled cookies.  Once they are blended, stop the machine, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.  This can be made up a week in advance.  Serve it up with additional crumbles if desired.

Imagine if you threw an ice cream sandwich in a blender, this is it.  Now do I have you dreaming of my ice cream stand?



whisk: yogurt poppyseed cake with mascarpone frosting and fresh strawberries

The Denver Chapter of Junior League has been releasing cookbooks for the past 30 years and some of my best recipes are from them. This cake was first published in 1978 in their Colorado Cache cookbook and I’ve been eating it for as long as I can remember. As a child, this was the cake I requested each year for my birthday. My mother would make it for breakfast and serve simply dusted with powdered sugar. More recently, it has become my new tradition to serve this cake at Easter brunch. It is such a great cake, spongy, light, flavorful and yet not overly sweet, its more of a coffee cake than a sheet cake. The mascarpone frosting and fresh strawberries make this the perfect brunch cake.

Here’s how its made:

Yogurt Poppyseed Cake
From the Junior League of Denver, Colorado Cache Cookbook

1 c. plain yogurt
2 oz.(1/4 cup) poppy seeds
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 cups 2 tablespoons sifted flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 chilled eggs, separated

Start by placing the metal mixing bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. In the meantime, grease a tube pan or angel food cake pan, line the bottom with parchment and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and then combine the yogurt and poppy seeds in a bowl and set aside allowing the seeds to soak while you start the cake. Separate the eggs and place the whites in the chilled mixing bowl and the yolks in a bowl in the side. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, gentle transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl and then cream together the butter and sugar beating until fluffy. Reduce speed and blend in the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Add vanilla, flour and baking soda and stir until combined. Next, beat the egg yolks using a fork and add to the blender, mix until combined. Then slowly fold in the egg whites using a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes until the cake bounces back when pressed down and the cake is starting to come away from the edges. Allow to cool for five minutes in the pan and then remove and set on a baking rack to cool completely.

Mascarpone Frosting
1 c. heavy whipping cream
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 quart of fresh strawberries

In a clean dry chilled mixing bowl, whip the cold heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Slice the cake in the middle and place the bottom on your serving dish. Spread about 1/4 of the frosting evenly, place sliced strawberries evenly around the frosting. Add 1/4 of the frosting and spread on top of the strawberries. Place top half of the cake and frost the top and edges with the remaining frosting. Decorate the top with the remaining strawberries and allow to chill for 30 minutes or so.


Slice, serve and enoy!




whisk: peanut butter cup + brownies popcorn

As a kid, I loved Dairy Queen Blizzards (and their low fat sibling, the Breeze) There’s something so wonderful about blending your favorite things together. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I have a tendency to do this with a lot of things (see crack brownies) and now with this — Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Popcorn. Popcorn, like rice krispie treats, will gladly take on the flavor of whatever you mix it with while adding its crunchy texture and shape. In this case, I combined it with peanut butter, chocolate, brownie mix and peanut butter cups. I made this intending to give it to family at Sunday’s Easter brunch but I, shamefully, am not sure there will be any left to giveaway… Here’s how it’s made:

+ 6 cups popcorn (popped)
+ 1.25 c. dark chocolate chips
+ 1.25 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
+ 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
+ 3/4 c. brownie mix
+ 1 10 oz. bag of mini peanut butter cups (unwrapped)

Pop the popcorn using your preferred method. I have an old stove top whirly bird that I use but you could just as easily use your favorite microwave popcorn. Place the popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the chocolate chips in a microwave proof bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. This should take about 2-3 minutes to melt. Do not overheat it, make sure you heat only until it is melted and smooth. Then add the peanut butter and stir until combined. You may have to microwave it for a few seconds to get it to melt (no more than 15 seconds).

Then 1/4 c. at a time, add the dry brownie mix. The key to this is that you want the chocolate to get thick but not gritty, you want it to remain smooth so you may not need the full 3/4c, use your judgement here.

Once mixed, quickly pour the chocolate over the popcorn and add the peanut butter cups. Using a set of tongs, toss everything together until the popcorn is coated.

Pour the popcorn out onto two sheet pans/cookie sheets and allow to cool until the chocolate hardens. I put it in the fridge for an hour or so. You want to wait until it is fully hardened before serving (if you can).

There you have it. The possibilities are endless here and if I do run out, I’m tempted to make a caramel corn with rolo batch for my family instead. Enjoy!


whisk: biscoff knockoff

Soooo, you guys know that I’ve been obsessed with Biscoff and apparently someone has noticed.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the folks at Biscoff should be just that.  Trader Joe’s recently released their own version of the spread and lucky for me, a good friend of mine just shared a jar with me.  He also, kindly, included a few of their chocolate bars filled with biscoff.  At first taste, the Trader Joe’s version is smoother and doesn’t have the same cookie flake consistency that can be found in the original.   This weekend I’m going to play around with the jar a bit and I’ll report back on Monday.  I can’t wait to see how it melts.

Have a great weekend!


whisk: salted caramel rice krispie treats

When I was in college, I had a boyfriend whose southern grandmother would glaze her Rice Krispie Treats.  At the time, they were the best Rice Krispie Treats I’d ever tasted.  Last night, that all changed.  I made Salted Caramel Rice Krispie Treats.  These decadent treats are unbelievable.   As I’ve proved earlier, salty sweet is my favorite.  In fact, I tend to lean more towards salty than sweet with my cravings.  So to me, the addition of creamy lightly salted caramel takes what is already a great dessert and makes it delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:
+ 1/2 c. sugar
+ 6 T unsalted butter
+ 1/2 c. heavy cream
+ 3/4 tsp of Maldon
+ 1 bag of marshmallows
+ 6 cups rice cereal (rice chex or rice krispies)

Start by making the caramel sauce.  I made my favorite caramel sauce (previously seen in the crack brownies).   Place 1/2 c. of sugar in a dry skillet over medium heat.  Stir with a fork until the sugar starts melting.  Then stop stirring and start swirling the pan until the sugar is melted and has an amber color.  Add 2 T butter and stir until melted.  Remove from head and add the cream.  Stir until cream is blended.  Pour into a bowl and set aside to let cool to room temperature.

In a large sauce pot, melt the butter of medium low heat.  Add the entire bag of marshmallows and stir until melted.  Pour the cereal into a separate bowl and add the melted marshmallows.  Stir until combined.  Then stir about 1 tsp of salt into the caramel and stir into the cereal mix until combined.

Press into a buttered and/or lined pan, cover and let set for a few hours.  Remove from pan, cut, serve and stand back.