Heavenly Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

My husband and I have a farm share and heard share through a family owned farm about 45 minutes away from us ‘in the country’. It’s one of the best investments we’ve made in our health and nutrition, and we love knowing exactly where our food comes from every week. One of the coolest things about owning a bovine heard share is that we have access to tons of raw, non-homogonized grass-fed cow’s milk. Because we own part of the cow, we don’t have to follow the FDA’s silly little rules about raw dairy. Raw whole milk is the best tasting milk I’ve ever had. And trust me, that’s saying something (just ask my Mom, she used to force me to drink milk while holding my nose closed so I couldn’t taste it)!

While I still don’t drink much milk, I do enjoy several other dairy products regularly, so I use my yummy raw milk in fun ways. This year, I’ve spent countless hours working to make gourmet-quality ice cream at home. The best results so far were my Bourbon Butter Pecan and Mint Chocolate Chip – those are definitely going to be regulars in the rotation. Many of my recipes are custard based, so they took half a day to make, but I recently read of a different technique that is slightly less time consuming (though it does require using tapioca starch) so I gave it a go. IT IS DELICIOUS!

wpid-20130305_194250.jpgDark Chocolate Ice Cream
Yield: 1 Quart

Chocolate Base:
1/2 C brewed coffee
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C grade B maple syrup
1 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

Cream Base:
2 1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C cream
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp tapioca starch
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp ground sea salt
1/4 C grade B maple syrup

Directions
1. For the chocolate base – In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan,combine the coffee, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and let boil for 30 seconds before removing from heat and stirring in the chopped dark chocolate. Stir to combine and set aside
2. Using just 2 Tablespoons of the whole milk and all the tapioca starch in a small bowl, whisk to make a thick and creamy mixture.
3. In a medium glass or metal bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese, salt and warm chocolate base – this should be like liquid fudge.
4. Fill a larger bowl or sink with a few inches of ice water (will be used in step 8).
5. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining whole milk, cream, and maple syrup. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
6. Remove pan from heat and gradually add the starchy mixture from step 2, whisking to combine. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil once more, while stirring, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).
7. Slowly add the hot cream base to the chocolate base, whisking until thoroughly combined and smooth.
8. Place plastic wrap on the top of the ice cream bowl and set gently in the ice bath, adding more ice as necessary to effectively cool it. Let cool 30-40 minutes.
9. Pour ice cream into ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. Place frozen ice cream in airtight container with parchment paper or plastic wrap on the surface and seal with the lid. Freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.
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With Love and ChocolateChip Cookies

I had the house to myself this evening, so I took advantage of it by catching up on DVR’d TV shows and baking. I have been craving chocolate chip cookies this week, so I did what I always do – I Googled recipes for an hour and then didn’t actually follow any of them. I really don’t know why I can’t just find a recipe that looks good and then make it. Maybe it’s because I like the adventure of ‘trying something different’ to see what I can create (or ruin).

Anywho, I found lots of delicious-looking stuff, including recipes I’ve made before, but the one I drooled over was this one from Against All Grain. So I decided to make these delicious cookies, sort of. Well, I didn’t really have any Palm Shortening or Palm Sugar, so that wasn’t gonna work…

Not to be deterred, with last Sunday’s Oscar’s ceremony blaring (I have to see Les Mis!), I made my own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with the ingredients I have. For old times’ sake, I even attempted to eat the dough off the beater while the cookies hardened in the fridge – still not sure why I do that. Paleo cookie dough is nothing like regular cookie dough! It’s hard to even enjoy it. Does anyone else try to do that too, or is it just me? Well, the cookies are great once cooked.

With Love and ChocolateChip Cookies

Ingredients:wpid-20130227_193411.jpg

4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/4 C raw wildflower honey
2 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C almond flour
2 heaping Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 C chocolate chips (regular or mini)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In stand mixer or by hand, cream together butter and honey. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour baking soda and salt.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into wet until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes).
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix with spatula. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto nonstick baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Yield: 2 Dozen

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Bacon as a Food Group

So, I was surfing the blogosphere today (cause I have a lot of free time) and I came across this post about Bacon: Top 10 Foods Containing Bacon. Sometimes I forget that there are people who don’t live in a world where Bacon is its own food group. I mean, I was just in Germany where no discernible Bacon could be found (why is this, by the way, in a country whose main protein source is pig?), and somehow I had already fully recovered from that experience enough to be surprised that anyone would not feel the way I do about Bacon.

Here’s the thing about Bacon: It goes with everything. I mean, I was scrolling through the aforementioned blog post and I was like “yep, had that and that and, ooh – made that last week (without the toast) – that one looks delicious,  hmm, maybe I should try it!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Bacon is my favorite food. If I had to choose between Bacon, Chocolate or Wine and could never have the others again I would probably stuff my face full of Bacon and down the bottle of wine before running off to my chocolate island to live out my days of Baconless existence. What I am saying is that Bacon IS the best and only food that doubles as its own food group.  Anyone who disagrees with that premise should just admit to being a closeted Vegetarian now and I’ll understand.

Now, as much as I like bacon in and on anything I eat, I do have standards. I do not eat bacon that came from a factory (unless I have to, like, because I’m at a restaurant). My favorite bacon comes from a farm that raises their pigs without antibiotics and butchers them by hand to produce a delicious, uncured, strip of fat. I’ll also go for some minimally processed stuff like TJ’s Free-range, nitrate-free, antibiotic-free deliciousness. Just not that crap from Giant or Safeway. Ugh. Way to ruin Bacon!

Pure Bacon

Pure Bacon (Credit: Wikipedia)

Double Chocolate Brownies, With Love

Today is the Superbowl. So, of course, there is a party. At this party there will be many, many things to eat. I will likely want to eat all of them, but am limited by one tiny factor: I don’t eat grains. That means that I cannot give in to the cookies, crackers or other breaded meats. My solution to this ‘problem’ is simple. BYOB. Yep- I’m bringing my own brownies! I love these, and everyone else will love them too.

This recipie is one of my faves since I discovered coconut flour – I modified it from one I found on Elana’s Pantry some months ago. It’s gluten free, processed sugar-free and so chocolatey. I particularly appreciate how easy it is to make. So, go ahead, make yourself some too.

Double Chocolate Brownies

Prep

Ingredients:
1/2 C chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet)
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 C coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 medium eggs
1/4 C coconut oil (melted)
1/4-1/2 C maple syrup or agave (to taste)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Nuts or chocolate chips for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the chocolate chips until mostly ground. Add the cocoa powder and stir together until combined.
  3. Add coconut flour, baking soda and salt and pulse until well blended.
  4. Add eggs and coconut oil, then maple or agave and vanilla – pulse.
  5. Pour into a greased baking dish, 8×8 or equivalent.
  6. Sprinkle any toppings on as desired.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Finished Product

Finished Product

Now I’m off to get ready for the party!