August 25, 2015

Snickerdoodle Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich

I was inspired to make these ice cream sandwiches after a recent work event where treats from CREAM were brought in.  They weren't the typical sandwiches you'd find pre-packaged in the ice cream aisle at your local market.  Rather, they sandwiched ice cream between two fresh-baked cookies.   I loved the concept and had to try and make them at home for myself.   

I posted the recipes for the snickerdoodles and strawberry ice cream on my blog earlier this week.  Don't feel limited to these flavors.  The cookie/ice cream combinations are endless: e.g., chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cookie with chocolate ice cream, etc.   Let your imagination run wild!

August 24, 2015

Strawberry Ice Cream

After making these yummy strawberry cupcakes recently I still had quite a lot of fresh fruit left over that I didn't want to go waste.  What better use for it than in some ice cream?  You'd be amazed at how easy it is to make really delicious ice cream at home.  I do use an electric machine - I have a Cuisinart similar to this model - and it works like a dream. 

It literally only took the machine about twenty minutes to transform the custard base in to soft serve.  After a couple of hours in the freezer to firm up I had premium quality ice cream that would rival any from Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's.   Give it a try for won't regret it!

Stay tuned to see how I use this delicious ice cream for a yummy summertime treat!

August 23, 2015


Oh Snickerdoodle...your name is so strange but your taste is so delicious.  I have no idea where the moniker for this cinnamon and sugar coated, crackly chewy cookie came from but it's so good.  A true American classic and one that  I actually prefer over the ubiquitous chocolate chip.  

I remember making snickerdoodles in my 7th grade Home Economics class.  Back then the only fat called for in the recipe was vegetable shortening (aka Crisco) but this upgraded version from Cook's Illustrated  includes butter which really amps up the flavor.   

A sign of a really good bake are cracks on the tops of the cookies.  I don't know the science behind those fissures but I think it probably has something to do with the combination of cream of tartar and baking soda that's used as leaveners.   Try not to over bake the cookies because you want them to be crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy on the inside. 

For the ultimate summertime treat I sandwiched homemade strawberry ice cream between two snickerdoodles - pure bliss!    Stay tuned on this blog for the recipe for the ice cream.

August 17, 2015

Strawberry Cupcakes 2.0

I've featured strawberry cupcakes on this blog before but I found a new recipe that takes it up another level, hence the post title "2.0".   I have no shame in admitting that I love supermarket/bakery cupcakes and frosting.   People are normally surprised by this because of my passion for baking, but it's the texture that really draws me in - nothing beats a moist and tender crumb - and it's hard to replicate at home.  Until now!

A few years ago I stumbled upon a great blog for Woodland Bakery in New Jersey, which at the time was owned by pastry chef Gretchen Price.   Gretchen was one of the first people I've seen that actually posted recipes from her bakery on the web AND for free.   Professional quality results at home?  Sign me up!  Recently she sold the bakery and started her own blog called what else, Gretchen's Bakery.   Check it out because she has excellent recipes and instructional YouTube videos.

These strawberry cupcakes are a variation of her Moist Fluffy White Cake and Buttercream recipes.  For the cupcakes I just replaced about 1/3 cup of the milk with strawberry puree (also found on her blog).   With the frosting you just add some strawberry puree at the end, to taste.   Finally...supermarket/bakery treats from my kitchen! 

August 1, 2015

Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake

Pardon my absence from the blog but I was away in Europe for the last two months, working and spending time with my friends.  To say that my time there was great would be an injustice - it was f'ing amazing!  But if I missed anything about home, other than proper Asian and Mexican food, it was my kitchen.  Baking, as many of you know, is my jam and as soon I landed in SF I was anxious to get back to my happy place.

I was absolutely delighted to see this recipe for Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake in the Sep/Oct 2015 issue of my favorite cooking magazine, Cook's Illustrated.   There are a few steps but they couldn't be more straightforward and this is a recipe that doesn't require a stand mixer.  

The chocolate cake and frosting couldn't be simpler to make but I'm always a bit apprehensive when it comes to homemade caramel.  The key to success is using a really good instant read thermometer.   [I have  this one from Thermapen and it's also recommended by the Test Kitchen.]  After frosting the cake, all that was left was a nice sprinkling of Maldon sea salt that I brought back from London.  

It's great to be home!

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