Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

I have fond memories of the Cherry Festival – my small hometown’s annual carnival – from when I was very young and naïve (which I just might still be, but that’s another story).

Cherry Festival

I remember soaring high through the sky on the Ferris wheel with my dad, who convinced me that the height wouldn’t be scary with him by my side and would be worth going on first so we could check out the rest of the carnival grounds from a high vantage point.

I remember going on the Graviton with my older sister time after time, until feeling so dizzy that we had to stop and go back to normal gravity. That one was scary the first time, as it was like a huge spaceship and our parents didn’t go on it with us, but I went because my all-knowing sister convinced me it was fun. After that it was exhilarating and sickening at the same time.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

I fondly remember the swings, my absolute favorite. I adored flying through the air with the wind in my hair and my feet dangling above the people below. Sometimes I would pretend to kick them, but mostly, I would just close my eyes and dream wonderful things.

I remember the first and last time someone ever convinced me to go on the zipper – the one that spun upside down. I didn’t fit in the seat and slid up and down, hitting my head, every time the rickety ride spun upside down. Someone else puked. I almost puked. The ground was practically holy to me once I got off the ride. Never again.

Roasted Cherries

I remember the huge slide and racing down next to my friends on potato sacks. We would do this over and over because due to the typically short lines we could race up the steps and race down the slides and race up the steps and race down the slide, over and over again.

I remember the first time I ever went on the tiny dragon roller coaster for kids, which seemed huge at the time. I was convinced that the dragon carts were going to climb off the tracks and carry me away to my demise.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

I remember spending too much money in order to win a goldfish that would die a week later.

I remember cotton candy and lemon shakeups and funnel cakes. And I remember cherries. Lots of cherry flavored and inspired foods.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

But as I grew up, the cherry festival became less of an experience and more of a nostalgic thought. I realized the rides were overpriced and less than thrilling, if not nauseating. I also remembered the fish would die in a week, and that the game was a huge scam anyway. Sometime in the midst of childhood and adolescence, the festival lost its magic.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

However, this year my mom convinced me to sign up for the cherry cookery contest, and again I got excited about our towns cherry fest. And this time it was all about ice cream. I’ve had a bit of an obsession with making ice cream lately, and dreamt up this lovely concoction for the contest. It’s a bit time consuming with having four different components that come together to make only one quart, but the result is very worth it.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

Makes about 1 quart

Roasted Cherries:

2 cups fresh whole cherries, washed and pitted

1 Tablespoon orange juice

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 Teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all in an 8 inch round or square baking dish. Roast at 400 for 30-35 minutes, stirring cherries every ten minutes. Let cool.

Cherry Syrup:

½ cup cherries, washed and pitted

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cornstarch

Chop cherries into quarters. Combine water and cornstarch in small saucepan, stirring to dissolve. Add sugar and cherries and cook over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally and slightly mashing cherries, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain out syrup and discard cherry pieces. Set cherry syrup aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache:

¼ cup heavy cream

1.5 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Microwave or heat cream on stovetop until it comes to a boil. Immediately after it boils remove from heat and add chocolate to cream. Let sit 5 minutes without stirring, then stir until chocolate completely incorporates into cream.

Ice Cream Base:

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon whole milk

1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon cornstarch

3 ounces cream cheese

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 ¼ cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

Mix 1 Tablespoon milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Put cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl and set aside

Combine 2 cups milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and allow to boil for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cornstarch and milk mixture, then allow to boil for a minute longer or until mixture is slightly thickened.

Add about ½ cup of the hot cream mixture to the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until completely smooth. Gradually add remaining cream mixture to bowl while whisking to incorporate all

Chill the ice cream base completely, then pour into the frozen canister of an ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturers instructions. (It should take about 30 minutes until the ice cream is thick and creamy).

To Assemble Ice Cream:

After the cream is frozen, swirl the cherry syrup into the ice cream by hand. Do not fully incorporate.

Layer the ice cream into a storage container: Put about ¼ of the ice cream into the bottom, drizzle on a ¼ of the ganache, add ¼ of the roasted cherries, and repeat, ending with a drizzle of ganache and cherries on the top. Freeze until firm and serve.

Roasted Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Ganache Swirl

Much love,

B

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Almond Butter

My sophomore year in high school I had an infatuation with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. No really, I did.

Or maybe I just did because it was edible, and other food in the high school cafeteria wasn’t so much. Therefore, I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every single school day that year. Whether or not I actually enjoyed it is debatable. The most unfortunate part of this story though, is that I actually bought the sandwich from the cafeteria, and not a single time did I pack my own lunch. Imagine the possibilities! I could have used white or multigrain, crunchy or creamy, grape or strawberry. But no, I paid a dollar every day for that silly sandwich with white bread, creamy peanut butter, and grape jelly. Oh high school me, how I’m glad that is over.

Almond Butter from Arts and Tarts

Another pbj story: I always imagined the classic sandwich of peanut butter and jelly to be infallible. It never let me down when in need of a quick, tasty lunchtime food. BUT, when I was fourteen I had surgery for my scoliosis and was in the hospital for a week. Hello terrible food. Can I just have a pudding cup, please.

I didn’t have much of an appetite; however, that was not acceptable according to all the people monitoring me, so I was forced to pick a meal. The first few picks were all offensive.  Then, I saw the never failing pbj on the menu and thought, ‘perfect, they can’t mess that one up.‘

Almond Butter from Arts and Tarts

They did.

I have never had worse peanut butter in my life. I think it was actually ground up cardboard with some water added to make it spreadable. Really, it was that bad. Give me the pudding cup NOW.

Regardless of my pbj past, I still enjoy a good peanut butter and jelly erry once in while. I have discovered my new favorite version of the sandwich though, which is a bit more sophisticated than my high school or hospital versions. Multigrain bread (preferably homemade or from a bakery), my momma’s strawberry jam, and stick to the roof of your mouth almond butter. Goodbye peanuts, hellooooo almonds.

But don’t go buy that $8 tiny jar of natural  almond butter at the grocery store. (Well do, if that’s really your only option). What you should do is buy the bag of plain ol’ almonds, pour ‘em in a food processor, and let it go. And go, and go and go, for twenty minutes. And then, magically, you have the best almond butter for the best pbj, or abj, ever. I promise.

Almond Butter

-A few handfuls of almonds

Pour almonds (not roasted or toasted or blanched or anything) into the bowl of a food processor. Turn on high for twenty minutes.

The magic starts happening around ten minutes, and you may think its never going to have enough oils, but it will. You do not need to add any extra oil, as some recipes say. Just let the processor go, scraping down the sides as needed, and breaking up the ball of almond paste that forms. Eventually, around twenty minutes later, the almonds will be ground enough and they will have released enough of their own oils to be considered almond butter.

Notes – The noise from the food processor tends to get annoying; hello headphones. Also, the almond butter probably will get hot. That’s because of all the friction going on in there. It’s totally okay. Also also, I like to add a bit of cinnamon to my butter. I typically use about 2 cups almonds, and when it’s almost done add in about ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Also also also, some people enjoy a bit of salt or some sugar in it.

Almond Butter from Arts and Tarts

Love,

B

A Side of Blueberry Pie : Blueberry Hand Pies

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My dear friend Candace.

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I haven’t dedicated a blog post to you yet, because well, I just cant quite get the words right. I want this post to be perfect – a good story along with a beautiful and delicious pictures and recipe. And to be frank, I just can’t figure it out. Because no matter how long I think about it, I just cant compare you to a food. Weird, right? Or, is it just weird that I’m trying to find a comparison between you and a pastry or cookie or something. That, my friend, could be my problem.

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You see, the criteria were set too high this time. I needed to find something that was beautiful, but not just in appearance. The flavor had to be beautiful as well, to fit your character and personality. Something that was sophisticated and classy, but also silly and fun. Something strong. Something personal and emotional. Something that doesn’t need to be paired with a cup of coffee, but could be complimented with one. Ya know what I mean?

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And well, I just couldn’t come up with anything, so I decided to write about you to you, and that it was about time I do. So this, my friend, is your letter, with a side of blueberry pie.

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Candace, you’re not just an ordinary friend to me. You changed my life. And I don’t mean to sound all gooey, gushy sweet like an under baked cookie on you, because that can seem totes fake (and  actually make you sick). However, I’m not making this stuff up. When we became friends in sophomore year weight training, the most unlikely of places, I never expected that just a few years later I would be a bridesmaid in your wedding and your child’s godmother.You are the best and closest friend I have ever had, and I know that even though 928 miles separate us, you’re closer to me than ever. I can’t wait until those roles of bridesmaid and godmother are reversed.

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Blueberry Hand Pies

Flaky Butter Pie Crust:

1 cup very cold, unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3-5 Tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Cut butter in small cubes and scatter over the flour mixture, coating them with flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, turning the bowl and cutting again repetitively until the mixture resembles floury crumbs. Slowly add the 3 Tablespoons of the ice water and mix just until dough holds together. If necessary, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time,  until the dough comes together. It will still be a bit crumbly.

Divide dough in two parts, press both together until it forms a ball, then form into round disks, about 1 inch thick. Wrap completely in plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.

When almost ready to assemble, make filling.

Blueberry Filling:

3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and gently mix, carful not to crush the blueberries. Use right away.

Assembly:

Pie crust dough

Blueberry Filling

Extra flour for dusting

1 egg, lightly beaten

Optional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Unwrap chilled pie dough and place on floured work surface; flour top of dough lightly. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out until about 1/8 to 1/6 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel, or biscuit or cookie cutter, cut the dough into desired shapes, creating as many cutouts as possible. I used a biscuit cutter to create a top and bottom crust (Some other options are squares, hearts, or a circle and folding in half to create the top and bottom crust resulting in a semicircle). Gather dough scraps, reform into a ball, and repeat the process until all the dough is cut into the desired shapes.

To make pies with  a separate top and bottom piece, add 1 teaspoon to 3 Tablespoons of filling (depending on size) to half of your pie crust cutouts (so, just the bottom pieces). Make sure to leave a ¼ inch border of crust uncovered by filling. Moisten the outer ¼ inch edge of the top and bottom crust with beaten egg, and place the top on the bottom, so the egg edges are together (the egg acts sort of like a glue). Press together to form a seal, and use a fork to crimp the edges.

Arrange pies on baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake pies until the crust is golden, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size of pies. Remove and cool on baking rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Slightly adapted from Handheld Pies

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Peppermint Marshmallows

I will often make something, take pictures, and plan to blog about it, only to put it off for several days (sometimes weeks) and then realize the food I made no longer actually fits the season. Cue in Peppermint Marshmallows – I would probably consume them all year round, but they seem rather Christmas-y. Nonetheless, because its still cold and snowy here in Illinois, I present this peppermint marshmallow goodness, perfect for melting in hot cocoa (or if you’re weird as myself and don’t really care for hot cocoa, black coffee).

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I first discovered how simple (and hysterically messy) marshmallow making is last summer with two dear friends of mine, Allyson and Maddie. We made vanilla bean marshmallows for some delicious s’mores at a cookout, and they were a huge hit.

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Naturally, when hot cocoa season rolled around, we just had to try out a peppermint version.

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My lovely sister Raechel taste-tested and approved.

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Have a blessed new year.

Peppermint Marshmallows

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ to 1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract

¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Red food coloring

Pour ½ cup of the water into the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment and sprinkle gelatin over the surface; set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining ½ cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Over medium high heat and with a candy thermometer attached to the side of the pan, cook the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove the pan from the heat once temperature is reached.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the peppermint extract during the last minute of whipping, starting with the smaller amount and increasing according to taste and desired strength.

While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use (you may find that you need a bit extra later, just continue with a 1-1 ratio of powdered sugar and cornstarch).

When whipped, flavored and lukewarm, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan.  Drop about 6 drops of red food coloring around the surface of the marshmallows and use a toothpick or knife to swirl the red into the marshmallows. Dust the top with remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at about 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into desired shapes (a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture works well). Once cut, dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Variation:

For vanilla bean marshmallows, add the scraped seeds from one vanilla bean pod into the sugar mixture before cooking. Later, replace the peppermint extract with vanilla extract. Omit food coloring.

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown

Much love, Bre

Peanut Butter (Chocolate Chip) Cookies (Gluten Free!)

The simplest cookies ever.

Peanut Butter Cookie from Arts and Tarts

Because sometimes life gets very hectic.

Peanut Butter Cookie from Arts and Tarts

And baking is a good de-stresser.

Peanut Butter Cookie from Arts and Tarts

Oh, and the result – You get to eat the delicious cookies. That helps with the stressful days of life too.

Peanut Butter Cookie from Arts and Tarts

And again, we’ll pretend these are healthy. Because you’re going to eat them all very fast (which is also why I recommend you make a double batch, you know, so you can share).

Peanut Butter Cookie from Arts and Tarts

Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

1 cup peanut butter

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients. Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Fork ‘em in a crisscross fashion for aesthetics. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Variation – add a ton of mini chocolate chips. Skip the forking; the chips are pleasing enough.

Also, you may as well double the recipe, you’re going to need a few extra.

 

A short and sweet recipe for any day of the week:)

Love, B

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

As I sat in a cafe last week, I observed a guy eat a cinnamon roll that was as big as his face, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many servings it should actually be. He practically shoveled the entire face-sized pastry into his mouth in like two minutes, too. But then, I realized sometimes I eat a ridiculous amount of cookies in one sitting . . . like when I made these cookies, and then ate four immediately. And then, I maybe ate more for breakfast the next morning.

Another thing. Some people completely lack personal space. I was sitting there still, with my feet up on an ottoman, and a guy came up and sat on the ottoman to talk to his friend (the cinnamon roll guy) next to me. He looked at me when I moved my feet a bit, and said “sorry, I just gotta write something quick.” I offered him the whole ottoman, since there were actually no seats left, and he insisted that no, my feet and his bottom should share the ottoman. Now, that was awkward for me. Then the two guys proceeded to have a loud, obnoxious conversation involving inappropriate things. Uncomfortable.

So back to something that just makes sense – cinnamon swirled into sweet, soft, sugar cookies. Add cream cheese. It’s impossible to stop. You’ll probably eat five.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

makes about 2 dozen large cookies

4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

4 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping down the bowl between each. Add the vanilla. Once combined, add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed, mixing just until combined. Chill the dough for one hour.

While the cookie dough is chilling, mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until completely combined.

When the dough is completely chilled, take about half of the dough and roll into a large rectangle about ½ thick. I think it works best to roll the dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper, which helps the dough to not stick and aids in rolling the dough back up later. The length of the rectangle doesn’t really matter, but the width should be around 12 inches.

When the dough is rolled out, remove the top layer of wax paper, spread with half the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle generously with cinnamon.  Starting with the longer side of the rectangle, roll the cookie dough into a log, removing the bottom piece of wax paper as you roll it up. At this point, if the dough has warmed up a bit, the cookie dough log should be chilled again for about 15 minutes. Slice the log using a very sharp knife, wiping the blade between every few cookies, or using dental floss or thread to cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices. Place cookie slices onto a baking sheet two inches apart (6-8 cookies per pan). Bake for 9 to 10 minutes at 350. Cool on a wire rack.

And here’s some process pictures that might help . . . sorry for the poor quality, it was dark.

Love you guys,

Bre

Scotcheroo Caramel Corn

This week seems like it’s been the longest week ever. Wednesday evening, I realized that it was already 7pm and I had not sat down a single time to eat. (Unless you count eating a granola bar and sipping coffee while driving to class as sitting down for breakfast?) It was just one thing after another after another. So now that it’s friday and the crazy exhausting week is over, I think i can justify the four cookies I just ate…but more about those later.

I don’t have much else to say right now, so lets cut to the chase. Popcorn is a snack. So, caramel corn is a snack too, right? Let’s pretend it it, because I ate way too much of this scotcheroo stuff for it to be a dessert. WAY too much.

But it was just that good. The classic combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and butterscotch isn’t just for crispy bars anymore. Hello crunchy, desserty, popcorny snack.

You should try it. I think you’ll love it.

Scotcheroo Caramel Corn

½ cup popcorn kernels

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup

2 Tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips

½ cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line two pans with parchment paper. Pop the popcorn.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, syrup, butter, and salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the popcorn and toss to coat all pieces. Spread the coated popcorn on the pans with parchment paper. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Once popcorn is cooled, melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips separately or together, whichever you’d prefer, and drizzle over popcorn.

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