Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homemade Saturday: Almost Winter Snack

It's cold and dreary out. You think you might have seen a snowflake fall down.  Eagerly you press your face to the glass and scrutinize the falling rain, or is it sleet, maybe... snow?
Soon you give up, and turning back to the indoors, your mind begins to think upon a suitable snack for the weather and season.  It's fall still, as the watercolor leaves attest to, but the nip in the air, and the stray sometime imagined snowflake, tell you that this season is soon to be over and winter is to be heralded in.

Hot Chocolate, yes the perfect cold weather snack, and to accompany, something simple... like... Shortbread!  But since nothing should be boring or mundane (not that either hot chocolate or shortbread are at all mundane) you decide to add a twist.  Cool mint Ice Cream to dollop on your hot chocolate. :)  

Now to create.


First the Ice Cream: I have had fun experimenting with homemade Ice Cream throughout the years, and this is my basic recipe with some mint tossed in alongside the vanilla.

1. Separate 3 eggs, put the egg yolks into a glass quart jar, and the whites into a container for later projects. 
2. Add a 1/3 cup of sugar and a 1/3 cup of maple syrup to your jar. (These amounts are completely subject to how sweet you like your ice cream.) Now, this really works best with an immersion/stick blender; if you don't have one you might have to do this in a blender/food processor.
3. Pour in 2 cups of cream.  This can be done with all cream (a little too greasy for me) or even all milk (a bit more icy), but this seems to be the perfect amount. Once again blend with stick blender until your liquid is all one smooth color.
4. Toss in a dash of salt, 2 tsp of vanilla, and 1tsp of mint (you can up the amount if you like a stronger mint). Blend and then fill up the rest of the way with whole milk. 
5. Slip the jar into the fridge and let it sit for 15-20 min. while you make up the Shortbread.


Shortbread is SO simple to make, 3 ingredients. Uhuh! That's it!
1. Mix together 3/4 cup of butter (softened if possible) 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 cups of flour.  It will be stiff and dry but keep mixing and if necessary add 1-2 Tbs more of butter to help it hold together.
2. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and then cut out into desired shapes -  leaves, hearts, snowflakes... you get the idea!
3. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and slide them into your 350 degree oven for about 20 min.


Now, put a 6 cup glass dish into the freezer.  This is a CRUCIAL step... which I always forget.  It will help SO much when you are ready to scoop out your ice cream into your dish... it won't melt.  Alright, with that very important item taken care of, get out your ice cream maker and after removing your jar of liquid from the fridge and shaking it to make sure there is no sludge on the bottom, pour it into your machine. (and turn it on :P)


Your cookies are almost done baking, the ice cream is freezing, the only thing left is your hot chocolate and then you may enjoy your well deserved dessert;  and trust me, this is taking way longer to explain and type out then it does to create in real life.

 1. Melt 1-2 Tbs of butter in a medium pot, add around a 1/4-1/3 cup of cocoa powder (this is completely up to your taste and how strong you want your hot chocolate), 1/3 cup of sugar (again, sweet tooth? increase the shugaar!) and around a scant cup of water (alright, confessions, I never measure that part).  Now stir with a whisk till smooth and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, pour in around 5 cups of milk (start with less, taste test and add more for desired flavor... make it your own!) and 1-3 tsp of Vanilla.  Heat to nearly boiling, hotter than you want to drink it.


Now. we. are. ready!!  By this time your cookies are out and cooled, your ice cream is in your chilled dish in the freezer.  Everything is just right.  Pull out your favorite mugs and fill 3/4 full with steaming hot chocolate and then take a scoop of mint ice cream and plop it on top and place a few cookies on the side...  Voila, a snack fit for kings and queens!

There is only one flaw to this nearly perfect dessert.  The ice cream cools the chocolate down a little to fast, but hey, I can work with that for the flavor! :)

~ Chs

PS. this makes enough for 6 sweet hungry people (with just enough beverage left over for the nearly 7ft tall boy to have seconds).

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