Growing up, one of my favorite activities was grocery shopping with my mom and choosing what my lunchbox dessert would be for the week (easily entertained kid). I was usually an Oatmeal Cream Pies or Swiss Cake Rolls kind of person, sometimes swapping out for the occasional Nutty Bar or Zebra Cake.

It's worth noting that this was before everyone started frowning upon pre-packaged, preservative-filled lunchbox treats. From what I can tell, kids these days have really stepped up their lunchbox game (e.g. elaborate bentos - ?!?). But for my 12-year-old self, organic was a completely foreign concept, and I enjoyed my Little Debbie's in judgment-free bliss.

The Little Debbie dessert that never made the lunchbox first-string was the Cosmic Brownie. I couldn't tell you why my chocoholic self never wanted those, but if those Cosmic Brownies taste anything like this copycat version I was wrong.

Forget cakey brownies. If that's what you're into this isn't the recipe for you. These are fudgy, rich and delicious. It's like brownies and fudge joined up for a fun party (obviously with lots of confetti m&ms) and realized they were meant to be together.  I would recommend adding the m&ms after cutting the brownies/ganache so that you can get really smooth lines. A trick for cutting into something like this is to run a knife under hot water for 5-10 second and dry it off before slicing into the dessert. Repeat the process between each long slice. The heat from the knife will help create the smooth line.

Enjoy!

Copycat Cosmic Brownies
Recipe from Averie Cooks

Ingredients:

For the Brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons coffee or water (coffee leftover from the morning brew is fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (make sure it's instant so it dissolves), optional but recommended
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the Ganache
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
1 cup M&M minis (you can either buy them in small tubes or check out your local grocery store for the larger bags. I like the little ones, but if you can't find them anywhere you can use regular size)

Directions:

  1. For the Brownies - Preaheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds on high power.
  3. Add the eggs, sugars, coffee, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, instant espresso, and whisk until incorporated, free from lumps, and smooth. It could take a few minutes if your cocoa powder is lumpy.
  5. Add the flour and stir until it's just incorporated; don't overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 29 minutes, or until top has just set, isn't jiggly in the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few fudgy moist crumbs, but no batter. I baked mine for 26 minutes. Allow brownies to cool completely in pan. While brownies cool, make the ganache.
  7. For the Ganache - Add chocolate chips to a medium, microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chips. They won't be melted, this is okay. Don't stir; set bowl aside.
  8. Heat cream in a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl until it begins to bubble and show signs of just beginning to boiling, about 1 minute on high power.
  9. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. With a whisk, beat mixture until silky, smooth, and combined. If your mixture isn't smoothing out, heat in 15-second bursts in the microwaves until it can be stirred smooth.
  11. Pour ganache over mostly cooled brownies (after about 30 minutes is fine; they don't have to be completely cooled). Smooth ganache lightly with a spatula or offset knife.
  12. Evenly sprinkle with M&Ms. Cover pan with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in refrigerator until ganache sets up before slicing and serving, at least 2 hours. Do not slice into them until the ganache has set; feel free to make these in advance and store them in the fridge; they get better with time. Brownies will keep airtight for 1 week at room temperature, for 2 weeks in the refrigerator, and for up to 6 months in the freezer. I highly recommend storing them in the refrigerator because having a slight chill to brownies this rich and fudgy is almost imperative.







Sometimes you need a little indulgence in the morning. I'm a breakfast person, so I always wake up and have breakfast followed by something sweet. I'm not talking about an entire piece of chocolate cake (though it's been done before), just a little something to round out the meal.

This cake handles my breakfast and sweet craving all at once. Basically it's the king of sweet breakfast cakes. Each slice has rolls of buttery biscuits filled with cinnamon sugar, marshmallow, chocolatey goodness. As if everything going on with the filling wasn't amazing enough, the marshmallow topping is out of this world, too.

It's one of those things you feel slightly guilty eating because it's almost too good. I have a habit of starting out by cutting myself a small piece of something, and the entire time I'm eating the small piece I just think about how I wish I cut a bigger piece. This almost always ends up with me going back for seconds. I wouldn't recommend eating it every morning unless you also want to invest in a new wardrobe for your expanding waist-line, but it's absolutely worth every single minute of cardio you'd need to do to burn it off. For those of you who aren't ready for this kind of sugar high at 9am, it's good any time of day.

Chelsea has step-by-step instructions on her blog if you want to check that out. The process is simple. Roll out the biscuit, dip it in butter, dip it in cinnamon sugar and add the filling. If you divide everything into little bowls beforehand and make it into an assembly line of sorts it will be a breeze.

I purchased two tubes of the Pillsbury Buttermilk Grands (8 biscuits in each), so I filled up my first pie dish with only 10 biscuits. The recipe calls for 15 because it doesn't use the oversized biscuits. Either will work. I had extra ingredients for the filling anyways, so I just made another little mini cake by using a regular cake pan and making a smaller circle of rolls in that. Since this circle was only about 6 inches across I used tin foil to second off a 6-inch circle within the 8-inch cake pan. It did the trick.

Enjoy!

30-Minute Cinnamon Roll S'mores Cake
Recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Ingredients
  • 15 buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips, separated
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs, separated
  • Optional: 1 chocolate bar
Marshmallow Frosting
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened, not melted
  • 1 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Remove the biscuits from the packages.
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll each of the biscuits very flat and thin. Stir together the white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. Dip each biscuit in the melted butter or brush melted butter over both sides. Shake off the excess and then dip the biscuit in the cinnamon sugar mixture making sure to cover both sides as well, again making sure to shake off the excess.
  5. Slice the marshmallows in half.
  6. Using the picture in Chelsea's post as a guide, place a small handful of graham cracker crumbs, miniature marshmallows, and miniature chocolate chips on one side of each biscuit.
  7. Roll up each biscuit and place the rolled up biscuit on the outside of the cake pan in a circle fashion spiraling towards the inside of the pan.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until biscuits have slightly browned on the outside and insides are fully cooked.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by beating together the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Beat in the marshmallow fluff.
  10. Slowly add in the heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.
  11. Remove the cake and let cool for about 5-7 minutes before frosting.
  12. Pipe the marshmallow frosting over the cake and cut into slices to serve.
  13. Top the cake with any leftover miniature marshmallows, miniature chocolate chips, and graham cracker crumbs that weren't used to fill up the biscuits.
  14. If desired, unwrap a room temperature chocolate bar, and “peel” it from top to bottom directly over the cake.
  15. Slice into large pieces and enjoy while warm!

I realize this looks like a pie plate of sausages, but trust me, it is much better than that.


I felt the need to overly zoom in so you could see what's going on here. SO MUCH GOODNESS IN ONE SLICE.



I've professed my love for pimento cheese many times on here, so it's no surprise that I have yet another way to take your pimento cheese game up a notch. Even better - these warm bacon pimento cheese cups are perfect for Labor Day cookouts and tailgating in the fall.

To make them you take your standard, delicious phyllo shells (found in the freezer section), and fill them with a smoked cheddar bacon pimento cheese and top each with a few more fresh bacon bits. Smoked sharp cheddar pairs really well with the bacon, but you can also make it your standard way with just regular sharp cheddar. Sometimes I use pepperjack for a little kick. The key is to find two cheeses that complement each other. Melted cheese, mayo, pimentos and bacon is probably going to taste good regardless as long as you don't go with something too crazy cheese-wise.

The number of phyllo shells that come in a pack varies by the brand, and different grocery stores carry different brands. If you're serving these for a crowd you can absolutely buy more than 48. These go QUICKLY! The recipe will probably yield enough for 60 mini cups, since only about a tablespoon goes in each cup. I usually buy Cracker Barrel cheese, which comes in 8oz packages, so most of the time I go ahead and shred the whole 16oz of cheese (upping the other ingredients as well) and then serve the rest of the pimento cheese with crackers. There are worse things than having extra pimento cheese around the house..

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Bacon Pimento Cheese Phyllo Cups

4 oz sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
4 oz smoked sharp cheddar or sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 4oz jar diced (not sliced) pimentos
1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise
6 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional
48 mini phyllo (filo) shells
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Combine cream cheese and mayo. You can do this with a mixer, but I usually just stir them together. Add grated cheeses, spices (optional), pimentos and salt and pepper to taste. Add in crumbled bacon, reserving a few tablespoons-worth for garnish.

Scoop mixture into the individual phyllo cups and place on the pan (they can be close together). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until shells have slightly browned and mixture has melted. Remove from oven, let cool for just long enough so that you're not risking any burnt mouths and serve!





A few weeks ago I mentioned that Smucker's sent me seven of their new ice cream toppings in the mail to try, and that I would be having a giveaway on my blog so that one of my readers could receive a "Top It Your Way" prize pack full of Smucker's goods for themselves. Well, today is the day!

I'm not one to even post recipes I don't like, so endorsing a product I don't personally like (regardless of whether I get it for free) is a big no in my book. That said, I love these Smucker's products, and I am SO excited that one of you gets this awesome prize pack. I've been using them in ice cream, on brownies, in blondies, etc.

The prize pack comes with all of the Smucker's products pictured here, AND you get the West Elm tray, Smucker's freezer bag, Smucker's ice cream scoop and chalkboard sign (you're on your own for the Anthropologie bowls and ice cream). The only thing missing is the Salted Caramel flavor. I looked high and low for where I put it with no luck. That's my favorite of all of the products, so I'm guessing I brought it with me somewhere and left it--let's just pretend that traveling with salted caramel in your purse is completely normal. The good news is that Smucker's will send you your own bag of products, and the Salted Caramel will be included. Here's the full list of what you will get in the "Top It Your Way" prize pack:

·     Branded Ice Cream Topping Bowls + Scoops
·     All seven NEW Smucker’s toppings flavors including:
o   Smucker’s®  Simple Delight Salted Caramel Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Chocolate Coconut Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Dark Chocolate Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Hot Fudge Topping
o   Smucker’s® Magic Shell® Chocolate Pretzel Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Magic Shell® Rainbow Sherbet Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Microwavable Hot Dark Chocolate Topping

You can do as little as comment on this post to enter, or you can earn extra entries by doing the other items in the Rafflecopter. A winner will be selected randomly from the entries on Sunday. Labor Day may be this weekend, but that doesn't mean the end of ice cream season!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A few ways I've used the toppings:

What makes brownies better? Salted Caramel and Hot Fudge. 
...and the same thing goes for adding Salted Caramel and Hot Fudge into this Double Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream.
Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream with Chocolate Pretzel Magic Shell. There are no words. 

Now for the Golden Oreo Funfetti Ice Cream. I photographed it with the Smucker's items, but there was so much going on with it that I actually didn't even feel the need to add to it with toppings (though I'm sure the results couldn't be anything but good). So, my apologies the picture is slightly misleading!

This is for all those people who love homemade ice cream, but weren't convinced buying an ice cream maker was worth the investment (despite my case for it): homemade ice cream WITHOUT an ice cream machine.

Even better - homemade funfetti cake batter ice cream with Golden Oreos that you can make WITHOUT an ice cream machine. *Happy dance*

It's very sweet (as with all cake batter ice cream), but it is incredible. The consistency is also great. I gave it a few minutes to soften after pulling it from the freezer, but even when it's straight out it's not remotely icy. I had to give the rest of the batch to my bf because I was sneaking in huge spoonfuls every time I passed the freezer, and we haven't quite gotten to the point of the year where I justify eating more desserts than usual because it's "sweater-weather"...

But if you've been upset with me for posting so many ice cream recipes all summer when you don't have a machine, now is your chance to get in on it too! Also, a word to the wise, don't use the standard nonpareils because they will start bleeding into the ice cream almost immediately. I knew it would happen, and for some reason I did it anyways. Stick with the other kinds of jimmies so that you don't end up with some weird brown and green shade of ice cream.

Make this ice cream stat! And enter the giveaway above so that you can score yourself all sorts of delicious toppings to throw an ice cream party (or to keep to yourself).

No-Ice Cream Maker Funfetti Cake Batter Golden Oreo Ice Cream
Recipe from Averie Cooks

Ingredients:


24 Golden Oreos or vanilla-flavored sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream - for the No-Ice-Cream-Maker version (if using an ice cream maker, use 4 cups/1 quart)
3/4 cup+ sprinkles


Directions:


  1. These directions (through number 7) reflect the No-Ice-Cream-Maker method.
  2. Chop the Oreo cookies and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and almond extract to combine; set aside.
  4. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or large mixing bowl and hand mixer), whip 2 cups heavy cream to very stiff peaks, the time this takes will vary based on your mixer.
  5. Gently add about half the whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and fold the cream in gently. As Averie points out, fold means turn the mixture over with a spatula from the bottom of the bowl up, rotate the bowl, repeat until the mixture is homogenous. The goal is to keep all that fluffy cream you just made as fluffy as possible. Take your time and be gentle. When you get the first half of the cream folded in and combined, add the remaining cream, and fold it until until mixture is smooth. Be patient with this part!
  6. Add the cookies, sprinkles, and gently fold them in to distribute evenly, being careful to stop if you start noticing that the sprinkle colors are bleeding into the base. If you see this happening it's ok, but you should take that as a sign to go ahead and transfer it to the container. If you are folding them in correctly, it won't take much to fully incorporate all of this into the base.
  7. Transfer ice cream mixture to a freezer-safe 2-quart container with a lid or freezer-safe bowl that can be covered with plasticwrap. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours, or until solid. Ice cream takes about 5 minutes to come up to room temperature. Ice cream will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  8. If you are Using an Ice Cream Maker - Steps 1, 2, 3 are the same. Skip steps 4 and 5. Instead, add 4 cups heavy cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and stir to combine. Step 6 is the same. For step 7, follow processing directions on your ice cream maker, noting to chill the mixture if necessary before churning.










Every time I make muffins I find myself wishing I made them more often. I realize there are healthier things I could eat for breakfast than a muffin, but starting the morning with orange juice and a freshly baked blueberry muffin just feels right. It's the one muffin flavor we can all agree on (I'm sure there are some blueberry haters out there who disagree).

There are a few components to the perfect blueberry muffin. It can't be so dense that you need something to wash it down. It has to have blueberries in every single bite, and the top always needs to be the best part. Maybe the top is the best because it has that fully-baked yet still gooey thing going on. Maybe it's sprinkled with sugar. I personally love streusel. These muffins are chock full of berries, they're not too heavy and the streusel on top is amazing. I've never made a blueberry muffin recipe with oatmeal in the streusel, but I've been missing out.

When I went back to grab this recipe for the post, I realized there was a glaze that I completely skipped. Note to self: don't get so distracted by the amazing smell of the muffins coming out of the oven that you forget everything else you were doing. The good news is that they were already great without it, so when you make them they will be even better! Do as I say, not as I do....except the part about making and eating these muffins. Because that part you should absolutely do.

Bakery Style Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Serves: 12

Ingredients

CRUMB TOPPING
    5 tablespoons butter
    ½ cup sugar
    ½ cup flour
    ½ cup oatmeal
    ¼ teaspoon salt

MUFFINS
    2 cups all purpose flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    ½ cup buttermilk
    finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  
 GLAZE
    3 tablespoons lemon (juice)
    1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1.     Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners
  2.     Make the crumb topping by combining the melted butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and salt. Stir with a fork until crumbs form. Set aside.
  3.     Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  4.     If using frozen blueberries, place them in a small bowl and return to freezer until ready to use. If using fresh berries, place in a small bowl and set aside.
  5.     In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter for 1 minute until soft and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest and mix on low until combined.
  6.     Remove bowl from mixer. Add flour mixture and stir, by hand, until flour disappears. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough. Gently stir in blueberries.
  7.     Divide mixture evenly in the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  8.     Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. Drizzle lightly with the lemon glaze.
  9.     For lemon glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk until smooth.









I'll keep this post short and sweet. These ice cream sandwiches are the perfect summer treat. No ice cream maker needed. It's just little squares of (eggless) cookie dough sandwiching chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Cut them into small squares or go ahead and make yourself a giant ice cream sandwich--your call. Regardless, this is absolutely a crowd-pleasing dessert.

I guess you could fill them with homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, but I don't really see the need to do that. Take the shortcut and use your favorite store-bought cookie dough ice cream. I personally think it's worth the extra few dollars to get name-brand ice cream because I find that it tastes better, scoops better, and, in the case of these sandwiches, is easier to slice through.

The only part that seems complicated in this recipe is the layering of the parchment, but it's actually very simple once you get the hang of the process. Check out Mel's page for her step by step pictures.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe 

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Quart cookie dough ice cream, softened to spreadable consistency
Directions
  1. For the cookie dough, in a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the brown and granulated sugar. Stir to combine. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in the flour until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool completely (so the chocolate chips don't melt) then stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Line an 8X8-inch baking pan (preferably with very straight sides) with two pieces of parchment paper (cut into 8-inch strips) so they extend well beyond the edges of the pan on all four sides; this will help to lift up and easily remove the frozen sandwiches.
  3. Scatter half of the dough into the pan and use your hands to press it into an even layer.
  4. Top with a second set of parchment strips that extend over each side. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter the remaining dough over the top and press into an even layer.
  5. Fold the overhanging parchment over the dough and freeze for at least an hour (can be frozen for several days in advance.)
  6. Use the parchment strips hanging over the edge to lift out the top layer of cookie dough. Then remove the second layer.
  7. Place another set of parchment slings (I know, enough with the parchment already!) in the pan. Peel the parchment from one square of cookie dough and set it inside the pan with the smoothest side down.
  8. Spread the softened ice cream over the top into an even layer. Peel the parchment from the remaining square of cookie dough and place it, smoothest side up, on the ice cream. Gently press it into the ice cream.
  9. Cover the pan (with the parchment overhangs, if desired) and freeze for at least 2-3 hours but preferably 6-8. Using a long, sharp knife, run it under hot water, wipe dry, and slice the cookie dough ice cream sandwiches into squares, repeating with hot water after each slice (you can lift up on the handles to remove it from the pan before slicing - I found I had to run a knife around the edges to loosen any ice cream that had stuck to the pan corners). Eat fast so they don't melt!





It’s not hard to make an ice cream that tastes good. Honestly if you’re making a somewhat standard flavor it’s probably harder to make something that doesn’t taste good. After all, it’s cream, milk, vanilla and sugar. What sets ice creams apart, in my mind, is consistency. Recently a few of my favorite ice cream flavors haven't used eggs. They’ve stayed soft and easy to scoop without getting icy, and the flavor is creamy, smooth and delicious.

Another plus is that these recipes don’t require any heating of the milk and cream, incorporating the eggs, straining, ice baths, etc. Any time I can cut these things out I am all for it.

Since I was already throwing brownies into this base and I wanted the fudge taste as well (without having to buy fudge pieces), I just drizzled some hot fudge between layers of the ice cream. And while I was at it, I thought why not add in some salted caramel? Good decisions all around.

It helped that the good folks at Smuckers were nice enough to send me over some items from their Simple Delights line of ice cream toppings. I’ve been trying them out on everything I can, and I haven’t hit one I don’t like. I’ll be having a giveaway for readers in the next week to give you the chance to win some yourself! More details to come on that soon.

Back to this ice cream: perfect chocolate base + brownies + gooey fudge and salted caramel swirls. Be still my heart. I loved every bite, and so did everyone else who tried it. Once you find a good base you can change it up with mix-ins however you’d like. I've also crumbled up the chocolate pudding cookies and thrown them into this mixture instead of the brownies. You can't go wrong.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream with a Salted Caramel Swirl
Recipe adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of vanilla salt (regular salt is fine to use)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups brownie pieces
  • 1/4 cup hot fudge (I used Smuckers Hot Fudge)
  • 1/4 cup caramel (I use Smucker's Salted Caramel)
 
Directions:

Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer combine cocoa powder, both sugars, salt and whole milk. Mix until the sugars dissolve.
  2. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until fluffy, should be the consistency of pudding. Cover and stick in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. You can even leave it overnight, it helps the flavour to let it age a bit.
  3. Remove from fridge and transfer the liquid to a FROZEN ice cream maker bowl. Place bowl on your ice cream machine and turn on. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Once ice cream base is complete (about 20 minutes for my ice cream maker), fold in three cups of crumbled brownie pieces. 
  5. Spread a layer of the chocolate and brownie base into the bottom of a freezer safe container (about ¼ of total batch). Use a spoon to swirl in ½ of the warm caramel. 
  6. Add another layer of the base on top and drizzle/swirl in ½ of the hot fudge. Repeat with another layer of the base and remaining caramel followed by the rest of the ice cream and hot fudge. 
  7. Place in freezer for 6 hours, or until ice cream has firmed. It will be best after 12+ hours of freezer time. 






I've been on an ice cream binge recently. It is National Ice Cream Month, after all. I have seven more days before I can no longer justify my consumption based on the need to celebrate such a worthy occasion. The other day, my mom asked if I was planning on making ice cream during our family beach trip at the beginning of August. Since my ice cream maker is just an attachment to my stand mixer, I informed her that sadly lugging all of it down to South Carolina was not an option.

That was 45 minutes before the ice cream gods presented me with a more portable Cuisinart ice cream/sorbet maker for only $21 on Gilt. How could I not? So, now I own two ice cream makers, which means this binge isn't going to die down any time soon.

I won’t run through my perceived benefits of having two ice cream makers (trust me, I've thought of plenty) because I realize for any normal person one should do it. That said, if you don’t even have one, find a deal like that and buy it. We all waste $21 on things a lot less useful than an ice cream maker....and I also feel bad for posting so many recipes that are useless to anyone who doesn’t have one.

This recipe, in particular, is one you need in your life. My favorite flavor of all time is Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, which sadly they discontinued a few years back. I don't understand why on earth they did this because it was the best flavor ever, but no one consults with me on these decisions. Alas, I took matters into my own hands, and I now have this incredible mock version. The base is a creamy, flavorful cinnamon that’s filled with chocolate chips and chunks of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies I posted last week. It will leave you speechless. It will also make you question why you’ve never considered cinnamon ice cream one of your favorite flavors.

The cookies don’t harden inside the ice cream. They taste more like little chunks of cookie dough. The cinnamon base on its own was already a knockout, so with the addition of these cookies (which are my new favorites) and chocolate chips it’s a whole new level of good. If you want to use a different oatmeal cookie recipe you're more than welcome to, but no raisins!!

Cinnamon Ice Cream
Base recipe adapted from Susi's Kochen

Ingredients:

Base
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
1/3 cup (70 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add-ins
3 cups Best Ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, crumbled into medium and small sized chunks*
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips

Directions
To make the ice cream, warm the milk, granulated sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk the cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon together into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as your stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (3+ hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Three minutes before mixture is finished, add in chocolate chips and 2 cups of the cookie pieces.

Spread finished ice cream into a freezer safe container, tossing in pieces from the remaining 1 cup of cookie crumbs as you go. Cover, and place in the freezer until firm.

*Think about it like you would cookie dough pieces in cookie dough ice cream. It's always disappointing when you eat it and you don't have any cookie dough in your spoonful. Leave enough quarter-sized chunks that you will get bites of cookie, but don't have them so big that a spoonful would have only cookie.



These cookies are excellent in every way. I only baked them to add to a batch of cinnamon ice cream I was making, but they deserve so much more than just being a complementary player. These cookies are a star on their own. Seriously.

Sometimes oatmeal cookies spread too much. Sometimes they dry out. They'd be high up on my favorite cookie list, but until now I've never had a dependable recipe to use. For the ice cream I wanted to make (a homemade version of Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk - recipe coming soon!), I needed a great oatmeal chocolate chip cookie to add. This one fit the bill.

I like to make recipes based on how people describe them. Mel over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe posted the recipe in 2009, and at the time she wrote that she’d made them three times in two weeks. She posted an update in 2013 that said 4 years later she was still making this recipe.

I can see why after trying these for myself. We managed to finish off the first batch before they stood a chance at making it into the ice cream. I was happy to make a second batch since it meant a few more days of these cookies. I would eat them every day if that were a viable option (sadly, it's not).

Since it's a fairly large batch they will probably last longer than a few days for most people--in which case, you could keep the extra dough in the fridge for up to two days to make them in multiple batches or pop it in the freezer for fast cookies in the future. I refrigerated the dough overnight before baking them, but this isn't a necessary step with these cookies. Some people (myself included), prefer to always refrigerate the dough if time permits, but it's nice to know you can skip that step if you're in a rush.

Enjoy!

Classic Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ©

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda, powder, and salt and mix. Add flour, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.





For all of you ice cream lovers who haven't ventured into the world of making your own ice cream, now is the time. Honestly, this ice cream alone makes investing in an ice cream maker completely worth it. Trust me. It is some of the best ice cream I've ever eaten, and that's coming from someone who typically doesn't even like strawberry ice cream.

My apologies for not posting it while we were still in the peak of strawberry season, but per usual I kept eating the whole batch before taking pictures (I had some help from people equally obsessed with this ice cream). This is a frequent occurrence. One of these days I'll learn to practice some restraint, but that day is not today.

It's hard for me to pick what I love about the recipe best. It could be that it's one of the easiest ice creams I've made. Unlike most other ice creams I make, this one is egg-free and doesn't require using a stove. It could also be that all of my favorite flavors involve some sort of alternating layering of toppings (examples here and here), and this recipe is no exception. It's the key to getting swirls of toppings in every scoop. Or maybe it's that it has cream cheese, and I've met very few cream cheese recipes I didn't like. Too many good things to choose just one.

The base is smooth, creamy and rich. Usually I'm hesitant to use fruit in ice cream because it has a tendency to get icy, but that's not the case with this recipe. Every single bite is as good as the last...and when you do get to that last bite, I guarantee you will want more. You will be sad that you finished your bowl, and you will sneak over to the freezer and get another scoop. Diets be damned. 

Roasted Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from Baked by Rachel

Ingredients:

1C whole milk
1C heavy cream
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4C granulated sugar, divided
2C strawberries
2/3 C graham cracker crumbs, roughly 6 sheets

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, blend cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Slowly add the cream and milk, making sure that the liquid is fully incorporated roughly every 1/4 cup or so. If you pour all of the liquid in at once, you will likely end up sloshing milk and cream everywhere, so be sure to go a little at a time. Once all ingredients are combined, use a spatula to transfer the mixture to a clean bowl. Cover and chill the mixture overnight.  

While the base is chilling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Hull and slice strawberries, tossing with remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Transfer berries and sugary liquid from the parchment sheet to a clean bowl, cover and chill.

Churn liquid according to manufacturer's directions. In the last 5 minutes, drop strawberries and liquid into the base a small spoonful at a time.

Sprinkle an even layer of graham cracker crumbs on the bottom of a freezer safe container. Carefully spread a layer of ice cream on top of the crumbs. Alternate layers of ice cream and graham cracker crumbs until container is full. Freeze until firm.