This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is being hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary and the theme is chocolate ice cream and toppings. The We Should Cocoa Challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.
For my entry, I decided to create a mint cookie frozen yogurt similar to one that showed up as a special monthly flavor at my local yogurt shop in May. The unusual thing about that frozen yogurt was that the base itself was flavored like cookies. To accomplish this, I blended whole milk with 1/2 a package of mint fudge cookies and let the cookies infuse the milk with the cookie flavor. I then turned this flavored milk into a pudding (which was a fabulous dessert all by itself), mixed it with Greek Yogurt and processed it in my ice cream machine. I crushed the remainder of the cookies and mixed those into the frozen yogurt. I was really happy with the flavor and texture of the frozen yogurt. While I like tang in my yogurt when I’m eating it with fruit in the morning, I don’t care for that tang in homemade frozen yogurt as much. Adding the custard to the yogurt really tamed the tang and helped create a more ice-cream like product. The mint cookie flavor really came through too, yum!
Mint Cookie flavored frozen yogurt mixed with crumbled mint cookies
2 cups (16oz/453.5g) whole milk
1 package (10 oz/283.5g) mint fudge cookies, divided (I used Keebler Grasshopper Fudge Cookies)
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup (5.25oz/149g) sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 Cups (16oz/453.5g) full fat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
In a blender, blend the milk and ½ a package of mint cookies until smooth. Let this mixture sit at room temperature for at least an hour to infuse the milk with the cookie flavor.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the sugar, a pinch of salt, the vanilla and the Greek yogurt. Cover and chill.
Pour the milk through a sieve to strain out any large cookie chunks. Whisk ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Combine this slurry with the remainder of the milk and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until the milk begins to boil and thickens into a pudding consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a cool bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the warm pudding so that it doesn't form a skin while cooling.
When the pudding has cooled to room temperature, fold it gently into the yogurt mixture and then chill it thoroughly.
Chop the remaining cookies and place them in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
Process the yogurt mixture in an ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions. Mine took about 20 minutes to freeze. Fold in the cookie chunks and move it to a chilled container in the freezer to set up for an additional 4 hours before serving.
Blog-checking lines: This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!
I love cinnamon rolls, so I needed no encouragement at all to jump into this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge. Since I’m fairly comfortable with making traditional cinnamon rolls, I decided to try a fun looking upward spiral technique from King Arthur Flour. The cinnamon rolls are made as usual up to the rolling part. While rolling the dough up, the dough is stretched and pulled so the roll is very tight. After cutting the rolls, they are pushed up slightly from under the center of the spiral and placed in a muffin tin. Because of the slight push and the right roll, they rise right up (and sometimes rise up and fall over) in a spiral.
For my filling, I decided to try for a little bit of a Chai inspired flavor by adding some cardamom, ginger, cloves and black pepper to the cinnamon and butter mixture. I also added a little maple syrup to make the filling more spreadable and used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar. Instead of frosting, I opted for a light dusting of powdered sugar which contrasts nicely with the dark coconut sugar and cinnamon filling.
I love how fun these look and I like that they are individual rolls instead of being stuck together. I think I would cut back a bit on the sugar next time as they are very sweet, but otherwise I’m pretty happy with how these came out.
I hate throwing away food, so when I had egg yolks left over from making marshmallows recently, I looked for recipes that called just for just yolks. I found a nice selection of egg-yolk recipes in the back of I ♥ Macaroons by Misako Ogita. Since it was a hot day, the recipe that really caught my eye was the Caramel Ice Cream. It turned out to be a great decision as this was one of the tastiest ice creams I’ve ever made and it was pretty easy to make.
This recipe can be made without an ice cream maker, although having done it that way once I think it takes too long so I will use my machine next time. If you’ve got a day where you’re going to be home and can be patient, it’s not a bad way to make it though. The recipe makes a pretty small amount (I got a little over 1/2 pint), so definitely double it if you need more. I’m warning you though, it’s super dangerous stuff if you like caramel!
The recipe is pretty simple. A little caramelized sugar is added to warmed milk and cream. Egg yolks are mixed with sugar and then cooked with the milk mixture until thickened. The mixture is cooled and then whipped at regular intervals, freezing between each whipping. It took about 4 hours to make, but the texture was really pretty impressive, smooth and creamy and not icy at all even though I used 2% milk. Just like freshly churned ice cream, it’s pretty much like soft-serve at first and can do with a few extra hours in the freezer to firm up some more. It’s very hard to wait though. I might have to make marshmallows more often now so that I have yolks to use up… it’s a vicious cycle!
Author: BakeNQuilt.com adapted from I Love Macaroons by Misaka Ogita
Recipe type: Dessert
Small-batch creamy caramel ice cream that can be made without a machine.
3½ Tbsp (1.7 oz/50 ml) whipping cream
1¾ cups (10.1oz/300 ml) milk (I used 2%, but whole milk would be even better)
1 Tbsp. water
½ cup (3.2oz/90 grams) granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Put the whipping cream and milk into a saucepan and warm it up.
In another pan, combine the water and ¼ cup (1/oz/50g) of the sugar. Heat on medium until it bubbles and darkens to a deep golden color (see note).
Remove the caramelized sugar from the heat and immediately add the milk mixture to the sugar and stir. The caramel will clump up. Place the pan back on low heat and stir until the caramel melts into the milk.
Mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until they are thick and very pale in color.
While whisking, stir in ½ cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and then whisk the egg mixture into the remaining warm milk. This should prevent curdled egg bits. If desired, strain the mixture into another saucepan before continuing.
Heat the combined mixture over medium, stirring constantly, until it is thick and creamy. To test for done-ness, scoop a small amount of the mixture onto a spatula. If you draw your finger through this mixture (careful, it's hot!), the line should stay in place and not fill in.
Pour the mixture into a bowl and float it over another bowl filled part-way with ice water. Stir until cool.
Press some plastic down on the top of the custard and chill in the refrigerator until firm. If desired, you can make the recipe up until this part on one day and then continue the next.
When the mixture is firm, whip it with a hand mixer or whisk to smooth it. Cover and put it in the freezer. Repeat the firming and whipping until it gets hard to whip the mixture and it is the texture of ice cream. The intervals will depend on your container and freezer temperature. I started with 45 minute intervals and worked up to 15 minute intervals as it froze quicker. It took about 3 hours altogether for the whipping process.
If desired,chill for a few more hours to firm it up even more, but it's good as soft serve right away if you can't wait.
I don't like my caramel to be too bitter, so I cook the sugar mixture until it's the color of a brand new penny. If you like darker, more bitter caramel, cook the mixture until it's the color of an older penny.
One of my favorite homemade candies is the marshmallow. I’m convinced that anyone who thinks they don’t like marshmallows has never tried a homemade one. Unlike their stale, store counterparts, freshly made marshmallows are pillowy, bouncy and moist and a great canvas for flavor.
When I first got the beautiful new cookbook À La Mère de Famille, one of the recipes I was immediately drawn to was the chocolate marshmallow recipe. This recipe appealed to me not only because I love homemade marshmallows but also because of the intensely dark chocolate color of the marshmallow. Dark colors and intense flavors can be hard to achieve in marshmallows because of the aeration of the candy. It also appealed to me because there is no corn syrup in this recipe.
I’ve made marshmallows lots of times, though mostly the kind without eggs, so I wasn’t anticipating any trouble with this recipe. However, it turned out to be a bit challenging, possibly because of having been translated from French and the difference in ingredients available there.
The main hurdle was in figuring out how to substitute powdered gelatin for sheet gelatin which I haven’t seen here. After checking various cooking websites, I was able to determine that I could substitute an equal weight of powdered gelatin for the gelatin sheets. Also confusing was that the recipe calls for 3 1/2 oz of gelatin! I’m pretty sure this is a typo as that would be about 14 packets and most marshmallow recipes I’ve ever made call only for one or two packets (1-2 Tbsp.) of gelatin. After trying unsuccessfully to find errata for the book or anyone else who had made this recipe, I noticed that the other marshmallow recipes in the book call for only 1/2 oz of gelatin so that’s what I decided to try.
The next problem was how much water to dissolve the gelatin with. I was afraid that the extra liquid would effect the finished texture of the recipe and I was right to be concerned about that. In my first attempt, I used 1/2 cup of water based on similar recipes. I ended up with a mixture that never thickened beyond a sauce when I was whipping it, although it did set up in the pan into a decent marshmallow. I used less water in the second attempt, but ended up with a hockey puck of gelatin that wasn’t going to evenly mix into the whipped mixture. I used a tip from David Lebovitz’s marshmallow instructions to melt the puck in the pan that was still warm from boiling the syrup. In fact, I really liked Lebovitz’s post as it cleared up a few other problems like how much and when to whip the egg whites, details that the cookbook was a little vague about. I ended up using a combination of his instructions and the cookbook’s instructions.
I was much happier with the marshmallow with less water, especially by the next day when the flavor had mellowed and the marshmallow had firmed up nicely. Even though the recipe says the marshmallows are ready after 3 hours, they really do taste better the 2nd day when the cocoa flavor has had time to become smoother and the marshmallow tastes more like chocolate and less like raw cocoa powder. The color also intensifies and a lot of the coating cocoa powder is absorbed so it’s not so powdery on the outside.
Since these marshmallows are chocolate and naturally gluten free, I am entering these in the We Should Cocoa challenge this month. June’s challenge is hosted by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families and her theme is Gluten Free. The We Should Cocoa challenge, managed by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, is a great excuse to make a chocolate treat and to use our creativity. The idea is to make something with chocolate each month. We can use any sort of chocolate or cocoa substance and use any ingredient that we like, but we must include the special ingredient or theme selected by the host.
Author: BakeNQuilt.com adapted from A La Mere de Famille
Recipe type: Dessert/Snack
Deep chocolate marshmallows
For the Gelatin Mixture
½ oz. (14g) powdered gelatin (see notes)
¼ cup (59ml) water
For the Syrup:
2 Tbsp. water
2½ Tbsp. mild honey
1⅓ cups (9.4oz/267g) sugar
3 Tbsp. extra-brute cocoa powder (see notes)
For the meringue:
3 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 cup (4oz/113g) unsweetened cocoa powder
Sprinkle the gelatin on top of ¼ cup of cool water in a shallow dish and set it aside to soften.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, extra-brute cocoa powder, water and honey.
Start cooking the syrup mixture over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
At the same time, start whipping the egg whites on low. When frothy, add a pinch of salt.
When the syrup reaches about 210F/99C on a candy thermometer, turn the mixer up to high and whip the whites to stiff, glossy peaks. Be careful not to over whip.
When the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, 240F/115C, remove the pan from the heat.
When the whites are ready and with the mixer on high, incorporate the syrup by pouring it slowly down the side of the mixer. Do not dump it directly on the whites as they will deflate. I had some deflation of the whites anyway (possibly due to a small amount of fat in my cocoa powder), but they thickened again with continuous whipping.
If the gelatin is soft, add it gently into the whipping sugar and egg white mixture. If the gelatin is completely solid, place it in the still-warm pan from making the syrup and swirl it around for a few seconds. The residual heat from the pan will melt the gelatin so it can be poured into the whites.
Continue to whip the mixture on high until it has cooled and thickened significantly. It should drop slowly off the beaters, not pour. This may take 10-20 minutes, depending on the strength of the mixer and the starting temperature.
Sprinkle a clean surface with ½ of the unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted). Pour the marshmallow mixture on top of the cocoa powder and spread into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Sift the remaining cocoa powder over the top.
Let the marshmallow cool and set up for 3 hours before cutting into cubes. Coat the edges of the cubes in any cocoa powder that has fallen off the marshmallows.
Store at room temperature in a sealed container. The marshmallows taste much better and are much firmer after curing for 8-12 hours, so these are best made the day before you want to eat them. They should keep for up to a week.
If you want to use sheet gelatin, you should be able to use the same amount by weight. Let it soak in cool water for 3-5 minutes and then squeeze it to drain and set aside.
I haven't seen Extra-Brute cocoa powder here in the States, but I believe it is a really high quality dutch process cocoa powder. Any good quality dutch process cocoa powder or extra dark dutch process cocoa powder should work to get the dark color and rich flavor.