Archive | July, 2011

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Cherries

26 Jul


I love making homemade ice cream when we have friends over. The dessert is made ahead of time and friends are always so impressed with the fact that it’s “homemade.” Frankly, once you have an ice cream maker, homemade ice cream is pretty darn simple to make.

And this recipe is the simplest of all ice creams I’ve made because it doesn’t require a custard base like most homemade ice creams. I first had this ice cream at Jeni’s Spendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH. Jeni’s is always a required stop when I visit my brother and sister-in-law. While we have wonderful gourmet ice cream in San Francisco (Humphrey Slocombe and Bi-Rite), Jeni’s flavors are so creative and delectable that I had to figure out a way to have them more than the once or twice a year I get to Columbus.

Jeni’s Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Cherries is my hands down favorite. I know — goat cheese in ice cream seems a little weird at first but if you’ve ever had goat cheese drizzled with honey, you know that it works just as well with sweet as it does with savory. I started with cheesecake ice cream recipes and re-jiggered them to accommodate the goat cheese. To avoid making the ice cream too “goat-y,” I used a ratio of 2-to-1 goat cheese to cream cheese.

As for the cherries, I considered making my own cherry compote with fresh or frozen cherries, depending on what I could find. However, when I saw the jarred Morello cherries in light syrup at Trader Joe’s, I realized I had my secret ingredient.

I put everything together and let my ice cream machine do its magic. Success! The tang of goat cheese tempered with cream, milk and sugar then paired with sweet cherries makes for a party in your mouth.

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Cherries

6 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of salt

1 cup Morello cherries*, drained and coarsely chopped

1) Puree the goat cheese, cream cheese, sugar, milk, heavy cream, lemon juice and salt in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to bowl and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

2) Pour cheese mixture into the work bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the machine’s instructions. (In my Cuisenart machine, it took about 20 minutes).

3) Transfer frozen mixture to container and stir in cherries. Cover container and freezer at least 6 hours before serving.

Makes about 6 cups
* Can be found in canned fruit section at Trader Joe’s

Butterscotch Pecan Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

19 Jul

Bar cookies are the best. They are easy to make and you get a lot of cookies without having to be tied to the oven, swapping out batch after batch of cookie sheets. With bar cookies, you make the dough, spread it in a baking pan and pop it in the oven. Walk away for 30 minutes or so (enough time to write a blog entry) and come back to a dozen or more yummy cookies.

These particular bar cookies – Butterscotch Pecan Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies are my hands down favorite bar cookies to make. They are like a blondie but better. Dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup give the cookies a wonderful butterscotch, almost praline-like flavor. The addition of chocolate chips satisfies the inner chocoholic and the toasted pecans provide crunch with added richness.

I first made these cookies when I was in high school for a boyfriend who was away at college. They were part of a care package I was putting together in the hopes the old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” would prove true. Sadly, I never had a chance to find out because he dumped me before I mailed the cookies. Perhaps if he had tasted these cookies, my future would have been dramatically altered. Oh well — at least I found an amazing cookie recipe from my heartbreak.

Butterscotch Pecan Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (light brown sugar can be used but it won’t be as rich)
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups toasted coarsely chopped pecans

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2) Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in corn syrup, egg and vanilla until smooth, about another minute.

4) Turn mixer down to low speed and gradually added flour mixture about a 1/2 cup at a time, until fully combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

5) Bake 35 to 45 minutes until cookie begins to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack.

6) Cut 4 strips lengthwise and 6 strips cross-wise.

Makes about 24 (2 dozen) cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days