Five Ingredient Fudgsicles

Five Ingredient FudgsiclesUntil last Wednesday, I had no plans to create a new Fudgsicle recipe. I have some vegan Raspberry Fudgsicles in my Recipe Index that are kind of a salad masquerading as dessert—they’re made with avocado, dates, and fresh raspberries. They’re super delicious, so it makes sense that my boss had requested them (sans berries) on that hot, miserable day.Five Ingredient FudgsiclesI trekked over to Trader Joe’s to buy the day’s groceries. It was only when I was turning onto the block where I work that I realized I hadn’t bought anything for Fudgsicles. I had been a bit distracted when my boss had requested them, and had forgotten to put the ingredients on my list. It was getting late and I needed to get started on dinner, so instead of going back to TJ’s, I determined that I’d figure out how to make Fudgsicles from things they had on-hand.Five Ingredient FudgsiclesOnce I got dinner on, I started to look through the cabinets for ingredients. It went something like this:

  • I knew I had most of a container of cocoa powder tucked into the back of the pantry—it only ever gets used for WHAM Cakes—so the chocolate part was covered.
  • I found a can of coconut milk leftover from making coconut rice. That would work for creaminess.
  • I decided to add the dregs of a jar of coconut oil for richness and to mitigate any iciness from the water in the coconut milk. Fudgsicles are always a little soft (because otherwise they’d just be chocolate popsicles), so a lack of large ice crystals is pretty important.
  • For sweetener, I used maple syrup. Honey would have worked too, but they were fresh out.
  • Vanilla extract went into the mix because when it comes to desserts, it’s almost always a good idea.

Five Ingredient FudgsiclesFive Ingredient FudgsiclesI put all the ingredients in the blender, said a little prayer to Julia Child, and blitzed everything together until it was smooth. I divided the mixture among a set of ice pop molds and put them in the freezer.Five Ingredient FudgsiclesFive Ingredient FudgsiclesBefore the Fudgsicles were completely frozen, it was time for me to go home. As you probably could have guessed, I spent the next 18 or so hours wondering if they were any good compared to my old favorites. Imagine how delighted I was when I got to work the next day to see that the family had already eaten most of them!Five Ingredient FudgsiclesLuckily, there was one left for me to try. It was deeply chocolaty, perfectly sweet, and soft enough that I could bite through it—so basically, exactly what I was going for. I love that a recipe that began as a guessing game worked on the first try. That rarely happens, so I’m calling it a victory.
Five Ingredient FudgsiclesI’ve made three more batches of these Fudgsicles since last week—two for work and one for me. I love how quick and easy they are and that they’re made from the sort of ingredients I always have on hand. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that they’re vegan and fairly low-calorie for an end of the day treat. I don’t follow any sort of diet, but it’s nice to make something on the lighter side every once in a while.Five Ingredient FudgsiclesSpend five minutes making a batch of Fudgsicles this weekend! I hope you love them as much as I do.Five Ingredient Fudgsicles

Five Ingredient Fudgsicles
makes about 6 fudgsicles

1 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined), melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend until no lumps remain, scraping down sides as necessary. Divide mixture among ice pop molds. Do not add sticks.

Freeze one hour. Insert sticks. Freeze at least 5 more hours before enjoying.

To release from ice pop molds, place mold in a glass of warm tap water for 30-45 seconds. Fudgsicles should release easily. If they don’t, place them back in the warm water for 15 seconds before making another attempt.
Five Ingredient FudgsiclesFive Ingredient Fudgsicles

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Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaAround this time every year, I draw a bit of a blank when it comes to this blog. I mean, I have plenty of ideas, but they are all autumn-related right now and I am a stickler for seasons. I know it’s getting cooler and the light is changing and all that, but it is technically still summer.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaWe still have some berries and decent tomatoes left, but my desire to work with them has waned considerably—the pumpkin tunnel-vision is real, y’all. It doesn’t help that my social media feeds have been loaded with autumnal treats since August 15th. Regardless, I’m holding out on pumpkin and apples until September 21st. Nine more days.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaSo, if I’m done with most summer produce and am not ready for fall, what’s left? Figs. So many figs. They are everywhere right now!
Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaYou know what goes great with fresh figs? Salty prosciutto. And arugula. And gorgonzola. And balsamic vinegar.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI could have taken all of these things and made a salad or something, but instead I threw them all on a pizza and you should, too.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI take great pride in the quality of pizza I make at home. So many homemade pizzas come out on the bready side of things, which is great if that’s what you’re into, but it simply does not appeal to me. Instead, I go for a dough that is simple and stretchy, baking up paper thin in the center and puffy and chewy at the edges. Here it’s covered with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a few ounces of fresh mozzarella, along with prosciutto and some quartered figs.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaI let it start in a 500F oven before pulling it out, scattering some crumbled gorgonzola and a few more figs over the top (for variance in texture), and then throwing it under the broiler. I like to let it get a little crispy for a coal-oven-esque flavor.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaNext comes a bed of arugula that’s been tossed with olive oil. I love the contrast of these peppery greens with the saltiness of the prosciutto and the jammy figs.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaThis pizza gets finished off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. Mmhmm.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaOh, y’all. This is really good. Like I-ate-half-a-pizza-and-feel-absolutely-no-remorse good.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaIt’s a good thing the recipe makes two pizzas. That’s one for you and one for me, okay?!Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza
makes 2 pizzas

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 batch Pizza Dough (2 dough balls)
4-6 tablespoons strained tomatoes, tomato purée, or other sauce, divided
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces, divided
4 ounces prosciutto, sliced into bite-sized pieces, divided
8-10 fresh black figs, trimmed and quartered, divided
1/4 cup gorgonzola crumbles, divided (optional)
2 cups baby arugula, packed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

If you have an in-oven broiler, place one rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Preheat oven to 500F for at least one hour–the entire oven needs to be very hot.

While the oven is heating, reduce the balsamic vinegar. Pour it into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer 8-10 minutes, or until thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup. Transfer to a small bowl. Aside.

When oven has heated for one hour, flour 2 rimmed baking sheets, tapping out any excess.

Flour your hands. Working with one ball of risen pizza dough at a time, place your hands (palms down underneath the dough, lifting it from the pan it rose on. Moving your hands slowly, let dough stretch with gravity, moving your hands slowly in a circular motion to allow for even stretching. Gently place dough on one of the prepared pans. Stretch further with your fingertips until the desire shape is reached. Pinch the edges to form a crust. Set aside while you stretch and shape the other ball of dough.

Working with one pizza at a time, pour 2-3 tablespoons of sauce in the center. Use a spoon or ladle to spread the sauce in a circular motion, leaving blank space at the crust. Scatter torn mozzarella over the top, followed by 2 ounces of prosciutto and 3 quartered figs (12 quarters). Set aside while you top the other pizza.

Working with one pizza at a time, bake pizza (in the lightly-floured pan) for 6-8 minutes on the floor of your oven. Remove from oven. Lift edges with a spatula to ensure bottom crust is browned. If it isn’t, bake for an additional 1-2 minutes, checking bottom crust after each minute. Repeat process with other pizza.

If you do not have an in-oven broiler, turn off oven and heat broiler for 5-10 minutes, until very hot. If you do have an in-oven broiler, turn it on and proceed immediately.

Scatter 2 tablespoons gorgonzola crumbles and 1-2 more quartered figs (4-8 quarters) over each pizza.

Broil each pizza 1-4 minutes, until crust and cheese are bubbly and a bit charred. Check pizzas after each minute, and every 30-45 seconds after the 2 minute mark. My pizzas broil in 2 1/2-3 minutes. I like to rotate the pans after 1 1/2 minutes for even browning. Let pizzas cool for five minutes in their pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, toss together arugula and olive oil.

Remove pizzas to cutting board(s). Top with arugula and a drizzle of balsamic reduction (you will have leftover reduction). Slice pizzas with a sharp chef’s knife (or pizza cutter) and serve immediately. Wrap any leftovers in foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Arugula will wilt over time.Prosciutto, Fig & Arugula PizzaProsciutto, Fig & Arugula Pizza

Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesSeeing all my friends’ kids’ back-to-school photos these last few weeks, I’ve been reminiscing about my own school days. I don’t know that we took First Day photos (my parents rarely remembered a camera), but that’s okay because all my first days were pretty similar. I mean, I went to the same school K-12 and wore the same uniform for all but one semester of that time.

(Like many recovering private school kids, I have spent the last 15 years working through an aversion to plaid. I’m glad to say I’m making progress 😀 )Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesOne of my childhood chores was to pack my own lunch. I was/am skeeved out by lunch meat and was not yet allowed to cook with any regularity, so I packed a peanut butter & jelly sandwich damn near every single day.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesYou don’t need me to explain the magic of a PB & J to you. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty, gooey, and satisfying. After thirteen years of eating them five days a week, I don’t eat many peanut butter & jelly sandwiches these days, but when I do, I fall in love all over again.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesToday’s recipe, Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies, is a sweet little ode to that school lunch classic ❤ These fabulous layered bars begin with my tried-and-true peanut butter blondie base before being topped with a layer of jelly (or jam) and crispy, crunchy peanut crumble. They’re a texture-lover’s dream!Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesThe blondies are baked for 35-40 minutes before being cooled and sliced. I like mine a little on the underdone side, but you can bake them a few minutes longer if that’s not your thing. Either way, you’ll be rewarded with a pan of rich, dense, peanut butter & jelly deliciousness.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesI find that chilling these bars in the fridge (or even the freezer) makes them easier to slice. The jelly layer will never be completely firm, but it shouldn’t be too messy to work with. And even if it is, who cares? It’s peanut butter & jelly—getting a little on your fingers is all part of the fun.Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Peanut Butter & Jelly Blondies
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup jelly, jam, or preserves (I used strawberry)

Peanut Crumble:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Dust lightly with flour and discard any excess. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium-large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of jelly over the top of the batter. Use an offset knife (or the back of a spoon) to spread it to the edges of the pan. Layer may not be perfectly even—this is okay. Set aside.

Make the peanut crumble. In a small-medium mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together oats, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and chopped peanuts. Pour in butter and stir until everything is moistened and clumps begin to form. Scatter mixture over the jelly layer, covering as much as possible.

Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Jelly will still be jiggly. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack. Refrigerate until cold (I froze mine for an hour).

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Peanut Butter & Jelly BlondiesPeanut Butter & Jelly Blondies

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread WedgesIt’s never fun to come home from vacation, but I think I did it right this time. Returning over the holiday weekend left me ample time to relax, grocery shop, meal prep, put up all the new things I bought in Swan’s Island and Portland, and watch all of The Good Place season 2. I’m calling it a success.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Getting back into the groove yesterday wasn’t too terrible, but a piece of my heart is definitely still in Maine. You know, where it’s not 95 degrees.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Two days before I packed up to go home, my sister and I walked a good stretch of the North Road at a snail’s pace, picking upwards of a quart of tiny wild blackberries in about two hours. It might sound dull, but I can assure you that Eliot and I were anything but bored.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

The vast majority of the berries we found were the blackberries we expected, but we also spotted a blueberry patch and two teeny raspberries. All the apple trees were starting to turn, too. Maybe one day I’ll vacation a little later so I can enjoy them.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve written before about how I consider baking (and cooking) to be a form of active meditation; I feel the same way about foraging for berries. It’s easy to get lost in the simple process of plucking them from bushes and interacting with nature in a very tactile way. Berry-picking is probably the only time in my life where I am able to peacefully, fearlessly coexist with bees and that I’m not mad about a few good scratches from thorns. If anything, they’re little badges of honor.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

I’ve made pies with my foraged berries the last three years I’ve been on Swan’s Island, but decided to keep it easy this year, opting instead for these Blackberry Shortbread Wedges.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

They’re a slight adaptation of my Sweet Cherry Shortbread Bars (and their apple counterpart), this time baked in an 8-inch round pan. The resulting wedges (or bars or whatever you want to call them) are served up almost like pie, and have a thick, buttery shortbread crust that is difficult to stop eating. You could certainly serve these at room temperature, but my fellow vacationers and I preferred them straight from the fridge. There’s just something about the combination of cold, tangy blackberry filling and rich shortbread.Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

You’ll notice in the photos that I didn’t line the pan with foil or parchment—that’s only because I didn’t have any at our house. Instead, I greased and floured the pan and then sliced and served them directly from the pan. You may follow my lead here, or line the pan with foil and lift them onto a cutting board before slicing. I’ve written instructions for both methods in the recipe.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

However you choose to go about making these, I urge you to do so in these last weeks of summer. We saw pumpkins for sale as we drove out of Maine on September 1st, and while I am all for pumpkin after September 20th, I’m going to enjoy these end-of-season berries while I can.Blackberry Shortbread WedgesBlackberry Shortbread Wedges

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges
makes one 8-inch pan, 8-12 wedges

Filling:
3 cups fresh blackberries
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, or line with aluminum foil, leaving overhang, and grease with butter. Set aside.

Make blackberry filling. In a medium mixing bowl, combine blackberries, lime juice, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Pour blackberry filling over the top, leaving behind any excess liquid. Spread berries into an even layer.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the blackberry layer.

If your pan is on the shallow side, place it on a rimmed baking sheet to collect any light overflow. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until barely golden. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or until cold.

If pan was buttered and floured, slice and serve wedges directly from the pan. If it was lined with foil, use overhang to remove to a cutting board. Peel off foil before slicing and serving.

Leftover Blackberry Shortbread Wedges will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will soften over time.

Blackberry Shortbread Wedges

Guac O’Clock & Other Meals on Swan’s Island, Maine

I’ll be real with you—I’ve been doing island things instead of baking.Like wading into the fuh-reezing Atlantic Ocean with three of the most fabulous women I know.And picking blackberries with my sister.But, I mean, we still have to eat. We might as well do it in style.Meals here on Swan’s Island are meticulously planned. Four years in though, we sort of know what we’re doing.

We have a meeting before we leave NYC. There’s an organized menu. There’s an itemized grocery list. There’s one harried/hilarious trip through the Hannaford in Ellsworth, Maine. And then there’s cooking every last meal, snack, and dessert we eat on this beautiful island.If it sounds like work to vacation here, that’s because it is. Fortunately for me, it’s the sort of work I love most. I mean, what’s to complain about when there’s daily Salsa O’Clock?And don’t forget Guac O’Clock. It’s very important when you are on vacation.It’s impossible to be grouchy in the morning when VJ makes you gluten-free vegan waffles……and blueberry muffins. The bacon was my contribution.There were Migas, too……and the Blueberry Baked Oatmeal I told you about on Wednesday.And cantaloupe. (Can you tell I am in love with the white prep table?)Lunches have been less curated, but this chickpea-centric spin on my favorite Jacques Pepin soup recipe really hit the spot on Sunday afternoon.And don’t forget extra-toasty grilled cheeses.Dinner is an event though. We’ve had a Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions, and some extra caramelly maple-roasted carrots.There was vegan cornbread, too. (My recipe, but with non-dairy milk + vinegar, vegan butter, aquafaba for egg, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup more cornmeal.)And Eliot made my crowd-favorite Everyday Cassoulet and some garlicky kale.Last night was taco night. Hooray for using up leftovers!Dessert has been plentiful. I mean, I’m here.I made a batch of Toasted Oat Graham Crackers,so naturally, there were s’mores.There have also been also S’moreos.And just straight-up toasted marshmallows.Also, lots and lots and lots of coffee. Arnab finally learned how to use the French press we bought him for Christmas. #adultingSo, as you can see, we have not starved. We have some produce to finish and a few things we’ll divvy up on our way back to New York, but we have, by and large, used everything we brought.I’m planning to do some last day of vacation baking today (all those blackberries!), but I may also just sit on a rock and watercolor.The day is young.