Category Archives: Ice Cream

Espresso Milkshakes

Espresso Milkshakes

I moved away from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, half my lifetime ago at 18. First it was to Sherman, Texas, where I went to college, and then straight to New York, where I’ve been for almost 14 years. The longest period of time I’ve spent “at home” in all those intervening years was three weeks between Christmas and a mid-January family wedding in 2017. While I will never (could never!) sever ties with the land of my birth, it’s always evident during my visits that it’s moved on just fine without me.

Espresso Milkshakes

In a lot of ways, it’s great. I don’t see the day-to-day, but I always show up to some new something. There’s excellent vintage shopping now. Magnolia is hoppin’. Many of my very favorite people (and one perfect miniature schnauzer) are there and keep me apprised of everything important. But for all the new stuff happening, old things have to change.

Espresso Milkshakes

Take the demise of my former favorite coffee shop, Four Star Coffee Bar, for instance. It was tucked into a strip mall on the west side until shortly after I moved to New York. I don’t remember exactly when it closed for good, but I do remember the last coffee I had there in August of 2007 and a whole lot of Saturday nights spent there with friends, listening to someone’s terrible ex-boyfriend play bad music and sipping espresso milkshakes. They were nothing more than shots of espresso and vanilla ice cream whirled together—basically smooth affogatos—but I think about them all the time. They’ve been on my to-make list for years! All it took was walking by the old storefront with my little sister a few weeks ago to finally get me to pull my blender off the shelf and get to it.

Now, I should say that this recipe isn’t a carbon copy of the original. For one thing, I don’t have an espresso machine, and for another, I’m basing this recipe entirely on a 14 year old memory. Still, the combination of dissolved instant espresso and vanilla ice cream is pretty dang good. These shakes are cold, smooth and creamy with plenty of espresso flavor, even if you use decaf.

Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes

I suppose you could class these up by buying/using an espresso machine to pull shots or alternatively, going to a coffee shop, getting espresso to-go, coming home, letting it cool and then blitzing it with ice cream…but that seems like a lot of work for something that can be made just as well with some stuff in a jar and warm tap water. Plus, if you make these the easy way at home, I can guarantee you won’t have to listen to anyone’s ex-boyfriend’s terrible band for even a second.

Sometimes change is a good thing.

Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes
makes 1 large or 2 small milkshakes

1 tablespoon instant espresso granules (decaf is fine)
1 tablespoon warm tap water
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
4 tablespoons milk of choice (I used whole)
whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together espresso granules and water until granules are dissolved. Combine espresso mixture, ice cream and milk in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. If needed, add more milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and/or chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired. Serve immediately.
Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

My favorite thing about having a baking blog during the summer is not baking at all: it’s making ice cream toppings. I’ve tackled all the major ones—hot fudge, caramel sauce, butterscotch—you name it, I’ve made it. Of all of them, Homemade Chocolate Shell is the one I go back to over and over. It’s a quick two-ingredient recipe and, when poured over ice cream, results in the thin & thwackable topping we all love. It’s impossible to improve upon, so I won’t try…but did you know you can make a peanut butter version?

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

Oh yes, Homemade Peanut Butter Shell is a thing, and it is indeed magical. Made with just creamy peanut butter and coconut oil, it has all the salty, creamy flavor you love, but hardens within a minute of meeting a scoop (or three) of ice cream.

I’ll admit that I didn’t quite get the “thwack” photos I’d hoped for with this recipe, mostly because I shot them in the throes of a heatwave. Still, you can see the definition and how the shell is, in fact, a shell. Once hardened, it can easily be lifted off the ice cream (or other cold thing) it’s molded over. 97 degree weather, be damned.

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

I enjoy Homemade Peanut Butter Shell over vanilla ice cream (and some peanut butter cups), but I know it would be perfect paired with chocolate, No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream, or pretty much any flavor that goes well with peanut butter…which, I think we can agree, is basically all of them.

Do yourself a favor a make a little jar of Homemade Peanut Butter Shell this summer. While it absolutely can be too hot to bake, it’s never too hot for a salty-sweet bowl of ice cream.

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell
makes about 2/3 cup

1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (preferably refined)

While any coconut oil will work in this recipe, refined coconut oil will have the least noticeable flavor.

Combine peanut butter and coconut oil in a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool a few minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover peanut butter shell will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least two weeks. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

Friday Favorites: 2020

Friday Favorites: 2020Happy New Year! This post is coming at you from the recent past—December 29th—so I hope no new terrible things have happened between then and this posting. 2020 was such a weird year. It started off okay, but quickly devolved to…well, whatever this is. I, for one, am hoping for hope in 2021.

As a preface to this list, I wrote three paragraphs about the events of last year (staying at home, flour shortage, bread, people learning to bake, blah blah blah) and then deleted them because, you know, you were there. It was a year where nearly everything changed, but at least one thing remained the same: I was here, baking in Brooklyn. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes from 2020.Friday Favorites: 2020
Mini Layer Cakes

There weren’t many layer cakes on here in 2020, but the ones that made the cut were teensy—just enough for 4-6 servings. Perfect for a pandemic, right?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Pecan Sandies

Buttery shortbread is difficult to beat for ease and pure deliciousness, but adding in a hefty dose of toasted pecans (and nostalgia) never hurt anything.Friday Favorites: 2020
Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

I got a little homesick around my birthday this year, so I made a Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}, which happens to be a Fort Worth favorite. You won’t find chocolate sponge or cherries in this recipe, but if you are into light-as-air almond dacquoise, whipped cream, dark chocolate and the best kind of chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag), you are in for a treat. Did I mention it’s naturally gluten-free?Friday Favorites: 2020
“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta} requires a whole lot of egg whites, which means you’ll have a whole lot of leftover yolks…which means you should make some “I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies. To put it plainly, they’re simply the best chewy chocolate chip cookies to ever come out of my kitchen.Friday Favorites: 2020
Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, this was a year with two chocolate chip cookie recipes. These crispy, crunchy ones were a long time coming, and were they ever worth the wait!Friday Favorites: 2020
Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes

Rainbow sprinkles and cookie cake are two of my favorite things. Put them together and make them mini? How can I resist?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Buttermilk Pancakes

Perfect fluffy pancakes eluded me for years, but not anymore! These are really good and really easy. Oh, and those golden tops? They’re easier to achieve than I ever thought possible.Friday Favorites: 2020
Chocolate Quinoa Cake {Gluten-Free}

One of my biggest accomplishments this year was staying sober through…everything. While I normally don’t celebrate my sobriety date on here, it seemed important to publicly acknowledge it during a time of so much struggle. When I hit seven years in April, I celebrated at home with this Chocolate Quinoa Cake. It’s made with an easy blender batter, is naturally gluten-free, and absolutely delicious with a blanket of chocolate buttercream.Friday Favorites: 2020
Homemade Chocolate Shell

Making my own ice cream toppings is one of my favorite warm weather pastimes. This two ingredient Homemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on this blog many times over the years, but 2020 was when it finally got its moment to shine.Friday Favorites: 2020
Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

I brought in 2020 eating Almond Boterkoek on my friend, David’s couch. Eight weeks later (to the day!), I figured out the recipe for myself. It’s a simple cake, perfect for any occasion, including saying goodbye to our weirdest year on record.Friday Favorites: 2020
Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins.

Need I say more?Friday Favorites: 2020
Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Imagine biting into pure sunshine, but with butter and icing. That’s what these are like.Friday Favorites: 2020
Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

These sweet, tart, teeny-tiny cookies are filled with a homemade ruby red grapefruit curd. So, so good. I cannot say this more explicitly: you must make these. Must.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my favorite weekend breakfast of all time, and making them whole grain and gluten-free? Well, that makes them even better.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside waffles made without flour or animal products? You better believe it!Friday Favorites: 2020
Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Speaking of making things vegan and gluten-free, finally making a Gingerbread Cake for my friend, VJ, was a great way to end the year. It’s dark, perfectly-spiced, and slightly sticky. It might just be the only Gingerbread Cake recipe you’ll ever need.Friday Favorites: 2020
Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

If you’ve been here a while, you know I love to sing the praises of sweetened condensed milk—that stuff can do anything, including make a spreadable pumpkin pie filling for everything from toast to s’mores.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Back when the pandemic began and shelves were empty, I threw my plans out the window and baked and blogged exclusively from what I already had on hand. These Cream Biscuit Sticky Buns were one of the results—a mash-up of two of my favorite things.Friday Favorites: 2020
Maple Sugar Cookies

These little sugar cookies have huge maple flavor. Made with brown butter, brown sugar and a double dose of pure maple syrup, they’re impossible to resist.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cocoa Brownies

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention that this blog turned five years old in 2020! It was a highlight of my year, as was celebrating with the Cocoa Brownies from my first post. They’re easy, fudgy and so, so good.

Have you made any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: 2020

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideI know what you’re thinking. “Hasn’t Caramel Sauce already been on here?” Well yes, a few times, but it’s never had its own post and don’t you think it deserves that tiny amount of recognition? I do. Also, it’s my blog and I can do what I want.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideSo, why am I posting Caramel Sauce now, at the holidays, instead of mid-summer like every other ice cream topping and dessert sauce in my archives? Because it is perfect for food gifting. Perfect! It’s easy, you can make it days or weeks ahead (watch the dates on your dairy), and who wouldn’t be absolutely thrilled to receive a little jar of homemade Caramel Sauce from someone they love? A monster, obviously.

(Why am I phrasing everything as a question today?)Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideTruth is, I’ve been meaning to write a little homemade food gift guide for years, but am just now getting around to it. I am a big proponent of homemade gifts, having done everything from making clay ornaments to puffy painting to sewing stuffed animals. I can tell you from experience that food is definitely the quickest, easiest and cheapest in terms of DIY gifting, and as sugar, butter and flour have been my artistic media of choice for the last 7.5 years, I have learned a lot about what makes for quality food gifts.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Want to give something saucy? People love an ice cream topping, even in the dead of winter. I’m obviously out here shilling for Caramel today, but you can do Peanut Butter Caramel, Butterscotch or even homemade Hot Fudge without much hassle. You could also go super easy and just microwave a bunch of Chocolate Shell! Just make a batch of any of the aforementioned sauces and divide it among heatproof jars. The jars pictured today are 4-ounce mason jars that I keep on hand, but 8-ounce jars would be great too.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Looking to give cookies? You’re in luck! There are so many holiday cookie recipes that are beyond perfect for gifting. Not only do they look beautiful all boxed (tinned?) up, but they keep incredibly well, especially crisper offerings. Think Iced Sugar Cookies, Candy Cane Cookies, Stained Glass Cookies, Maple Spice Stars, Brown Butter Shortbread, Orange Cardamom Pistachio Shortbread, Gingersnaps, this week’s Peppermint Bark Cookies, Pinwheels, vegan/gluten-free Oat-Pecan Linzers, Pretzel Shortbread, Red Velvet Cheesecake Thumbprints…the list goes on and on.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideDon’t forget that brownies and blondies are technically cookies, too! Pro tip: you can easily double most of my 9″ square recipes and bake them up in a 9×13″ pan without changing much of anything.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Candy on your mind? I am not the world’s most proficient candy maker, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I love a good homemade truffle, especially these vegan Five Ingredient Salted Marzipan beauties. You could also make easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge or Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams. Yum!Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideIf I were to gift candy this year, I’d go for popcorn. People LOVE popcorn. <–that’s me, I’m people. The Super Sprinkle Popcorn I made over the summer could easily be transformed with some holiday sprinkles. And then there’s Salty Maple Caramel Corn. Ohhh my. It’s salty-sweet easy, gluten-free, and makes enough for several tins. You could even get a little wild and make Sriracha Cracker Jack. Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
In the mood to make cakes? Well, you’re the kind of friend I’d like to have. Cake definitely takes a little forethought, but if you were to wrap a Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}, Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cake or Eggnog Bundt in cellophane, or deliver a grain-free Winning Hearts & Minds Cake in a (clean) small pizza box, you might just…win hearts and minds. And make someone feel incredibly special.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide
Don’t want to bother turning on your oven? I’ve got you there, too. Make a homemade mix! You can easily jar individual brownie and hot chocolate mixes! Just make yourself an assembly line and write (or print out) little tags with instructions for how to make your brownies or hot chocolate. This will give your friends a little low-maintenance something to do and enjoy during this weird AF holiday season.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideThis is just the tip of the food gifting iceberg–I could go on forever. I hope this guide inspires you to treat your friends to something sweet this month. It’s going to be strange and solitary holiday for many of us, and I know a little homemade something would do us all some good.Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar and let cool to room temperature.

Leftover caramel sauce should be kept in the refrigerator. Microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, to reheat.

Caramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift GuideCaramel Sauce & a Food Gift Guide

Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on here a few times over the years, but always as a part of another recipe. I’ve used it to finish an ice cream cake, as a dip for truffles, and just as a drizzle, but we all know chocolate shell shines brightest on a scoop of ice cream. It’s high time that it gets its own post.Homemade Chocolate ShellChocolate shell is both entertainment and dessert. It goes on ice cream (or anything cold) like chocolate syrup and then magically transforms into a hard edible shell right in front of your eyes! It’s no wonder the popular store brand is marketed as Magic Shell.Homemade Chocolate ShellThe “magic” of chocolate shell was a mystery to me for years—how did they do that?! Turns out, mostly with ingredients and preservatives that I’d rather not ingest whenever I get a hankering for a bowl of ice cream with a snappy chocolate topping. Imagine my utter delight when I discovered Homemade Chocolate Shell could be made with just two easy-to-find, vegan ingredients!Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellYes, all you need to make Homemade Chocolate Shell are four ounces of bittersweet chocolate and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt them together, stir until smooth, and then drizzle—or let’s be real, pour—it over a scoop (or three) of ice cream. Then watch as the glossy sauce magically turns into a matte shell in a matter of seconds! It works because coconut oil solidifies at 76F, but that’s way less fun than calling it magic.Homemade Chocolate ShellNot only is Homemade Chocolate Shell made of less-terrifying ingredients than the store bought stuff, it’s more delicious, too. You control the quality of ingredients here, and that goes double since there are only two of them. This batch was made with Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate and refined coconut oil because those are things that I like and keep on hand.

You may wonder, why refined coconut oil? The answer is simple: because it doesn’t taste like coconut. I like my Homemade Chocolate Shell to taste only of chocolate. That said, if you only have extra virgin coconut oil and don’t mind a little coconut flavor in your chocolate shell, it will work just fine.Homemade Chocolate ShellHands down, my second favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell is thwacking through it with the side of a spoon. There’s nothing quite like that satisfying snap and the shards of cold chocolate that melt in your mouth.

My first favorite part of eating Homemade Chocolate Shell? Actually eating it. Duh.Homemade Chocolate Shell

Homemade Chocolate Shell
makes about 3/4 cup

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined/high heat)

Combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool 8-10 minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover chocolate shell will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.Homemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate ShellHomemade Chocolate Shell