A Hacker’s Guide to Homemade Ice Cream

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We are deep into summer and I regret to say that I’ve been neglecting my oven (as well as this blog) during these heated months.

What’s a girl to do?

Alas, lo and behold there is a no churn/no machine/no ice + salt method for making homemade ice cream that can be found on various sites on the Internet Super Highway. It only has two ingredients in its base recipe; the rest is your imagination and pantry capacity.

So chill out and check it out!

Base Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

500 mL heavy cream
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

  • Whip heavy cream to soft peaks.
  • Stir in sweetened condensed milk and continue to whip cream to stiff peaks.

Chocolate
Mix in ½ cup chocolate syrup (chocolate sundae topping works). I also happen to have a package of Soma’s hot chocolate mix which is filled with shaved dark chocolate so I stirred in about ½ cup or more of that.

Vanilla
Stir in 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and the seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod.

Caramel
Substitute the sweetened condensed milk with dulce de leche.

Blueberry
Add a cup of frozen blueberries.

Pistachio
Add a package of Pistachio Jello mix (Warning: the finished texture will be different from the others. Like, should I be concerned that this recipe melted at a completely different rate than the others?) Coarsely chop pistachio nuts and stir into cream mixture. Feel free to add some green food colouring to the mixture.

  • Put mixture in a freezer-safe container and chill for about 6 hours.

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Pistachio Ice Cream

The Cake Gotham Deserves

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I love any kind of decorating challenge but my eyes glaze over with excitement when I’m asked to make a Star Wars cake or a Bubble Bobble cake. So imagine my face when I was asked to make a Batman cake with full reign on design. Choosing the design was the real challenge because, as you can imagine after over 75 years,  Batman has gone through so many makeovers, shifts in tones, different forms of media, all contributing to its iconic status in our popular culture.

I went with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini’s Batman + Adam West’s “POW!” and “BAM!”

He also has no arms because I suck at molding appendages.

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Happy birthday, Dad!

(This is not his cake but I’d feel like a dick if I didn’t say that)

Tres Leches Cake (Hola, cariño!)

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Hola, cariño. ¿Quieres un poco de torta Tres leche?

I really am lucky to have such amazing friends who will invite me over for a taco night dinner. And I gladly pay that favour back by providing an apt dessert. While there are more appropriate Mexican-themed desserts to make such as flan, empanadas, or churros, the light tres leches cake (or milk cake) was the perfect end to a favourful fiesta.

And super easy to make as you’ll soon find out!

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Chocolate Toffee Squares

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These are dangerous! A delicious cookie base topped with double the dose of chocolate and toffee bits to boot. This recipe comes from the book aptly titled “Bars & Squares” by Jill Snider — a book I rarely use though I often thumb through it. It has so many great sounding recipes, it’s a wonder I don’t put it to good use more often (oh I know, lack of pictures). However, these squares didn’t have a picture but rather a short list of ingredients and make a tonne of squares to either share or stash.

Lesson: Don’t judge a recipe by its lack of professionally edited photo.

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Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

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For never was there a story of more hell than this of my weakness for salted caramel.

And by “hell” I of course mean Heaven because there truly is no greater come-to-Jesus moment than savouring a bite of decadent creamy cheesecake smothered with a layer of smooth salted caramel.

This recipe was really an amalgam of several similar salted caramel cheesecake recipes I found on the Interwebs. The result was a product of my pantry not being completely stocked up. For example, I didn’t have Oreo crumbs so I went with a classic graham crumb crust, which also meant I had to add just a little bit of sugar to compensate for the sweetness that Oreo cookies would have provided. To make the caramel topping, I needed to add whipping cream but all I had was cream liqueur… and that’s a little peek into my life so we should just move on.

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Apple Pie Cookies

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I feel like this recipe will play out more like a How-to than an actual recipe. You ever do arts and craft activities from Highlights Magazine? It’s sort of like that!

You’ll need:
2 frozen pie crusts; thawed
Eagle Brand Dulce de Leche
E.D. Smith Apple Pie filling
Circular cookie cutter
Pizza cutter
Spatula
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tsbp. water)
1 tbsp. sugar
Adult supervision

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Flour your work surface and roll out one pie crust and cut out 12 circles with the cookie cutter. Spread a small amount of the Dulce de Leche in the centre of the circle, then top it with a spoonful of the apple pie filling.

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Now you will see other recipes on the Internet that will say to layer the crust, caramel, pie filling, and lattice crust first and then cut. That works perfectly fine and admittedly might be easier but two things are happening with my method:

  1. You are able to roll out the dough you cut away for more cookies.
  2. The caramel will not spill out too much during baking thus avoiding a burnt sugary mess.

Roll out the other dough on a floured surface and cut into strips with the pizza cutter. Lay them across each other to create a lattice and cut them with the cookie cutter. Carefully lift off the surface using a spatula and place on top of the filling. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Raspberry Diamonds

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These elegant shortbread cookies were perfect for holiday celebrations and #BakeChain packages. I found this recipe at Fine Cooking (particularly their special edition magazine The Best of Fine Cooking: Cookies).

I knew I found a winner when my Dad gave them his seal of approval… but he said he’d like them better without the jam and the glaze. Thanks, dude!

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