Ice Cream Cake in an Ice Cream Cone

Lorraine requested ice cream cake for her birthday party. I looked for recipes over the internet and I came across this great one from Lemonpi. Super cute presentation and the execution seemed very feasible. The inside of the cone is coated with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Then the inside of the cone is layered with white cake and chocolate ice cream then topped with chocolate and sprinkles.

Ingredients

1 box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist white cake)
1 quart ice cream (I used chocolate ice cream)
1 box (12 count) of sugar cones
Sprinkles
16 oz jar of prepared vanilla frosting
2 4.25 oz. Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate

Bake the contents of the white cake, allow to cool. You can make the cake in any container.

While cake is baking, melt 1 of the Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bars in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute. Taste a pastry brush and coat the inside of the cones with a thin layer of dark chocolate. Place completed cones in the freezer. Leave there until set. I left them there for an hour.

Once the cake has cooled, divide the cake in half. Reserve one half for later use. With the working half, take a teaspoon and put cake in the bottom of the cone, filling the cone only 1/3 of the way. Do this to all the cones.

Next scoop the ice cream filling the cone up to 2/3 of the way up the cone. Do this to all the cones and immediately put them back in the freezer. Allow the ice cream to set for an hour.

With the second half of the cake, crumbly the cake up and add 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla frosting. You want the cake to be at a consistency where you can make them into cake balls. After the ice cream has set in the cones, top off the cone with the cake-frosting mix and mold an additional mound on top of the cone so it looks like ice cream on top of an ice cream cone.

Melt the other Hershey’s bar and/or use the remaining melted chocolate to coat the top of the cones and adorn with sprinkles. Place cones back in the freezer to set until ready to serve.

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Dark Chocolate Bark

Serious Eats calls this Chocolate Crack and it’s pretty much exactly that. It lasted 4 days in my fridge and I was the only one eating it. It was amazing. I’ll definitely be making this for friends for get-togethers. What’s also great about this recipe is that it’s so cheap to make. I made some changes to the recipe so you can feel less guilty about eating this.
Ingredients
51 whole wheat saltine crackers (approximately)
1 cup unsalted butter (I used 2 sticks of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz high quality dark chocolate (70% or greater) (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 x 17 inch jelly roll pan with foil. Place saltine crackers salt side up and side-by-side in the pan as tightly as possible without overlapping. Use saltine pieces to fill any gaps at the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Chop chocolate so pieces are about the size of standard chocolate chips and set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat stirring frequently with a spatula. Once butter has melted, add brown sugar and vanilla stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes or until mixture is an even dark brown color and has begun to bubble. Remove from heat and pour over saltines using spatula to spread sauce.

Bake crackers for 5 minutes or until butter mixture begins to bubble. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate allowing the heat to melt the chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly with the spatula so all of the crackers are completely covered. Refrigerate until chocolate sets and hardens. Break apart and serve.

Spiderweb Cupcakes

Gotta love Martha Stewart. I love reading her website for ideas and I saw her post a No-Bake Spiderweb Cheesecake. I thought the spiderweb design on top of the cake was great. I used her method to recreate the design on cupcakes.

Ingredients

Baked cupcakes (I used Pillbury’s Devil Food Cake)
White Betty Crocker cookie icing
Betty Crocker Decorating Gel in black

After baking the cupcakes, I waited for them to cool down to start decorating.

Apply a thin layer of  the white Betty Crocker cookie icing onto the cupcakes. After covering the surface of the cupcake, wait for the icing to set, about 5 minutes. Now you can start making the web.

Starting in the center of the cupcake, pipe a spiral.

Pull the tip of a paring knife in a gently curved line from the center of the spiral to outer edge. Do not push the knife into the dried white icing. Move across the surface of the icing lightly, only moving the black gel icing down. Wipe knife clean, and repeat to form a web.

The above picture is your finished result. Enjoy! Happy Halloween!

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

Besides carving a Nightmare Before Christmas pumpkin, I also decided to make some cupcakes, decorated to look like Jack Skellington’s face. I got the inspiration for this on the Disney Family website and really loved the idea. The execution was pretty simple too.

Ingredients

Baked cupcakes (I used Pillbury’s Devil Food cake mix)
White Betty Crocker cookie icing
Wilton Black Decorating Icing 
Wilton No. 3 round decorating tip
Wilton Coupler Ring (to attach the round decorating tip to the icing tube)

After baking the cupcakes, I waited for them to cool down to start decorating.

I used white Betty Crocker cookie icing for the face and Wilton Black Decorating Icing with the No. 3 decorating tip attached to make the face. I really liked using the Betty Crocker icing. Not a whole lot of prep was needed before opening the package and starting to put icing on the cupcakes. Apply a thin layer of this onto the cupcakes.

After covering the surface of the cupcake, wait for the icing to set. With this icing, it took 5 minutes. Now you can start decorating.

Use the black icing to draw the outline of the eyes. The Disney Family site recommends using toothpicks to draw the outline of the eyes before piping the black frosting. I didn’t find this necessary, but it’s a good suggestion.

Pipe on two short lines for a nose.

Pipe a long line across the bottom of the cupcake for the mouth.

Randomly top the mouth with a bunch of short icing barbs.

Pipe icing into the eyes to fill in the circles.

And you’re done! Enjoy and have a happy Halloween!

Coconut Popsicles

As the temperature rises in Los Angeles into the 90’s and 100’s, it’s essential to have something cold (and preferably) sweet in the freezer. This time I decided to use my Zoku Quick Pop Maker to make coconut popsicles.

I made this recipe without the shredded coconut because I hate the consistency of shredded coconut…kind of grosses me out. I’m aware that I’m a minority in this so I added the shredded coconut as an option and included instructions on how to add it in. Photos show the popsicles without the shredded coconut. They tasted great without it!

Ingredients

7 oz. coconut milk (not lite)
1/4 cup low fat milk
3 tbsp. water
3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional)

Whisk together all ingredients until sugar has dissolved.

Insert sticks into the pop maker molds and pour the coconut base in the molds. If you are using shredded coconut, pause to add large pinches of coconut on each side of the sticks as you pour. Fill until the fill line and, if using shredded coconut, top each filled mold with a pinch of coconut to create the skirt.

Let the pops freeze completely before removing from molds and serve.

Reference
Zoku Quick Pops by Jackie Zorovich & Kristina Sacci

Homemade Thin Mints

Oh Girl Scout cookies. In my book, probably the most irresistible cookies ever. Why else do we shell out so much money for these little boxes of cookies? Cakespy did their own homemade version of Thin Mints a few months ago. This, being one of my favorites (and most likely yours too), I attempted making these.

Ingredients

For the cookies:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
For the dark chocolate coating:
10 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and peppermint extract. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 to 2 hours (I did mine overnight), until dough is very firm.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

For the most authentic texture, slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4 inch thick (they will not be as crisp if they are thicker, but they’re still delicious) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you don’t have to leave too much space around each one. 

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.

Prepare the coating. I used the microwave to do this.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high power in the microwave, stirring every 45 to 60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating. (Note: Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.)

Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, turn with a fork to coat, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes, or until chocolate is cool and firm.

To speed the cooling process, I put the cookies still on the parchment sheet in the fridge. 

The cookies turned out very good. They didn’t taste exactly like Girl Scout Thin Mints, but for a homemade version, these were great. I also preferred the cookies that were more chewy than crispy. It seemed like the chewier ones tasted more minty than the crispier ones. Next time I do this, I will make more chewier ones by cutting them a little more than 1/4 inch thick.  

Cookies and Cream Popsicles

To make these popsicles, I used the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. This is my second attempt at this recipe. My first attempt failed horribly. The original recipe for this comes from Zoku’s Quick Pop Recipe Book by Jackie Zorovich and Kristina Sacci. I changed some of the directions based on my last experience trying to make these. I made 2 popsicles here however the recipe below is to make 6 popsicles.

Ingredients

3 chocolate sandwich cookies
1/4 cup crumbled chocolate cookies
8 oz sugar-free vanilla pudding (2 individual serving cups)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

First make the vanilla base by mixing the vanilla pudding, water, sugar and vanilla extract. After the vanilla pudding and sugar have become smooth in consistency, place in the refrigerator.

Split the 3 chocolate sandwich cookies in half, scrap off the creme in the center with a butter knife, and crumble them into chunky pieces. Reserve.

Split more chocolate sandwich cookies in half, scrap off the creme in the center, and smash them into finer pieces in a bowl. I used the bunt ends of chopsticks to do this and smashed them in a measuring cup.

Now it’s time to use the reserved larger cookie pieces. Take out the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from the freezer. Dip the decorative side of a cookie piece in the vanilla base.

Pat dry with a paper towel.

Use your finger (I also used chopsticks when my fingers couldn’t reach) to apply the dipped cookie to the wall of the pop maker mold. Repeat with remaining cookie pieces.

Mix the crumbled chocolate cookies with the vanilla mix. Transfer the vanilla mix to the measuring cup.

Pour mix into pop maker mold a little short of the fill line.

Insert popsicle stick after.

Normally you are supposed to insert the stick before pouring the popsicle mix, however this is what screwed me last time. The spacing of the mold is narrow and it’s hard to pour with the stick in the way. It didn’t fill the mold well either and left a lot of gaps in between the larger cookie pieces and the popsicle stick. No bueno. Doing this step in reverse produced better results.

Place Zoku Quick Pop Maker in the freezer. I do this to get the pops to freeze better and faster.

I left the pops in the freeze for a while, about 20 minutes. The mix is thicker so I wanted to make sure they would freeze.

Take out the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from the freezer.

Use the Supper Tool to extract your pops.

These pops were really good! Not too sweet either. Next time I would put more larger cookie pieces against the wall of the pop mold to make it look prettier. Otherwise, these were great!