Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reece Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Ice Cream

What's a girl to do while cooped up in the house during an ice storm? Make ice cream, of course! :) For Christmas, I received David Lebovitz's book, "The Perfect Scoop". It's the most amazing collection of ice cream and sorbet recipes I've read. I chose the Chocolate recipe to be my first because I had an entire bag of Reece Cup minis lying around and knew if I mixed those into the ice cream, my family would elevate me to "Diva" least while they savored their bowls of deliciousness! Plus, I couldn't wait to have the opportunity to take a picture using these gorgeous dessert dishes that I inherited from my Granny and knew the chocolate would photograph beautifully in the clear glass.

This ice cream was beyond delicious! Every spoonful was incredibly creamy and chocolaty! I couldn't believe that any homemade ice cream could develop the richness of flavor that this recipe does. I can't imagine purchasing another quart of chocolate ice cream, especially with grocery prices escalating, when I can create an all natural, delicious recipe at home for half the cost! Oh-did I forget to mention that the Reece Cups were DIVINE mixed in with the chocolate! Best idea EVER!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful! Enjoy!

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet)
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 miniature Reece Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (my addition)

1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.) 

**After the mixture was finished in my ice cream maker, I stirred in the Reece Cups, poured it into a freezer proof container and froze it for 5 hours. Delish!

Source: David Lebovitz-The Perfect Scoop

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Santa Fe Beef Stew

I LOVE my slow cookers! Do you? My slow cooker has been a huge helpmate in saving family dinner times lately. No matter how many directions we are committed to running in the evening with the kids, I can feel confident that there is a hot meal waiting for all at home.

As our kids have gotten older, their taste palates have grown and they are more apt to try new dishes...thank goodness! This meal is one that I don't think they would have eaten not long ago. But when I served this a few months ago, they devoured every bite and went back for more. We all couldn't believe how moist and tender the stew meat was, it just melted in our mouths! I think one of the things they liked most about it was the "kick" the stew has from the green chili's and taco seasoning. It takes the every day beef stew and brings it up a notch. 

I actually took bits and pieces from two separate recipes from the same cookbook to prepare this the way I thought my family would like it. If you decide to try this for your loved ones, I hope they enjoy it as much as we did!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful! Enjoy!

Santa Fe Beef Stew

2 lbs. stewing meat, cubed
2 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
2 beef bouillon cubes (I used beef base)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
3 carrots, sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes
14 1/2-oz. can green beans, drained, or 1 lb. frozen green beans (I used 1 quart home canned bean)
14 1/2-oz. can corn, drained, or 1 lb. frozen corn
4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

1. Brown meat, onion, and garlic in oil in saucepan until meat is no longer pink. Place in slow cooker.

2.Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Cover. Cook on High 30 minutes. Reduce heat to Low and cook 4-6 hours.

Source: Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Revel Bars

Hello there foodie friends! I can't believe that it's been nearly a year since I last posted. Goodness! Let me share with you a brief explanation to my absence the last twelve months. 

Not long after my last post, my beloved Granny was not feeling well. She was taken to the hospital where we were informed that she was riddled with cancer in her abdomen. Granny was a tiny, little thing standing at her full height of 4'10" on a good day and MAYBE weighed 85 pounds. The cancer made her stomach protrude like she was 5 month's pregnant and with every passing day, she grew a little more. The good Lord gave us six beautiful days from her diagnosis to her passing to share lots of tears, heart-felt laughter, precious memories and the opportunity to say good-bye. Granny told my kids every night that she had no regrets and was ready to go home to be with her Savior. Not many people have the chance for this kind of closure and we are so incredibly thankful for this amazing gift.

After Granny's passing, I lost my passion for baking. I've shared with you before that Granny was an incredible cook/baker and, as a child, I spent many hours at her apron strings just trying to absorb hints, tricks and her talent in the kitchen. I thought that my desire to bake had died right along with her and even thinking of blogging anything made my want to cry. The few times she looked at my blog, she oohed and ahhhed over the pictures and recipes and seemed so proud of this little blog. 

Just after Christmas, I came to the conclusion that the best way to honor Granny's memory and legacy was to get back into the saddle and begin blogging again. I can't promise regular postings, thanks to the crazy schedule with four kids' activities. But, I can tell you that I am excited to return to blogging about food and  look forward to build new friendships through this little thing I call "Christy's Kitchen Creations". I hope you'll have a seat at my kitchen table, enjoy a cup of coffee with me and let's share a recipe or two. :)

This first recipe I'm sharing with you I baked when our family was visiting from Atlanta after Christmas. Everyone in our family loves the chocolate-peanut butter combination and these bars sounded perfect to prepare for company. I have no idea why they're called "revel" bars. Maybe it's because the amazing taste of the fudgy, chocolaty middle is sandwiched between yummy oatmeal layers that leave you wanting to take just one. more. bite. ? All I do know is that the entire batch of bars was devoured in less than one day! That's a definite stamp of approval around our house.

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful! Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Revel Bars
Yield: 20 large bars

14 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups quick cooking oats

For Filling:
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9- x 13- inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and baking soda until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add 2 teaspoons of vanilla.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour and mix until completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of bowl as you go.  Stir in the rolled oats (you may need to use a little elbow grease to mix them in).  Set dough aside.

Using your hands, evenly press about two-thirds of the oat mixture into the bottom of the baking pan.  Set the rest of the dough aside.

For the filling, combine the peanut butter, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a medium sized microwave safe bowl.  Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until chocolate is melted.  Stir to make the mixture smooth, then add peanuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Spread the chocolate filling evenly over the oats mixture with a rubber spatula.  Dot the remaining oat (dough) mixture over the top of the chocolate.

Bake for 22-25 minutes, until top is lightly browned.  The chocolate may still look moist.  Allow bars to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into individual bars.

Source: Pennies on a Platter