The coveted recipe for Notoreos, a winsome experiment in creating a vanilla-cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie that tasted like chocolate and vanilla and not . . . Oreo. This recipe is a personal creation and allows you to custom-stuff each cookie to the desired thickness. It also requires a shot glass, which takes any recipe to the top shelf.

The cookies themselves can be crushed to make excellent pie crusts.

for the Notoreos

Cream together
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Add in and mix thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Add in
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
Chill dough for 1 hour.

Roll out on a well-floured board to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a shot glass dipped in flour.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

for the Creamy Filling

Beat together
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Roll into balls and smoosh in between two cookies. (Save some single chocolate cookies for the ice cream.)

French Vanilla Ice Cream

adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Place metal 8x8 pan in freezer and a large bowl containing an ice bath in the refrigerator.

Steam to175 degrees
  • 1.75 cups heavy cream
  • 1/25 whole milk
  • half of 3/4 cups sugar
Remove from heat. Mix together
  • half of 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
Slowly stir 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. When mixed thoroughly, slowly whisk egg mixture into hot cream mixture. Slice and scrape the contents of
  • 1/2 whole vanilla bean
Mix constantly on low heat until steaming at 180 degrees; remove from heat.

Immediately pour into a bowl and rest in the refrigerated ice bath, stirring occasionally until quite cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Putting It All Together

Chop 4-6 whole sandwich cookies into chocolate-chip-sized bits. Crumble 6-8 more plain chocolate cookies into small bits. Pour chilled cream into ice cream maker. Add in 1 cup of chopped and crumbled cookie bits into the mixer 2-4 minutes before the ice cream is done. When mixer is done, press into metal pan and freeze for one hour; then pack into cartons and freeze overnight.  
First: The Rant

Noël here. My favorite part of delicious blog posts are the pictures. Pictures sell food in print, and great ones make you giddy. Unlike everyone else on the internet (shoutout to my amazing friend Hayley's scone-henges over at Wait...are those...cookies?!) I do not take great pictures. Evidently, light has something to do with it. I did get a better camera though, so that *might* help, but I think it has something to do with me, my kitchen, and my time.

I'm going to take more of an effort to take better pictures, because then maybe I'll actually post more. My posts disappoint me (but let me tell you, the ice cream doesn't!). I so dislike it when things don't turn out as well as I KNOW they could!
Now: The Rave

I nabbed this delectable tome from the bookstore shelf to give to our dear friend for her birthday. It made me so giddy my mother went out and bought me one the next day. And you know what?

It is the most scrumptious beautiful amazing blog in the world. It is inspiring and crushing.

It's what I hope all my work will be and know somehow it won't be.

Unless it will!
It's been much too long without a post, don't you think?

My favorite order at Fenton's is a "junior" Black & Tan - ever since I discovered ice cream could taste like a bear claw! The recipe I started with seemed reasonable (delicious vanilla base), but all that made it "Toasted Almond" was . . . well, toasted almonds. One cannot rely on the extra bits for fundamental flavor. No. So the trick to toasted almond ice cream is to replace the sugar with almond paste!
Yup! Almond paste is just ground-up almonds and sugar. It also has a carbon footprint of a jet-setting yeti. It also costs as much. Look at that. My almonds have traveled from my home state to Denmark and back.

However, while it's possible to make your own, I was concerned about maintaining the correct texture for ice cream, and industrial-ground pastes tend to have much more uniform textures than home-ground, so storebought it was!
And the almonds? The almonds came from a giant box of one-ounce freebies at the office. I let the box sit there all day, then stuffed a pound and a half of samples into a Ziploc bag and scurried home like a paranoid squirrel.

The trick with the almonds, according to my beta-tasters, are to start with slivers or chop them up much smaller (and use less of them) than I had. The constant crunch overpowered the creamy ice creamI tend to overdo the extras, because I always feel storebought ice cream gyps you (unless it's Ben & Jerry's. All hail Ben & Jerry's!)

Move over Dryer's, I've got this one covered.

"Oh, you made homemade ice cream and put Samoa cookies in it?" you ask.

No. I turned the cookie into ice cream.

We've been going on a scratch-only kick around here, and I rarely trust any food from *any* chain store or cafe with a kitchen the size of a train bathroom. At Noah's Bagels, we baked bagels fresh everyday - from thawed, frozen, pre-made bagel dough rounds delivered in a box from a factory somewhere. A friend at Safeway says their cakes arrive frozen, ready to be thawed and decorated. Even their freshly-baked bread comes from a mix.

Food should not come from a factory, from a mix, or from a box.

And Samoa cookies, my friend, come from a factory. But not this ice cream. This ice cream comes from a land of rainbows and clouds and confetti goodness.

These recipes balance out perfectly so that your bonus fudgey goodness evenly spreads on your extra butter cookies.
I'll get better at these shots, I promise.

Having witnessed Noël's valiant struggles with custard-based ice cream, I decided to have a go at a simple fruit sorbet for my inaugural batch. Since these pints were destined for consumption at a barbeque, lemon seemed like a logical choice. So, I picked up a bag of lemons at the store, stole an electric juicer from my parents' kitchen, and headed home for some sorbet shenanigans. 

_After the delicious announcement of the arrival of our ice cream maker, my mother immediately sent over her favorite Blackberry Ice Cream recipe. But blackberries aren't quite in season (or at least not in budget), so I decided to go with the steal of strawberries at the farmer's market this morning: half a flat for $9! Katie provided the cream this go-round, and we're off to the races.

{This event actually took an additional trip to the store because I managed to curdle the custard. Curses!}

The hardest part about ice creams (and all custards, really) is not curdling the eggs. When egg yolks get too hot too quickly, the proteins bunch up into little tiny non-creamy chunks.

This is why some pumpkin pies get a little grainy and watery: the bunched-up proteins separate from the liquid that would normally be occupying the bunched-up space in creamy togetherness.

Top Tips to Prevent Curdling:

  1. Mix in a small amount of heated milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper, or warm, it.
  2. Use a low, low temperature. Did I say low? I mean low.
  3. Stir. Try to use consistent, smooth strokes with a wooden spoon (whisks are good at keeping liquids moving -- and therefore cool -- but they also form bubbles. Custards do not like bubbles.)
  4. Cool the custard rapidly once it hits temperature. (This is why we have ice baths prepared.)
WARNING! I accidentally recorded with sound; turn off speakers for best results!

What Do You Do When Your Custard Curdles?

There isn't any way to get over the hurdle of a curdled custard. You can continue, and be satisfied with a non-perfectly-creamy ice cream, or you can start over.
_This Fourth of July was monumental. It was glorious. It was the fateful day when we walked to the grocery store. Fate rewarded us for this adventure with the discovery of Raley's pint cartons for homemade ice cream.
The logical thought process of the next twenty-four hours ran its course thus:
  1. The cardboard pint containers are the most adorable, amazing, possibility-filled things we have ever seen. We must therefore buy some.
  2. We cannot decide between blue or pink, so we must buy both.
  3. If we buy them, we must therefore make ice cream to put in them! (Of course, they'd make amazing gift boxes by themselves, but function before fancy!)
  4. If we make ice cream, we'll need ice cream ingredients. Since we're at the store, let's buy some! Chocolate, eggs, cream, and milk acquired.
  5. Once home, let us actually look up the ice cream recipe to ensure we have the needed ingredients.
  6. Let's buy an ice cream maker!

__Yes. "Acquire ice cream maker" was logical stop number SIX in this thought train.

It was not acquired until Thursday, a full twenty-four hours later, after some comparative research. Salt and ice = too messy and unstable. Frozen double-walled cylinder for the win! And, as a bonus, Williams-Sonoma had a special deal with Cuisinart to sell their ICE-21 ice cream maker with an extra cylinder for only ten dollars more than at other retailers. Bonus!

The Cuisinart ICE-21.
__The cylinders only required overnight freezing and then. . . and only then. . . could the ice cream making begin!

And after the giddy dancing at the culmination of two pints of Chocolate Ice Cream in the freezer I blurted out "IT COMES IN PINTS!", Katie declared that That Was a Blog, and so here it is.