Vanilla Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Who isn’t a fan of an ice cream sandwich? We love every variation in my house, so, naturally, I had to try this version using vanilla cupcake tops.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Candace Nelson. I made the cupcake tops using a muffin top pan to give them more surface area- genius, right?

We gobbled up these all-American treats for dessert during the Super Bowl this year. I filled half with salted caramel gelato and half with vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla ice cream-filled sandwiches were our favorite.

Yield: Serves 6

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°, preferably on convection. Coat a standard muffin pan or a muffin top pan with cooking oil spray.
  2. 
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar 
at medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. At medium-low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  6. At low-speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture in 3 alternating additions until smooth.
  7. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared cup.
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes if using a muffin top pan, or about 18 to 25 minutes in a standard pan, until a toothpick inserted in 
the centers comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cool 
completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
  10. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully slice off the cake top. Reserve 
the cupcake bottom for another use.
  11. Arrange the top smooth side down 
on a platter. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Freeze the tops for 1 hour.
  12. Spread 1/4 cup of the ice cream 
onto each of 6 cupcake tops.
  13. Close the sandwiches with the remaining cupcake tops and gently press together. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  14. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Note: The ice cream sandwiches can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 week. Let soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Two Years Ago: Country Apple Fritter Bread

Three Years Ago: Soft Baked Snickerdoodles

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Ina Garten’s Salted Caramel Brownies

My daughter has loved a book series about a girl named “Kylie Jean” since she starting reading them in first grade. In one of the books, Kylie Jean Fashion Queen, Kylie’s mom bakes caramel brownies. My daughter has been asking for them ever since. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to comply! (She’s in 5th grade this year. :/ )

The recipe for these super rich, moist and delicious brownies was adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof via Food Network.com. I used large eggs, espresso powder, salted caramel sauce, and omitted the sprinkling of sea salt. We ate them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Decadent. Thanks, Kylie Jean! 🙂

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 T instant espresso or 1½ T instant coffee granules, such as Nescafé
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon (I omitted this because I used salted caramel sauce)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 x 1½-inch baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar.
  4. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together ½ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture.
  6. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture.
  7. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
  9. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt.
  10. Cool completely and cut into bars.

One Year Ago:

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Five Years Ago:

Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

I am actually a fan of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day desserts. ❤ But, after receiving this recipe from Nancy of Feasting With Friends Blog, I knew that I had to make this pie to celebrate with my family this year. I suppose I could have made it more celebratory by dusting the confectioners’ sugar in hearts! Next time…

I have made the Bon Appetit version of this best-selling Momofuku Milk Bar pie a few times in the past. This version is the real deal (I think!). They are both delicious, of course! 😉 Salted caramel-esque. Sweet and salty with an oat cookie crust. Mmmmm!

If I had known it was going to be the coldest Valentine’s Day in 100 years, I may have picked a cozier dessert! :/ This version of the pie is served directly from the freezer… Thankfully, this is purely for texture, the actual pie didn’t taste cold. Whew! The original recipe makes 2 pies, so I divided it in half. (It sounds crazy, but I was scared to have too much of a good thing.)

By the way, there is truth in the name… we all had seconds! 😉 Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! ❤

Yield: One 10-inch pie or 9-inch pie, 8-10 servings

For the Oat Cookie:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 T tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 20 g (1/2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (3/4 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 0.25 g (1/16 tsp) baking powder
  • 0.125 g half-pinch baking soda
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

For the Pie Filling:

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 g (2 T) milk powder
  • 12 g (2 T cup) freeze-dried corn powder
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 8 T butter, melted
  • 80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) heavy cream
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks**
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, to finish

To Complete the Crust:

  • 1 recipe oat cookie (above)
  • 1/2 T (7.5 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) coarse salt
  • 2 T (27.5 g) unsalted butter, melted, or up to 3/4 T (12.5 g) more, if needed

To Make the Oat Cookie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Divide the egg yolk in half: Zero a bowl on a digital scale. Add whole egg yolk. Add half of the weight to the bowl.
  4. On low-speed, incorporate the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
  5. On low-speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; spray with cooking spray.
  7. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and, with a spatula or rolling pin, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough will cover about half of the pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.
  9. Cool completely before using.

Note: Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended.
  2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low-speed until it is.

Note: The filling can be used right away, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 7 to 12 g (1/2 to 3/4 T) butter and knead it in.
  4. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, your fingers and/or the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into the pie dish, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Put the pie dish on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the filling in the pie crust; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
  7. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pie in the oven during this process.
  8. When the oven reaches 325°F, close the door and bake the pie for 5 minutes longer. The pie should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pie in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  9. Gently take the pie out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.)
  10. Then freeze the pie for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.
  11. Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

Note: If not serving the pie right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, it will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, it will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.

**Note: It will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. The easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. You may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. If you do this by hand, you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. Remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs!

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Salted Dulce de Leche Shortbread (Alfajores) Bars

IMG_9622

I first spotted (and bookmarked!) Alfajores on What Jessica Baked Next– South American shortbread sandwich cookies filled with Dulce de Leche. They were beautiful, no-doubt delicious, yet labor intensive and time-consuming. More for winter baking, not summer baking! I was thrilled to spot this shortcut version on Bourbon and Brown Sugar adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook. EASY and delicious. Yay! I used unsalted butter, cut the recipe in half, and modified the baking times. We gobbled them up. 🙂

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the coarse salt)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz Dulce de Leche (about 1/2 of a jar, or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add the salt and flour, and mix on low-speed until a smooth, soft dough forms.
  4. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press approximately half of the dough into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly to form a bottom crust. Place remaining dough aside in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Bake the bottom crust until firm, and the edges are a pale golden brown, approximately 15 minutes in a convection oven or 20 minutes in a standard oven. When the bottom crust is finished, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Microwave the Dulce de Leche for approximately 30 seconds so that it softens and is easier to spread.
  7. Spoon the Dulce de Leche onto the bottom crust and spread it evenly.
  8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it over the top of the Dulce de Leche.
  9. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top of the crumbled dough.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden brown, approximately 20 minutes in a convection oven or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

One Year Ago:

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