Aperol Pistachio Ice Cream Soda

Remember when you were a kid and you were all like “I wonder what these things would taste like if I mix them together…” and then you’d come up with some crazy concoction and make your friends eat it? That’s something I still do. Except I’m way better at it now and I take great care not to make people gag when they taste it.

Genius struck when I was going to town on a pint of pistachio and thought to myself: “Self, that Aperol over there would probably go pretty swell with this pistachio gelato. How could it possibly be bad? I mean they’re both Italian, right?” After all, Pistachio pairs well with rhubarb and citrus, both of which are part of Aperol’s ingredients and flavor profile. I also recall a cocktail from the Kensington Hotel in London that was made with Aperol and dry pistachio.

Well I was right. Guys, I was on a tasty mission and this ice cream soda was it.

Aperol Pistachio Ice Cream Soda

 

Ingredients

Pistachio Gelato or Ice Cream
Aperol
Seltzer Water

Pour 1 1/2 ounce of Aperol into a glass. Add two 2 scoops.  Top it off with seltzer. Watch it all fizz up and float together.

 

Aperol Pistachio Ice Cream Soda Aperol Pistachio Ice Cream Soda

Serve with straws and spoons for ultimate enjoyment. And then eat it. It’s SO good. Boozy ice cream sodas are definitely a must have for your next shindig.

 

Mini Pie Cupcakes – They’re Cupcakes with Pie Inside!

Mini Pie Cupcakes? Mini PieCakes? CupPieCakes?

Call them whatever you want but these are my new favorite things. Remember the pie-cake I made? It’s almost like that, but in cupcake form. Sure, the cake was good, but most of the time I’ll pick cupcakes over cake. This version is more simple and mild, but still very delicious and interesting. These cupcakes were a lot easier to manage and took a lot less time than the monster pie-cake. So if you’re feeling intimidated by pie-cakes because of flavor and effort, try this instead.

This time I made the cake and frosting from scratch, which I very much prefer and will do next time I attempt a pie-cake. What I didn’t make from scratch were the mini pies. It would be simple enough to do that using a mini cupcake tin, but it wasn’t necessary because Trader Joe’s has the best mini pies ever. Are you familiar with this medley of fruit pies? Well, you should be.

Trader Joes Mini Pies

All you need to do is whip up some cake batter and frosting (your own recipe or boxed is fine) and buy (or make) some mini pies. If you’re using frozen pies, let them thaw out for a bit.

Pie inside of a cupcake!

I made my favorite yellow cake recipe. It has a classic flavor and is the perfect density to hold the pie.

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk

Cream room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs (one at a time) and mix well. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add them to the butter mixture alternating with the milk.

Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Pour a small amount of batter into the liner and push it up the sides a little. Place the mini pie in and top with more cake batter. Bang the pan on the counter to make sure everything is settled in there. Then bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Mini Pie Cupcakes. Pie inside of the cupcake!

The frosting I used is a simple buttercream.

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Cream together the butter and vanilla. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the butter mixture. Scrape down the bowl often to make sure all everything is mixed in. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until it’s your desired consistency. Beat until smooth for about 2-4 minutes.

Pie filled cupcakes!What you get is PIE INSIDE OF CAKE IN CUPCAKE FORM. You get the best of both worlds. The pie center is so good. And the piecrust goes super well with the fluffy cake. It’s basically a dream hybrid dessert.

Introducing the Banana Split PieCake

Let’s talk about pie-cake. It’s like the turducken of cakes. A piecaken? Who knows where this thing even got started but the first one I ever saw was when Charles Phoenix made his cherpumple (cherry/pumpkin/apple) cake. It’s 3 layers of cake with pies baked into each one. I always try explaining this to people and they look at me like I have three heads until I show them a picture. So here.

Cherpumple
Naturally I was excited by two of my favorite things coming together to make a monster dessert and I wanted to make one.

I figured it could work with other flavor combos, and I just so happened to have been craving a banana split, so I devised a plan to make my very own banana split inspired piecake.

To me the perfect banana split consists of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice creams topped with pineapple, chocolate, and strawberry sauces. Lots of cherries and whipped cream. So, I would do:

Vanilla cake with Cherry Pie
Chocolate Cake with Pineapple Pie
Strawberry Banana Filling
Whipped Buttercream Frosting
And then a topping of cherries, chocolate sauce, and more bananas.

Sounds good right? I went out and bought all the ingredients and then I thought, “WHO THE F IS GOING TO EAT ALL OF THIS WITH ME?” I figured it would be better to bake it while we were in Florida visiting family and friends. I could serve it to them at our little shindig. So I put it off and waited until we got to my friend Alan’s house.

Alan has a great kitchen for cooking and baking, but Alan is also a bachelor who had nothing I needed to properly execute this cake. I used some serious ingenuity, my friends. I ended up mixing my boxed cake up in a giant stock pot, by hand, with a wooden spoon. Don’t even ask me how I did the rest. It’s all a blur. I will tell you that Winn-Dixie sold me rancid butter so I gave up and bought canned frosting. I will also tell you that Publix didn’t have a pineapple pie so I had to make one. Luckily that’s the easiest thing to make. For the filling, I melted 4tbs melted with 4 tbs flour and then mixed in a large can of crushed pineapple, a tbs of honey, and a tbs of sugar. I threw it into a frozen pie shell and topped it with more dough. It made a very suitable pineapple pie. Oh God, who am I? Sandra Lee?

Ingredients:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 box vanilla cake mix
1 pineapple pie, homemade or store bought
1 cherry pie, homemade or store bought
2 cups macerated strawberries (mix 1 pound of strawberries with 2 tbs sugar, let stand for 30 minutes)
2  large bananas, sliced
Frosting
Chocolate sauce
Maraschino cherries
Anyway it was time to put this cake together so here’s what I did…

Pour half of your cake batter into a deep 9″ cake pan. De-tin the pie and plop it inside.

How to make a PieCake

Then cover with more of your cake batter.

Something I learned for next time is that I won’t use all of the batter and I won’t follow the box instructions for baking the cake. Because of the pie in the middle, the cake takes forever to bake. Most cakes bake at around 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. I think baking at a lower temperature is better, like 325 or so, for a longer baking time, about 60 minutes. That will help the cake bake evenly so you don’t end up with dry edges.

How to make a PieCake

After baking, let the cakes cool completely before taking them out of the pan. Then make your filling. I just macerated strawberries by mixing about one pound of strawberries with 2 tbs of sugar and letting them sit out for about 30 minutes.

Now put it all together. Lay the first layer on a platter, frost it, top with strawberries and sliced banana, then lay the next layer on top. Frost and top with bananas, chocolate sauce, and maraschino cherries.

Banana Split Pie Cake
Banana Split PieCake

Here’s what it looks like inside.

Banana Split Pie Cake

Not a bad first attempt! It was tasty and verrryyy filling. Now that I’ve picked up some tips and I’m back in my own kitchen, I think I’m ready for another go at it. Now I just need to decide what flavor combo to do next. Banana Split PieCake!

 

 

Watermelon St. Germain Boozesicles

I’m a little bit obsessed with boozy popsicles right now. I can’t help it. They’re such a treat.

Here’s my latest boozy pop, guys. Watermelon, vodka, and St. Germain. I had one for breakfast this morning.

Watermelon St. Germain Vodka Boozesicle

Ingredients:

2 cups watermelon puree
4 tbs vodka
3 tbs St. Germain
1 tbs honey
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Watermelon St. Germain Popsicle

Blend it all together, freeze it, and eat it. Now grab a watermelon and get to it.

Bourbon Date Shake Boozesicles

After making my last batch of boozesicles I was feeling creative and took to the bar cart to see what other concoctions I could get into. I picked up the bourbon because it’s my husband’s fave and because he not so subtly requested it. We have a few pounds of dates left over from our trip to the date farm and I thought those would probably taste really good with bourbon. In fact when ever I mention making a recipe with dates he’s all “…with bourbon?”. He loves date shakes so, BOURBON DATE SHAKE…POPSICLE.Bourbon Date Shake BoozesiclesThese turned out just as I’d hoped. They’re creamy and they have little chunks of dates, just like a date shake spiked with bourbon.

Ingredients (4 standard sized popsicles)

5 large medjool dates
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used Silk Original)
4 tbsp simple syrup

In a small sauce pan, warm bourbon over a low flame. Roughly chop the dates and toss them in to the bourbon. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand to cool. The dates plump up and the bourbon gets all syrupy and delicious.
Next, blend the almond milk, the dates, 4 tbsp of the infused bourbon, and 4 tbsp simple syrup in a blender (or with an immersion blender). Pour into molds and freeze for at least 5 hours or until solid.

Bourbon Date Shake Boozesicles

Lime Tequila Aperol Boozey Popsicles

Yesterday I was feeling a little warm and said to myself “Man, I could really go for a popsicle right now.” I actually said it to my dog and she gave me a very approving look, so I dug out my little popsicle molds and perused the kitchen for a refreshing liquid to freeze in said pop molds.

Limeade. Ok cool….nah. Then I was all like, F- it I’m putting tequila in this. And Aperol sounds good because why not? No one is here. I’m free to ‘test’ (aka day drink) for blogging purposes. Um, YUM. I think the sweet/sour/bitter/citrus combo produced a pretty banging popsicle.

I present you with my Lime Tequila Aperol Boozesicle because I couldn’t think of a more clever name.

Lime Tequila Aperol Pops

This makes 4 standard sized popsicles.

Ingredients

2 cups Limeade – (I used Simply Limeade)
4 tbsp tequila blanco (silver, plata, white, platinum)
2 tbsp Aperol

Combine, pour in molds, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Lime Tequila Aperol Pops

I can’t get enough.
Lime Tequila Aperol Pops

Quick tip: If you’re using wooden sticks, don’t put the sticks in until the pops are partially frozen, after about an hour in the freezer.
Quick tip 2: If you don’t have a popsicle mold you can use dixie cups and peel off the paper after freezing.

This post was made possible by our friends at Campari.

Sea Salted Brownies with Dulce de Leche Sauce

Salted Brownies with Dulce de Leche

I love salty things. I might even love them more than sweet things (which probably explains my perpetual bloat), but when the two collide — MMMMMMMMMMMM!

I was in a baking mood and my husband was begging for brownies. I’m not always in the mood for such a rich chocolately treat but I’d just received a bag of salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. and wanted to give it a whirl. So I decided to make salted brownies. You know what else goes with salt and chocolate? Caramel sauce, duh.

Without further ado, I bring you Salted Brownies with Dulce de Leche Sauce.

First you need to prep your sauce. Put a can of condensed milk on its side in a pot. Completely cover the can with water and simmer it for about 3-4 hours. Make sure the can stays covered with water otherwise it will explode and cover your kitchen in a sticky gooey mess. When it’s time to open the can you’ll have perfect sauce. It’s magic!

boil condensed milk to make dulce de leche

boil condensed milk to make dulce de leche
See. Magic!

Now the BROWNIES. Super rich, fudgey middles, and a light sea salt crunch.

Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, plus 2 tbsp for greasing the pan
16 oz semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon flaked finishing sea salt, plus 1/4 for final sprinkle

Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler, whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool. In an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and syrupy (about 5-6 mins on high). Sift together flour and baking powder and add to egg mixture. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and mix until well combined. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon finishing salt. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes and until the center is firm. Let cool in pan before cutting and removing.

Salted Brownies Dulce de Leche

Serve on top of or drizzle with warm dulce de leche and sprinkle with more salt. I highly recommend the delicate flake finishing sea salt from Jacobsen Salt Co.

Salted Brownies Dulce de Leche

Here’s a Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding Recipe

Oh heyyyyyy, looks like it’s that time again. Pumpkin time! Even though I know damn well I can eat pumpkin food all year long I specifically reserve it for October through January. It makes me feel festive and happy and autumnal. What we lack in weather we make up for with pumpkin…or something. So, my friends, here is a recipe that I developed for my husband and his love of bread pudding. Pumpkin spice and everything nice. Seriously though.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

First, you’ll need bread. Apparently pumpkin bread isn’t a thing so I had to make my own. ALL PUMPKIN, ALL THE TIME. If you can find pumpkin bread by all means go for it. Regular challah or brioche would work too. I guess. This pumpkin egg bread is super easy to make and perfect for bread puddings.

Pumpkin Egg Bread

Cut about 2/3 of the bread into cubes and let sit over night or put in a very low oven (about 170 degrees) for a couple of hours. You want the bread to be a little stale so it soaks up all of the nice pumpkin custard you’re about to make.

Pumpkin Custard Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk

Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk. Continue whisking to combine.

Lightly grease a casserole dish or baking pan and pour filling over the bread pieces.

Pumpkin Bread PuddingMix it up and let sit for about 30 minutes so the bread soaks it all in. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover pudding with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until mixture is set.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Top it with ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever else you want because I declare there are no rules for garnishes! Eat up!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding