Red Velvet and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well folks, I’ve got a bit of a bittersweet announcement – Jesse and I are headed back to the U.S.!! On one hand, I can’t help but be excited to get back to the ease and comforts of home. On the other hand, we really feel like China welcomed us with open arms and I’m a bit sad to leave it. It’s definitely a strange a feeling.

Because this all came up so quickly and because I’ll be traveling and moving for the next 2 weeks, I’ve asked a few of my blogging friends to help me out! I can not wait to see what they come up with, so keep an eye out for what I am sure will be some really great guest posts! Hopefully, with their contributions and my backlogs, I’ll be able to continue to post somewhat regularly over the next few weeks. Once I get settled into my new kitchen (and back to fabulous stores like Trader Joe’s!), I’m sure I’ll have tons to blog about! In the meantime, please enjoy these cookies. 🙂 (I feel like I say that a lot, haha!)

 

Mini-Cakes for Jessica’s Virtual Shower

In just a few weeks my super sweet friend Jessica, from My Baking Heart, will be tying the knot with her fiance, Chris. She’s obviously a smart girl, because October is THE best time to get married. 🙂 To honor the beautiful bride-to-be, our friend Nikki, from Pennies on a Platter, organized a virtual bridal shower, and I couldn’t be more excited to participate!


(How ridiculously cute is this couple?! Click the picture to see even more of their unique engagement photo shoot)

Jessica is a Southern Belle and one of the most genuinely sweet ladies out there! One thing I really love about her is that she is just as passionate about cooking and baking as she is about football at her alma mater, TCU (Texas Christian University). When deciding what to make for her shower I wanted to tie together all of my favorite things about her! Something sweet, dainty, and, of course, purple!

The mini-cakes I decided on are like a cross between petit fours and Little Debbie zebra cakes. I decided to coat them with white chocolate ganache instead of poured fondant because…well, it just tastes better (and reminds me of zebra cakes, an old childhood lunch favorite!).  I won’t promise you that the white chocolate was much less work than poured fondant, but the taste was worth it in the end.

Congratulations, Jessica!! I am so happy for you and wish you a lifetime of happiness! To see what other bloggers made for this special occasion check out the round-up on Nikki and Jessica’s blogs!

 

 

Ice Cream Time, Finally!

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Over the past year I have moved 3 1/2 times. The 1/2 time would be when I moved Jesse out to San Diego. Then I moved from our house in Ohio to my parents while I finished school. 4 months later I moved to San Diego. 1 month later we moved apartments from the tiny studio to a 2 bedroom with much more space. With all of that moving, things were bound to get lost in the shuffle.

I feel like I think of things I don’t have on a weekly basis. Some things we sold in one of our garage sales or gave to Goodwill without thinking. There are things that we purposely left with our parents in Ohio, knowing we wouldn’t have space in the apartment. Other things were accidentally left behind at my parents. Like, for example, the ice cream attachment for my standing mixer. The attachment is stored in the freezer and when I moved in January I just plum forgot to get it out of the garage freezer at my parents. I was pretty disappointed in March when the weather was warm in San Diego and I was craving home made ice cream.

The good news is I was able to bring it back with me after my brief Easter trip. I specifically packed (or didn’t pack) an empty suitcase to bring some of my forgotten goodies back with me, and I was most excited about the ice cream attachment. This weekend I finally had the opportunity, equipment and ingredients to make the homemade frozen goody I’ve been craving. Fresh strawberries were on sale so I knew I wanted to use them, but I have already made strawberry ice cream so I searched for another way to use them. I found the perfect recipes in The Perfect Scoop (not at all surprising).

In case you’re wondering, it was WELL worth the wait!


White Chocolate Ice Cream with Strawberry Swirl
(Source: The Perfect Scoop)

Ice Cream

8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream

Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top, set aside. Fill an empty sink (with a stopper) with 2-3 inches of cold water and lots of ice.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk, sugar and salt until warm. In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Carefully add the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly until it thickens (it will coat the spatula).

Pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl with the chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth then stir in the cream. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until completely cool. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.

(The next part is for the Kitchen Aid stand mixer Ice Cream attachment, if you have another ice cream maker follower the manufacturer’s instructions)

Remove the ice cream attachment from the freezer and attach it to your mixer. Attach the paddle lock and paddle. Turn the mixer on to stir. (Never pour in liquid if the mixer isn’t running, just trust me on that) Carefully pour the chilled mixture into the bowl and let run for 15-20 minutes.

As you spoon the ice cream into a storage container, layer it with strawberry swirl mixture.

Strawberry Swirl (adapted from the Perfect Scoop recipe for Raspberry Swirl)

1 1/2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen (then thawed)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vodka (I only had cherry flavored vodka and I think it really upped the flavor!)

In a bowl, mash the strawberries, sugar, and vodka with a fork. If you want the swirl to have less chunks and be smoother, process it in a food processor.