Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

 

Over the years, Steve and I have gotten into a culinary groove together. I am the chef and baker, making family meals, and all of sorts of DIY pantry items like breadyogurt, butter, pickles, jamvanilla extract, and peanut butter. Steve is the brewmaster and mixologist, making beer, simple syrups, and bitters. And he also happens to make way better pancakes than I do.

Between the two of us, it’s usually a complimentary partnership, with each of us enjoying our different kitchen tasks. But recently we found the thing that we’re both equally passionate about making. ICE CREAM. Steve came home with an ice cream maker a few months ago. I can pass up cake and cookies and pie, but ice cream is my true weak spot. And after tasting homemade ice cream, I have been effectively converted. Holy sweet mother, homemade ice cream is amazing. It takes some work, but it’s truly worth it, for the result is creamier, smoother, and more flavorful than your typical store-bought ice cream. And hello, you can create whatever flavor you desire.

The most recent ice cream we made was chocolate cookies and cream. We used homemade chocolate sandwich cookies and butter cream frosting, but Oreos will serve the same purpose. It is rich and chocolatey, with large chunks of chocolate cookie. The chocolate ice cream is a great base for other flavors, and you could get creative with other toppings like caramel, cherries, or peanut butter.

If you have a fondness for ice cream, churn this up and enjoy a bowlful at home.

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

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Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chopped Oreo cookies (about 15 cookies)

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.

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

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). 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.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Stir in chopped Oreo cookies, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Homemade Natural Easter Egg Dye

It’s Holy Week!

Aaron’s school (which is Catholic) has a week and a half of Easter vacation, so I have my hands full with our two kids right now. Pray that we all experience lots of grace and patience up in here!

In preparation for Easter, I’ve been doing some fun, creative things with the kids. We have been reading about Jesus from The Jesus Storybook Bible, decorating and sending Easter cards, and dying eggs.

We tried something new this year – homemade, all-natural Easter egg dye. Though I do have fond memories from childhood of those store-bought neon-colored tablets fizzling in cups of vinegar, I was excited to make our own natural dyes. We spent the morning finding ingredients around the house, and simmering the dyes. I think the blueberries and turmeric made the most vibrant colors. The green from the spinach was more grayish than anything. You can experiment with all sorts of spices and foods – beets, raspberries, coffee. It was a fun kid-friendly activity, and we were quite pleased with our colored eggs.

As we celebrate Easter with church, a potluck, Easter egg hunt, and Easter baskets for the kids, I am reminded of the new life, freedom, and joy we receive from Jesus.

Happy Easter to you!

Homemade, Natural Egg Dye
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Hard-boiled eggs
Vinegar
2 tablespoons turmeric (for yellow)
2 tablespoons paprika (for orange/red)
2 cups blueberries (for blue/purple)
2 cups torn spinach (for green)

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, and add your chosen color ingredient. Let simmer on medium for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. Strain the liquid into cups or bowls large enough to hold 1-2 eggs. Stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar into each dye. Set your hard-boiled eggs into the dyes, and let stand in fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on how deep you want the color. Remove eggs from dye, and wipe dry with paper towels. 

My Homemade Coffee Table

This week I was inspired possessed to make a coffee table. The table was actually one of my DIY 2012 projects that I never got around to last year. But hey, better late than never! With my baby in tow, I took a trip to Home Depot, collected all my supplies, and went to work on our front porch.

 The frame was the hardest part, mostly because the measurements and drill holes need to be precise. 4×4’s are difficult to saw, but make sturdy table legs. Also, I learned how to check for square and countersink screws (thanks, YouTube!).

Expect funny looks from neighbors if you’re a Chinese woman armed with power tools.

 I nearly threw out my back dragging it into the house, as it weighs eight gazillion pounds.

Sanding and staining are key steps to finishing the table. That way, it doesn’t look like a middle schooler’s wood shop project.

And now we’ve got a new, rustic, very solid coffee table! The completed table will actually be a little darker after one more coat of stain. Total time (during the baby’s naps) for the project was about 6 hours of work.

Steve now says “we” should build more furniture. I suppose that means I did a pretty good job.