Tag Archives: Chocolate

Homemade “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

17 Jul

Very few people find similarities between school and summer. Well, except for the fact that they both begin with “s.” But one trait (or should I say treat) I’ve always associated with the two is ice cream sandwiches.

In elementary school, my mom would give me 50 cents one Friday a month so I could buy something sweet at lunch time. I’d always follow up my PB&J with and ICS. Licking the smooth vanilla ice cream off the sides and biting into that soft, chewy chocolate cookie was often the highlight of that particular day.

These days, however, I’m trying to watch my wallet and weight, and the in-store ice cream sandwiches are not friendly to either ($6 for 4four sandwiches?!). So tonight, with a little help from Pinterest, I decided to whip up my own frozen treats and I have to say, they were pretty damn sweet.

Homemade “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 package of pudding mix, any flavor
  • 2% milk
  • 1 container fat-free Cool Whip
  • 1 package of graham crackers, any flavor

Directions

  1. Prepare pudding according to directions on the box. Make sure it is well blended
  2. Mix in container of Cool Whip. Let mixture sit in fridge for an hour.
  3. While mixture sets, break graham crackers in half.
  4. Scoop about 2 Tbsp. worth of mixture onto one cracker.
  5. Place second cracker on top and put sandwich on a tray.
  6. Continue until you run out of mixture or graham crackers.
  7. Place tray in the freezer for at least one hour. Once set, move sandwich to plastic bags.
  8. Take out and enjoy whenever you want a frozen sweet.

For a little something extra, roll the sandwich in sprinkles or chopped nuts before placing in the freezer.

What combinations of pudding and crackers will you try? Let us know!

Wedding Wednesday: Alternative Wedding Cakes

11 Jul

Summer time means an increase in temperature, mosquitoes, and ice cream consumption. It also means an increase in marriages. According to TheKnot, 34 percent of weddings occur between June and August. Even though I may not be invited to all these ceremonies, I want to celebrate them in my own special way. Wedding Wednesdays will be devoted to all the sweet things that come with that special day.

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As hard as they try, every bride and groom deals with some level of cheesiness at their wedding. Whether it’s an hour of Macarena like music, or kissing every time some smart a– hits their glass. One cheesy moment most couples don’t mind, however, is feeding each other cake. It may be messy, but it adds a little casualness to the wedding (and for some couples, it may be the only thing they get to eat).

Lately, however, it seems this tradition , like the bride’s garter, has been tossed aside. Not because it’s dorky, but because less couples are consuming cake at their wedding. Instead, couples are opting for “creative” versions of the classic wedding dessert. While this may break some people’s cake loving heart, these five alternative cakes could change their mind.

 

Rice Crispy Treats

Think this cereal-marshmallow-combo is just for kids? Think again. With the help of dessert chefs across the country, this treat has grown up and become wedding worthy. Best part – You don’t have to worry about someone sneaking some frosting.

 

Doughnuts

Don’t worry folks. This isn’t a Dunkin’ Donuts creation (unless that’s your thing). This chewy concoction has become center stage at receptions this year. While you can have hundreds of doughnuts places on a tiered-platter, I recommend a few larger doughnuts stacked to look like a real cake.  Places like Allie’s Donuts in Rhode Island makes some true masterpieces.

 

Cookies

Chewy chocolate-chip cookies don’t sound sophisticated . Instead, couples can choose a simple cookie, and jazz it up with frosting, fondant, and other yummy decorations. A big cookie, however, may be a lot of work. Opt for individual or medium-sized treats instead.

 

Cake Balls

Ok, this option doesn’t stray too far from the classic. This is a perfect choice for couples that love cake, but love too many types. With this options, you can choose as many flavors as you want. You can even set them up at the tables to avoid any cake ceremony all together.

 

Chocolate Fountain

Want to get rid of baked good all together? Try the trendy chocolate fountain. I’ve seen these at a lot of weddings as a supporting desserts, but if you’re a chocoholic you can make it the star. Just be careful not to spill it on your white dress.

 

 

What alternate wedding desserts have you seen recently? Let us know in the comment section!

Wedding Wednesday: Sweet Proposals

27 Jun

Summer time means an increase in temperature, mosquitoes, and ice cream consumption. It also means an increase in marriages. According to TheKnot, 34 percent of weddings occur between June and August. Even though I may not be invited to all these ceremonies, I want to celebrate them in my own special way. Wedding Wednesdays will be devoted to all the sweet things that come with that special day.

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We’ve all witnessed it; most likely on a TV show. A man, super in love and super nervous, tries to plan the perfect proposal. He’ll place the ring in a champagne flute, or bake it into her favorite dessert. Of course, in true fictitious fashion, something goes wrong. The waiter brings the glasses to another table, the bride breaks her tooth by biting on the diamond, or the ring gets destroyed.

Fortunately, that’s just what happens on TV. In real life, food proposals can be perfect.

Sarah Pease has seen her share of proposals. As the owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning, Pease helps people around the world prepare for popping the question. Originally a wedding planner, Pease moved to a different market after hearing how her friend’s fiancé proposed. In fact, it was his food-related fumbled that acted as the career changing catalyst.

“Her boyfriend proposed by placing her ring at the bottom of a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken,” Pease recalls. “Once I heard that, I knew there must be a better way to pop the question.”

With that, Pease became the pioneer of the proposal planning industry. In this time, Pease had planned plenty of food-related proposals. The most common request; use chocolate.

“The most popular is a traditional proposal that has “Will You Marry Me?” written in chocolate on a dessert plate.” Pease says. She adds, however, that most clients prefer “more original” ideas. She recalls one winter proposal that would leave most women speechless.

“The evening began with ice skating at RockefellerCenter,” she says. “When the couple stepped into their luxury transportation apres-skate, they discovered an exquisitely styled faux-fur cooler filled to the brim with perfectly decorated Christmas cookies and a flight of miniature stainless steel thermoses filled with different flavors of hot chocolate.  The car pulled away to visit the famous Christmas lights in Dyker Heights while the couple nibbled on delectable sweets and exotic cocoa flavors like spicy Mexican chocolate and indulgent white hot chocolate.”

A romantic evening and the ring remained safe. Looks like Pease is worth every penny. That being said, Pease says it is possible to plan the perfect food proposal without spending a lot of money. Simply follow her four suggestions, and the night will go as smooth as dark chocolate.

  • DO plan ahead. You don’t want waste time figuring out how to coordinate your proposal with the maître d’ while your girlfriend waits at the table. It takes away the element of surprise and is a bit aggravating for her.
  • DO have a ring. Just because you’re proposing in chocolate, doesn’t mean that you should leave the ring at home. No amount of decadence (or desserts) can compensate for diamonds.
  • DON’T bake the ring into your dessert, as there are way too many things that could go wrong. Plus, she won’t want to put on a ring that’s covered in food.
  • DON’T tell everyone beforehand. It’s tempting to share the finer details of your proposal with your friends and family before you pop the question. But, resist this temptation! The more people you tell, the more likely it is that word will get back to her and ruin your surprise.

Would you want someone to use food when popping the question? Share in the comments!

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Sara Pease, Proposal Planner

Sarah Pease, The Proposal Planner, is recognized as the foremost expert on marriage proposals and is the pioneer of Marriage Proposal Planning. Based in New York City, Sarah and her team at Brilliant Event Planning and Proposal-Ideas.com have designed and produced dream engagements for countless lucky couples around the world and are the go-to source for all things regarding “Will You Marry Me?” Sarah is available for press, speaking engagements and appearances as a subject-matter expert on marriage proposals and wedding planning.

Mound Bites

28 Mar

Funks. As much as we hate them, we all go through them. Sometimes they’re brought on by bad weather, a never-ending cold, or a long line of rejections. My most recent funk, which occurred yesterday, was brought on by all three.Luckily, after  dealing with a few funks you learn how to bust out of them. For me that involves (you guessed it) baking.

Since this was a spur-of-the-moment bake session, I tried to think of something tasty I could create using ingredients that I all ready had. After a few minutes of sorting and scouring the internet, I settled on a simple coconut and dark-chocolate cookies. Given that these are the ingredients in Mounds (my family’s favorite candy), i decided to dub these tasty treats Mound Bites.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 9 packs of Sweet and Low (for those who don’t have an excess of sugar-substitute packets, use 6 Tbsp. sugar)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

Directions

  1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. In separate bowl, mix sugars and butter until smooth.
  4. Add egg and vanilla extract to the sugar and butter mixture. Mix till smooth. l
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, and mix till well combined. Continue until all mixed.
  6. Stir in coconut and dark chocolate (or just use your hands if you don’t mind getting a lil messy).
  7. Form balls of dough, and place them on cookie sheet (the dough doesn’t spread so you don’t need to worry about the running together).
  8. Press balls “flat” with a fork.
  9. Place in over for 10 to 12 minutes.

NOTE: If you feel like a nut and want and Almond Joy bite, add 1/3 cup silvered or chopped almonds to the mix.

 

How did these treats turn out?

 

Hugs and Hershey Kisses,

Leah

 

Review: Insomnia Cookies’ Chocolate Chunk Cookie

13 Mar

This afternoon, after a long morning of babysitting, I took a stroll through my neighborhood. After taking a few steps out of my building, the scent of sugar and butter hit my nose. Like a bloodhound, I followed that smell till it led me to the source: Insomnia Cookies.

Now before I go on about the chocolate chip cookie, let me give you a back story to this bakery. For four years I studied journalism at Syracuse University. Because of this major, I dealt with the all-night study sessions of normal students as well as the late-night layout sessions of an editor. To get through these difficult times, my peers and I depended on sugar. . . and a lot of it. Enter Insomnia Cookies.

Located a few feet from the hill, this bakery opened in the afternoon and close at three in the morning. Yes, that’s right: three in the morning. Perfect for us sugar-holics. With an array of cookies, brownies, and hybrids (the cookie dough brownie) to choose from, Insomnia Cookies met our needs without breaking our budget.

So you can imagine my excitement when I noticed one of these shops located steps from my apartment. As a recent college grad in a new city, having a piece of college around the corner offers a lot of comfort. It only made sense to make this the first stop on my NYC Chocolate Chip Cookie tour.

When the snack-sized bag hit my hand, I felt the warmth of a fresh-from the oven goodie. I also felt something slimmey, which probably came from the amount of butter the recipe requires. Spotting the grease stains plus the dots of melted chocolate meant I was in for a messy, but delicious dessert.

Insomniacookie.com

When I broke apart the cookie, strands of melted chocolate formed and dripped onto my hands. I popped a piece into my mouth, savoring the taste of brown sugar and milk chocolate. Given the cookie’s overly-chewy texture, I wondered whether they served me a legit baked good or  slightly warmed piece of dough. (Not that it matters. Everyone knows the best part of baking is licking the batter.)

Although the Insomnia Chocolate Chunk Cookie was worth every calorie (and I’m sure there are many), the “raw dough” factor left me feeling a little queezy. Then again that may have been a mind over matter situation. Despite the slight stomach ache, this cookie satisfied my sweet tooth and cured my case of the Cuse Blues.

Chocolate to Cookie Ratio: Perfect balance.

Texture: Chewy, bordering on raw.

Price: Cheap ($1.25)

Grade: B+

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week

12 Mar

Well Cookie Monster must be in his glory. Today marks the beginning of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week! Nothing deserves a week-long celebration like the simple and sweet chocolate chip cookie.

bakerella.com

 

Hugs and Hershey Kisses,
Leah

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

13 Feb

For the 50 percent of you that forgot, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Tonight, people across the country will run from store to store trying to buy a box of chocolates to go with their last minute reservations. But why waste money on a box of delicious when you can make your own.

To me, nothing says super sweet (and super sexy) like chocolate covered strawberries. The mix of tart and sweet, and soft and crunchy make for the perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Plus, their fun to feed to your girl or guy. Whip these up tonight for a dream dessert tomorrow.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pint of strawberries, washed and dried
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (You can use any variety. I prefer dark chocolate for the taste and health benefits)
  • 1 Tbsp shortening (You may want to skip this for calories, but you can’t. The shortening creates the perfect consistency and shine for dipping.)

Recipe

  1. Mix chocolate chips and shortening in a microwavable bowl.
  2. Microwave for one minute, stopping every 20 seconds to mix the chocolate.
  3. Dip strawberries into the chocolate, swirling and rotating for perfect coverage.
  4. Place strawberries on a wax-covered plate. Place plate in the refrigerator till chocolate hardens (minimum 1 hour; maximum over night).
  5. Serve to your special someone (with a glass of dessert wine if over 21).

The simple chocolate covered strawberry is amazing, but try these tips to take it to the next level.

  • Add extra crunch! After dipping, roll the strawberries in chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar, finely chopped nuts, or super crushed cookies for an extra crunch.
  • Double the chocolate! After the chocolate hardens, dip some of the strawberry in a second chocolate, or drizzle a second type of chocolate over it.

Hugs and Hershey Kiss,

Leah