Sweet Inspiration – No. 5

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I don’t know about you, but I love fall. And this weather that we are having in Chicago is my absolute favorite. It’s chilly enough that boots and jackets are pulled out of storage and scarves are draped around necks, but not too cold that gloves and mittens and hats need to be worn. This is also the kind of weather that has me dying to make a big batch of soup, or sauce, or beans that I can eat for days and makes my house smells amazing. AND chocolate comes into more prominence in my dessert cravings. And with that, here’s this week’s round-up. Have an amazing weekend (and maybe have some cider to celebrate the beginning of fall)!

Bittersweet Chocolate Tartlets with Flaky Spelt Crust and Creme Fraiche from The Vanilla Bean Blog
Cue Jon Lovitz as “The Stoned Guy” from friends just saying “tartlet” over and over. I love small desserts. They always make me feel better about consuming more than one (or more than three). And this tartlet looks beautiful. The pictures are literally making my mouth water!

Raspberry Molten Chocolate Cake (GF and Vegan) from Beard and Bonnet
A friend of mine is currently on a medical diet which is crazy restrictive, so I of course want to bring her comfort foods…except that she can’t eat anything that I typically bake. However, this molten cake just might fit the bill. PLUS, plus, raspberry and chocolate…is there a more perfect pairing (ok, I can hear all of you saying chocolate and peanut butter or nutella, and hey, what about peanut butter and jelly…I get it). Get on this.

Chocolate Oil Cake from The Pretty Blog
This looks awesome. Obviously, I’m craving chocolate. But, mmm, flourless chocolate cake? Sign me up. I love how it’s dusted with cocoa powder, which hides any imperfections (even though it’s impossible that this has imperfections)!

Beer Brownies from Joy the Baker
Helllloooo – It’s fall and tailgate season. Beer + Brownies = a thousand times yes! I am definitely pulling this recipe out for my next fall party. Enough said!

Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk from Smitten Kitchen
Because it wouldn’t be a round-up without a beverage, this nutella-inspired bev looks especially tasty. I bet it would be delicious warm with some marshmallows on top. (For those that aren’t quite ready to embrace fall, Deb also posted a cucumber lemonade recipe that looks awesome! just add some gin or vodka and you have a summer party.)

…and the wheels came off (plus a recipe)

Woah, last week, just woah. The wheels definitely came off my week last week. Sorry for not updating with any new content at all!! But I have still been in the kitchen whipping up some new goodies

Some of you might remember that a couple of weeks ago, I said how good Deb’s brownie ice cream sandwiches looked. Well, they were better than that. Plus, because it’s Deb, this recipe is pretty perfect on its own (but I just had to make some tweaks).

Considering that my family likes to stretch out all birthdays to last for at least a month week (because who doesn’t?), we had another celebration 2 weekends ago to continue the birthday festivities for my dad. I took it as another opportunity to make dessert for a purpose (so that I wouldn’t eat it all by myself…just some of it)

Let me just say that the ice cream sandwiches were a giant hit, but they did make a giant mess. I used a combination of 2 gelatos and let the pan sit in the freezer for an hour before cutting, but that was not long enough. But you should definitely make these…right now…why are you still reading?

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the brownies
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (I use vanilla sea salt…mmm)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling
2 1/2 cups ice cream (one or multiple flavors, I went with Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup)

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 9×9-inch square baking pans with parchment paper, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan or spray them with a nonstick cooking spray.

Using a double bolier method, in a large bowl over gently simmering water, heat chocolate and butter together until almost completely of the way melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Stir in sugar until fully combined, then eggs (make sure when you add the eggs that the bowl and contents have cooled a bit so as not to scramble the eggs), one at a time and vanilla. Stir in salt and cinnamon, then flour, until just combined.

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Divide batter between two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake on different racks for 10 to 15 minutes (or on the same rack if they will fit in your oven), rotating once top to bottom and front to back, until a tester comes out clean. Transfer pans directly to freezer. Chill until cold and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove one pan from freezer, and, working quickly (like really quickly), cover with ice cream. (I followed Deb’s method and used an ice cream scoop to alternate flavors for mixed sandwiches.) Use the ice cream scoop to pat down all ice cream to remove gaps. Remove second brownie pan from freezer. Make sure the brownies are not sticking anywhere and use parchment sling to life the brownie out of the pan, remove the parchment and place it on top of the ice cream. Place the empty brownie pan on top of the brownie lid, to weight it, and press down a little. Keeping the weighting pan on top, return brownie-ice cream stack to freezer until fully firm, at least 1 hour (unless you have some magical freezer). Use the parchment sling to transfer the ice cream sandwich block to a cutting bard. Cut into squares, working quickly. (I started out with squares, but my ice cream was not firm enough – and I was cutting over the running dishwasher that was heating the counter – so I ended up doing rectangles like the ones from growing up near the end.)

Once each square/rectangle/sandwich was cut, I rolled all of the edges in multi sprinkles and then wrapped all of the ice cream sandwiches in waxed paper to make them more fun to eat and less messy.

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Sweet Inspiration – No. 2

I have big plans this weekend that involve soaking up every ounce of lazy summer days (on my couch in sweats) because word on the street (and by the street I mean the weather channel website and the halls of my office) is that Chicago is due for some nice rainy weather this weekend.

I’m hoping to make some ice cream (and if I do, I promise to share…I have big plans for it). In the meantime though, these are other recipes that have my attention.

Coco decided to join me while I was drafting, so enjoy this little cuddle pic

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Have a delicious weekend!

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle from Food and Wine– you might not know this about me, but I love chocolate. Only love doesn’t adequately describe it…crave, desire, become a raving lunatic if I can’t get me some chocolate when the need arises. So being the chocoholic that I am, obviously this recipe looks amazing! (Plus Spiced Pepita Brittle = insert that one gif of Emma Stone saying yum here)

Flourless Chocolate Cookies from Adventures in Cooking – I’m realizing that I must have a chocolate deficiency today, but I’m sorry? Chocolate and no flour? hmmm I must investigate.

Rhubarb-Raspberry Streusel Tart with Lavender Whipped Cream from Wit and Delight – This sounds like such a wonderful summer dessert. Perfect for a baby shower/wedding shower/event where people give gifts. I’m dying to know how that lavender whipped cream is, because I think it would be epic on Jeni’s Goat Cheese Cherry Ice Cream

Flaky Bread from Bon Appetit (and Glasserie) – is it just me or does this bread totally remind of naan, and then your mind goes to butter and how you just want garlic naan and indian right.this.second…no? me neither. But I definitely want this bread in my house so I can make up things to put on it just so I can eat it, but then it would be in my house…hmmm

Blood Orange Sangria from Domino – Because sangria solves lots of problems and it totally easy and perfect for when you have people coming over but only have random half drunk bottles of wine from girls night the night before (never happens…I like to call it “Day Punch”)

Also sorry for the mishap with publishing! Still trying to figure out how to work my ipad!