Spicy Crunchy Chocolate Ice Cream Love

You know how you flip through a new cookbook and there’s so many amazing looking recipes you hardly know which one to make first? Yeah, this book is like that.

Last year I was walking through the aisles of the bookstore, when my eyes landed on an ice cream cookbook. It looked adorable, and there were pictures of each ice cream beckoning me to take it home and give the indulgences within a turn in my ice cream machine. But, having recently been disappointed with another ice cream cookbook purchase, I resigned to leave it be. Several months later I returned to look up an apple ice cream recipe after spending the day in an orchard, and came home with the scribbled down version of Jeni’s Splendid Baked Apple Sorbet. At that point I knew that this woman was probably on to something and it was only a matter of time before I’d give in to the crippling cravings to own this book.

Two more visits and a round of “Oh, I want to make that! And That! AND THAT ONE TOO!!!” I went ahead and bought Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer, and haven’t been disappointed. Not only are her flavor combinations really something to celebrate, but she really knows how ice cream works. I bothered to read the introductory chapters before diving into the recipes and learned that her techniques are a little different than the classical anglaise bases I was taught in pastry school and have duplicated in several restaurants.

So I decided to start with the Gucci Muu Muu, a rich and creamy chocolate ice cream with the warmth and spice of curry and the subtle crunch of toasted coconut. IT ROCKED. The whole quart of it. Which I ate all by myself. I’m not even the tiniest bit sorry either. I’m pretty much ready to take anything Jeni says about ice cream as gospel at this point. The book is broken down into four main recipe sections, based on season, and while the winter recipes have been delicious I’m anxious for the springtime ingredients to work with, and warmer weather to ride my bike around in. Preferably while eating a homemade ice cream cone (see recipe in the book) full of Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream! {heart melts in anticipation}

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Traveling Photo Shoot: Truffles

Montreal is rumored to have some of the best pastry shops this side of the Atlantic, and while I was skeptical (I’m coming from the NYC area after all) I was excited to try as many pastries and confections as possible. On a particularly overcast morning walking through downtown Montreal, I passed by Suite 88 Chocolatier which just looked so tasty and so damned posh that I knew after a museum visit I’d be returning to give it a try.

I ordered two of everything.

Even still, several pieces didn’t make it till the photo shoot. Which brings about another concern – how do you photograph delicious pastries while on vacation? Sure, taking photos of the store displays and local dishes is great and makes for amazing photos, but what if you’re doing it in your hotel room? Or in my case, a comfortable bed and breakfast in the Plateau/Mont Royal neighborhood. In the small shared kitchen was what amounted to a thrift store collection of plates, one small white one suitable for a truffle display, and a brown and silver patterned scarf I brought along for the possibility of chilly evenings. An open window and 20 minutes to goof off and I had a completely makeshift traveling photo shoot.

All of the truffles were gone by the next afternoon, just in time to try another pastry shop. Travel photography is definitely a skill I’d like to develop, but with New York in my back yard I think I’ll have a lot of opportunities to practice.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons

The truth is, the coconut macaroon is a seriously underappreciated little cookie. It’s so easy to make, takes so little time to prepare, and tastes so good (especially right out of the oven) that your biggest problem with this recipe is making enough to last more than an hour or two. A lot of bakeries will dip their macaroons in chocolate, which is delicious and looks great, but also requires tempering your chocolate, and might not provide an even distribution of chocolate in every bite … or the two bites it’ll probably take to finish one of these.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons

3 oz. of egg whites (approximately 3 large egg whites)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (14 oz.) package of sweetened coconut flakes
6 oz. mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You’ll also need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and a small cookie scooper.

In a small bowl whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt until the egg whites are slightly foamy. In a larger bowl combine the coconut and chocolate chips. Pour whisked eggs over the coconut and work the entire mixture together with your hands (feel free to wear gloves if you really want to avoid the stickiness) until completely combined. With a small scoop, scoop a clump of the coconut mixture, pack it lightly in the scoop, and drop onto the cookie sheet. Bake about 25 minutes or until the cookies take on a beautiful golden color. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before you bite into them, they’ll be hot! (but OH SO GOOD.)

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About Jenny

jenny!