Friday Five: Birthday Sweets

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

Guys, I hate to sound like a broken record, but I just haven’t been 100% lately. If March is supposed to go out like a lamb, I need it to be a little more lamb-like. That lion is still roaring in my head. I’m looking forward to Easter to maybe re-charge my batteries and get excited about, and plan some, new posts.

The best part of the last week has been the sugar intake. Last Saturday we celebrated Chilali’s December birthday with a big ice cream party and on Tuesday, Chris turned another year older with a delicious triple-chocolate cake. There’s really no better way I can show someone how special they are to me than by cooking, and I’ve been wanting to throw an ice cream party for a while now. It was just as old-fashioned and fun as I envisioned. Sometimes I live for that stuff.

I thought you guys might want to see what we had on tap for the two events.

And, my apologies, these are the only {bad, phone} pictures I took away from both nights.


5. Chocolate Cake

Chris, a non-lover of ice cream, requested a very chocolately cake for his celebration. This one was so. good. Especially the icing. I had migraine auras hit as I was baking it, so no pictures…I was lucky to get the icing on the cake! But trust me when I say it’s a total keeper.

Sally’s Triple Chocolate Cake

4. Sorbet

For the lactose intolerant in your life, or just a dang good summery pick, I’d go with this stunning, majorly tart recipe by Ice Cream God David Lebovitz.

The Perfect Scoop’s Lemon Sorbet

3. Sauces

Chilali picked all of the eats at her party and these two were perfect for the ice creams and sorbet available. One creamy, dreamy–the other tart and sweet. Instead of a traditional salted caramel, we made a salted version of this praline sauce, which is one of my favorites.

The Perfect Scoop’s Chunky Raspberry Sauce (scroll way down for recipe)

Joy the Baker’s Praline Sauce (or A Really Delicious Caramel Sauce)

2. Toppings

Remember when Chilali and I met Jeni, the Ice Cream Goddess? I made the Salty Graham Gravel we had at the book signing and holy cow, how have we not all had gravel on our ice cream from the very beginning. It’s a total game changer.

Jeni’s Salty Graham Gravel Topping

I also made chocolate covered potato chips, which are mentioned in Joy’s Homemade Decadence and couldn’t be easier. Melt some semi-sweet chocolate cubes in a double-boiler, remove from heat, dunk in some Ruffles and freeze for 8 minutes. Then crumble and store in the freezer. So easy, so addictive.


1. Ice Cream!

The stars of the show! (Unless you’re Chris, then see #5.) Chilali’s favorite spice is Black Pepper, so she went wild with one of David’s creative concoctions. I thought it would be spicier, but it was actually a nice, warm heat.

The Perfect Scoop’s Black Pepper Ice Cream

Her other choice was another win: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter. (I swear, she picked that on her own without any pressure from me!) The recipe was from the Ample Hills cookbook–a Brooklyn-based creamery whose secret to creamy bases is to include dry non-fat milk powder. It absorbs any excess water from other ingredients so there’s absolutely no graininess or ice crystals in the finished product. I was skeptical and there are definitely a lot more steps than I’m used to, but it was worth the effort. Everyone went absolutely nuts for this. Since it’s nowhere to be found online, here you go!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

¾ c. organic cane sugar
½ c. skim milk powder
1 2/3 c. whole milk
1 2/3 c. heavy cream
3 egg yolks

Chocolate Paste:
1 c. organic cane sugar
1 c. cocoa powder
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Swirl:
1 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. golden syrup or corn syrup
¼ c. organic cane sugar
1 c. natural peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

Make the chocolate paste: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 c. water to boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder, whisking vigorously to combine. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and combined. Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, skim milk powder, and milk. Whisk until smooth. Make sure the skim milk powder is fully dissolved into the mixture and that no lumps remain. Stir in the cream.

Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning, until the mixture reaches 110 degrees (F), 5-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in ½ c. of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.

Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking the mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 165 degrees (F), 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate paste and vanilla.

Pour the ice cream base through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and place in the prepared ice bath and let cool for 30-40 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, syrup and sugar; cook over low heat stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved, but not a moment longer. Remove pan from heat, add peanut butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Set aside

Transfer the cooled base to your ice cream maker and churn it according to manufacturer instructions. Transfer to a container, stirring in the peanut butter swirl gently. Do not overmix. Freeze for 8-12 hours.


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