January, you're great. You're full of hopeful resolutions for the future, snowy days, and feelings of fresh starts. You know what you deserve? ICE CREAM. Good thing my resolutions this year have nothing to do with eating healthy. Instead, they have to do with the making and eating of many a fine ice cream.
2016... in my own little world shall be known as the year of homemade ice cream! I do love a good challenge, especially one that challenges me to get creative in the kitchen. Hence, I am commencing the 12 Months of Ice Cream Project!
It is fairly self-explanatory, there are 12 months of the year, so I will make 12 new flavours of homemade ice cream. It can't be that hard, right?
If in the ever evolving case of my life I happen to be abroad or busy or forgetful, I will make up for a month by making two ice creams another time. It's okay, I just get more ice cream. There are no rules really, I AM IN CHARGE! Basically, my goal is to try as many recipes as possible from THIS BOOK which was a gift to me from my parents. They know me well. They also just want me to make them ice cream. I'm definitely cool with that.
I am a big fan of Jeni's Splendid ice creams. Although I have never actually set foot in one of her shops, let alone taste any of her creations, I have used her recipes to make my own homemade ice creams. I can say that they are my favourite recipes to use! They are simple to follow, always turn out amazing, and do not leave me with with half a dozen egg whites to deal with. I am a fan. One day, ONE DAY I will visit a Jeni's shop, and what a splendid day that will be. The only downside will be having to choose which flavour...
As for January, I decided to go for something simple, a classic: Milk Chocolate. You might be saying, BORING! PREDICTABLE! I did too at first. But I had to. Choco Ice Cream and I go way back. It's my go-to. Fail safe. Can't go wrong. Etc etc. Also, If I can make a good chocolate ice cream, then I think I have succeeded at life.
My mother often tells me the story of when she was pregnant with me, and how she would crave chocolate ice cream. The night before I was born, my mother woke up in the night, crept downstairs, and savoured a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Mere hours later, I entered the world... (probably ravenous for more chocolate). Like I said, chocolate ice cream and I? We have a special thing.
Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
We're off to a grand start. Here's to more homemade ice creams!
Forever I shall remain a fan of the humble chocolate chip cookie. And forever I will be trying all of the variations on said cookie. The chocolate chip cookie: a simple phenomena, yet there are a zillion different variations out there, and everyone claiming that THIS is the BEST, or their ULTIMATE FAVOURITE SUPREME DREAM cookie. Well I apologize, but I love them all. Whenever I see a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies, no matter how awesome the ones I have made previously were, I want to try this new recipe. I want them ALL!
And so when I found a recipe for "Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies" which claimed that the use of whole wheat flour had not a thing to do with healthiness, but all the things to do with depth of flavour, I was sold. Think about a slice of bread. There is white bread, which holds a certain nostalgia and blank canvas for other ingredients. However there is also multigrain bread which, in most cases, can add a lot of flavour. Don't think about trying to be healthy, think about flavour.
Anyways these cookies are not shy on butter and sugar, so yeah healthy is not the point here. Not the point guys. But it does make me feel better about wanting to eat cookies for breakfast... (a thing that I do quite frequently)
As I was daydreaming about how whole wheat flour could change the chocolate chip cookie game, I thought, why not double-deepen the flavour by also using brown butter too? Nutty browned butter + whole wheat flavour ... must equal greatness. Am I right? We have already learned about my love of brown butter in the last post. You knew this was going to happen.
Because of the brown butter and the fact that you must chill the dough overnight, these cookies require a small amount of planning ahead. But they are oh so worth it! Also, if one does not plan for anything else, one must always plan for cookies ;)
Whole Wheat Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Jessica Fechtor
found in her amazing book, Stir
Happy baking :)
Okay, so really just brown. Regardless, butter can be so much more than a pale yellow.
Have you ever tried browning butter? Let me rock your world.
Many people are aware of how flavours are deepened and accentuated by toasting ingredients. Nuts and seeds become even more flavourful by toasting them, deepening their colour and wakening up the natural oils within them, allowing their flavour to intensify. Did you know that you can "toast" butter too?
YOU CAN. YOU CAN. AND IT IS SO GOOD.
When you brown butter, what is really happening is you are toasting/browning the protein solids in the butter. This means that the flavour and smell of the butter changes, becoming almost nutty. This is a very sneaky way of increasing flavour and fancy-ing up some of your most basic recipes. It adds a certain, "Woah what is this delicious mystery flavour?" to whatever you put it on. My favourite uses so far have included chocolate chip cookies, Rice Krispie treats, and even on roasted vegetables.
Here is how to achieve the kitchen magic trick that is known as "Brown Butter":
Gosh darn I love this.
This is real brown butter, in a tiny fake pan. It still smells delicious.
Recipes using this fabulous ingredient are sure to be in our future! Stay tuned.
How does one start? The beginning? Probably, I guess.
An ode to a special lady.
My love of cookies and baking began in the kitchen of my mothers mother, whom I call Gran. My fondest memories of her take place with her old sunbeam mixer, flour, sugar, and softened butter. We would bake these cookies together, with warm afternoon light spilling in through her kitchen window. It is probably the most meaningful thing a grandmother could ever do. The cookies of course were delicious, but I never knew back then how meaningful that time spent with Gran would be to me later on. The cookies, simply put, are the humble beginning to my love of baking, and the foundation of my passion for homemade, fresh from the oven goodness.
Seems like a pretty good place to start to me!
I re-discovered her recipe in her old red recipe-card tin. I love seeing her familiar, shaky (but sure) handwriting. When I make these, I am instantly transported back to her kitchen and happy memories of my childhood.
ALSO, they are called Ginger Sparklers and is that not the cutest name for a cookie? They are rolled in granulated sugar before they are baked, which gives them their signature sparkly glam to live up to the name.
Recipe from Anne Marie Barclay (AKA Gran)