No Churn Salted Caramel-Coconut Ice Cream

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I know there are people out there that don't like chocolate, but is there anyone that doesn't like ice cream?? I cannot think of a one.  To me, ice cream is the perfect frozen treat. It's kind of like a work of art.  You start with a blank canvas and go to any sweet or savory flavor town from there.  It is enjoyed anytime of year, it helps what ails you at times (especially if it is turned into a milk shake), it is portable (bowl, dish, cone, etc...), it can be made suitable to a particular diet (vegan, lactose intolerant, or dairy protein allergy), it takes certain desserts, like apple pie, to a new level, it conjures up many of memories with friends and family (I can think of so many), it...let's face it, it's the best.  I mean is there really anything bad about ice cream? Oh yeah, BRAIN FREEZE! But even brain freeze is a little fun and makes us laugh at one another.  Wait, I did think one problem. What if you don't have an ice cream maker to make it home? Cue this heirloom recipe!

I could channel my inner "Alton Brown" and explain the science behind ice cream, but I will keep it simple.  Instead of cooking a custard mixture of eggs and cream, chilling it completely and then letting a machine incorporate air to keep it from freezing rock hard, a no churn ice cream incorporates air by beating or whipping heavy cream.  Sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup are added as sweeteners and also to keep the cream from freezing rock hard.  Once that is done, the imagination can go wild with flavor ideas. So,  I am starting this no churn ice cream flavor journey off with one of my husband's favorites, caramel, with a twist!! Salted caramel with coconut (that's the twist).  I have literally seen him eat a half a quart in one sitting.  He could really eat the whole thing, but he has to talk to himself about strength and will power.  Please don't tell him I told you!  

There is one critical culinary element that I must discuss.  For those of you that know the difference between heavy cream, heavy whipping cream and whipping cream, you can just skip on down to this incredible recipe.  The rest of you, keep your reading glasses on. 

How confusing is it when you go to the store and you have all of these choices for cream? For example, you need one for making whipped cream, so which one do you choose?? Well, I will explain it to the best of my ability.  All three of them will make whipped cream, but not all whipped cream will be the same.  Whipping cream (or light whipping cream) is between 30-36% milk fat.  So if you whip it, you will only get soft peaks that will eventually weep if kept at room temperature or refrigerated too long. I really only use whipping cream if I am making a light sweet or savory sauce.  What about heavy cream and heavy whipping cream?? Is there a difference? NO! Both creams must have at least 36% milk fat.  Once whipped, that higher fat content will give you those nice stiff peaks.  Does that make sense?  Good because heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is what you will need for this recipe.

Ok, now that we have that down, let's talk about the "no churn" technique.  The original recipe uses a blender which makes for a  really quick whipping time, but if you don't have a blender you can use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Both appliances will whip the cream enough to incorporate that air we are looking for to achieve stiff peaks.  I have noted both methods in the recipe below. And with no heat involved, this is a great recipe for kids to help with.

I apologize for keeping your eyes too long, but now we must move on to flavor😃.  Salted Caramel with Coconut...mmmm!!!  Makes my jaws crack thinking about it (and yes I have to think about it because my husband ate it all)!  You will need the All-Purpose Caramel Sauce that I perviously shared, but you can certainly use a good quality store bought caramel sauce.  The recipe also calls for toasted coconut.  Obviously we can't get toasted coconut at the store, so I just measure out about 1/3 cup (it'll shrink once toasted) and toast in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Transfer it to a plate to cool before using. What if you don't like coconut or can't eat it? Just leave it out, but then you'll have to change the name of the ice cream😉 and that's ok.  What is not ok is if you do not make this wonderfully easy and super delicious frozen treat!

Lastly (I promise I will stop typing in a sec), I have 1-quart plastic containers with silicone lids that I like to use (I bought them at Williams-Sonoma), but you can freeze it in a metal loaf pan or even a metal 8-inch square pan to freeze the mixture more quickly.

Ok, I am done. Now go have fun in the kitchen!!


Quick Creole Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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I know I said stay tuned for more sugar, but with Mardi Gras just around the corner, I wanted to share this dish first.  

Long time readers should recall that I spent part of my childhood on the North shore of Lake Ponchartrain in Mandeville, Louisiana.  Good times and good eats were had all year long, but the season of Mardi Gras still stands out in my mind.  One of the dishes that stands out is jambalaya. I have talked about it previously when I shared my version of Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, so please take a moment to read about the different versions of jambalaya. Today, I share another version; the QUICK one.  

Typically a quick jambalaya is called a "white jambalaya" because the rice is cooked separately from the meat/s and veggies and then it is all mixed together.  It does save quite a bit of time with still great flavor. This particular recipe was originally called Quick Chicken Jambalaya, but I knew I could do the name and recipe a little make over. So, here goes...

The original recipe parboiled the rice before adding it to the meat and veggies, but I stayed true with a quick jambalaya and cooked the rice separately. Also, this is my preferred method of cooking rice.  The only change to the liquid is that I use chicken broth to bump up that meaty flavor, but you can certainly use water instead.

Now, as far as the meats. This recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are tender with loads of chicken flavor and are more economical than chicken breasts and there are no bones, so that quickens the cooking time.  The other meat is andouille chicken sausage.  I used Gilbert's Craft Sausage.  The sausages are filled with chicken, roasted red and green bell peppers, onion, roasted garlic, celery powder, cayenne and other spices.  So basically, lots of flavor. The original recipe called for 8-ounces of sausage, but this particular brand has four links for a total of 10-ounces, so I used all four links.

On to the veggies...Now this is where things initially looked off to me.  The only fresh veggies are green bell peppers and scallions. What?? Where was the Holy Trinity; bell peppers, onion and celery? Well, there is one more critical mixture that can help answer that question.  After cooking the rice, meats and veggies separately, you bring it all together with a mixture of Worcestershire, tomato paste and ketchup. It seems completely weird, but it makes total sense.  I'll explain.

Worcestershire lends so much flavor including garlic and onion. The tomato paste and ketchup stand in for tomatoes that are traditionally used in a creole jambalaya.  Combine that with all of the flavors in the sausages, and you will find all the flavors of the Holy Trinity.  Throw in a few more herbs and a good dash hot sauce and BOOM! You've got a quick and flavor skillet full of grub that tastes like you spent hours over the stove.

I truly hope I didn't bore you with that lengthy explanation, but I feel that some recipes need to be broken down, especially if one is not familiar with its roots. And now you might understand why I renamed this Quick CREOLE and Chicken Sausage and Jambalaya instead of Quick Chicken Jambalaya.

This makes a great weeknight meal all by its self, but is well received to serve for a gathering. I like to serve this with my Creole Cabbage Salad, New Orleans French Bread, and something sweet to end the meal. Now about that something sweet...


All-Purpose Caramel Sauce

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There are countless caramel sauce recipes out there, but they are not all created equally. A classic and more traditional caramel sauce, like my Caramel Sauce Cockaigne, there is one ingredient that this recipe does not have.  I'll give you a minute to test your caramel sauce knowledge...

Ok a minute is up.  Did you think you have the right answer?  Well, If you said butter, then you are correct! You see, even though you can use more traditional caramel sauces on just about anything, there is one little hiccup.  When you use them on ice cream, the sauce has a tendency to harden up due the butter used.  A bowl of ice cream with bits of chewy caramel is still delicious, but with the exclusion of butter and the inclusion of corn syrup, you have a silky smooth caramel sauce to really use on ANYTHING. I would just stay away from the "shoe leather" route. Not good eatin'. 

So, this is the perfect caramel sauce to use on top of ice cream, but what if you put it in a super-easy ice cream recipe?? Stay tuned for something sweet!

In the meantime, check out some of my other caramel sauces.


Nutella Brownies

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I am sure many of you will be either hosting or going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday.  I do not usually partake in that American tradition, but I do enjoy the good eats that are usually involved. All of those appetizers, snacks, finger foods, messy foods, sandwiches, chilis, SWEETS, etc...!  Now that's a party I can get after! Well here is another recipe you can add to that sweet table or simply to your recipe caché.  

How many of you keep that lip smacking, super delicious, chocolate hazelnut spread in your pantry?? Oh is my hand ever raised! I actually keep both size jars, the larger 26.5-ouncer and the smaller, 13-ouncer. Why you ask? Well the big one we use for slathering on just about anything and the smaller one is just right for this recipe because you use the entire 13-ounces (1 1/4 cup, divided).  But really, size does not matter here😉.  

The cool thing about this recipe is that there is no cocoa powder.  You don't even to melt chocolate. It is just Nutella, sugar, eggs, and flour. Well, of course, there is vanilla and a little salt.  I do like to add a little espresso powder because it always bumps up the chocolate flavor in most desserts, but if you don't have it, don't worry about it.  Remember that I said the Nutella is divided? Well that is because Nutella is in the batter and then it is dropped by teaspoons then swirled on top of that luscious batter.  Swoon! They should be called double Nutella Swirl Brownies.  Once baked, the "brownie batter" comes out with the perfect cake to fudge ratio with a nice shiny top.  And the Nutella swirl? Well, that stay in its natural Nutella glorious state.  My jaws just cracked!  

I like to finish the brownies with a little sprinkle of sea salt as soon as they come out of the oven because I like a little salt with my sweets, but again, that is optional. What is not optional is making these wonderful squares of Nutella heaven.  Don't put the recipe in a file, in your reader or in your bookmark.  Put it on your counter on bake away! 

Peanut Butter and Banana Pupcakes

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Yesterday was a special day in this house.  Black Lab #4, my Ruby, turned 10! When your a dog in this house and you make it to 10 years of age, that calls for a celebration! And if you know me personally, you'll know that one of my favorite ways to celebrate a birthday is with cupcakes! So, PUPcakes it was.

These are so easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.  For the cake I used a super-ripe mashed banana and some applesauce as the base of the wet ingredients.  If you don't have one of those ingredients, pumpkin purée or smoother puréed fruit would be fine. You might even stroll down the baby food isle. (I really don't think your doggers will be too picky.)  The frosting is simple a 1:1 ration of cream cheese and peanut butter (I just used traditional peanut butter, not the natural or organic).  I don't know one dog that doesn't like peanut butter.  As for the garnish, it's just Milkbones and finely chopped bacon because I felt like getting fancy and let's face it, even in the dog world, bacon makes everything better.  

Now, I made these treats for my dogs, but really, there isn't anything in the cake that a human couldn't eat outside of any allergies.  In fact, when my husband walked in he saw them on the table and asked if he could eat one.  I said sure, but you might want to take off the Milkbone first😂.

There was a lot of smelling and drooling as I was making these, but if they could speak, I think they would say the wait was worth it!

Happy Birthday, Rubes!!

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