Recipe: Funfetti Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

This weekend (well actually Monday) was G's birthday! We ate, did a ton of walking around the city, went to the baseball game with some friends, and made and ate these ice cream sandwiches! 

I knew I wanted to make something that wasn't chocolate, was easy to share with friends, was easy, seemed pretty foolproof, and didn't require a ton of dishes and/or time. These fit all of categories and also seemed really fun/outrageous/festive. Hooray! 

(These were honestly so good that while eating the first one, I just looked at G and with my mouth filled with ice cream sandwich murmured "I made something great." He agreed.)

Funfetti Birthday Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yields 18-20 sandwiches

For Funfetti Cookies:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups flour
3-5 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles or nonpareils

For Filling:
1 container of birthday cake ice cream (I used Blu's Birthday Party from Blue Bunny)
1 container of rainbow Nerds candy and Fruity Pebbles cereal, or whatever you want!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk flour, salt, and baking powder to combine. With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixer. Using a spatula, fold in sprinkles.

Drop rounded balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I made mine a little larger than the original recipe to get a bigger cookie, about a tablespoon and a half large. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 5 minutes, and then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are completely cool, match cookies of the same size. Place a baking sheet so it's flat in your freezer. Using a tablespoon or soup spoon, spoon birthday cake ice cream onto one cookie and lightly press down with another cookie. I used a ball of ice cream that was larger than a golfball, but smaller than a tennis ball, but whatever works! Use the handle of a spoon (or your finger) to smooth out the ice cream between the cookies and place on the baking sheet in the freezer. After all sandwiches are created, roll the sides of each sandwich in candy or lightly smashed cereal, pressing the pieces into the ice cream. Place back in the freezer and freeze for at least an hour to completely harden. 

So cute! :)

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

Somethings are complicated. Relationships, taxes, trying to read my student loan statements, boys, European clothing sizes when you live in the U.S., hormones. The list is really endless. But then, Somethings are easy. Like the combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels. So let's focus on those things, throw them together, and make something simple.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 handful broken up pretzel pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Pour melted chocolate onto the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out slightly until chocolate is about a 1/4 inch thick.

In saucepan over medium heat, heat peanut butter until it warms and thins out. Stir continuously so it doesn't burn. Pour the warmed peanut butter into the center of the melted chocolate and swirl them together with a fork. Top the crushed pretzels over the top of the chocolate/peanut butter, and press down very slightly. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and once set, break into pieces. 

That's really it. Somethings are just simple and great. So when things get crazy and complicated (which is secretly how I love my life to be) make something easy and enjoy a moment of simplicity. 

Recipe: Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry shortcakes are such a classic dessert. I guess it's something about the combination of ripe strawberries, whipped cream, and spongy cake that is quite irresistible and screams summertime and BBQs. Well it's not summertime (I'm currently looking at quite a bit of snow outside my window), but let's just pretend for a little bit? Please?

Do you know those sponge cake little bowls that they sell in grocery stores to make strawberry shortcakes in? There's always been something about them that I didn't like. They always tasted bland and slightly artificial. So I decided to make mini strawberry shortcakes my way, with a cupcake pan!

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 48 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and light yellow. Beat in each egg, one at a time until combined. Mix in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating between the the buttermilk and the dry. Add the dry in 1/3s and buttermilk in 1/2s. Mix until just combined.

Fill each liner half full with batter and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whipped Cream

Makes enough for 48 cupcakes

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 handfuls of strawberries, sliced long ways

Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking.

Add whipping cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

To make these into shortcakes, remove each cupcake from it's wrapper and cut with a serrated knife horizontally. Turn the cupcake so the rounded top is now the bottom. Place a healthy helping of whipped cream down on the bottom half, layer 3-4 strawberry slices on top, then a little dab of whipped cream on top of the strawberries (to hold the top on). Place the top on, then a bit more whipped cream and top with another strawberry.

You'll want to eat these mini cakes the same day they are made, or store in a airtight container in the fridge for an additional day.

Wouldn't these be perfect for a Valentine's Day dessert? I love how fancy and complicated they look, but are so easy to throw together. 

Recipe: S'mores Brownies

Have you caught on that I love making desserts into other dessert? A perfect example is these S'mores Brownies. Chocolately brownies sandwiched between a graham cracker crust and delicious marshmallow frosting. I love s'mores, and these are slightly addicting. Beware!

S'mores Brownies

(adapted from this brownie recipe from Shutterbean)

Yields 9 large brownies

Brownies

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4c dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1c flour

Crust

  • 2c graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 inch glass baking pan with nonstick parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse all the crust ingredients until the mixture is finely ground. Press mixture evenly into the parchment-lined baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. 

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder. In a microwave safe bowl, melt together butter and semisweet chocolate in the microwave. Make sure to keep an eye on them so not to burn.

Transfer chocolate and butter into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar, then mix in each egg one at a time. Using a rubber spatula, mix in flour mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

Carefully spread the batter evenly over the graham cracker crust and bake 45-50 minutes. You'll know they are down when a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in the pan.

Gooey Marshmallow Frosting

  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

This recipe makes enough frosting for a thin layer of topping. If you would like a thicker layer, double the recipe.

Whisk egg whites, sugar, and cream and tartar in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Whisk frequently until mixture reaches 160 degrees (I used a candy thermometer). Transfer mixture into bowl of electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beginning at low speed, gradually increase speed to medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in vanilla.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cooled brownies. To toast the top, use a creme brulee torch to lightly brulee the topping. Cut brownies into 9 squares with a large sharp knife and enjoy.

I think s'mores might be one of my favorite flavor combinations. Need s'mores love? Check out these S'mores Cupcakes!

Recipe: Basic Lemon Bars

Sometimes you need to cut the crap and get down to basics. And that is what this recipe is all about. I remember making these basic lemon bars with my babysitter during the summer when my parents were at work. They're everything that you want in a lemon bar. Gooey, buttery crust, tart, and slightly sweet. Sometimes you don't need to mess with the basics.

Basic Lemon Bars

Yields 9-12 bars (depending on how big you cut them)

  • 1c flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4c powdered sugar
  • 1c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In an electric mixer, combine flour, powdered sugar, and butter until crumbly and the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Press the dough evenly into the pan with your hands, making sure to go up the sides slightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Whisk together eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder, sugar, and salt until combined and fluffy. Pour over hot crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until no indentation remains when touched slightly in the center and is slightly darker in color.

Let lemon bars cool completely, then cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar.

They're as good as they look. No joke.