Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream

Despite the (hopefully) chiller temperatures, December is just as good a time for ice cream as the more traditional summer months. There are some flavors that just scream winter, and although I don’t have too many qualms eating them in June, it’s nice to have them during their so-called proper time. Eggnog, for example, is just not something one typically enjoys in mid-summer, but it’s just as delightful in ice cream form.

This year I went after another Christmas classic – peppermint. I drink copious amounts of peppermint tea all year round, but typically save the more decadent uses of the flavor for winter. Peppermint is found in everything from candies and hot chocolate to brownies and truffles, and everything in between. Admittedly I feel a little goes a long way, but during the right season peppermint certainly has its place.

I opted for the white chocolate and peppermint pairing, a favorite as a hot beverage that I figured would play just as well in a chillier twist. Melted white chocolate paired with crushed peppermint candy for flavor, color, and a tiny bit of crunch. The smooth vanilla flavor is nicely complemented by the sharper flavor of peppermint, and should be reminiscent of your favorite peppermint truffles.

Crushed peppermint candy gives us our flavor profile, and a little pink color as a side effect. I cheated and bought pre-crushed peppermint candy, but crushing your own candy canes is a fun way to get the kids involved. The peppermint flavor is given some extra punch with a little extract, but be careful not to go overboard as it’s very easy to venture closer to toothpaste than candy. I recommend starting with half a teaspoon and letting it all chill overnight, then tasting right before you churn. If you feel it’s not quite strong enough, add that extra quarter teaspoon and churn away. You can also add a few drops of red food dye if you want to deepen the pink hue.

Creamy, cold, and chalk full of a favorite winter flavor, this ice cream is delightful on its own or an excellent match for a gooey chocolate brownie. Top it with a sprinkle of candy for extra flair.

Peppermint Crunch Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup half and half
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1-2 T crushed peppermint candy, divided1

1/2 – 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla

optional: a few drops red food dye

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream, egg substitute and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine half and half and white chocolate chips. Heat, whisking often, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Let cool about 10 minutes, then slowly stream into the heavy cream, whisking constantly.
  4. Whisk in vanilla, 1/2 tsp peppermint extract, and 1/4 cup peppermint candy1, then chill completely in fridge, or overnight. (The peppermint candy will likely have completely dissolved.
  5. Taste briefly, and add additional peppermint extract if desired. You can also add the red food dye now.
  6. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, adding remaining candy during the last 5 minutes of churning.
  7. Transfer to a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for at least four hours, or overnight.
  8. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of crush candy canes, solo or atop a warm chocolate brownie.

Notes

If you don’t want the crunchy aspect, you can either nix the extra 2 tablespoons, or add them at the beginning.

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Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}Welcome to May, my lovely readers. Apologies for the April hiatus, I got busy and blah blah all the usual excuses. However, I’ve been working on some new recipes for the summer and I’m excited to share them with you over the coming months.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

In the meantime, I’ve been craving scones lately and wanted to get some berry action given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here in Montana. I hopped over to Pastry Affair since I was pretty sure she’d have a great recipe, and boy was I right. Incredibly moist, bursting with berries, and boasting the added delight of white chocolate chips, these scones were exactly what I was looking for. Perfect for dessert, breakfast, or snack, they’re delicious at any time of day. Serve them solo with coffee as the main event, or in conjunction with eggs and sausage for a fuller breakfast.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As fragile as raspberries are, even my frozen ones became somewhat muddled in the dough, but I think this only adds to the aesthetic as well as resulting in a perfect raspberry flavor in every bite. (The lovely pink color would make them extra adorable for Valentine’s Day, if you’re in to that sort of thing.) The dough was annoyingly sticky, I’ll admit, but an extra hand washing is well worth it in the end. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that the next day I made another batch with blackberries and dark chocolate chips. I think they’d be awesome with many combinations of berries and baking chips, so play around with the flavors and report back with your favorites.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Scones are something I never much enjoyed until I went to Scotland in 2009, and it was shortly after that when I found my go to recipe for cinnamon sugar scones. I love that recipe because it’s simple and super quick, but this one will definitely be added to the repertoire for a “berrylicious” alternative.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As you are likely aware, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. As I eat these scones, and write this post, I think about my mom and how much she has molded me and helped me throughout my life. Even now, she graciously proofreads all my posts and offers her own opinions and tweaks when she tries the recipes. I am so grateful for her being such an amazing person in my life and I wish I could bring her some of these scones to start off a day of celebrating her. But since we’ll be about a thousand miles apart this weekend, I guess a phone call will have to do.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Thanks Mom. =)

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Borrowed from Pastry Affair
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp butter, softened

1 rounded cup frozen berries (do not thaw)1
1/2 cup baking chips (white chocolate, chocolate, etc)2

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

raw or granulated sugar for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Use your fingers to mix in butter until well distributed and texture is like fluffy but damp sand.
  4. Gently stir in berries and chips. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over dry mixture and gently mix until combined. You will likely need to use your hands and it will be very sticky – this is annoying, but normal and oh so worth it.
  6. On your lightly floured silicon mat, flatten dough into a circle about one inch thick. If you like, sprinkle on some raw sugar.
  7. Cut into eight wedges (I like to use a pizza cutter) and gently spread to at least one inch apart on the baking sheet using a spatula dipped in flour. Wipe up extraneous flour if there’s a lot of extra.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Scones should no longer look wet and the bottoms will be lightly browned. Cool at least a few minutes before serving; they are also delightful at room temperature.
  9. Store covered but unsealed at room temperature. (If you seal them they will get sticky. I promise they will stay moist overnight. If you have pets or bugs you can cover them with a cloth or lid – just not anything airtight.)

Notes

Raspberries and blackberries have both been awesome. I cut some of the larger blackberries in half but that’s not strictly necessary. Blueberries or cranberries would also be great.

The full half cup makes the scones quite sweet, so feel free to use a smaller amount (or leave them out entirely) if you don’t want quite as much sugar.

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome, friends, I hope you’ve had a lovely April. Montana is still struggling to fully commit to spring but right now it’s delightfully sunny and almost 60, which makes for a smiley Lindsey instead of the frowny Lindsey of last weekend’s flurries.

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

This weekend I decided to cover one of our household cookie staples. These are personally one of my favorites, although M is a bit more indifferent towards them. Regardless, if you like Craisins and white chocolate, you’ll likely enjoy today’s recipe. A bit less sweet than your average cookie, these are a light and summery cookie great for lunches and snacks (or dinner, I don’t judge). They freeze exceptionally well in case you want to make a double batch and store the extras. (As if you can have extra cookies, ha!)

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

I love these cookies for their light texture and cranberry white chocolate combo, but also because they feel just a bit healthier than the usual peanut butter and chocolate combos you find ’round these parts. Obviously they’re still cookies, but I feel slightly less guilty having a few of these. (Psyche! I never feel guilty eating cookies.) And cranberries are fruit, and fruit is healthy, so basically these are healthy, right?

My favorite part about these cookies is that even though they taste summery to me, they have no seasonal ingredients, which means you can make them all year round. Especially in late January after the Christmas fun has worn off and spring isn’t quite on the horizon. They are also super easy and take minimal measuring cups, which are always extra points in my book.

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies {{Baking Bytes}}

For this recipe I like to use my small 1 Tbsp cookie scoop that results in bite-sized delights. If you prefer a large cookie, you’ll need to bake them an extra minute or two, so bake a test cookie to figure out the timing.

Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Ocean Spray
Makes ~4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups oats (not quick oats)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup Craisins dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cookie sheets with silicon mats.
  2. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  3. Thoroughly beat in eggs.
  4. Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Beat in flour mixture in three or four additions, mixing well between each addition.
  6. Gently stir in Craisins and white chocolate chips until well distributed.
  7. Using a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop, drop onto cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, (I usually do 9) or until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store in an airtight container on the counter for several days, or in the freezer for several weeks.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I am not entirely sure how it could possibly be February already, but the sudden pinkification of everything in stores and on Pinterest means it must be true. Between work, training, and M finally returning home, January flew by at a rather alarming rate. Nonetheless, 2014 has started off pretty well so far and now that I’ve finally established my goals for the year I am pretty excited to start on them. I’m looking forward to a year of new recipes and new experiences.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

One of my biggest goals for the year is to run six half marathons; the first is on my birthday, March 15. The main goal of this first race was to keep me running all winter (so far a success) and give me a head start with training. Since I’m hoping for a sub-2:10 in September, I knew there was no way I’d get there if I started in June (as is my habit.) So far so good, but we’ll see where the year takes us.

On the flip side, I’m still baking up loads of sugary delight because that’s clearly going to help me get there. Ha. But be that as it may, this is the month of pink and red heart-shaped boxes of mostly terrible chocolates. Or in layman’s terms, Valentine’s Day. I’ve never been particularly fond of this holiday (shouldn’t you appreciate each other all the time?) but it happens to be the same day as my anniversary with M. (He is quick to point out this was coincidence and there is no “sappy love story” behind it. Silly kid.) This has drastically improved the “holiday” in my eyes, and each year I bake a cake to celebrate. Look for that post in a couple of weeks.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

In the mean time, here’s a fabulous recipe which would be delightful for any special occasion. Chocolate cookie crust, white chocolate, and a raspberry swirl come together in an amazing and smooth cheesecake sure to impress. Drizzle with chocolate sauce for extra presentation points.  It is very rich so just a small piece will do, but it keeps very well in the freezer if you don’t have eleven best friends to invite over.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Fair warning, I’ve never managed to make this cheesecake without it cracking along the swirls, but it is beautiful and delicious just the same. If you’re looking to step it up a notch this year, and you have a spring-form pan1, this cheesecake is a fabulous option. Although a bit time-consuming, none of the steps are difficult as long as you pay attention. Bonus: it’s at least as delicious as it is pretty.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Adapted from CindyAnn
Makes 1 cheesecake

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (about 20 Oreos2)
1/4 cup butter, melted

10 oz frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

2 cups white chocolate chips3
1/2 cup half and half
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake {{Baking Bytes}}

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter until completely combined.
  2. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ spring-form pan, pressing down evenly and thoroughly to form the crust. No need to press it up the sides.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water, and heat over medium-high until boiling. Continue boiling until sauce has thickened, about five minutes. Strain sauce to remove seeds.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Using a double boiler (or a metal bowl over simmering water), melt chocolate and half and half, stirring until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  7. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium until combined.
  8. Stir in vanilla and white chocolate mixture until mixture is very smooth. It will be somewhat runny.
  9. Carefully pour batter over the crust.
  10. Slowly pour raspberry sauce into batter in a spiral shape. Drag a knife or a toothpick through the mixture to create swirls.
  11. Bake 55-60 minutes for a 9″ pan, or 45-50 minutes for a 10″ pan. Filling should be set but still a little jiggly4.
  12. Turn off the oven and crack the door, leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove to counter to cool an additional 30 minutes.
  13. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  14. Carefully remove from pan, slice in 12 pieces, and serve to adoring guests5.
  15. If you have leftovers, they keep beautifully in the freezer6.

Notes

1 I love my glass-bottom, handled version M got me.
2 Store-brand chocolate sandwich cookies work just fine for cheesecake crusts. I like to pulse the crumbs in a blender a few times to get them extra fine.
3 I like to use Ghirardelli white chocolate chips for this recipe.
4 Cheesecakes are very easy to overbake. Check it at 5 minutes before the lower end of the range: if it still looks kind of like pudding, keep baking. It should look firm but jiggle as one when you tap the side of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5 To get clean slices, wipe off the knife between each slice with a hot, damp cloth. It is a giant pain but worth the effort.
6 If you decide to freeze it (which I highly recommend!), cut strips of parchment paper and gently press on both sides of each slice. Place the slices in a freezer safe container, cover the top with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid is tightly sealed. Defrost in the fridge if you have time, or in the microwave if you’re impatient like me. =)