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fluff fest

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Recipe: cookie butter marshmallow swirl chocolate ice cream

This has been such an excellent winter for us snow-wise. Sandwiched by sunny bluebird days, this last storm dropped nearly a foot in the local mountains on Tuesday. And it was a cold storm which meant nice sugary powder.

untouched snow on the trails

looking across the valley

It’s funny how we use food to describe snow: champagne powder, sugary, mashed potatoes, chocolate chips (technically rocks on snow), buttery, death cookies, corn snow. Recently, when I drop into a big pocket of powder, I’ve been thinking of it as marshmallowy. That jogged my memory of these amazing candy bars that a client (Robin Chocolates) developed last fall: dark chocolate ganache, marshmallow, and cookie butter topped with crisped rice pearls and dipped in dark chocolate. You have to see it to believe it.

insanely good

I had never had cookie butter before until Robin gave me a taste (and then she gave me some of the candy bar to sample). Whoa. Cookie butter, where have you been all my life?! I bought a jar last week for some inspiration, and settled on making an ice cream version of Robin’s candy bar. Damn straight. Are you ready? Start with chocolate ice cream.

egg (yolks), sugar, salt, chocolate, dutch-process cocoa, cream, milk, vanilla

whisk cocoa and cream together

stir chopped chocolate into the heated chocolate cream

stir in more cream

**Jump for more butter**

when holidays attack

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Recipe: eggnog ice cream

The past week was supposed to go something like this: big cold front with lots of snow, frigid subzero temperatures for several days, then a warm front ushered in by the obligatory wind storms. All of that happened with the exception of “lots of snow”. We got some snow, but nothing close to a Big Dump Snow Day. Kaweah certainly enjoyed it, until it was a bit much for even this cold-loving dog. Taking her out for a walk ended up with me carrying her back to the house because her paws would freeze in the -3°F temperatures. Kaweah would lift one paw in pain and then lift the other, totally confused until I picked her up in my arms and began walking home. She likes getting the view from up high and wags her tail while I tell her it’s just too cold of a day for a puppy like her.

before the frigid temperatures and crazy winds arrived

But Jeremy and I are good to 0°F or lower as long as it isn’t windy. Problem with Nederland is that it is ALWAYS windy. That’s why this cold spell was so peculiar – it sat over Colorado for several days and the air was completely still. Snow remained on trees for a week (unheard of!) and the trails were snow covered instead of wind blasted down to the rocks. Cold is cold, but windless is priceless. You have to take advantage when you can.

backcountry touring

testing my new microspikes (excellent!) and my midweight running tights (also excellent!)

nice teeth for traction (not great in deep powder)

Everything else has been a mad scramble for holiday-related deadlines. As some of you know, we don’t do the holidays. However, I *do* bake a metric boat load of cookies to gift. This involves stocking up on a lot of butter (natch), sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate, powdered sugar, nuts, and other cookie-ish ingredients. Running errands in town coincides with the holiday crush on the roads, in the stores… It’s a bit much for me and it’s stressful. So I decided to relax with some eggnog. Except I forgot to buy some at the store because I had to wait a long time for the staff person to come back and tell me they were cleaned out of pistachios and then my brain had to recalculate my baking schedule and ingredients list. Once home, I went poking around on the interwebs and discovered I had everything I needed to make my own eggnog. And then came the brilliant idea of eggnog ice cream.

egg yolks, vanilla bean, milk, cream, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum, vanilla extract

scrape the seeds from the pod

combine the vanilla bean, vanilla seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, milk, and half of the cream

**Jump for more butter**

grapity grape

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Recipe: frozen grapes

Guys, we need to talk. Have you heard of Holiday grapes? I saw them last week at Whole Foods. I tend to be particular about grapes. I like them to be sweet, crisp, juicy, and preferably without seeds – but I’ll make an exception for the seeds if everything else makes the grade. I gently squeezed one of the giant round grapes between my fingers, surprised at the firmness. I plucked one off and popped it in my mouth. Delightful! Since then, I’ve purchased several pounds of this variety. Apparently they are typically available from mid-October to early November. That means now. That means – get ye to the market and find yourself some Holiday grapes.

holiday red seedless grapes

The check out guy scanned the grapes and then said, “You know what I love to do with these? I put the whole thing in the freezer and snack on frozen grapes. It’s so good!” I’d never frozen grapes before, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to try this with such precious, lovely and expensive grapes. When I got home, I plucked three from the stem, washed them, and popped them into the freezer.

give them a wash

pat dry

**Jump for more butter**