Blazing away at 100 F, we are expecting thunderstorms in NC. And the wisdom tooth decides to show yours truly who the boss was. Flared up and enduring nagging pain was not how I thought I would be spending a Friday ! Nope definitely not fun and unplanned for.
And while A1 has a packed schedule , A3 learns to work on his team skills and to compete in the swim team. A winner by attitude more than by numbers is what I would like for him to pick up this summer.
A2 weasels her way out of gym practice and her doe eyes plead for a summer treat as she fans herself to get some respite against the warm weather. And while we toss about if it would be a berry cheesecake ice-cream, or mango ice cream or cookies and cream one, she pounces on a Speculos butter in a jar and wants to know if we could make one with it.
Creamy with crunchy bits, sweet and with a hint of cinnamon the Speculos cookie butter ( or Biscoff one) is for those indulgent days at home – weekends, celebrations or pick me up. Pair it with fresh whipped cream and some condensed milk and you have wonderful creamy, soft serve ice cream ready to drool for! Add in some crunchy Heath toffee bits and its a perfect combination . Just 5 ingredients and you are on your way to create a fantastic and bowl licking summer treat. It’s quite irresistible as licked fingers hold a testament to this at home. Go on, enjoy !
Important Tip : Please make sure your whipping cream, the mixing bowl and whisk is quite chilled to begin with. I recommend leaving it in the refrigerator overnight .
Prep time : 15 min
Freezer time : 6 hrs. – overnight
Serves : 8-12
Heavy whipping cream : 2 cups
Speculos / Biscoff cookie butter : 1 cup
Sweetened condensed milk : 7 oz. or 1/2 tin
Pure vanilla extract : 1 Tbsp.
Heath crunchy toffee bits : 1/2 cup
In your well chilled mixing bowl, add in the 2 cups of heavy cream ( chilled) and start by whisking on slow ( so you do not splatter your walls) and increase to high speed whisking to yield soft peaks.
Add in the condensed milk , vanilla extract and whisk it very well and then add in the cookie butter and whisk it well again so the final result has a soft peak consistency.
Add in the toffee bits, gently stir it in and pour it into freezer safe bowl. Make sure the container can be covered air tight and let it freeze for atleast 6 hrs to overnight.
Serve in dark chocolate dipped waffle bowls, cones , with or without sprinkles or eat it straight out of the container on a grueling day !
Strawberries – so lush and vibrant and gorgeous. Spring is an awesome time to indulge in these berries and these sweet juicy ones never disappoint you. I could never understand why these were relegated to the month of love ( February ) . My little rule book says, use them when they are in season. Eat them, add them in smoothies, make a nice jam out of these, freeze them .. They are so versatile! While They are amazing as such, add a dash of whipped cream and they are so delectable. Want to take it tp another whole new level ? Dip them in melted chocolate wafers .. OOOH yes ! While my personal preference is dark chocolate, these white dippers were my choice for a spring chilling out party. The clincher – it took about 15 -20 minutes for a whole big box of strawberries. Chilled it for an hour and it lasted just a few minutes as part of the dessert entourage ! That good if I may say so myself!
Luscious sweet berries dipped in white chocolate and drizzled with some milk chocolate drizzlers.. Celebrations anytime!
Ghirardelli Candy Making & Dipping White Melting Wafers : 1/2 – 3/4 cup
Strawberries : 25-30 pieces
Toothpicks : 25-30
Milk chocolate : 6-10 wafers
Microwave safe bowl
Large baking tray lined with parchment paper
Wash the strawberries very well, pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. ( Water droplets and chocolates are not a good combination)
Trim the leaves of the strawberries if that is your preference. I left it in to add the visual of green pop of color and also because I knew we would be finishing it in a few hours.
Skewer the strawberries with a tooth pick ( use a strong one ) vertically. Line them all ready for dipping.
In a microwave safe bowl, add a portion of the candy chips and melt on medium power with intermittent stirring. *This step is very crucial. Intermittent stirring is essential if not you will burn the chocolate and will have a lump. You need a smooth creamy mix.
Using the toothpick, dip the strawberries one by one, swirl to cover the are desired. Remove and lay it gently on the lined baking tray. Repeat for the rest , melting chocolate wafers as required.
Cool at room temperature initially. Because we use candy dipping wafers , these will cool very fast.
Drizzle melted milk chocolate or dark chocolate to add contrast.
The festival of lights, can be the occasion to indulge in quite a few calorie laden and very rich as in very fattening sweet meats or mithai. Indulging in wisely is the key, otherwise we find our hearts lighter and the scale heavier by the end of the festive season. This particular dessert is the rule breaker. This is so rich and wonderful in taste, that we almost miss the fact that this has no added sugar – gasp, seriously no added sugar or fat to the fudge. Oh my! These can be quite addictive . They are such a delish to make and absolutely wonderful to indulge in. And they are truly versatile. You can add in any kind of nuts and dried fruits you like. The two main key ingredients forming the base are figs and pitted dates. Just make sure you get these in, and let your imagination take over. Prep time : 15 minCooking time About : 15 minYield : 36-40 fudge pieces/ ladoos
Ingredients : ( For measurements , I used the standard pyrex glass measure. Not very accurate I suppose, but served the purpose nevertheless.)
Dried figs : about 2 whole cups
Pitted dates : 1 cup. Finely chopped.
Mixed Raw Nuts : walnuts,almonds, pistachios and cashews : 1.5 cups total – Finely chopped
Flavorless oil or ghee : 2 tbsp.
Few strands of saffron
Crushed cardamom pods – 6 nos.
In a large sauce pan, boil about 3 cups of water. Dunk in the dried figs, so they soften and rehydrate. The process should take about 10 min. Note you are not boiling the figs. Just added the figs to the hot boiling water and keep it covered.
Once the figs are softened, puree them in a blender.
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably non stick one, add just a tbsp of the fat of your choice to grease the pan.
Add in the pureed figs and cook on medium heat for about 7- 10 minutes. By now the gooey mass of fig puree would be supremely sticky.
Add in the crushed saffron strands and cardamom pods at this stage if using.
Mix well and turn off the heat.
Add in the chopped dates and nuts and stir well. You should have a nice mass of fruit and nut mixture by now. ( Note : If you think it is not in a thick mass, by all means heat up the mix again for a few minutes. usually 5 more minutes should do the trick.)
Meanwhile take a baking tray of your choice, or a thin rimmed platter should do the trick as well and grease it with the remaining tbsp of fat of your choice.
Add in the dry fruits and nuts mixture and pat it down so it can set in evenly.
Let it rest for a few minutes say about 5-7 minutes , and with a greased or ceramic knife cut in the squares or patterns of your choice.
Let it set in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Dish out the pieces and enjoy .
Roll up the pieces to form spherical balls or ladoos for variety. Also, please do note that these are soft set fudge .
Verdict: Awesome ! The crunch from the figs, the sweetness of the dates, the nutty indulgences all makes this a royal dessert. Go ahead and indulge. This one is definitely worth it!
I have a confession to make ! You know how some people love shiny new toys? the new car? the smell of new books? I have a few of these quirks ( .. which shall presently go unnamed ) and plenty more that can be quite baffling like mild obsession over sparkling wine glasses and beautiful crockery, Wolf range shiny new stove… But there is this particular lust factor, If I may call it , towards the King of the fruits that I find it particularly hard to overcome. Yessir, so when I spotted a box of ripe mangos, waiting.. just waiting to be picked up…It was the proverbial siren song for me as I drifted towards the box to pick it up. I knew , just knew,what they were going to transform into.. Mango Ice cream..I love it, the kids love it, my family loves it, neighbors love it, neighborhood and extended family love it , you get he picture I am sure .and I am in love with it .. Sigh!!
To make this particularly delectable and to die for creamy ice cream , Please note…
YOU DO NOT NEED AN ICE CREAM MAKER..YES ..NO ICE CREAM MAKER .. JUST 15 MIN OF YOUR PRECIOUS TIME 🙂
The goodies to be transformed :
6 -8 large,ripe mangos- deseeded, skinned and pulped. should yield about 2-2.25 cups
Condensed milk – fat free ( – 14 oz – one tin) Hey ! I need the sugar, not the fat. I used the Eagle variety. I am not a brand aficionado. So pick what works for you )
Whipped cream or cool whip – 2 tubs ( 8 oz each = 16 oz ) or for the extra creamy version add one more (use 3 tubs to make it 24 oz). I used the cool whip lite in this case.
Saffron – a pinch soaked in warm milk for about 5 min. ( optional)
Elaichi or Cardamom powder – 1 tsp( Optional )
1 large mango – skinned and cut into cubes ( this is optional)
In a large working bowl dump the contents of the mango puree and whipping cream using a hand blender or whipper, blend the mixture till you get a nice creamy concoction of goodness.
Now this should take at the maximum 7 -10 minutes.The point is for you to aerate the mixture very well. I have used the portable hand whippers as well on occasions and they have worked extremely well with no variations in the results.
Add in the saffron and cardamom powder if so desired and whip it up again for a min or so to ensure even distribution.
Now if you are using the cubed mango pieces, gently fold them into the mixture.
Pour into mould, tubs variations of any desired shapes. (Do ensure the bowl is licked clean meanwhile though !)
Let it set in the freezer for minimum of 4 hours or until it is firm.
Indulge, enjoy and pat yourself on the back for the bout of creamy goodness is worth it.
No Mangos, but still crave for it? Mango pulp is so worth it. A single tin of Mango pulp – any variety , 14 oz 850 gm would suffice.
If it is sweetened Mango pulp, reduce the amount of condensed milk – instead of 14 oz tin – use only half of it.
Cool whip – I have used the 16oz variation in this case and it was still extremely creamy. The 24 oz variant also worked very well when I had used the sweetened Mango pulp available commercially)
Bowl licked clean – check
Ice cream tasted heavenly – check
Indulged self, family and neighbors – check
2nd batch in the making – check
Served a family of 10. Now the serving size depends on the time of the day – dessert or after the hot sun indulgence!