Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream with Gooey Butter Cake Bites & Rainbow Buttercream Pieces

As I sit outside in the hot weather, I'm totally hating that I have to be at school all day. It's literally 85 degrees and perfect for a day out at the beach. Instead of focusing on classes, all I can think about is some fruity cocktails and some yummy ice cream. But, unfortunately for me, I'm enjoying a tall glass of a protein smoothie with a side of carrots. Delicious, right? Absolutely not. So, as I sit here and pity myself, I knew that I just had to post my recipe for Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream with Gooey Butter Cake Bites & Rainbow Buttercream Pieces. I have this ice cream sitting in my freezer at home and I all that's running through my mind is how I can get my hands on some it. But, I can't... or at least not until 6:30. This amazing ice cream is a cake batter custard base, which is usually enough on its own. No no no, that will not work for me, I have to add in wayyyy more stuff. So I baked up a gooey butter cake and cut it into little cubes and tossed those in. Next, I made homemade buttercream and dyed it with all colors of the rainbow and froze them. Once they were solid and slightly hard, I tossed those into the base as well. Lastly, you gotta add some rainbow sprinkles because it would not be birthday cake without some damn sprinkles. This ice cream is a technicolor dream. It's literally the best treat you can have at the end of a long, hot day. If you're a sucker for cake batter, make it. Make it now. And once you make it, put a big scoop on an sugar cone and go at it (before it melts all over your hands). You'll seriously be in heaven!! Enjoy :)
Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream in a Cone
Starting to melt...
Birthday Cake Batter Ice Cream with Gooey Butter Cake Bites & Rainbow Buttercream Pieces
So excited to dig in to his ice cream after a day at the beach!
For the Gooey Butter Cake Chunks:
1 Box of Golden Butter Cake Mix
1 Egg
1 Stick of Butter, Melted
2T Milk
8oz Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Eggs
1 Box of Confectioners’ Sugar
1t Vanilla

For the Rainbow Buttercream Pieces:
1C Homemade Icing (either Buttercream or cream cheese)
Different Color Dyes (for the rainbow effect)

For the Cake Batter Ice Cream:
4C Heavy Cream, Divided
1C White Cake Mix
1C Sugar
¼t Salt
6 Egg Yolks 
1T Vanilla
3C Whole Milk
2C Prepared Gooey Butter Cake Chunks
Prepared Rainbow Buttercream Pieces
½-1C Rainbow Sprinkles

1. For the Gooey Butter Cake Chunks: Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a pan with Pam, then set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, melted butter, and milk until combined. Press the dough into the prepared pan, so that there is an even layer. In another mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Pour over the cake. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the middle has barely set (do not over bake). Let the cake completely cool before cutting into bite size chunks. Set the cake chunks aside until you are ready to fold them in to the cake base.
2. For the Rainbow Buttercream Pieces: To prepare your Buttercream to be used in the ice cream, put a small amount in a piping bag and pipe Buttercream lines onto a cutting board covered in cling film. I used different colored dyes to make different batches of rainbow icing; however, you can just chose one color if you like. Put the cutting board in the freezer for an hour or two so the icing can freeze.  Using a sharp knife, cut the Buttercream icing lines into 1/2 inch (approx 1cm) pieces, transfer to a small dish and pop them back in the freezer until you’re ready to fold them into the ice cream base.
3. For the Cake Batter Ice Cream: In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the heavy cream with the white cake mix, sugar, and salt.  Heat over medium heat until warmed through.  Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.  Combine the remaining heavy cream, vanilla, and whole milk in a large mixing bowl with a fine mesh sieve set over the top. When the mixture in the saucepan is warm, slowly pour a small amount into the bowl with the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly.  Continue pouring the cream mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously until completely combined.  Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat.  Continue heating, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and reads 170-175˚F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately pour the custard mixture through the mesh sieve into the bowl with the remaining cream and milk and mix to blend.  Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Once the mixture is chilled through, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At the end of the freezing process, fold in the gooey butter cake chunks, rainbow Buttercream pieces, and sprinkles until the ingredients are mixed throughout. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for at least 3 hours before enjoying.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Breakfast Carbonara with Bacon, Sausage, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and a Poached Egg

Brunch has to be the best meal of the day. Why do we only really enjoy it on Sunday? It should be every day. Anyway, this weekend we decided to make Breakfast Carbonara. I have never actually had classic Carbonara before because I don't like Italian food (don't shoot me, I know that's strange), but I came across a recipe that made Carbonara into breakfast. And that just sounded delicious. Who would turn down pasta for breakfast? Not us. This Breakfast Carbonara has crispy bacon, crumbled sausage, roasted cherry tomatoes, freshly grated Parmesan, goat cheese, and herbs. I also topped our pasta with a poached egg just for that little extra brunch touch. This was one of the more satisfying meals we have made in a long time. We are stuffed beyond belief at this point, and we are so happy about it. Please go make this, so you can experience the happiness/pain that we are in right now!! Enjoy :)
Breakfast Carbonara with Bacon, Sausage, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, and a Poached Egg
The View from the Top
The poached egg makes it so decadent...
For the Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
1C Cherry Tomatoes, Cut in Half
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

For the Breakfast Carbonara:
½C Crumbled Breakfast Sausage, Cooked
½C Crispy Bacon, Roughly Chopped
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
¼C Dry White Wine
4 Large Eggs (two for the pasta and two for fried or poached eggs as garnish)
1C Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced to a Paste
2T Fresh Parsley, Minced
2oz Fresh Goat Cheese, Crumbled
½lb Pasta, Cooked
Fresh Chives, Minced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them out in one even layer on a baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes for 30-45 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and caramelized. Set them aside until ready to use.
2. For the Breakfast Carbonara: Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat together the eggs, Parmesan, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside. Transfer hot, cooked pasta to the pot (removed from heat); if pasta is dry, add some reserved cooking water and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, toss well to combine. Toss the roasted tomatoes, parsley, bacon, and crumbled sausage into the egg-coated pasta. Season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Lastly garnish with crumbled goat cheese and chives. Top the pasta with a fried or poached egg.
3. Enjoy immediately!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Date Night : Red Velvet Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Waffles with Cream Cheese-Pink Peppercorn Gravy and Spicy Cinnamon-Maple Syrup

I feel like it's been forever since I had a date night with my Mountain Man. We've just been so busy with school, work, and St. Patrick's Day last weekend... it's just kinda slipped our minds. So, we finally brought it back and decided to make chicken & waffles, again. I know our obsession is down right dirty. But we love it, so there. And we really outdid ourselves with this crazy combination. I had heard of Red Velvet Fried Chicken from some restaurant in San Francisco that made it famous. Well, I knew that I had to make it the second I could... it's just too crazy to pass up! So, I marinated chicken tenderloins in my red velvet cake batter for 24 hours, and then I made a second batch of my red velvet batter and baked a cake. After it was done baking, I crumbled the cake into a breadcrumb-like texture, and then toasted them in the oven until they were nice & crunchy (but not burt). I deep fried these suckers until they were a deep red color and crispy on the outside. Also, I made a homemade gravy with some cream cheese, as a play off the cream cheese frosting typically served with the cake, and added some pink peppercorns for some bite. The waffles needed something sweet, so I made a spicy cinnamon-maple syrup. The chicken was served on top of delicious buttermilk waffles and topped with all the homemade fixin's. This is definitely one odd dinner, but somehow it all works. The chicken alone is sweet, but with the gravy, waffles, and syrup, it is all balanced out. So don't be afraid, just jump right in!! Enjoy :)
Red Velvet Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Waffles with Cream Cheese-Pink Peppercorn Gravy
and Spicy Cinnamon-Maple Syrup

Look at that gorgeous red hue that the chicken got from the marinade
For the Red Velvet Cake Batter:
2lbs of Chicken Tenderloins
2 ½C AP Flour
1C Sugar
1t Baking Soda & Salt
2t Cocoa Powder
1 ½C Vegetable Oil
1C Buttermilk
2 Large Eggs
1oz Red Food Coloring
1t White Distilled Vinegar & Vanilla

For the Toasted Red Velvet Cake Crumbs:
2 ½C AP Flour
¾C Sugar
1t Baking Soda & Salt
2t Cocoa Powder
1 ½C Vegetable Oil
1C Buttermilk, Room Temperature
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature 
1oz Red Food Coloring
1t White Distilled Vinegar & Vanilla

For the Red Velvet Fried Chicken:
Red Velvet Cake Batter-Marinated Chicken Tenderloins
Toasted Red Velvet Cake Crumbs
Canola Oil, For Frying
Salt & Pepper, For Sprinkling

For the Buttermilk Waffles:
¾C AP Flour
¼C Cornstarch
½t Baking Powder & salt
¼t Baking Soda
1 ½t Sugar
1C Buttermilk
1/3C Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
¾t Vanilla

For the Cream Cheese-Pink Peppercorn Gravy:
4T Butter
3T AP Flour
2-3C Milk
4oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1-2T Pink Peppercorns, Whole & Crushed (depends on how much pepper you like)
Cayenne, Ground Mustard, & Garlic Powder, To Taste

For the Spicy Cinnamon-Maple Syrup:
1C Pure Maple Syrup
1-2 Cinnamon Sticks
1T Hot Sauce

For the Red Velvet Fried Chicken & Cream Cheese Waffles:
Prepared Red Velvet Fried Chicken, Cooked
Prepared Buttermilk Waffles
Prepared Cream Cheese-Pink Peppercorn Gravy
Prepared Spicy Cinnamon-Maple Syrup

1. For the Red Velvet Cake Batter: Place the chicken tenderloins into a large plastic bag, and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, red food coloring, white distilled vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and lightly mix until combined & a smooth batter is formed. Pour the batter over the chicken in the plastic bag, and let the chicken marinate in the batter overnight or preferably 24 hours.
2. For the Toasted Red Velvet Cake Crumbs: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13x9 pan with Pam and set it aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Once the cake has cooled, crumble the cake by hand onto a baking sheet until coarse crumbs are formed. Toast the cake crumbs until lightly golden brown & slightly crisp (making sure to toss them throughout the baking process). Now that they have cooked, let the toasted cake crumbs cool completely before coating the chicken in them.
3. Heat the quart of canola oil in a deep fryer to 350-375 degrees. While the oil heats, set up a battering station with red velvet marinated chicken and toasted red velvet cake crumbs (for coating). When ready to fry, place the chicken into the crumbs to coat the chicken in them (pressing the crumbs into the chicken, so there’s an even coating). Once you’ve coated the chicken, quickly add them to the hot oil and fry the chicken until they are deep reddish brown and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes (making sure to flip halfway through). Once the wings are fried, remove them to a wire rack to drain, and then season with salt and pepper. Keep the chicken warm in the oven while you make the waffles.
4. For the Buttermilk Waffles: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Whisk together to blend.  In another mixing bowl, beat together the buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk just until incorporated and few lumps remain.  Set aside to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat a waffle iron.  Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook until crisp and golden. Serve immediately with the fried chicken or keep warm in the oven.
5. For the Cream Cheese-Pink Peppercorn Gravy: Melt the butter in a skillet. Combine the butter with the flour, continuously whisking, cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes until a roux is formed. Add the milk slowly to the skillet and mix the roux using a whisk. Turn the heat down to low and continue stirring until he mixture is thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add in salt and the pink peppercorns (I used some crushed peppercorn and whole peppercorns) to taste (and any other seasonings you would like to add). If the gravy is too thick for your taste, you can thin it by adding more milk, a tablespoon at a time. Keep warm until ready to garnish.
6. For the Spicy Cinnamon-Maple Syrup: Heat the syrup and cinnamon sticks over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add in the hot sauce, and let it steep for 1 hour. Remove the sticks and pour into a small pitcher.
7. To Assemble the Chicken & Waffles: Place the buttermilk waffles in the center of your plate and spread with softened butter. Top the waffle with the red velvet fried chicken. Drizzle a heavy helping of peppercorn gravy and drizzle with the outsides of the plate with the spicy cinnamon-maple syrup on top and enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Classic Potato Salad

Sorry it took so long to post, I have just been exhausted from my break, and then I have a bunch of school work due this week, so lots of studying for me. Anyway, on St Patrick's Day, we had a big cookout of fried green tomato-pimento cheese-bacon burgers with tomato jam, baked beans, coleslaw, and this Classic Potato Salad. I have always disliked, almost to the point of hated, potato salad. But recently, I have started to like it. We ended up making this salad because everyone likes it and it's super filling. Well, all the food was a hit and we were stuffed beyond belief. Nothing is better than a full belly before a long night of drinking!! Enjoy :)
Classic Potato Salad
For the Potato Salad:
4C Red Potatoes, Cubed
10 Slices of Bacon, Cut into Cubes
¾C Mayo
2T Bacon Drippings
1T Dijon Mustard
2t Sugar
1t Salt
4 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
1 Stalk of Celery, Diced
1 Small Onion, Chopped
½C Green Bell Pepper, Chopped

1. Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet of medium-low heat until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve 2T of bacon drippings.
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, drippings, mustard, sugar, and salt until combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine the drained potatoes, chopped eggs, celery, onions, and green bell pepper. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and gently stir to evenly coat. Add in the bacon.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 2012 in Savannah, GA

I'm finally back!! I won't post a recipe until tomorrow because I'm just pooped. We partied a lot this weekend, and I can't say enough how much fun St. Patty's is here in the greatest city of the world, Savannah. You guys really need to try and come one year, you won't regret it. Until then, I'm going to give y'all a small preview of our weekend. I hope everyone else did something fun to celebrate the holiday!! Enjoy :)
Our dinner at Rocks on the Roof: Parmesan-Truffle Fries, Reuben Spring Rolls, Chicken & Waffles, Crab Fritters,  and a Cheese Plate... quite the feast!!
Me & My Boy
Known these girls since I was like eight years old... crazy
All the girls at sunset at Rocks on the Roof
Downtown Savannah 
All of us in our green before the parade had started 
Love Him
Em, Me, & Syd 
Me, My Boyfriend, & His Brother
About to go out :)
Last night out with all the girls
Silly picture

Check back tomorrow for a new recipe!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cookies n' Cream Cake Batter Blondies

Heyyyy y'all!! I hope everyone is having a great week. I know I will be soon because it's my Spring Break, and I have a bunch of friends coming into town on Thursday to celebrate St. Patty's Day in Savannah for the weekend :) I'm so excited... St. Patty's is huge here, like really huge. Last year I had such a blast, and I'm hoping that this time it'll be even better! Anyway because it's my break & all, I will be taking a break from posting, so this will be my last post until Monday or so. For today, I'm putting up my Cookies n' Cream Cake Batter Blondies. I found the recipe for Cake Batter Blondies from girl meets life, the most adorable blog ever. I'm so jealous of her life in New York... I wanna move there. Well, she makes these blondies all the time and raves about them, so I saved the recipe on my computer for a rainy day. Well, I was at the grocery store the other day, and I saw the new Birthday Cake Oreos. I was in shock, and I had to get them. I can't think of anything better. That's when I decided to make those cake batter blondies, but with some Birthday Cake Oreos added in. Double the birthday cake batter flavor... double the fun. These blondies are super easy to make, and you can use the boxed cake mix. I usually am the type of person that likes to make everything from scratch, but sometimes you just want a recipe that doesn't require a lot of energy, yet still yields a yummy dessert!! I hope you enjoy :)
Cookies n' Cream Cake Batter Blondies
For the Blondies:
1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix
¼C Vegetable Oil
1 Egg, Beaten
½C Milk
½C Rainbow Sprinkles
½C White Chocolate Chips
¾-1C Birthday Cake Oreos, Roughly Chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the cake mix and sprinkles in a large bowl, and then mix in the oil and the egg. Add the milk slowly just until the batter is combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and chopped Birthday Cake Oreos, and mix until incorporated.
3. Place the batter into a small, greased pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or just until the edges turn golden. Let them cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting because the center is gooey and it needs to set.
4. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Revamped: Brown Butter-Roasted Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips & Caramelized Banana Shingles

I have raved about my favorite banana bread recipe before from here. I thought that I couldn't really mess with that recipe any more because it is delicious in all its' simplicity. But, I decided to give it a go, and make this banana bread really over the top. I instead added in some brown sugar, Crème Fraiche, brown butter, and roasted bananas. The roasted bananas are something that I had seen on other blogs before, but I had never tried them before. They bake in the oven until they are dark brown and super mushy. They also have this delicious reduced banana syrup that I like to save and add into the batter as well. Then, I substituted brown butter for vegetable oil. And don't forget my secret of adding white chocolate chips, it really makes a huge difference and makes the banana bread so moist. I usually put in some toasted walnuts, but thats completely up to you. Lastly, I cut two ripe bananas into slices, shingled them on the sides of the batter, and then sprinkled the entire top of the bread and banana with some cinnamon-sugar. This cinnamon-sugar topping is awesome because it caramelizes the banana slices until golden. And the bread gets a crackly crust that just can't be beat. Please go make this revamped banana bread, it's just the perfect weekend dessert... or breakfast!! Enjoy :)
The Crackly Crust is Amazing
Look at the caramelized banana shingles...
Slices of the Banana Bread 
Good Ole' Banana Bread but with a Twist 
For the Bread:
2 Eggs
1C Sugar
2T Light Brown Sugar
2T Crème Fraiche
1t Vanilla
1C + 2/3C AP Flour
1t Baking Soda
¼t Cinnamon, Heaping
½t Salt
½C Brown Butter, Room Temperature
4 Roasted Bananas, Mashed & Room Temperature
4 Ripe Bananas
1C White Chocolate Chips
½C Toasted Walnuts, Chopped (optional)
Cinnamon-Sugar, For Sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with aluminum foil and spray with Pam, then set aside (a bundt pan can also be used).
2. Roasting the Bananas: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bananas (skin on & everything) on a sheet tray that is covered with parchment paper. Bake the bananas for 20 minutes, and then flip over the bananas, and roast for another 20 minutes or until the skins are dark brown and the inside is soft. Let the roasted bananas cool, and then carefully peel them and place them into a bowl, along with any reduced banana syrup. Mash with a fork until somewhat smooth, but still some chunks remain. And then mash in 2 of the ripe bananas. Set it aside.
3. In a standing mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the crème fraiche and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the standing mixer at the lowest speed, add in the flour mixture into the wet mixture in small increments. Next, slowly drizzle in the brown butter until just incorporated.
5. Fold in the mashed bananas into the batter. Next fold in the white chocolate chips, as well as the chopped, toasted walnuts (if you are using them).
6. Pour the banana bread batter into the prepared pan. Slice the two remaining bananas diagonally into ¼-inch-thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of loaf, leaving 1½-inch-wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle the top with some cinnamon-sugar in a thick layer over the loaf. Bake for 60-75 minutes until golden brown on top. Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove it and let it cool completely on a cooling rack.