Four-Ingredient Egg-less Chocolate Ice Cream

Sometimes when the proverbial shit hits the fan, you need to take a step back and find something good to focus on. This recipe is just that.

When my boyfriend bought me an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, I was absolutely ecstatic in anticipation of making ice cream all the time… until I realized most recipes take a good amount of work as much as a day before you actually want to churn your ice cream (not to mention the couple of hours you have to wait for it to harden to a scoop-able consistency)!

When I want ice cream, I want it to enter my mouth as fast as possible.

I guarantee that this ice cream will be the creamiest, yummiest, not-too-sweetiest of its kind. Oh, I forgot to mention how freaking simple it is to make! Literally four simple ingredients… it can’t get much better than that!

Four-Ingredient Egg-less Chocolate Ice Cream
From here, and many other places on the web.
Makes about a quart.

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (do not use fat-free or low-fat unless you want icey ice cream)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (pure is best!)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Make sure your ice cream maker bowl is thoroughly frozen. (I keep mine in the freezer at all times!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Follow directions on your ice cream maker. After about 20 minutes of churning, put in a freezer-safe bowl, cover, and let freeze for at least 2 hours if you want to scoop it.

Devour.

The best thing about this base is that it’s just so darn… basic! Omit the cocoa powder and you will have vanilla ice cream. About 15 minutes into the churning, add whatever mix-ins you want. (We chose those new super-mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.) You can really do whatever you want with this recipe to come up with your own unique flavor.

In fact, I’ll share another great, easy recipe with you soon. Whoever you are.

Ice cream will make even the worst days, weeks, or months just a little bit better.

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New Things #4 & #5: Double-Feature!

I’ve been away a lot lately. I started a new position at work which has resulted in me traveling probably 80% of the time since I began the job. It’s hard going from seeing my boyfriend every day after work to seeing him practically just on the weekends!

He doesn’t cook much, so I try to do some food-shopping with him before I go on long trips so he can have stuff to eat that isn’t fast-food or Chinese delivery. Besides that, I also like cooking and/or baking him something he loves before I leave, so he can have a taste of real cooking (as opposed to his Chef Boyardee and ramen noodles).

I decided to spoil him a bit by making something not as healthy and wholesome as I usually do: cookies. We had all the ingredients, as well as lots of mix-ins like chocolate chips and M&Ms. I never made cookies with M&Ms or any candies in them before, so I was pretty excited to give it a go. But, I came into a problem: I assumed I had brown sugar in my pantry when, in fact, I didn’t. Crisis? Nah.

Did you know you can make your own brown sugar? I feel dumb for not knowing this to be true!

To make molasses, the cane of a sugar plant is harvested and stripped of its leaves. Its juice is extracted usually by crushing or mashing, but also by cutting. The juice is boiled to concentrate it, which promotes the crystallisation of the sugar. The result of this first boiling and of the sugar crystals is first molasses, which has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the source. Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to its taste.

[source]

Well, I had blackstrap molasses in my possession. I knew it was a healthy product, which is why I bought it, but I’d only ever used it to make a healthy, whole-grain molasses/ginger bread for a friend. So, what is it?

The third boiling of the sugar syrup makes blackstrap molasses. The term is an Americanism dating from around 1920. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallized and removed. The calorie content of blackstrap molasses is still mostly from the small remaining sugar content. However, unlike refined sugars, it contains trace amounts of vitamins and significant amounts of several minerals. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the daily value of each of those nutrients. Blackstrap has long been sold as a health supplement.

With a bit of worry that my final product would be bitter, I dug up the sugar and the molasses I had in my pantry and prepared to make brown sugar!

How to Make Brown Sugar
From here.

For every cup of brown sugar you need, get…

  • 1 cup sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 tbsp molasses

I only needed 3/4 cup so I added 3/4 cup of sugar to a medium bowl and topped it with about 3/4 tablespoon of molasses.

I just whisked like crazy and in about a minute I had the fluffiest brown sugar ever!

With all of the nutrients blackstrap molasses has, my cookies are about as healthy as cookies can get… or at least that what I’m convincing myself! Hah!

One-Bowl Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies
Adapted from the Cranberry-Chocolate Cookies recipe on the side of my King Arthur White Whole Wheat Pastry Flour bag. Yields about 18 cookies.

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, margerine, or other bake-friendly spread
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • about 1/2 cup M&Ms

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar, vanilla, butter, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. (If you make your brown sugar from scratch, just use the same bowl!) Beat in the egg until completely combined.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then add the flour, mixing until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, space balls of dough about 1.5 inches apart. Flatten with your palm or a spatula to flatten out top. Add 3 M&Ms on top of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

There are no photos of the cookies, sorry. But all you have to do is imagine some imagery of delicious, sweet perfection… the smell of the Keebler Elves’ tree… and the taste of pure joy…!

The good, the bad and the tasty.

It’s our intern’s 20th birthday, so I took the liberty of being a good role model (a whopping 5 years older than her, but whatever) and giving her a nice gift – food!

Cupcakes, to be specific.

I asked her what her favorite baked good is and she gave me a wordy response that included “chocolate cake or cupcakes” and “strawberries” somewhere in it. Well, following the crazy cupcake trend that’s been spreading throughout the world, I made a nice batch of chocolate-strawberry cupcakes for her.

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I used this recipe for the chocolate cupcakes but substituted mayonnaise in place of the sour cream. (You’ve got to work with what you’ve got! You can also use yogurt in place of sour cream or mayo.)

For the buttercream frosting, I basically followed my go-to recipe. I used to be awful at making buttercream frosting, but I soon learned some tricks:

  1. Don’t be scared of butter! I used to try to use margerine, but it never held and would melt like crazy. No matter how much powdered sugar I’d add, it would never get stiff. Use butter. (I will post, in due time, a recipe for vegan “butter”cream frosting.)
  2. You don’t need to be exact. I used to measure every half or quarter cup of powdered sugar… every single 1/8 teaspoon of extract. No need! Temperature, age of the butter, how long the sugar has been sitting in your pantry, etc. all affects how things will turn out, so scrutinizing your measurements with something as simple as frosting is a waste of time. Just taste and test as you go, that’s it.
  3. Get a good mixer. Before I had my Kitchenaid mixer, I had a standing mixer I got for free from my boyfriend’s mom, who got it for cheap at a garage sale. It did its job for a while, but it took forever for frosting (or anything, for that matter!) to come together. Since I was very very young, I dreamed of owning a Kitchenaid stand mixer, and finally I was able to get one after winning a gift card to Amazon.com. I love it, and it makes mixing, beating, whipping, etc. infinitely easier!

Now, onto the recipe.

Stupidly Simple Buttercream
Makes enough to frost & fill 12 cupcakes… at least!

  • 1 stick of butter @ room temperature
  • roughly 1/3 of a 5lb bag of powdered sugar
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • a drizzle of whipping cream

In a standing mixer (or using a hand-held mixer… or using a whisk, if you’re super-strong) beat the butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Keeping the mixer on medium-high, add the powdered sugar in small batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Continue adding until the frosting is stiff but spreadable.

Add the whipping cream while the mixer is still running. Add powdered sugar if you notice the frosting is too wet and/or won’t hold its shape. Frost cooled cake or cupcakes. Lick the beater until clean, too.

Tip: To get your butter at room temperature in a pinch, put the stick in the microwave for 10-12 seconds.

I made my batch into strawberry buttercream by adding a few heaping spoonfuls of strawberry jam (100% fruit, no added sugar or other garbage). You can use any jam, obviously, to make custom fruity frostings.

You can make chocolate buttercream by adding about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder before you add the cream.

Replace the vanilla extract with any extract you’d like to make it unique. Peppermint, butter, almond, orange… get creative!

I decided to add a little finesse to my cupcakes by not only filling each cupcake with a little of the buttercream, but I also dunked the tops of each in chocolate ganache before piping the frosting on top.

Booya.

Definitely not health food… and you can bet that after licking the cake batter bowl clean and licking my Kitchenaid mixer’s whisk attachment free of frosting that I went for a 40-minute run up and down stadium stairs! All the pain was worth seeing my coworkers – especially the birthday girl! – enjoy the treats.