No Tricks Just Halloween Treats

img_5389I love Halloween, not for the scary and spooky stuff, for the creativity it brings out of everyone.  Starting with costumes,  it is so fun to see my girls coming up with what they want to dress up as.  As a mom it is hard not to want to tell them what they should be or what costume would be the cutest, but really it is the best when they come up with their own ideas.  

Working up Halloween treats in the kitchen is the same, the more creative the better. Halloween is not a serious or elegant holiday so why not be a little crazy and have fun with it.  This year I am focused on treats that you and your kids will enjoy and get their hands a little dirty with.

Black and White Chocolate Bark is a simple treats you and your kids can make together.  With nearly no recipe needed at all, find whatever Halloween candy or salty sweet combination you like and sprinkle over melted dark and white chocolate.img_5391

Candy corn and caramel corn both scream fall and why not combine the two for a delicious snack that you won’t be able to stop eating.  Candy Corn Caramel Crunch combines all of my favorites, popcorn, buttery caramel, roasted peanuts, candy corn and drizzled with chocolate.  Serve in a bowl for your guests or package up for a perfect school treat for friends.img_5317

If you are hosting friends on Halloween Orange Fizz Punch is refreshing before or after trick or treating.  Frozen orange sherbet topped with pineapple juice and lemon lime soda ending with a fizz is decadent and sweet, it can even be dessert! img_5449

Keep Halloween stress free with these three kid and adult friendly recipes that will bring your creative juices out!  

Black and White Chocolate Bark
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
  2. 8 ounces White Chocolate
  3. Candy Corn
  4. Sixlets
  5. Pretzels
  6. Candy Corn M&M
  7. Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  2. Melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  3. (remove one ounce of semisweet chocolate and save)
  4. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet and spread to be even and smooth
  5. Allow the semisweet chocolate layer to cool
  6. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  7. Pour the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer and spread evenly to cover the semisweet chocolate
  8. While the white chocolate is still melted, drizzle the extra semisweet chocolate in rows onto the white chocolate and take a toothpick to spread the semisweet chocolate through the white chocolate
  9. Immediately sprinkle the toppings; candy corn, sixlets, pretzels, M&M’s and peanuts over the white and dark chocolate.
  10. Allow the bark to cool completely, approximately 1 hour, before breaking it into pieces
  11. Package for gifts or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Candy Corn Caramel Crunch
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  2. 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  3. 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  4. 1 tsp Salt
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  6. 8 Cups Popcorn, Popped
  7. 1 Cup Candy Corn
  8. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Peanuts
  9. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. In a large Saucepan, melt butter completely
  4. Stir in light brown sugar and light corn syrup and stir until fully combined
  5. Bring butter mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes without stirring the caramel mixture
  6. Continue cooking for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture comes to a desired caramel color
  7. Turn the heat off and stir in the salt and baking soda
  8. Slowly pour in the popped popcorn and peanuts and toss until completely coated
  9. Spread the caramel corn onto a sheet pan 
Bake for 15 minutes until the caramel becomes a deep amber color
  10. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with candy corn and drizzle with semi sweet chocolate
  11. Once the caramel corn has cooled, break the pieces into small chucks
  12. Package the candy corn caramel crunch for gifts or store in an air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Orange Fizz Punch
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 quart Orange Sherbet
  2. 1 Can (46 ounces) Pineapple Juice
  3. 2 Cups Orange Juice
  4. 1 Liters Lemon Lime Soda
  5. Garnish: Halloween Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon lime soda
  2. Right before you are ready to serve add orange sherbet to the punch bowl
  3. Serve the punch in individual glasses and top it off with a splash of lemon lime soda to create the fizz!
  4. Garnish with halloween sprinkles and a straw
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Chocolate Spice Banana Bread

img_5068Fall is officially here and although I am ready to jump all over every pumpkin recipe, I know I have a lot of time for that.  I am loving the weather starting to change (just slightly here in Dallas) and the idea of fun fall flavors.  

Since banana bread is a family favorite and one of the easiest recipes to make, I decided to add chocolate and spices to welcome the new season.  

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Chocolate Spice Banana Bread
Yields 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp ginger
  6. 1 cup light brown sugar
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  10. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup banana, mashed
  12. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  2. whisk in eggs, oil, extract and mashed bananas until fully combined
  3. gently stir in chocolate chips
  4. pour into greased loaf pan
  5. bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Ice Cream Floats with Brio Ice Cream

brio 4Ok, let’s be honest…Ice Cream is one of the most beloved desserts and frozen treats!  Although there is not much better than a scoop of ice cream topped with sprinkles and chocolate sauce, I might be as in love with ice cream floats.  This frozen drink has become a new favorite of mine and maybe because it has been one of the best ways to cool off this summer.  brio 1brio 2brio 3

The wonderful thing about an ice cream float is there really is no recipe to follow!  Pick your favorite flavor ice cream and start creating from there.  I got my inspiration from the wonderful flavors of Brio Ice Cream.  They have six amazing flavors that will make for the best scoop or added to any dessert.  I chose the more classic flavors to add to my floats and they were delicious!  

brio 6

Strawberry & Cream Ice Cream Float
2 Tbsp Strawberry Syrup (homemade or store-bought)
3 Scoops Madagascar Vanilla Brio Ice Cream
Vanilla Cream Gourmet Soda

Directions:
Add strawberry syrup to glass + 3 scoops of ice cream and top off with soda

brio 5Dark Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Float
4 Fresh Cherries, Muddled
3 Scoops Dark Chocolate Brio Ice Cream
Dark Cherry Gourmet Soda

Directions: 
Muddle cherries at the bottom of glass, add 3 scoops of ice cream and top off with soda

brio 7Root Beer Caramel Ice Cream Float
2 Tbsp Caramel Sauce (Homemade or Store Bought) 
3 Scoops Vanilla Caramel Brio Ice Cream
Root Beer Gourmet Soda 

Directions:
Add caramel sauce to the bottom of the glass + 3 scoops of ice cream and top with soda

brio 4

There are several of brands of ice cream and flavors that I love and keep in my rotation, but I have recently discovered Brio Ice Cream and will make a permanent place in my freezer and is the perfect addition to my gourmet Ice Cream floats.  Brio Ice Cream was founded by the original creators of Earth’s Best Baby Food and many years later they wanted to reinvent ice cream giving us less guilt and more healthy benefits. The ice cream is packaged in individual 3.6 ounce cups or 14 ounce containers.   All of Brio’s ice cream flavors are made with whole organic milk and loaded with calcium, protein, antioxidants and probiotics.  There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors added to any of the products.

As we strive for added nutrients to our daily diet, we won’t feel as guilty ending our day on a sweet note!!

Brio Ice Cream can be found throughout the country…click here to find a store near you!

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

hc 3While we are soaring through the hottest part of summer, there is only one way to stay cool; frozen treats after a long day of outdoor play and back yard barbecues. Frozen hot chocolate has become a family favorite and it’s rich chocolate, not overly sweet and frothy flavor brings us back to the comfort of the hot chocolate we love during the winter months. Blend the frozen hot chocolate to be extra smooth before pouring into a large mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and crumbled graham crackers. hc

Frozen Hot Chocolate
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Ingredients
  1. 6 ounce Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  2. 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  3. 4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  4. 3 Cups Whole Milk
  5. 5 Cups Ice
Optional Toppings
  1. Whipped Cream
  2. Toasted Marshmallows
  3. Graham Cracker Crumbs
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler, stirring constantly
  2. Once chocolate is completely melted, add in cocoa powder and powdered sugar, whisk until completely combined
  3. Add in 1 1/2 cups of milk to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and allow it to cool completely
  5. Add Ice, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk and chocolate mixture into a blender and blend to remove all chunks of ice and it becomes very frothy
Pour frozen hot chocolate into a glass or mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs
  6. Serve immediately!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
hc 2Ink Foods Signature

Roasted Banana Split Ice Cream Sandwich

IMG_4550

Summer is upon us and until I had kids I never realized the importance of keeping busy, cooling off and chilling out.  There is a fine balance between keeping our kids active and boredom.  The stage of life my girls are in is quite confusing, you sign them up for every camp out there and when they are home two seconds, they want to know what’s next, but what I have slowly figured out is that a little home time is really what they need. They don’t need their every day filled to the brim with no time to run around outside in the sprinklers, play old fashion board games and just enjoy a moment of quite reading and craft time.  These moments seem the most calm and the ones I tend to enjoy most with them.

Both of my girls love helping in the kitchen, which is wonderful and messy all in one, but I am thankful for their interest in cooking and baking.  As the heat kicks in, it is hard to focus on anything else but ice cream and we have loved creating this frozen treat smashed between two of our favorite cookies, brownies, graham crackers or really anything that goes with our favorite ice cream flavor at the time.

Roasted banana split ice cream sandwich is one of our favorites and it is perfect for a dinner party, backyard barbecue or just a quiet night at home. Set out all the topping you would need and let your guests create their own. Making homemade ice cream sandwiches is the perfect project for you and your kids but these old fashion frozen treats are also making a comeback and can be found at some of our favorite bakeries, ice cream shops and restaurants.IMG_4507IMG_4512

Roasted Banana Split Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yields 12
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Chocolate Cookie
  1. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  3. 1/4 tsp Salt
  4. 1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter, Unsalted
  5. 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  6. 2 Egg Yolks
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Roasted Banana Ice Cream
  1. 3 Bananas
  2. 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  3. 1 Cup Whole Milk
  4. 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 5 Egg Yolks
  6. 1 vanilla bean, split
Chocolate Cookie
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar and mix until smooth
  4. Add in eggs yolks and vanilla extract and mix until combined
  5. Scrape down butter mixture and slowly add dry ingredients until dough has come together
  6. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, shape into a rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until chilled
  7. Roll the chocolate dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 3 inch squares and place on parchment lined sheet pan
  8. Using a skewer, poke nine evenly spaced holes into each cookie before baking
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F
  10. Allow the cookies to cool completely before assembling
Roasted Banana Ice Cream
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Place 3 unpeeled banana on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast until skin is completely black, approximately 20 minutes
  3. Allow the bananas to cool completely, peel, mash and set aside
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and half of the sugar
  5. In a saucepan combine heavy cream, milk, 1/2 of sugar and vanilla bean
  6. Once it comes to a simmer, slowly whisk 1/2 of the milk mixture into egg yolk mixture
  7. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly for 1 minute
  8. Add the mashed bananas into custard and cook for 3-4 minutes or until custard becomes thick and coats the back of a wood spoon
  9. Using an immersion blender, pulse mixture until smooth
  10. Strain mixture into a large bowl to remove any cooked eggs or banana pieces
  11. Cover custard and refrigerate until cold
  12. Once the mixture is cold, make the ice cream according to your ice cream machine instructions.
  13. Spread the frozen ice cream into a 9x9 inch parchment lined pan, cover and freeze overnight
  14. Remove the molded ice cream from the pan and cut into 3 inch squares
  15. Assemble Ice Cream Sandwiches and freeze until ready to serve
  16. Serve with optional toppings or enjoy on their own!
Notes
  1. Toppings: (optional)
  2. Fresh Whipped Cream
  3. Maraschino Cherries
  4. Chopped Pecan
  5. Toasted Coconut
  6. Chocolate Sauce
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Where to find the best Ice Cream Sandwiches in Dallas:

Liz, owner of Joy Macarons has taken her famous French Macaron and sandwiches them with homemade ice cream for the most amazing Ice Cream Sammy’s. The combinations are endless with flavors like Thai Tea, Guava/Coconut, Butter Pecan and Cereal Milk but why not try them all.  

A new ice cream shop coming to Dallas, Milk Cream, has put a twist on the traditional ice cream sandwich and instead stuffs their ice cream in a dense doughnut like bun. You will be able to indulge in these milky buns this summer on Ross Ave.  Milk Cream is estimated to open July 23rd.

Equipment Needed:
Ice Cream Machine
Immersion Blender
Square Fluted Cookie Cutters

Ink Foods Signature

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

muffin 3With summer in full swing, I have tried to stay creative with our breakfast options!  As well as being the most important part of the day, it always navigates the attitude; happy, tired, silly, or grumpy.   I can promise you…these  Double Chocolate Banana Muffins made for one happy morning!!!  muffin 1IMG_4364

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Yields 12
Rich chocolate banana muffins for the perfect morning pick me up!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  3. 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  4. 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp Salt
  6. 2 Eggs
  7. 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  8. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  9. 1 Cup Banana, Mashed (approx. 2 Bananas)
  10. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare muffin pans with butter or paper liners
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda into a mixing bowl
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract
  4. Slowly add egg mixture into dry ingredients and whisk until fully combined
  5. Fold in mashed bananas and chocolate chips to the batter until fully combined
  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  8. Serve immediately or store in air tight container
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/

Smokey Sweet-Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate Truffles

smoked trufflesWhen I think of eating dessert, I imagine sweet, sometimes salty or maybe sour, but I rarely think smoky. Smoke-flavored desserts are surfacing on restaurant menus and in gourmet goods. The woodsy flavor adds dimension and brings out the sweetness and rich flavors.

Just like smoking meat or vegetables, adding a smoky flavor to a dessert is a slow process, but there are a few ingredients in the market to create a quick dessert full of depth and flavor.

Sugar: Smoked sugar can be sprinkled over a crispy tart, used as a garnish for your coffee or added to fresh fruit. Bourbon-smoked sugar is raw sugar smoked in bourbon barrels to create an oaky caramel flavor. It can be found in specialty markets or on Amazon. Bourbon Barrel Foods sells Bourbon Smoked Sugar for $2.50 to $20 at bourbonbarrelfoods.com.

Chocolate chips: Add smoked chocolate chips to your favorite cookie recipe or your favorite vanilla ice cream for intense flavor. Smoked chocolate chips are cold-smoked for more than 10 hours to get the purest smoky flavor. You can find Smoked Chocolate Chips at getyourhotcakes.com for $15.

Sea salt: Smoked sea salt can be used in many ways. Sea salt is typically smoked over oak, hickory, mesquite or applewood and will enhance any dish it accompanies.  Place smoked sea salt into a food processor or coffee grinder to make a powder. It can then be mixed into cocoa powder to coat gourmet truffles for a rich flavor. Bourbon Barrel Foods also has a smoked sea salt.

Smoked Sea Salt Chocolate Truffles
Yields 24
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Ganache
  1. 2 1/2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  2. 1/2 Cup Smoked Chocolate Chips
  3. 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  4. 1 Tbsp Grand Mariner
Smoke Sea Salt Cocoa Powder Coating
  1. 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  2. 1/2 tsp Smoked Sea Salt, Powdered
Instructions
  1. Place chocolate chips in a large bowl
  2. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until cream comes to a boil
  3. Remove the cream from the stove and pour into chocolate
  4. Gently whisk chocolate mixture until chocolate and cream are fully combined (do not whisk to fast or your will create air bubbles in the chocolate)
  5. Add in 1 Tbsp Grand Mariner to the chocolate mixture and whisk
  6. Cover and refrigerate ganache for approx. 1 hour or until hardened
  7. Scoop 1 tbsp balls of ganache and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  8. Roll ganache in hands to create a smooth ball; refrigerate for 30 minutes
  9. Remove ganache balls from the refrigerator and roll in the sea salt cocoa powder coating
  10. Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve or store in an air tight container
  11. **Smoked Sea Salt Cocoa Powder Coating
  12. In a small food processor or coffee grinder, grind up smoked sea salt until powder
  13. Mix into cocoa powder before coating ganache
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
 Recipe featured in The Dallas Morning News, Arts and Life!  

Ink Foods Signature

Chocolate Bark

bark 3As you are preparing for one of the most chocolate-filled months of the year, when everyone is trying to buy or make something extra special for their loved ones, a no-bake and no-recipe treat will be your new best friend. Chocolate bark is not only one of the most beautiful chocolate treats you can package up, but it is also so decadent with its pure flavors. As you prepare to make chocolate bark, it’s imperative you select a high quality chocolate, whether it be white, milk or dark. Once you have decided on the chocolate you would like to use, you need to decide how to top it. For dark chocolate, I prefer nutty and dried fruit flavors such as cranberries, almonds, candied ginger, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, dried figs and dried apricots. The options are endless for chocolate bark, you can nearly put anything your taste buds desire.bark 1

Chocolate Bark
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound dark chocolate, finely chopped
  2. 1/4 cup almonds, lightly chopped
  3. 1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
  4. 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  5. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  6. 1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Prepare a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place three-fourths of the dark chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl.
  3. Microwave chocolate on high for 30 seconds, remove bowl and stir chocolate.
  4. Place chocolate back in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
  5. Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the remaining one-fourth of chocolate into the melted chocolate and stir until fully melted.
  6. Pour chocolate onto prepared sheet pan and spread until even in thickness.
  7. Sprinkle dried fruit and nuts all over chocolate (add as much or as little as you like).
  8. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden at room temperature or refrigerate if you want the chocolate to set up quicker.
  9. Once the chocolate is cooled, crack the bark into medium size pieces.
  10. Keep in an airtight container or package up for gifts.
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
bark 5

 

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