Peppermint & cookie ice cream

I don’t miss a lot about college. But one thing that I was introduced to in college (do you hear me, fellow Wellesley alums?) was peppermint stick pie, a peppermint ice cream pie that was served at “Holiday Dinner”– who knows what it’s called now… probably Holiday Dinner is now not inclusive enough, so it’s just called Winter Festival or End of Semester Dinner, or something like that.

IMG_1153

While I am not a big eater of candy canes, the use of peppermint around Christmas is appealing (okay, I know I am a hypocrite, as many of you who are friends of mine on Facebook know of my vendetta against all things Pumpkin Spice), so I have to say that I appreciate a good peppermint ice cream at the holidays. We also had leftover Thin Mints in the freezer that we had purchased from a sweet little Girl Scout in the summer. I’ve been waiting to find a great use for these cookies, and this was definitely a great mix-in for the peppermint ice cream.

IMG_1141

Continue reading

Advertisements

Drumroll please…. introducing Mint Madness!!

IMG_0632

I know it seems like we’re constantly apologizing here at Two PhDs, and yet again here I am, apologizing. I am a very slow writer/ blogger, and I have really awesome excuses for my tardiness, but they are dumb: we moved to a new apartment, and then we got a kitten who demands my attention at all times. But really I’d rather be playing with a kitten than writing a blog post. So there!

photo (4)I mean, seriously. Look at that face!

But really, I’m not *that* sorry– I’m here to gloat. I won! I won! Okay, I shouldn’t brag. But since I lost last year, I’m pretty psyched that I won.

I’ve previously made a holiday version of this cookie, which I will post in the winter. I couldn’t resist making this when one of Sarah’s preferences included chocolate and mint. I modified a great chocolate espresso sandwich cookie from Tish Boyle’s book, The Good Cookie, and switched the ganache to a chocolate-mint one.

Chocolate cookies:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temp

Mint-chocolate ganache

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly blended.

In a small cup, combine the espresso powder with the vanilla extract and stir with a small rubber spatula until the espresso powder has dissolved.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add both sugars and continue beating until the mixture is light in texture and color, approx 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the egg until well blended. Add the vanilla extract. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.

Drop the dough by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1.5 inches between them (they will expand!).

IMG_3868

Bake, two sheets at a time, for 7-9 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are very lightly browned but the centers are still slightly soft. Switch the positions of the pans halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Be careful– chocolate based cookies burn easily.

Cool the cookies on baking sheets on a wire rack for 1-2 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, you can whip up the ganache!

Place the chocolate in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. With the motor running, add the hot cream to the chopped chocolate and process for 25-30 seconds, or until completely smooth. Add mint extract and process for another 20 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. I added quite a bit of mint extract to this recipe because I really wanted the mint to stand out– if you would like it to be more subtle, feel free to add it to the ganache 1/2 tsp at a time, tasting in between, so that it’s to your desired minty-ness.

Spread a gently rounded teaspoonful of the ganache filling onto the bottom half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies and very gently press the sandwiches together. Let sit at room temperature or fridge for at least 30 minutes to set the ganache.

I dare you to make both of the recipes we submitted to Sarah and decide for yourself!

IMG_3877

Caramelized Almond Biscotti

I love biscotti. This is not so much for their taste, although they are great, but for the way they fit into my romantic vision of the life I would like to have. In this life, I spend my mornings at my favorite neighborhood cafe reading, drinking coffee, and eating biscotti. I might do some writing in this cafe as well. (This writing, of course, flows naturally and holds my attention for hours at a time. In my dreams I certainly do not spend more time on social media sites than my papers.)

IMG_0320 Continue reading