100th Post Celebration with Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream Sodas!!

IMG_0907Well…here we are.

100 posts.

I know that so many people have hit this milestone a long time ago…and have gone above and beyond already….but I still feel the need to celebrate my 100th post…with you…because it’s you who have helped me get to this point in my blog…

When I started this blog, I wondered what it would be like when I reached 100 posts. I wondered how long it would take to hit 100, I wondered if I’d even make it this far, and most importantly, I wondered how many people I would meet along the way…

And, boy oh boy… did I meet people! So many wonderful people…so many new friends!

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I’ve learned one very important thing along the way… that this blog really isn’t about me. It’s about you. I reached out, and you took my hand and walked down this path with me. With your kind encouragement, and sometimes friendly critique, you’ve helped me to learn and grow. So now, when I prepare a recipe, or write a post, it’s always with you in mind..

So this celebration is for you…
To you, wonderful readers…I am forever thankful.
It is because of you, I’m here.

And it’s because of you, that I plan on 100 more posts, and 100 more posts after that, and even 100 more posts after that… I still have so much to learn…and so much more growing to do… and I look forward to doing just that…. with you.

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So, you’re probably thinking…”Why on earth would you celebrate with ice cream sodas, when you could have made cake, or cupcakes, or something like that??”

Well…first of all…..you know full well that I can’t bake to save my life…. and second…there are actually a couple of things going on today…not only is today my 100th post, but it’s also National Ice Cream Soda Day, and it’s Fiesta Friday!

So what better way to celebrate, than with Ice Cream Sodas, on National Ice Cream Soda Day?! And what better party than Angie’s Fiesta Friday to celebrate this milestone?

There is no better way!

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The ice cream soda, (float, snowball, or spider) was invented in 1874 by Robert McCay Green, who owned a small soda fountain in Philadelphia. There are a couple of different stories behind his creation. The first is that his big selling cream sodas were selling quickly on a warm summer’s day, and he ran out of cream. In order to meet the demand of his customers, he used ice cream in place of the cream, and it became a big hit!

The second story that I found was that Mr. Green’s soda fountain couldn’t compete with the larger soda fountains down the road, so he came up with this new concoction to pull some of the competition’s customers to his shop. He succeeded, but for a short timeframe, because his competitors started serving ice cream sodas soon after!

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Fast forward about 30+ years, to when there was a ban placed on ice cream sodas because prohibitionists were working really hard to sober the country up, so they started with Sundays and Holy Days. It was believed that soda contained medicinal ingredients, containing what we now consider controlled or illegal substances such as cocaine, cannibus, and opium.. which they placed in the same category as booze. Because booze couldn’t be consumed on a Sunday.. well, then neither could ice cream sodas.  So what did they do?  They served the ice cream sodas without the soda, and that’s when the ice cream sundae was born!

People had no idea that they were actually getting high, they just thought that soda was a great medicinal tonic that was good for them, because it made them feel good!

Reality was, they were hooked on narcotics.

Druggies.
Junkies.
Victorian Smackheads.

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My ice cream sodas don’t contain any narcotics of any kind. Just fresh ingredients that I can’t promise make a healthy ice cream soda, but they do make a wholesome one.

They’re a special treat once in a while… a refreshing drink that you eat with a spoon! The next time you decide to treat yourself to an ice cream soda, think of me while you’re enjoying it…knowing that I thought of you when I wrote this post.

A special thank you to Angie, our beautiful host of Fiesta Friday….and to Julianna from Foodie  on Board, and Elaine from Foodbod for co-hosting this great event!  I hope that you stop by, and if you are a blogger…then please…link up with us!  We welcome you to our party!!  It’s always a great time…and I’m always blown away by the wonderful things that everyone brings to the table!  Click here to go to the party!

Thank you for 100 posts of pure bliss… I look forward to the next 100…

Life is good, it’s a “Celebrating 100 posts with my wonderful readers” kind of good…

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Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream Sodas
Serves Four

Just a quick note: If you are planning on making homemade ice cream, then plan for it! Make the ice cream early in the morning so that you have enough time to cool the custard and churn the ice cream!

Vanilla Ice Cream (Recipe below)
Hot Fudge Sauce (Recipe below)
1 liter Club Soda
Whipped Cream
Sprinkles (Not optional. Necessary. This is a fun drink, for goodness sake!)
Maraschino Cherries (Again. Not optional. Necessary. Let your hair down, man!)

Brown Eyed Baker’s Vanilla Ice Cream:

Another quick note: The best homemade vanilla ice cream recipe, hands down, is the one that I found on Brown Eyed Baker’s blog. It’s foolproof, and it’s delicious! This is Michelle’s recipe, copied from her blog…and…this recipe makes the perfect amount for four ice cream sodas.

1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream and the salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture and add the bean to the mixture as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and place a fine-mesh sieve on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.

3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula, a few minutes. The mixture should register 170 to 175 degrees F on an instant-read digital thermometer.

4. Pour the custard through the fine-mesh sieve and stir it into the cream. Place the vanilla bean into the custard, stir in the vanilla extract, and place the bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.

5. When ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard and freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.

Hot Fudge Sauce:

This recipe is one that I have written on an index card in my recipe box.  I don’t know where it came from, or how long I’ve had it.  I just know that it’s well used, one of those tattered and stained recipe cards!  It’s so easy, and so delicious!

1 cup chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the chocolate chips, and stir until melted. Add the sweetened condensed milk. Whisk until combined, and cook on low for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Assemble the Ice Cream Sodas:
Add about 1/4 cup of the hot fudge sauce into the bottom of four tall glasses.  Using a fork, start whisking the hot fudge in the glass, while pouring the club soda into the glass, until it’s about 2/3’s of the way filled.  Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of the soda (yes, it will sink).  Top it off with another dollop of hot fudge sauce, and whipped cream (yes, the whipped cream will float on top!).

Garnish with more hot fudge sauce, sprinkles, and a cherry on top!

Enjoy!

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Mini Strawberry Ice Cream Cups

IMG_0086When I was younger, chocolate was the only flavor ice cream that existed in my little world. I never dreamed in a million years that I would ever even consider vanilla, maple walnut, butter pecan, chocolate chip, or strawberry. I can remember going to birthday parties over the years, and they would serve Neapolitan. Do you remember Neapolitan? That beautiful chocolate ice cream, desecrated by vanilla and strawberry… it was truly sacrilege in my little mind…and I didn’t even know what sacrilege meant.

That all ended the minute I tried homemade ice cream. I mean, it tastes real, you know? …And that’s because it is real.

The real deal.

IMG_1869Why did it take me all my life to taste fresh homemade ice cream? While it’s a shame that all of those years have been wasted…you can be sure that I’ll be making up for those years now..

Starting with strawberry… We’re almost into strawberry season, and I thought it would be nice to bring in the season with this fresh strawberry ice cream.

It’s sweet.
It’s creamy.
It’s strawberry-ie.
It’s delicious.

And it’s so darn easy to make, I really don’t have to go back to store bought again. Ok, I probably will, but I know that I don’t have to if I don’t want to!

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I’m heading over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener with my strawberry ice cream… and thought that you might enjoy the ice cream in mini chocolate cups, topped with toasted marshmallow, and then topped off with fresh strawberries.

Mini ice cream cups.
Perfect!

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A special thank you to Angie for hosting Fiesta Friday #18. I can’t believe that it’s been 18 weeks already! I’ve missed the last couple Fridays, and can’t tell you how happy I am to be back! I’ve missed  you…Terribly.

This week, Angie has asked  Mr Fitz from Cooking with Mr Fitz, along with Justine from Eclectic odds n sods  to co-host, and it should be a wonderful time! A special thank you to both Mr Fitz and Justine…I know that they’ll be the perfect hosts for this wonderful party! I hope that you stop by and join the party…it’s always a good time, and everyone always has something wonderful to share! Just click on the link to the right, and it will take you right to the party!

LIfe is good…it’s a “Homemade strawberry ice cream is good, but homemade strawberry ice cream in mini chocolate cups with toasted marshmallows on top is just the bomb”…kind of good…

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Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

1 quart fresh strawberries, reserving about four strawberries for the topping
2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Seed from 1/2 vanilla bean

Mini chocolate dessert cups
Large marshmallows, each sliced into thirds

Chocolate curls for garnish
Blueberries for garnish

Heat the heavy cream, vanilla seeds, and salt in a medium size saucepan until it just begins to boil.

While the heavy cream mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy. Once the heavy cream mixture has come to a boil, begin making the custard by whisking the heated heavy cream into the egg yolk mixture until completely blended.

Pour the custard mixture into a double boiler, and cook until thickened, or until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour through a sieve to remove any lumps that might have formed. Cool completely in the refrigerator, at least 8 hours.

After it is completely cooled, pour the custard into the ice cream machine and begin churning according to the machine’s directions.

While the custard is churning, crush the strawberries, and drain them in a colander. When the custard becomes the texture of whipped cream, add the drained strawberries to the ice cream machine. Continue to churn until it is complete. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container, and place in freezer until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, scoop the ice cream with a cookie scoop to form a ball, and add to the chocolate dessert cups. Place a slice of marshmallow on top of each, and torch the marshmallow with a kitchen torch until melted and browned. Top with chopped strawberries, chocolate curls, and blueberries.

Serve immediately and Enjoy!!

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Twisted Tuesday… Grilled Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

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I have a lot of happy memories from my childhood, some of them are real… and I’m sure that some of them are probably embellished by a little girl who thought that those things happened, but maybe not exactly the way she thought they did…and sometimes different things going on in my life spark bits and pieces of those memories for a fleeting second or two.

My memories of my Grandpa Bucolo are just snippets in my mind… Grandpa passed away when I was about 8 years old, so while I have memories of him, they’re vague…But strawberries tend to spark strong memories of Grandpa…and I envision me in a strawberry patch eating strawberries, and him in his metal patio chair saying in a stern, yet joking…Italian laden accent:  “Get outta my strawberries..”  Now, whether he was actually sitting in a chair, I don’t know… but his words are a strong memory…

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But then again…
I was a little girl, it was years and years ago…
And sometimes my memories aren’t that accurate…

Like this memory… I must have been about five years old… and I remember falling out of bed.  I can remember that my mom came in to my bedroom and helped me back into my bed… and then I can remember hearing her say to my father: “She must have hit a tree”…

I don’t know why, but that has always stayed with me….and I  brought it up to my mom quite a few years ago, because over the years, I couldn’t understand why she would have said “She must have hit a tree”… when obviously, there was no tree in my bedroom!  She sat there and thought about it for a minute… and said: “Could it be possible that maybe I said: ‘She must have had a dream..'”….   Oh, my gosh… yeah, now that makes sense!!  We laughed and laughed about that one!!  But once in a while, that memory pops up into my head… and I can still clearly hear my mom saying: “She must have hit a tree…”…even though I know it’s not the way it happened..

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Sometimes those memories, right or wrong, are embedded in our brains…and we are going to remember them the way we want to remember them.. So whether or not that actually happened with my grandpa.. it is what I remember, and what I hold on to because that’s all I have of him.

Strawberries and Grandpa Bucolo.  They just belong together, and the whole time I made these sandwiches, I thought of him.

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Now…I can’t take full credit for this idea today… Kelsey Nixon made these cute little strawberry sandwiches on one of her shows not too long ago, and I thought that was the cutest idea.

I thought that these would be fun to share on Twisted Tuesday, but with my own twist…

Kelsey made hers with a lemon cream, grilled strawberries and poundcake.  I changed it up just a little bit to suit my personality and taste, and of course, I added some Nutella, and thought it would be cool to make them into ice cream sandwiches.  A perfect twist to an ice cream sandwich!

These little beauties are so easy to make, and such a cool and refreshing dessert, or summertime treat!  The vanilla ice cream loaded with fresh strawberries and blueberries was so delicious with the Nutella and pound cake.  I would say that you could even make deconstructed ice cream sandwiches with a slice of pound cake frosted with Nutella, a scoop of ice cream on top, with macerated strawberries poured over the top!

Life is good. It’s memories filled with sweet strawberries on a summer’s day kind of good… 

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Grilled Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 4 Ice Cream Sandwiches

Just a quick note:
I grilled the pound cake and strawberries (on my stovetop), but you don’t have to grill them, if you don’t have a griddle.  If you prefer, you can toast the pound cake, and roast the strawberries…or do absolutely nothing to them and eat them as is! They’re delicious, no matter how you choose to eat them!

Try this with peaches, nectarines, cherries, or any kind of fruit that might tickle your fancy!! Pineapple! Oh, this would be so good with pineapple!!  Have fun and mix it up!

One pound cake, ½” slices  (recipe below)
12 large fresh strawberries, sliced in half
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
½ cup fresh blueberries
Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

Line a 11×7” pan with plastic wrap.

Place the ice cream in a large mixing bowl, and leave at room temperature until softened.  Add the chopped strawberries and blueberries to the ice cream, and mix well.  Pour into the prepared 11×7” pan, cover with more plastic wrap, and place in freezer, until frozen. Cut into rectangles to fit the slice of pound cake.

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Place the pound cake on a heated griddle, and grill until it’s toasted with golden brown grill lines, about three to five minutes on each side.   Remove from the griddle, and set aside.

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Place the strawberry halves on the griddle, and grill until they have seared grill lines on them, about three to five minutes on each side.  Remove from griddle and set aside.

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To assemble the ice cream sandwiches:
Spread the Nutella on the inside of two slices of pound cake. Place one rectangle of ice cream on top of the Nutella on one slice of pound cake. Place six strawberry halves on top of the ice cream, and top with the other slice of pound cake, Nutella side down. Wrap in plastic wrap, and store in freezer until ready to serve.

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The Pound Cake:
This makes two pound cakes.  Freeze one for another day, or double the recipe above to make 8 ice cream sandwiches!

3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp salt
4 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
10 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Butter two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans.

Sift the flour and salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat for about a minute.

Add one cup of flour at a time until it’s completely incorporated.  Pour into prepared loaf pans.  Bake for about an hour, or until a cake pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on cooling rack.  Slice into 1/2″ slices.

Enjoy!!

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