Aug 12 2013

#IceCreamWeek: Bacon Maple Ale Ice Cream

Welcome to #IceCreamWeek! Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina have teamed up with more than 20 of their blog friends to bring you a week full of ice cream treats, including a special ice cream giveaway! Prepare to have your taste buds tempted with some of the best ice cream treats around! Make sure you enter the giveaway for a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and two fabulous ice cream cookbooks so that you can join in on the ice cream fun!

Bacon Maple Ale Ice Cream

I decided to bring something a little different to the Ice Cream Social: an ice cream made from Rogue Ales’ Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale. This is an unusual brew, evoking a sense of Sunday morning breakfast with every sip. While it wasn’t bad as a drink, it’s not something you could sit down and drink all afternoon. It’s just not that kind of beer; it’s too sweet, too deep, too much for that. These qualities, however, make it a great way to flavor ice cream.

Bacon Maple Ale Ice Cream

I turned to America’s Test Kitchen Feed for instruction on how exactly I could make ice cream from beer. While I found their suggestion to reduce the beer before adding it to the custard to be indispensable, I have an issue with their advice to skip tempering eggs and just whisk everything together. I had a gut feeling this was a bad idea, but I followed along, sure that these people knew what they were talking about. This is America’s Test Kitchen, after all! Instead, I scrambled eggs in my custard for the first time in my life. Grrr! I urge you: it really does not take any extra time or dirty any extra dishes. Temper your eggs. It will save you a lot of frustration!

Bacon Maple Ale Ice Cream

This ice cream is not super sweet, and that was intentional. I wanted you to fully enjoy the complex flavors working together: subtle sweetness, smokiness, meaty bacon, bitter hops. If you’d like to adjust it, remember that the custard will taste sweeter than the final frozen product and that maple syrup packs more of a punch than granulated sugar; I wouldn’t suggest bumping it up past 1/2 cup, at the most. Homemade ice cream is best eaten quickly; plan on consuming it within 3 days of freezing.

Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale Ice Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 12 ounces Rogue Ales Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract or the scrapings of ½ a vanilla bean)
  • 6 organic free range egg yolks
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 cups organic half-and-half (important that it’s organic because there are no additives; it’s just cream and milk)
  • 5-6 strips candied bacon, chopped
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, reduce the beer down to half (about ¾ cup), stirring frequently. (This could take 10-12 minutes.)
  2. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and then store reduced beer in refrigerator while making the custard.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, maple syrup, and salt until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until bubbles start forming around the perimeter, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom often to keep from burning.
  5. Remove from heat and add half the hot half-and-half to the eggs in a slow, steady stream, whisking the entire time.
  6. Whisk until well incorporated, then pour the tempered eggs into the remaining half-and-half in a steady stream, whisking the whole time.
  7. Return to the heat and cook until thickened to the point that it coats the back of a wooden spoon and a finger dragged through the custard leaves a clear path.
  8. Remove from the heat, place a strainer over the top of a large bowl and pour the custard over that into the clean bowl.
  9. Get another bowl that’s slightly larger and fill with ice to create an ice bath for the custard. Place the custard bowl in that and stir periodically until it gets down to room temperature, maybe 15 minutes.
  10. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  11. Process in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions, adding the chopped candied bacon in the last 2 minutes of churning.
  12. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving to firm it up.
I may actually consider using straight heavy cream instead of half-and-half next time. Because the beer’s water content, even with it reduced, it cuts down on the richness of the cream. I’d be curious to know your thoughts if anyone does try making it this way…

Make sure you check out each of these blogs, today and all week long, for their #IceCreamWeek recipes ~ and for chances to enter to win our #IceCreamWeek giveaway!

Follow our #IceCreamWeek Pinterest Board all week for chances to win bonus prizes!

Ice Cream Social Week

Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen from Juanita’s Cocina have also teamed up for a fabulous giveaway! ***This giveaway is for one Cusinart Ice Cream Maker (in white), one copy of “The Ultimate Ice Cream Book” by Bruce Weinstein, and one copy of “Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes” by Adam Ried (three different winners)! This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. When the contest concludes, the winner will be chosen by random draw. The winner will then be notified through e-mail and they will have 3 days to respond or another winner will be chosen.***

Alongside all our deliciously, cold ice cream treats, a new week-long PinChatLive event has been created just in time for #IceCreamWeek! For full details on how to participate in this event click here.

Participate in the PinChatLive and Rafflecopter below daily to increase your chances of winning!

Then cap off #IceCreamWeek with a celebratory 30-minute PinChatLive on Saturday, August 17th, at 2 p.m. EDT where:

The week’s big #IceCreamWeek winners will be announced LIVE! AND 3 bonus questions will be pinned for your chance to win a second copy of “Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes” by Adam Ried and a copy of “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” by Jeni Britton Bauer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


***Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita’s Cocina. No brand sponsors have taken a part in this giveaway.***

Aug 09 2013

Spreading the Love with Biscoff Danish #client #BiscoffSpreadsLove

This may sound weird, but up until recently, I had never tried Biscoff before. I heard all the hub bub. I had seen it in the stores. But I just wasn’t sure. A spread made from cookies? Hmm…

Biscoff Danish

Then, one morning, I stopped at the grocery store on my way to work for some office snacks and somehow, as I walked through the peanut butter aisle of the store, a jar of Crunchy Biscoff Spread ended up in my basket. Making the most of it, we sliced a baguette and turned it into a tasting party.

jar of Biscoff spread

When I opened the jar, the most enticing aroma escaped, clearly a genie in that bottle ready to enchant us all. The smell alone could chase away a bad mood! But we were here to eat, not sniff, so I returned the jar to the counter and slathered some on a piece of crusty bread. I raised it to my lips, held my breath–and after that Biscoff landed on my tongue, my resistance immediately crumbled. It totally lives up to the hype! I can’t imagine my life without it now.

Biscoff Spread is a European sensation from Belgium and contains all-natural, non-GMO ingredients. This makes me feel much better about sharing it with my family–if they can pry the jar out of my hands, that is. It’s also nut-free and vegan, which makes Biscoff Spread suitable for a variety of lifestyles.

Biscoff Danish

While I’m perfectly content dunking apples in Biscoff Spread and devouring them, or inhaling an obscene amount of freshly-baked bread dripping with it, there are times when I’d like a treat that’s a little more elevated. Something with a bit more pizzazz; that I could take somewhere outside of my kitchen and share with others. Mainly because if I don’t share it, I’ll eat that whole jar myself.

That’s where this danish comes in. The components are easy to put together, but the end result is so fancy no one will guess how little work it required. If you’re feeling like you need to do more, you can always make your own puff pastry. Me? I leave that to the professionals.

Biscoff Danish

Not sure where you can get your hands on some Biscoff Spread? All the grocery stores in my area and Target carry it. You can use the store locator tool to find some, but if you’re having difficulty, you can also order directly from Biscoff’s website. You’ll probably want to grab a case anyway; you’ll eat your way through it in short order.

Biscoff Danish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
Serves: 10
  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry
  • flour for dusting
  • ⅓ cup + 2 Tablespoons Biscoff Spread (creamy)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the pastry
  • 2 Tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Biscoff Spread (creamy)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Lightly sprinkle flour on work surface and unfold the sheet of puff pastry over it. Sprinkle more flour over the surface of the puff pastry and roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 16″x10″.
  3. Mentally divide the dough into thirds, using a knife to slice the outer thirds into angled strips, leaving the middle intact.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the Biscoff Spread, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon heavy cream until well-blended.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly over the center of the puff pastry and fold the strips over the middle, criss-crossing them as you go.
  6. Fold over the ends toward the middle to keep the filling from gushing out.
  7. Transfer to the prepared pan and brush the danish with heavy cream.
  8. Sprinkle raw turbinado sugar over the surface.
  9. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until lightly browned, rotating halfway through the baking time.
  10. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  11. Once cooled, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, Biscoff Spread, and milk for the drizzle, adjusting components until you reach the desired consistency.
  12. Drizzle over the danish and let sit for at least a half hour before serving.

Biscoff Danish -

Have you heard about Biscoff’s Spread The Love contest? One lucky winner will get to go to Belgium, home of Biscoff, just for sharing a photo of how they like to enjoy this distinctive spread. Facebook fans will be able to vote for the grand prize winners between August 5 (12 a.m. EST) and August 25 (11:59 p.m. EST). The top three winners will be announced on Facebook on August 30, so stay tuned for that! Someone will have a great trip coming to him or her!

Biscoff Spread is a sweet, creamy spread made with Biscoff Cookies. Try this delicious European alternative to peanut butter or chocolate spread. Vote for the best photo in Biscoff’s “Spread the Love” contest and you could win a year’s supply of Biscoff products!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Biscoff. The opinions and text are all mine.

Aug 04 2013

Big Summer Potluck 4: A Treat and Retreat #BSP4

As you already know, I attended Big Summer Potluck in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last weekend. I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts so I could write a re-cap, but what I walked away with was more of a mind-altering experience than something concrete to put to pen and paper (or keyboard and screen). In a word, amazing. But even that feels inadequate, nowhere near descriptive enough to explain what the weekend meant to me.

Pam's house in Pennsylvania

Friday night started out here for a lovely potluck dinner and cocktail reception

It started with a drive west to Poughkeepsie, New York to the first of many faces I would finally be able to put to names–Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny. When tickets to Big Summer Potluck 4 became available in February, we were two of the first to pounce on them, determining early on that we would not only be attending, but sharing a room, as well. By the time Big Summer Potluck rolled around, Sam of Sweet Remedy joined our crew, and we were off together for the weekend’s adventure.


Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny, me, and Sam of Sweet Remedy – roomies for the weekend

I wasn’t sure what to expect. 75 amazing bloggers would be attending this conference–more of a retreat than conference, really–and I had only met a couple in person before. I was well-acquainted with many of these bloggers online, but had never seen them “in real life” before. The blogging world is huge! What would I say? What would they think of me? I knew it would be a good experience for me to attend–I really wanted to be there–but I also suffered a fair amount of anxiety. Luckily, I had nothing to worry about. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Attune Foods breakfast

Friday night, after a few hours of feasting and making friends at the reception at Pam Anderson‘s home, it was time to return to the hotel. We needed to rest up for the big day on Saturday. In preparing for the weekend, I envisioned big after parties in the hotel. In reality, we nearly crashed upon arrival in our room. We talked until we drifted off, me with my glasses still on. It had been an exhausting day of travel.

BSP4 food

Saturday morning, two big yellow buses waited for us outside the lobby. School buses. We had an hour’s drive to our destination, the Bucks County Audubon Society at Honey Hollow. We sat in the back and dubbed our bus the “cool” one–for surely it was with the passengers we amassed. Corn fields whizzed by on our journey deep into the country. Beauty surrounded us. This was wonderful.

big summer potluck 4

The Audubon Society was a dream. Reached by a narrow road bisecting woods and crop fields, the stone barn emerged on a hillside as a step back in time. I wish I had captured more images of it, but there was so much going on around me that I took far fewer photos than usual. There were fears before this weekend that we would wither and wilt in the summer heat; luckily, through a combination of more agreeable temps and this barn’s construction, a cooling breeze caressed our skin all afternoon; it was rather comfortable.

Sunny and me

Sunny of For Your Pies Only and I waited years to meet–and showed up in color-coordinated dresses and matching heart sunglasses!

We were treated to conversations by Jessamyn Rodriguez of Hot Bread Kitchen, Jessica Powers of Why Hunger, Robyn Hillman-Harrigan of Shore Soup Project, Jeni Britton-Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Joe Yonan, travel and food editor of The Washington Post and cookbook author, Coach Mark Smallman of the Rodale Institute, Abby Dodge–the infamous Abby Dodge, and Brian Samuels of A Thought for Food and The Boys Club. The theme: investing in yourself. Each had a different take on the topic, but all were inspirational, thought-provoking, and a true pleasure to listen to. I’m sure you’ve been to seminars and speeches before where your mind wanders and your eyes flutter. Big Summer Potluck was nothing like that. So much food for thought for minds eager for more, more, more!


Having the opportunity to connect in person with those who understand you is one of the best parts of Big Summer Potluck. I wish there had been more time for this. Portions of the Potluck would end seemingly abruptly, we were so wrapped up in our conversations that we lost track of time. Less than 48 hours wasn’t enough to fit everything in. There was just enough to whet our whistles, but we were left desiring more.

dinner menu #bsp4

Still, I can’t imagine putting together an event of this magnitude. Pam and Maggy, Erika, Chris and Karen, Rod and Debra, Sabrina–they’re all to be commended for all of their hard work. Sponsors like OXO, KitchenAid, Sabra, Gourmet Garden, Kerrygold, Attune, Philips, and Musselman’s made the Potluck even more special, with chances to speak with their reps and lots of giveaways and demonstrations. (Hello? Have you seen the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 4-Slice Automatic Toaster? Using it for breakfast on Sunday may have been the most fun I had all weekend!)

#bsp4 brunch

It has been only a week since we said our good-byes, but it feels like an eternity already. How will I make it another year until I see these people again? Some of us are discussing a New York City gathering this Fall, knowing that we will not make it 52 weeks before breaking bread once more. When you find those whose souls sing the same song as yours, you can’t let that go.

Abby Dodge and her KitchenAid mixer

Abby Dodge couldn’t resist showing her love for KitchenAid during her shortbread demonstration. Don’t worry–I love my mixer, too!

So what does “investing in yourself” mean to me? It means making the time to not only write, but also recharge when necessary, because even the marathon runner has rest days. I am no good to myself–or anyone else–if I’m running myself ragged. It means never giving up; there will always be pitfalls along the way, things that don’t turn out the way we expect. Picking ourselves up, altering course, and continuing forward–always moving forward–ensures that I’m doing what I have to do for success. It means surrounding myself with inspiration in its many forms. Filling my life and mind with the things that call to me will only improve the quality of what I create. There are many, many ways we can invest in ourselves. Finding the ones that work and spending time every day on them are what’s most important.

taxidermy owl

Who, Who?? Who are you?

Have you ever attended an event like Big Summer Potluck that nourished you fully–stomach and soul? What did you take away from it?

Aug 01 2013

#FirstOnTheFirst: Pickled Peaches

When you think of pickles, you probably envision spears or slices, sweet little gherkins or spicy chips, but almost always cucumber. Did you know there is a world of possibilities just waiting for you to explore outside of the humble little cuke? Were you aware that other fruits can be pickled, too? Well, now you are!

pickled peaches

The best part about quick pickles like these is that you don’t have to worry about the process of canning. This is small batch stuff, best eaten within a week or two, so you don’t need to go crazy. There’s a freshness that remains in each bite, balanced by the sourness of the vinegar you use. And you’ll be able to toss this together in no time, even after work on a weekday between making dinner and getting the kids into bed. Easy peasy!

pickled peaches

How you use them is up to you. I have my sights on a shortcake topped with pickled peaches and some voluminous freshly-whipped cream. Not your style? How about with some grilled pork tenderloin? On a burger topped with Kerrygold cheese? In a salad with bitter greens like arugula? With goat cheese on crostini? (Now I’m hungry!) No matter how you serve them, you will love these jazzy little slices of heaven. And you’ll wonder how you got by without eating pickled peaches before!

pickled peaches

5.0 from 2 reviews

Pickled Peaches
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pickles
Serves: 3 pints
  • 2-2½ pounds (approximately) yellow and white peaches
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 4½ cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups organic sugar
  1. Boil 3 pint jars and lids to sterilize them. Keep them in the hot water until ready to use.
  2. Wash, peel, and slice the peaches. Remove jars from the pot of water and distribute the peaches among them.
  3. Seed and de-vein the jalapeno, then chop it and divide that among the jars.
  4. To each jar, add ½ cinnamon stick, 1 whole clove, and 1 sprig thyme. Set aside.
  5. In a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine the remaining cinnamon sticks, cloves, thyme, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Divide the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and thyme among the jars, then ladle the remaining mixture evenly between the jars.
  7. Stir, wipe off the rims with a moistened clean cloth, and affix the lids, tightening down the bands finger tight (not so tight you can’t get them off).
  8. Let the jars sit on a towel on the counter for a couple of hours to cool, then transfer to the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors meld before consuming.
  9. Use within 3 weeks, to be safe.
Wear a latex glove (or plastic bag, even) on your hand when handling the jalapeno to prevent transferring the hot oils to your eyes later and burning them. Trust me.

pickled peaches

Next month for First on the First, Kate and I will be making Gâteau Basque, which is a traditional cake from the Basque region of France. Got cherries? Then this is the cake for you! If you’re interested in joining us, check out the First on the First tab above for more information.

Who has a craving for pickles?

Let’s see what the other First on the First participants made this month!

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