Monday, December 22, 2014

Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Affogato

Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Affogato I really hope you are not already sick of holiday recipes, because this recipe is truly great. Even if you have already had your fair share of peppermint bark or peppermint mochas, you just need to make space for one more chocolate and peppermint treat. Fair warning though, once you try this hot meets cold peppermint affogato, you will probably want it every night for dessert.

Things I think to myself at the grocery store: When does a favoritism towards peppermint ice cream turn into an outright obsession? When I buy if four weeks in a row, five weeks in a row...when I worry that McConnell's will stop making it post-holidays, so I buy three tubs at the grocery store? And what type of person becomes obsessed with peppermint ice cream?

Please note you might start to think these things as well if you try this recipe.

I'm particularly partial to McConnell's peppermint ice cream. It's refreshing, without being too herbal like some mint ice creams. Plus, it has a nice pink color that I find festive. Z is now addicted too.

This hot chocolate is a mix between American-style and French. I use both cocoa powder (Dutch processed cocoa will give you more flavor) and chopped up semi-sweet chocolate. The better the chocolate, the better the hot cocoa. And don't skimp on milk. Use at least 2%, but full-fat is best. It's the holidays!

Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Affogato Peppermint and Hot Chocolate Affogato

Serves 6

3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa
2 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons super fine sugar (feel free to add more if it's not sweet enough for you)
2 cups milk
Pinch of flaky sea salt
1 pint McConnell's Peppermint Stick ice cream

In a pot over medium-low heat, combine the cocoa, chocolate, sugar, and 1/2 cup of milk. Stir until the sugar and cocoa powder dissolve. Add more milk, and then heat until hot and chocolate melts, stirring frequently using a whisk. Do not let it boil! Add in the pinch of sea salt.

Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Affogato

Meanwhile, place one scoop of ice cream in a small bowl or ramekin. Repeat with 5 other bowls. 

Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Affogato
When hot chocolate is ready, ladle hot chocolate over the ice cream (about 1/3 cup hot chocolate). Serve immediately. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Cookie Lover

For the cookie monster in your life, bring them delicious treats all year long with these great cookie-themed gifts!

1) Send them crazy cool ice cream sandwiches thanks to CoolHaus {link}

2) Holiday cookie plates the cookie monster who could use a break from baking {link}

3) I'm obsessed with Milkbar cookies, and now you can make them at home too! {link}

4) Who wouldn't love a set of these adorable tea party inspired cookie cutters? {link}

5) The ultimate decorating tool for beautiful sugar cookies {link}

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Molasses Spice Cookeis

Molasses Spice Cookies Molasses Spice Cookies Welcome to Day Two of Cookie Week here on Hilary Stone Soup! All week I am showcasing some of the best holiday cookie recipes around.

No holiday cookie collection is complete without a perfectly chewy molasses spice cookies. This recipe doesn't disappoint! It has a great chewy texture, and the warm spice combination tastes delicious. It's rare for me to make a cookie that comes out looking absolutely perfect, but these cookies always do! They are sure to impress anyone.

I personally love these cookies with vanilla ice cream. I love the idea of making homemade ice cream sandwiches with these spice cookies and some high-quality vanilla ice cream. Think of how much your office would love you if you bright these in to the holiday office party!
Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

From Cook's Illustrated
Makes 22 cookies

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed 
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark molasses

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for rolling in a cake pan.

Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together in medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars at medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium low and add egg yolk and vanilla, then beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds.

Add molasses, and again beat until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 

Reduce speed to lowest setting, add flour mixture, and beat just until incorporated. Give dough a final stir with spatula to make sure there are no flour pockets. 

Scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms to create a 1 1/2 inch ball. Drop ball into cake pan and roll in sugar. Set on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. 
Molasses Spice CookiesDSCN2874
Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges begin to set. Cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone, about 11 minutes. 

Cool cookies for 5 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer cookies to wire rack. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Whether you are gluten-free or not, you will fall in love with these delicious, rich cookies. Part chocolate chip cookie, part brownie, this cookie is what my dreams are made out of.

These brownie cookies are perfect for the holiday season. Both adults and kids will love the rich chocolate taste, and everyone can enjoy them, no matter what type of gluten-free diet they are on!

The best thing about these cookies though is that come together in about 20 minutes, total. I bet you can make the batter in under 5 minutes, and they take about 15 minutes to bake!

Z and I ate these warm out of the oven with some ice cream, but they are just as delicious the next day on a beautiful holiday cookie platter.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies

From Bon Appetit
Makes 24 cookies

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet chopped chocolate

Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together then whisk in egg whites and egg. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Spoon batter by the tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets. 
Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Bake, rotating once, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around the edges, 14-16 minutes. 

Let cookies cool down in the pan so they can firm up.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Friday, December 12, 2014

Coming up next week...COOKIES!

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all have some lovely holiday plans in store for the weekend. Z and I will be spending the weekend getting our apartment ready for the holidays, and then spending time with friends outside (I'm excited for the sun after all the rain this week!).

I'm also going to be preparing for Cookie Week on Hilary Stone Soup! Starting Monday, I'll be sharing some of my favorite cookie recipes for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Festivus, or Chanukah, these cookies will be the perfect treat!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: San Francisco Favorites

For those of you wanting to support your local Bay Area companies during the holiday season, this gift guide is for you! There are so many wonderful companies here in San Francisco making high-quality food products, serveware, and other fun gifts. These are the perfect presents for your Bay Area friends...

1) Heath Ceramics makes the most amazing serveware that both your friends in Pac Heights and the Mission can agree on {$129, link}

2) Tacolicious is one of my favorite local restaurants, and you can buy their sauces through Williams Sonoma {$13, link}

3) Help your friend recreate recipes from Bar Tartine, the restaurant from the famed Tartine Bakery family {$29, link}

4) Single origin chocolate from a company based in the Mission. You can even stop in on Valencia St if you want to sample in person {$20, link}

5) This Oakland-based chocolate company makes all of these beautiful truffles by hand {$35, link}

6) Sport your favorite Bay Area coffee brand while picking up groceries at the Farmer's Market {$25, link}

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Giving Back

Every holiday season, I reminded of all the things that I have--a stable job, a place to live, clean water, food to eat, and of course, a wonderful support network of family and friends. It's important to remember that so many of us in this world are not nearly as lucky. 

All of these holiday presents give something back to the community!

1) This FEED bag is perfect for groceries and provides two school children with food for a year {$100, link}

2) Brown Water Coffee brings you freshly roasted coffee (they roast it the day before it is shipped!) and the company helps provide clean drinking water {$16, link}

3) Half of the profits for this sparkling wine goes to charity:water {$44, link}

4) Each tin of these cookies from Karlie Kloss and Christina Tosi provide 60 meals to children in need {$22, link}

5) Benefits for the beautiful chocolate set go to Relief International in Darfur {$30, link}

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Coffee Lover

This is for the person in your life who doesn't think twice about spending $3 on a cup of coffee, who walks the extra 10 minutes to go to the best coffee shop around, always has a selection of freshly roasted coffee at home...

These are the perfect holiday gifts for the coffee lover in your life!

1) The automated coffee machine of my dreams {$280, link}

2) So she never has to be without good coffee, even when on a work trip in the middle of nowhere {$179, link}

3) A classic for a reason, this Chemex will brew perfect coffee every time {$88, link}

4) The most stylish French Press for a lazy weekend brunch {$80, link}

5) This Kickstarter cult favorite will make it easier for her to enjoy her favorite iced coffee {$75, link}

6) Coffee tastes better in prettier mugs, and anyone would be lucky to have these beauties {$48, link}

7) The cutest creamer that adds some personality to the table {$16, link}

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Cocktail Connoisseur

For the guy in your life who barely knows how to cook, but he makes a mean Manhattan...These are the perfect gifts to give the mixologist for Christmas and Chanukah!

1) How could you pass up an opportunity to buy someone chocolate whiskey? {$23, link}

2) A true gentleman needs cocktail picks to match {$137, link}

3) Handcrafted bitters to improve his at-home bartending game {$26, link}

4) Nothing seems more luxurious than a monogrammed cocktail shaker {$32, link}

5) Everything he needs (except the alcohol) to make an Old Fashioned on the plane ride home {$24, link}

6) Top-notch cocktails require top-notch ice cubes as well {$399, link}

7) Stainless-steel coasters so cocktail hour doesn't lead to ruined furniture {$60, link}

8) Science-driven cocktail book will guarantee you an invitation to his next cocktail party {$22, link}

Holiday Gift Guide 2014: The Francophile

Now that is is full holiday mode, I am sharing a few things that I, and anyone on your list, would love to receive! I'll be featuring holiday guides all week.

This morning's gift guide is for that person in your life who dreams of escaping the States for Paris. Her French is impeccable, she always has that perfect messy hair, and she knows how to make a great French Onion Soup.

1) The ultimate gift: LeCreuset cookware in hot orange {$280, link}

2) What better tray than this one for croissants in the morning? {$110, link}

3) She can finally master the perfect elegant yet simple dessert dish, thanks to Dorie Greenspan {$23, link}

4) A baking dish that will make her feel as if she is cooking in Provence {$36, link}

5) The cutest tin of Parisian fruit candies {$16, link}

6) Because she never has enough fleur de sel {$15, link}

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend Reading

Happy Friday! I am so excited for the weekend--I'm planning on cuddling up on the couch with a book and a giant cup of coffee. I have a few big plans in the works. Check back every day next week for gift guides for everyone in your family!

In the meantime, here are a few links to get you to your 5pm happy hour beer. 

A Christmas cookie recipe fight...{link}

30 awesome events for all of you living in SF {link}

Things you should pick up at the flea market for your kitchen {link}

You can now buy your Girl Scout cookies online! This changes things... {link}

Can Starbucks rebrand as an evening destination for happy hour? {link}

Five tips for a successful holiday cocktail party {link}

Loving this dinner party dessert that can be shared with all of your guests {link}

Need plans for Chanukah? This SF dinner has got you covered {link}

The best places to eat around Union Square {link}

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Banana Tartes Tatin

Banana Tartes TatinBanana Tartes Tatin

Puff pastry is, without a doubt, one of man's best culinary creations. It is deliciously buttery, works equally well for savory and sweet dishes, and keeps in your freezer until you need it! Plus, you can buy high-quality puff pastry at reasonable prices at your supermarket. 
I love puff pastry because it can elevate the simplest of meals. Got leftover rotisserie chicken and vegetables? Make a chicken pot pie with a puff pastry top! Need something to impress the neighbors at your holiday cocktail party? Wrap some brie in puff pastry and throw it in the oven!

Banana Tartes TatinThese banana tartes tatin are as delicious as they are pretty. They are basically sweet, caramelized, bananas sitting on top of crispy puff pastry dough. Don't even think about serving this without a scoop of ice cream on top. 

Banana tarte tatin is the dinner party dessert of my dreams. Easy to make, easy to clean up, and you can bet your guests will be impressed. I mean, come on, just look at how pretty it turns out!

Banana Tartes Tatin

Serves 4
From Bon Appetit Magazine

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
8 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 firm ripe bananas, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/4" thick slices
4 6" rounds puff pastry cut from one package of puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet.

Smear bottom of each dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle each dish with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Overlap slices from 1 banana over sugar, arranging in concentric circles to cover. Top each dish with puff pastry round, tucking in edges.

Banana Tartes Tatin IngredientsBanana Tartes  Pre-Baking
Bake until pastry is bubbling and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Invert onto plates. Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Banana Tartes TatinBanana Tartes Tatin


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