Baileys and chocolate ice cream

Baileys birthday ice cream

Yesterday, Quips and Dip turned two!

I can’t actually believe that it has been two years since I nervously hit publish on my first two blog posts. I have had so much fun in the past two years, and I think I’m slowly but surely making progress in both my cooking and my photography.

Like last year, we are celebrating with ice cream!

baileys and chocolate ice cream

This year, however, not only are we celebrating with ice cream, but we are celebrating with the good stuff. And by “good stuff,” I mean both booze and full-fat, not-made-out-of-bananas ice cream!

baileys ice cream

This ice cream is unbelievably good. Creamy and full of Baileys flavor, and simple to make. It’s a perfect treat for summer!

melting baileys ice cream

Baileys and Chocolate Ice Cream (adapted from Bunky Cooks)
Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Baileys liqueur
  • 2 cups heavy cream (can use 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate shavings or chunks

Instructions:

  • Reduce the Baileys in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to about 1/2 cup. (Tip: First put only 1/2 cup of the Baileys into the saucepan, and then mark the depth of the liquid with a rubber band on the end of a wooden spoon. That way you will know when it has reduced the correct amount!)
  • Set the Baileys aside to cool slightly.
  • Heat half of the cream (or all of the whole milk, if using) in a saucepan until steaming/starting to bubble.
  • While the cream is heating, beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick.
  • Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Go slowly, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs!
  • Return the milk/egg mixture to the pan and place over low heat.
  • Stir constantly until the mixture is slightly thickened. You will feel a slight difference as you stir once it has thickened a bit. The mixture should cover the back of a wooden spoon when thickened.
  • Strain the mixture into a large clean bowl, and stir in the remaining cream, the vanilla extract, and the reduced Baileys.
  • Cover with cling film by placing the cling film directly on the custard – this will prevent a skin from forming on the custard.
  • Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Meanwhile, freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker, if necessary.
  • Stir the mixture and then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. (Usually about 20-25 minutes, as the Baileys keeps the mixture from freezing as firmly.)
  • Stir in the chocolate shavings or chunks.
  • Place in an airtight container in the freezer to firm up.
  • Remove from the freezer for about 5-10 minutes before serving, to soften slightly and achieve optimum yumminess.

Baileys and chocolate ice cream

This summer treat is especially tasty with a candle in it to celebrate a birthday!

Happy birthday, Quips and Dip!
-E

P.S. Love Baileys? Why not try out some Baileys and chocolate cheesecake or Baileys choconut cookies or Baileys cream truffles? (Can you tell I’m a big fan of Baileys?!)

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Five pitchers of butterbeer

Butterbeer overload

So it’s been a bit of a rough spring for this blog, hasn’t it? Posting has been quite spotty for the past few months, but have no fear – we’re back and better than ever! I have a couple posts lined up that I’ve cooked and photographed in the past few months (and just somehow never got around to posting…) that we will see shortly.

And although I have those posts almost ready to go, I just couldn’t wait to put this one up first, because…drumroll please…it is my inaugural blog post with my brand new camera!

After months of deliberation and anticipation, I finally took the leap and bought myself a Nikon D7100! I am absolutely in love with it. It is a huge step up from the camera I had been using, especially in low light shooting. And I got to put it to good use last night, when I had friends over for a Butterbeer tasting party!

Since I had friends over, I was taking shots on the fly, as opposed to the slow, painstaking setup that I usually prefer (since, let’s face it, parties become significantly less fun when the host makes everyone stop and stand around waiting for about three thousand pictures to be taken). And where my old camera would have resulted in blurry, dark, unusable photos in those conditions, take a look at how these came out:

Five butterbeer flavors for taste testing

Such a change!

So last night, I had friends over to try out five different recipes for Butterbeer. If you aren’t a huge Harry Potter fan, like me, butterbeer is a drink from the books that is served hot or cold that you maybe have previously seen on this blog in cupcake form.

It was a very professional tasting, if I do say so myself, including tasting cups, palate cleansers (er, water with lemon), and tasting forms to fill out!

Butterbeer tasting cups, palate cleansers, and rating sheet

Of the 8 of us who were taste testers, 4 people agreed on the favorite, which was also the simplest to make, with only 3 ingredients. (Although overall, we decided that they were all quite a bit too sweet, and we definitely couldn’t have had a full glass of any of them. The small tasting cups came in handy!)

Five pitchers of butterbeer

As you can see, the five recipes all had very different appearances and flavors. The recipes we used were:

1) Bakingdom topped with Design Dazzle‘s topping (although we swapped rum extract for just plain rum)
2) Tablespoon
3) This recipe from reddit
4) Wizarding World Park (without the butter, which I felt was a little unnecessary)
5) Elise’s Kitchen

Butterbeer and tasting sheet

Our Favorite Butterbeer (slightly adapted from Elise’s Kitchen)
Makes 2 liters

Ingredients:

  •  2 litres cream soda
  • 8 oz plus 1 Tbsp butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 cup marshmallow fluff (or substitute whipped cream, if you really can’t find marshmallow fluff)

Instructions:

  • Combine cream soda with 8 oz butterscotch schnapps in a large pitcher, leaving at least 2-3 inches of space at the top. Do not overfill, or else it will bubble over and make a huge mess on your table when you add the topping…
  • Carefully stir together the marshmallow fluff and the additional tablespoon of butterscotch schnapps until smooth, and then gently spoon into the pitcher.
  • Wait for the bubbling to settle down for a few minutes and then serve!

Best served with a healthy dose of Harry Potter soundtrack music on in the background, while surrounded by friends! Our evening was rounded out by an incredible cheesecake that tasted as great as it looked (thanks, D!) and then, of course, some World Cup “football.”

Lemon and berry cheesecake

If you do a butterbeer tasting, be sure to let me know which is your favorite! And if you need some savory Harry Potter treats to balance out the sweetness of the butterbeer, how about you whip up some savory pumpkin pasties? They are sure to be a hit!
-E

P.S. If you want to throw your own Butterbeer tasting party, here is a tasting sheet you can download for free to rate and describe your Butterbeer recipes!

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creamy tomato soup

Creamy tomato soup

Sometimes you type up most a blog post, and then your computer shuts off when it says it still has 31% battery left and doesn’t save any of the post.

And sometimes you say a blog post is coming soon, and then you decide you have to officially change your definition of “soon,” because is has already been three weeks.

But sometimes you also have a three-day weekend full of food and friends, which gives you the energy to start all over.

creamy tomato soup

When I was younger, I wouldn’t go anywhere near tomato soup. Even with my growing obsession with soups over the past couple of years (like this butternut squash and chorizo one or this Thai green curry of broccoli one, for a few examples), it took me until recently to even venture near a tomato one.

creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese

This one is well worth admitting my previous mistakes for though!

Creamy Tomato Soup (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch allspice
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can water
  • 1 stock cube
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brandy
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup cream

Instructions:

  • Heat butter in large saucepan, and sauté shallots and garlic for a few minutes over medium-low heat, until shallots are softened.
  • Add the brown sugar, allspice, and ketchup and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for another 30-60 seconds.
  • Add cans of tomatoes one at a time, stirring constantly. Then stir in one can’s worth of water and crumble in a stock cube.
  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every so often.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, and then blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. If desired, strain for extra smooth texture.
  • Stir in balsamic vinegar and brandy, and salt to taste.
  • Stir in cream and serve, gently reheating if necessary.

What food do you now like that you never thought you would?
-E

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Loaded grilled cheese ingredients

Loaded Grilled Cheese

Can we all just agree to pretend that it hasn’t been two months since the last post?

Yes? Great. Moving on…

This recipe definitely feels like a spring one to me, and luckily the weather here has just about started to act like spring. The days are getting longer and longer, and the other day I was even able to walk to work without my coat on!

I almost feel like I can’t even call this a recipe, because grilled cheese is so easy to make that I’m not sure it counts. But when the weather is getting warmer and you want to start spending all your time outside in that glorious sun instead of stuck inside slaving away, maybe a simple recipe is a really good thing!

Loaded grilled cheese ingredients

When I say simple, I mean simple execution-wise. Flavor-wise, this recipe packs such a punch! I mean, when you look at the recipe list, it’s obvious this one’s going to be good: goat cheese, pesto, spinach, avocado, and mozzarella – what’s not to love? Throw in some wholegrain bread so it’s “healthy,” and you’ve got a winner!

Loaded grilled cheese closeup

Loaded Grilled Cheese
Makes 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices wholegrain bread
  • 1Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp goats cheese
  • 1 Tbsp pesto
  • handful of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 2-3 slices mozzarella

Instructions:

  • Spread half of the butter one side of each slice of bread (“outside”).
  • Spread goats cheese on the “inside” of one slice of bread. Over that, spread the pesto.
  • Layer the spinach leaves and then the avocado on top of the goats cheese and pesto.
  • Top with the mozzarella and the other slice of bread, butter side out.
  • Place the sandwich in a pan over medium-low heat. Do not be tempted to turn the heat up! By keeping the sandwich over medium-low, the inside will have time to get warmed through, melting the cheeses and fusing everything together, by the time the outside gets nicely browned without burning. It will take a little longer, but it is so worth it!
  • Once the bottom is nicely browned and the insides are starting to melt, flip the sandwich (carefully!) and brown the other side.
  • Remove from the pan, slice in half, and serve immediately.

I had mine with the pictured tomato soup (recipe coming soon!) but I didn’t end up dunking the sandwich in the soup, because both the grilled cheese and the soup were so flavorful on their own that I had them as two separate dishes.

Loaded grilled cheese with tomato soup

There are tons of grilled cheese flavor combos out there. This one includes lots of my favorite flavors, but I’m always looking for new ones to try. What’s your favorite grilled cheese combo?
-E

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Strawberry bouquet

Valentine’s Day Strawberry Bouquet

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

For the second year running, my Valentine’s post is coming very late. Luckily, just like last year, it’s a quick and easy thing to whip up that will surprise and delight your Valentine. Like last year’s chocolate-covered, cheesecake-filled strawberries, this year also features strawberries. But this year, the only things you need are strawberries, a knife and skewers. With just those three supplies and less than half an hour, you can make…

…a Valentine’s Day strawberry bouquet!

Valentine's Strawberry Bouquet

Everyone gives roses for Valentine’s. Why be just like everyone else when you can be unique and give your loved one(s) bouquets of strawberry roses instead? They’re waaaay less expensive than actual roses, they’re adorable, they’re sure to make your Valentine smile, and (best of all) they’re edible! Plus they’re healthier than chocolates. I mean, I wouldn’t judge you if you wanted to give your bouquet along with some whipped cream and melted chocolate for dipping. In fact, if I were the recipient, I would love those additions!

Making a strawberry bouquet is simple. First push your skewer into your strawberry, leaving the strawberry leaves attached.

Strawberry bouquet step one

Then take your knife and cut a flap near the base of the strawberry.

Strawberry bouquet step two

Repeat around the bottom of the strawberry. (I found that four “petals” fit nicely for most of the strawberries I used.)

Strawberry bouquet step three

Cut another row of petals, with petals placed between those of the row beneath.

Strawberry bouquet step four

Repeat until you run out of space on the strawberry, and then separate the top of the center piece into 2 or 3 pieces, or leave as one if it’s small enough. Gently open up the “rose” by pressing the petals open with your finger.

Strawberry bouquet finished rose

And there you have a rose! Repeat with other strawberries, and then arrange in a vase with some filler flowers (baby’s breath is always a good choice) and some leaves/greens.

One ingredient and half an hour of work – how much easier can it get for a heartfelt, unique gift?

Full strawberry bouquet

Valentine’s Day Strawberry Bouquet (inspired by Kitsy Lane)
Makes 1 bouquet

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 strawberries (or more, if you want a bigger bouquet)
  • 12-15 bamboo skewers
  • 1 small, sharp knife
  • Filler flowers or leaves, optional

Instructions:

  • Stick the skewer into the strawberry at the stem side, leaving the strawberry leaves attached.
  • Cut thin “petals” all the way around the base of the strawberry.
  • Cut more rows of petals, alternating their placement so no petal is directly above another.
  • When you only have a little left, cut the top of the center piece of strawberry into 2-3 pieces.
  • Gently open up the “rose” by pushing the petals down with your finger.
  • Arrange in a vase with some filler flowers and/or greens.

Because the strawberries are already essentially cut into slices, you can easily cut off the leaves and serve with whipped cream, on Valentine’s pancakes, or in a fruit salad. Personally though, I think they’re best eaten directly off the skewer after being dipped in a chocolate fountain!

Strawberry bouquet

If this Valentine’s Day idea doesn’t have enough sugar in it for you, how about some cheesecake-stuffed, chocolate-covered strawberries or some rose apple tarts? Both of those are sure to be a big hit too!

Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, a special someone, or Netflix (no shame in that – Netflix and I have a very long, love-filled relationship!) I hope you have a wonderful day that is full of chocolate!
-E

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