Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Frozen S'more

Something I've learned in my life is that the one thing more popular than S'mores is the idea of S'mores. I've seen it more times than I can count; someone brings the ingredients, that intrepid individual maybe even gets a few made, but before long everyone is forgoing the toasting and just snacking on grahams, marshmallows, and chocolate. Let's face it after cramming your face full of BBQ and beer they're a hassle, which is a shame because they are, in all their simplicity, perfect. 

So, still riding this frozen treat wave I've been on all summer, I set out to further simplify the S'more with an incredibly convoluted heard me. Anyway, I did sticks last time and chocolate cookies are just tops so here to kick off the send off of the summer BBQ season is the Frozen S'more Sandwich. 

Quick disclaimer for those of you who don't follow my exploits on Instagram (@nickwoost hint hint) I can in fact cook things (quite ably I might add) other than frozen treats. This won't be a "dessert blog" so to speak but dessert is my favorite course and I've been killing ice cream lately so I wanted one more before moving on to a different course that way I can really let everyone down next week.

Special Equipment
Metric kitchen scale
Glass or enamel casserole dish
Kitchen Aid stand mixer & Kitchen Aid ice cream bowl add-on or any ice cream make
Tamis/Drum Sieve
Chinois/Cone Strainer
2.5 - 3" round cookie cutter - I used a mason jar lid
Silpat silicone baking mats
Small food chopper or food processor 

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

The similarities between this and the vanilla ice cream are no accident. That vanilla recipe is somewhat of a golden rule to follow for making ice cream. It's just a matter of finding what to remove and replace. In this case 175 grams of marshmallow for 1 cup of milk. However this recipe is more complicated than last week. The initial stage of the custard has 3 highly temperature sensitive processes going on at once so be sure to have everything ready, otherwise known as mise en place, to facilitate a more fluid transition between steps.

175g mini marshmallows
150g egg yolks
166g raw sugar
1 Cup whole milk
2 Cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
heavy pinch of salt

Broil marshmallows in casserole dish at 350, stirring each time the top begins to brown, until the entire mixture is an even golden brown. As the mixture begins to appear mostly browned begin warming the milk, cream, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat to just below a simmer. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl to thicken. Remove the marshmallow from the oven and give it a stir. Pour the hot milk/cream into a spouted container and gently whisk it into the eggs to temper them (remember not to go too fast to avoid curdling the yolks). Strain the egg-cream mixture through the tamis into a larger saucepan. Add the marshmallow paste. There may be hard clumps of toasted marshmallow initially, they will dissolve for the most part. Cook the custard gently over medium heat, stirring briskly to break up the marshmallow, until steaming and thick enough to coat a wooden spoon (remember the finger trail test). Strain the custard through the chinois into an ice bath, stir in a heavy pinch of salt, and cool until warm. Chill 7-24 hours (this custard is so front loaded with sugar that there are no complex flavors like vanilla that need to bloom overnight). 

Process in an ice cream machine and spread in a pan lined heavily with plastic wrap. Wrap it all 
up and press it mostly even. Freeze until hard enough to cut out with a cookie cutter.

It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth, that would be impossible.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I'm wandering in the Guy Fieri zone with these and if the results weren't so delicious I'd hate myself a lot more. The marshmallow ice cream is potent so I wanted a cookie rich enough to not get buried under it. Cocoa powder and two types of chocolate did the job. Just make a dentist appointment now and save yourself the trouble.

A quick note on chocolate: Splurge. Chocolate in all its forms is one of those things that improves with how much you spend. I listed the brands I used and all are readily available and don't cost too much but exist toward the higher end of the spectrum.

190g all purpose flour
48g Valrhona unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2.3g baking soda
3g kosher salt
134g dark brown sugar
104g sugar
12g unsulfered molasses
167g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g eggs
110g Ghiradelli 70% chocolate, chopped roughly into 3/8" pcs
110g Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a large bowl, whisk in salt. Stir sugars and molasses together in a small bowl. Strain chocolate chunks to remove tiny pieces, mix chunks with the chips. 

Cream butter in stand mixer with paddle at medium-low until soft peaks just begin to form. Mix in the sugar/molasses until fluffy, scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Add eggs at low to just combine, scrape bowl. Add flour mix in 2 batches at low, scraping bowl each time. Add chocolate and pulse to combine. Scrape and stir by hand one final time. Chill dough 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with Silpats. Spoon rough ~1" balls spaced 2" apart onto sheets. Bake 14-16 minutes. The cookies are so dark and so gooey you won't be able to tell by sight or a toothpick test that they are done. At around the 15 minute mark you will however smell it start to take on a smokey aroma. Just trust yourself, when they smell done they're done. Cool cookies in pan on a wire rack 7 minutes then directly on rack completely. 


Graham Crumble
9 graham crackers, broken up
5 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 Tbsp sugar

Heat oven to 350.

Chop crackers in chopper until mostly fine. Add butter and sugar and process to incorporate. Pour evenly into small pan. Bake 15-18 minutes until browned and fragrant. Let cool. Pound into mostly fine crumble in plastic bag, return to small baking pan for assembly.


Select two cookies of similar size. Cut out an ice cream round and gently form it onto one cookie. Place the second on top. Sprinkle the graham crumble along the rim. 

House it.

That's two entries! I have a new personal best. I wasn't planning on doing this until next weekend but the whole thing came together so easily that I saw no reason not to share it tonight. For those of you that read it thanks for coming back for seconds.

Labor Day Weekend this week so I'm looking to get back to where I cut my teeth in cooking with some BBQ.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Superstar Bar - Small Beginnings

A food blog! Yes! Because the internet is clamoring for one more of those! I have been asked many times how I do what I do (especially for this first dish) so I'm going to try sharing it all this way. In the event that I actually commit to this I will do my best to keep future posts as creative as this first one and improve my process of documenting the work to show a lot more detail than two poor quality pictures of the final product. So bear with this first slipshod post and remember that big things can have small beginnings.

Four weeks ago I made a promise. I would revive a dessert extinct for over a decade. A callback to childhood days of chasing the ice cream man and hoping against hope that you get The Undertaker. I'm talking about the best frozen treat there is, was, and ever will be; The WWE Superstar Bar.

Easy enough right? Just go buy some ice cream, some cookies, and some chocolate and slap it all together. Uh-uh brother. These had to be as home and hand made as everything else I do. Each component also had to be good enough to stand on its own. So after about four gallons of ice cream and more cookies than I can remember here are the results:

The recipes are in the order they should be performed on this schedule to yield 4 bars;
Day 1-custard, Day 2-freeze ice cream & bake cookies, Day 3-assembly w/ chocolate

Before I begin I must give credit where it's due:
The ice cream and cookies were inspired by Thomas Keller and modified by me to fit my purposes.
I created multi-layered stencils from art found at

Special Equipment:
Metric kitchen scale
Kitchen Aid stand mixer & Kitchen Aid ice cream bowl add-on or any ice cream maker
Tamis/Drum Sieve
Chinois/Cone Strainer
Approximately 5" x 3" oval shaped metal cookie cutter
Silpat silicone baking mats
Americolor Gourmet Writer Pens
Wooden popsicle sticks ~5" long
Thermapen or an accurate candy thermometer with a very sensitive tip

French Vanilla Ice Cream:
2 Cups whole milk
2 Cups heavy cream
1/2 Cup + 6 Tbsp sugar - divided in those increments
1.5 Tbsp vanilla paste
150g egg yolks
pinch of kosher salt
Mix cream, milk, 1/2C sugar, and vanilla in medium saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar, over medium heat to just below a simmer; a skin will form, steam will rise, and the liquid will just begin to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat to steep uncovered.
Separate eggs and whisk the yolks with 6Tbsp sugar in a large heat resistant bowl until slightly thickened (the whisk will leave a trail). Return the milk mix to the stove, heat at medium until a good amount of steam rises, stirring constantly. Pour the liquid into a spouted container. Here's where it can all go wrong in an instant. VERY slowly (almost a trickle) add the hot liquid to the eggs, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks. Going too quickly will curdle the eggs and the mixture will be inedible Once all the liquid is in strain the mixture into a clean saucepan. Have a two bowl ice bath ready at this point. Cook the egg-milk mixture gently over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam rises and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon (you'll know when you can run a finger down it and leave a very clean, crisp trail). Strain the custard through the chinois directly into the ice bath, stir in a pinch of salt, cool until luke warm. Chill the mixture at least 12 but no longer than 24 hours. This allows the flavors to develop. The cream is also known as creme Anglaise and is delicious spooned warm or chilled over fresh berries and pastries.

Process the custard in an ice cream machine, spread the soft serve in a pan lined heavily and evenly with plastic wrap - enough to wrap it all up - into a 1" thick "brick." Wrap it all up and gently press the plastic onto the ice cream to even it all out. Freeze 24 hours.

Shortbread Cookies:
180g unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp chunks - room temp
90g sugar
2g kosher salt
7-8g vanilla paste (tricky to find - Sur la Table and gourmet stores stock it)
270g all-purpose flour
Cream butter in stand mixer on medium w/ paddle until smooth, mix in sugar and salt to combine. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, mix in vanilla on low/stir. Add flour in 2 batches, mixing each to combine on low, scrape shaggy dough around bowl and onto clean surface. Bring together by hand into approx 5" square, wrap in plastic, chill about 10-15 minutes to firm. Pound and roll 1/4" thick, cut out cookies, bake at 350 until very light golden brown. Cool on racks. Once cooled decorate with stencils and pens. Keep in an airtight container.

Remove the ice cream sheet, unwrap it, and cut out the filling using the same cutter from the cookies. Place these on the back of the cookies, pressing gently with a flat surface, then gently insert a stick into the ice cream being careful not to break the ice cream. Freeze on parchment (prevents ink seeping off) at least 12 hours.

Tempered Chocolate:
230g 60-65% cacao bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Heat 2/3 of the chocolate in a double boiler to 131-136F (melting). Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and submerge it, wait. After a few minutes stir to melt all chocolate. Rest until 82-84F (crystal) then reheat to 88-90F (working). Spread a thin layer on the back of each bar. Work quickly it will freeze almost instantly. Freeze the completed bars at least 3 hours before serving.

Overall these are not difficult to make. They do however require lots of planning, preparation, and time. It's a great project to improve some key skills, especially fine temperature management, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to become a better cook.