Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pistachio Gelato & Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones

If there’s a flavor that reminds me the most of traveling abroad, that flavor would be pistachio. Specifically pistachio ice cream or pistachio gelato.  When I taste pistachio, I’m instantly transported back to the trips I’ve taken & the memories that were created.

I have fond memories of consuming many, many pistachio ice cream cones in both the Czech Republic and France. Though I can’t remember a specific pistachio experience in London, I’m sure there had to be one!

In deciding what was best to do with the remainder of my precious pistachio paste, ice cream or gelato seemed like the perfect thing. Though it’s nearly the end of September, the weather remains hot--definitely still ice cream weather for a long while yet.

My pistachio paste that I brought back from France is a bit more intense, both on the flavor side and the color side, than I expected. There’s no question by both the appearance & the taste that this ice cream is pistachio! I am rather picky about my pistachio ice cream.... I like it to taste like pistachio, but not actually have any pistachio pieces in it. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of any nuts in my ice cream.

Ice cream out of a dish is great, but there’s something a little extra special about cones. Since I can’t find gluten free cones here, the best course of action was to make them myself.  I don’t have a waffle cone iron or a pizzelle iron, but I do have my beloved krumkake iron that unfortunately only usually gets put to good use during the Christmas season. It worked as a perfect stand in.

While esthetically the cones could use a little work (it was difficult to get the closed point at the bottom due to how extremely hot they were!), they tasted perfect. The slight nutty flavor from the almond flour and coconut oil complimented the intense pistachio flavor quite nicely.  You could absolutely not tell that they were gluten free!

With every mini-cone that I’ve consumed, the travel bug continues to bite & I look forward to future travels & adventures abroad. Hopefully they, too, will have some sort of pistachio ice cream cone.

Pistachio Gelato
Inspired by David Lebovitz

Classic gelato is made using whole milk (no cream) and a good amount of egg yolks; however, this version, inspired by a David Lebovitz recipe, has milk but no yolks. He writes that not including the yolks is not only mimics the classic Sicilian style but also allows the pistachio flavor to better shine through. I found, however, that my particular pistachio paste was particularly strong in flavor. I added the addition of cream cheese to try to soften the pistachio paste flavor just slightly.

32 g (4 Tbl) Cornstarch
4 cups whole milk, divided
65+65 g (2/3 c) sugar 

1.5 oz Cream Cheese, slightly softened

1/8 tsp Almond Extract
7  oz (200 g g) Pistachio Paste
a couple drops of lemon juice 

1 Tbl Vodka (optional) 

  1.  In a small bowl, make a slurry with the cornstarch & approximately half a cup of milk.  Mix until the starch is well dissolved & there are no lumps. I use my clean fingers for this particular job. 
  2. Pour the remaining milk into a sauce pan & sprinkle the sugar over the top. Heat over medium high heat, not stirring at all. Once the mixture almost begins to boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Cook at a simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Place the cream cheese in a medium sized bowl.  Add a little of the hot dairy to the cream cheese & whisk until smooth. Add a little more dairy & whisk again.  Then, pour the cheese mixture back into the dairy.  Cool slightly 
  4. Add the almond extract and pistachio paste. Whisk until completely smooth.  Transfer to a clean bowl & chill over an ice bath until cool.  Cover the bowl & refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight.  
  5. Just before processing in the ice cream machine, whisk in the vodka, if using.  The alcohol will keep the gelato from freezing rock solid.  Churn the ice cream according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. 
  6. Place the finished ice cream into a container with a lid & freeze a couple of hours before serving. 

Ice Cream Cones
Inspired by The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef
yield’s approximately 14 small cones 

1 oz (2 Tbl) Butter, melted
1 oz (2 Tbl) Coconut Oil, melted
2 oz Confectioners Sugar, sifted

2 oz (1/4 c, approx 2 large)  Egg White
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
pinch salt

2 oz Almond Flour 
2 oz GF AP flour

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter & coconut oil. 
  2. Sift the confectioners sugar over the butter & oil while continuing to whisk. 
  3. Drizzle in the egg white & mix well.  Add the vanilla and salt. 
  4. Pour in the almond flour. Whisk until smooth. 
  5. Add the GF flour & whisk until everything is homogenized.
  6. Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes. 
  7. Preheat the iron. A Pizzelle Bakeror Cone Maker is ideal, but I used a krumkake iron because it was what I have.  
  8. Drop the batter by the tablespoon-ful (I used a small cookie scoop) onto the hot iron. Close the top & cook until golden.  
  9. Immediately remove from the iron & wrap around a cone form. Be careful not to burn your fingers! Wear gloves if the hot cookie burns your fingers too much. Try to make the bottom of the cone into the best point possible. Allow to cool for a minute in the cone form, then transfer the a rack to continue cooling. 
  10. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, making as many cones as needed right then.  
  11. Batter will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator. Baked cones are very susceptible to moisture & must be stored in an airtight container once they are cool. It is best to make the cones only as needed rather than trying to store already made cones. 

Note: this post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ice Cream Cone & Pennant Banner Cookies

The past two weeks have been crazy busy in my kitchen! Unfortunately, all the craziness has left me no time to actually work on the blog recipes I’ve been intending to do....  So, instead, I’m going to do a little peek into one of my recent projects.

Two weeks ago, my kitchen was all about making banana pudding for roughly 200 people.  And, because I’m always paranoid that I’m not making enough food, I also made 6 dozen red velvet cupcakes *just in case.* Then, this past week has been all about a very important sugar cookie order....

I received an order for ice cream cone decorated sugar cookies for an almost-4-year-old’s birthday party.  While I was brainstorming the design, her mom sent me a picture of the birthday party invitation, because I always like to match colors where I can :)

But, in looking at the invitation, I came up with the idea of adding a second cookie design, based on the invitation design: some square cookies with a piped pennant banner/bunting.

Both the designs coordinated together, but they also had their differences.  The banner cookies had a touch more whimsy, in my opinion, while the ice cream cones were a little more stylized.

True to my art school background, I did a ton of sketches for these cookies, especially the ice cream cones!  I wanted there to be enough variation in the “flavors” with as few repeats as possible, which required me to sketch & color each and *every single* cone on paper before the piping process even began.

I added the piped cakes/cupcakes/ice cream cones to the banner cookies somewhat as an after thought (they were all elements of the invitation design).  But those little details have become one of my favorite parts! I would have piped even more detail, but I figured it was time to reign in my creative juices.   

I’ve also been chronicling this cookie adventure on Instagram & have had several people request royal icing recipe, so I’ll be including those at the bottom of the post.  And in case anyone wanted to know how I decorated each cookie design, I’m including that too. I seriously love decorating cookies! More than once this past week I’ve told my husband  how much I wish I could play with royal icing on a daily basis & get paid a decent wage for it.  But that dream probably won’t happen while we’re living in the middle of nowhere in Texas....  Oh well, a girl can dream :)


Needed ingredients & equipment

  • sugar cookies that have been baked two days previously & stored in airtight containers. 
  • Royal Icing in pastry bags (I LOVE to use this method of putting the icing into plastic wrap first). 
  • Multi-colored nonpareil sprinkles
  • chocolate jimmies/sprinkles 
  • Tweezers for placing jimmies/sprinkles 
  • Toothpicks to spread icing & pop any bubbles
  • Confectioners sugar, as needed, to thicken the icing. 


  1.  Outline the bottom V of the cone with the cone colored icing. Reserve any leftover icing. Allow to dry. 
  2. Flood the inner portion of the cone with the thinner icing. Use a toothpick to help spread the icing if necessary & to pop any bubbles that may appear.  On some cones, I left a “drip line”  free from icing (on the cone portion) that I would later fill with ice cream colored icing. Allow to dry. 
  3. Use more of the outlining consistency to pipe the lines on the cone.  Allow to dry completely. I left mine at least 8 hrs to ensure it was totally dry. 
  4. Once the cone icing is dry, use a 20-second-type icing consistency to make a general outline of the bottom ice cream scoop & fill in that outline. Be careful that the icing doesn’t spill over the edge.  Use a toothpick to help spread the icing & to pop any air bubbles as soon as they’re visible. Allow to dry roughly half an hour. 
  5. Once the bottom ice cream flavor has begun to set, pipe the top ice cream scoop by making a general outline & then filling that outline. Allow to dry completely. I left mine overnight.  
  6. Slightly thicken a portion of each ice cream colored icing by sifting a little confectioners sugar over the icing & gently stirring it to combine.  Place the thickened icing into a piping bag--because I didn’t need as much for this detail, I placed it into small parchment piping bags I made from triangles of parchment.  Pipe squiggly lines over the bottom of each ice cream cone to simulate the “ruffle” of the bottom of a scoop of ice cream.  


  1.  After top ice cream scoop has been piped (and all other icing is dry) in step 5 above, carefully & evenly place the sprinkles or jimmies. I even use a pair of tweezers, if necessary. Try not to move the sprinkles around once placed.  Allow to harden completely, then continue with step 6. 


  1.  When piping the top ice cream scoop, in step 5 above, leave the top third of the scoop free from icing & leave spaces for the chocolate sauce to “drip”. Allow to dry completely. I left mine overnight.
  2. Once the top ice cream scoop is dry, pipe the chocolate sauce pattern, making sure the “drips” are well visible.  
  3. Then, carefully place sprinkles, using tweezers if necessary.  Allow to harden completely, then continue with step 6. 


Needed ingredients & equipment

  • square sugar cookies that have been baked two days previously & stored in airtight containers. 
  • Royal Icing in pastry bags (I LOVE to use this method of putting the icing into plastic wrap first ) or in cornets, also known as pastry bags made from parchment triangles
  • white colored: outlining consistency & flooding consistency
  • pink, blue, green, and orange icing: slightly thinned outlining consistency. {I put these colors in cornets & just barely cut the tips right before use}
  • add chocolate & cone colored icing, if planning to add the piped baked items. {I put these colors in parchment bags
  • Multi-colored nonpareil sprinkles
  • Toothpicks to spread icing & pop any bubbles
  • Confectioners sugar, as needed, to thicken the icing.

  1.  Begin by outlining the cookies with outlining consistency white icing.  Allow to dry.
  2. Fill the inside of the cookies with the flooding consistency white icing.  Use a toothpick to pop any bubbles that appear. Allow to dry completely. I let mine dry overnight. 
  3. Before beginning piping the banner, figure out the color order for the pennants. Place the piping bags in color order on a plate to make the process run more smoothly. 
  4. Piping the pennant banner: Pipe a semi-diagonal line for the base of the banner.   Vary the line slightly, so that it goes different directions, if desired.  Let it dry slightly while piping lines on the rest of the cookies. Next, make the flags by piping connecting triangle outlines in different colors. Fill in the triangles, using a tooth pick to help with the bottom point, if necessary. 
  5. Optional, piping the baked items. Pipe the bottom “table” color.  Allow to dry for 10 minutes. Use the chocolate colored icing to pipe the layer cake shape. Add sprinkles with a tooth pick, if desired. Pipe the cake stand shape. Add either a cupcake or an ice cream cone.  For the cupcake, pipe the liner color first, then a little bit of visible cake and finish by piping the icing swirl. For the ice cream cone, pipe the cone shape & the ice cream top. Let dry slightly then go back & add the ruffle to the bottom of the ice cream scoop. 
  6. Optional, add a dot border around the edges of the cookies that didn’t get the piped baked goods. 

can be found in this post 

I don’t remember where I initially found this recipe... I just have it written on a random post-it note in my recipe journal. If you know the source, please let me know and I will immediately credit this recipe! 

2lbs Confectioners sugar
2.25 oz / 6 Tbl Meringue Powder
3/4 c Warm Water
1 Tbl Vanilla Extract 

  1.  In the very clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the confectioners sugar & meringue powder. Mix on low speed to combine. 
  2. Add the warm water, increase the mixer speed to medium high & beat until thick, glossy & very white, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract.  Scrape the sides of the bowl & mix on low speed until any unincorporated ingredients have been combined.  
  4. Place the icing in a clean airtight container.  Wet a couple of paper towels & place the towels directly on the surface of the icing.  Top with a good cover & refrigerate until ready to use.  
  5. When ready to use, remove from the fridge & add small portions of the icing into a bowl.  Color & thin the icing as necessary. Scrape the icing onto plastic wrap & form into packets (see instructions here). Store any unused packets or leftover icing in the refrigerator. I like to tint my icing at least a day before I plan to use it because some of the colors develop further overnight.  Save some icing as white in case you need to tone down any icing colors right before use.  
  6. If you need to thin the icing for any reason, a clean spray bottle is the easiest way to add a little water as needed.  Colored icing that has been thinned should not be stored longterm (it begins to separate).  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Wednesday marked one year since my Grandma Jones unexpectedly passed away. Even though she’s been gone a whole year, it still somehow feels like she’s just on a very long trip & will be back anytime. I cannot tell you how many times over the past months I have thought to myself that I should call her to tell her something, only to remember that she’s gone.... I miss her terribly.

Last year, when I heard the news about Grandma, I flew back to ND as quickly as I could. In addition to the grieving part (and the blessing of being able to grieve with my family), there was lots to be done: arrangements to be made, an obituary to be written, a funeral service to be confirmed (though true to Grandma’s nature, she had already left written instructions in her Bible of what she wanted in the service), photos to be compiled, scanned & turned into tribute collages.

Food really wasn’t at the top of our lists. Usually, food & making food is a very therapeutic process for me, but sometimes, there are other tasks that take precedent.

But that’s when the outpouring of love from friends and neighbors began.  So many people showed us their support and love by bringing food. Every time we turned around, someone was knocking at the door, ready to give their condolences, share in our grief & bless us with some sort of delicious food.  Baked goods, sandwich ingredients, casseroles, soup, beverages.... I can’t even remember everything!

I do know what a huge blessing it was to not have to think as much about food.  And while I know it isn’t exactly a great thing to “eat your feelings,” sometimes just knowing you could go to the kitchen for a cookie (or anything else) really helped.  In those days right before and right after the funeral, we ate most of what people brought.  Some things we froze for Grandpa to eat after everyone had gone back home.  

One food gift in particular has stayed on my mind, even a whole year later.  Chocolate Sauce. Mom and I stayed with Grandpa in the couple of weeks following the funeral. There were still so many things to be figured out, not to mention an enormous list of thank-you notes to be written.  Barb Kress, a dear friend of my grandparents, brought over a container of the most fudge-y homemade chocolate sauce & a gallon of ice cream. I don’t think I’ve ever had such delicious chocolate sauce! Yes, it was good on the ice cream, but it was also great stirred into a cup of hot coffee, or just eaten by the spoonful.  I helped write and address many of the thank you notes & sometimes often I would reward myself for writing a certain number of notes by allowing myself to have a spoonful of the sauce. Totally not healthy, I know.... 

Even after returning home, I kept thinking about that amazing chocolate sauce.... Craving it even. I looked online & in my many cookbooks for a similar recipe.  I made countless batches (it’s a good thing my husband likes chocolate sauce!).  Some recipes were good, but none came even close to the sauce that Barb brought us. After many “failed” batches, I wrote her a letter and asked if she would be willing to share her recipe.  Thankfully, she was willing :)

On Wednesday, as I reflected once again on Grandma Jones’s passing and all that has happened over the last year, I made a batch of the chocolate sauce. I enjoyed the therapeutic process of measuring, melting, pouring, stirring and tasting. I am comforted knowing my dear Grandma is in heaven and that I’ll see her again one day. At the same time, though, I’m so very sad that she’s gone. I know she would hate that anyone is sad about her. But I also know how much of a chocoholic she was :) And she would approve of chocolate sauce therapy.

Chocolate Sauce
recipe adapted from Barb Kress courtesy of her Grandma Bohlman

This chocolate sauce is really more fudge-y than syrup-y. My husband tasted it & told me “it tastes like eating brownie batter.” Note that it may not be completely smooth, but I tend to really love the grainy consistency of it. One full batch does make quite a bit, so I might be tempted to make a half batch in the future, simply because I have little to no self control over eating it by the spoonful!

4 oz Unsweetened Chocolate (Barb recommends using the pre-melted chocolate, but my grocery store didn’t have it, so I used the regular)
1/2 c / 1 stick / 4 oz Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
3 c / 21 oz Granulated Sugar
1 c / 8 fl oz Evaporated Milk

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave: begin with a 30 second interval on high, then stir, then repeat on 15 second intervals (with stirring) until chocolate is melted. Alternately, if you find the pre-melted chocolate, place the packets in a bowl of warm water to warm them. 
  2. In a 3 qt sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter. On our electric stove, I set it to a level 2 heat. Once melted, add the melted chocolate and salt. Whisk to combine. 
  3. Alternate adding the sugar and the evaporated milk, little by little, constantly mixing.  Keep the heat very low & do not allow the mixture to bubble.  Keep heating & stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  This process may take 15 to 20 minutes, but the results are worth it! Check to see if the sugar is dissolved by rubbing some of it between your clean fingers (it should not ever be hot enough to burn you) or by tasting it.  
  4. Remove from the heat, transfer to a storage container and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  As time goes on, the sauce may become a bit grainy (but I tend to like the grainy effect).  

Barb’s recommended way to serve: pour a little chocolate sauce into a bowl.  Microwave to warm, then scoop ice cream directly on top of the warmed sauce & spoon the sauce over the ice cream.  Less dishes that way :)

One final note: the authentic blue ball jar, the ice cream vessel, and the spoon pictured in this post are all treasured pieces from my prop collection and were given to me by Grandma Jones. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

On a regular basis, I read a fair amount of blogs. Mostly food-related blogs, but there are a few lifestyle, photography, travel and miscellaneous mixed in too. (side note: if you’re a reader and have your own blog, I’d love to add it to my list! Let me know your url!) When a post from Amanda at I am Baker about “lactation cookies” showed up in my feedly last month, I was very intrigued. I pinned the recipe on Pinterest, knowing I’d definitely revisit the recipe!

At first glance, one might think that “lactation cookies” means cookies that include breast milk, but that is NOT the case! No, these are cookies that contain specific ingredients that are supposed to help increase a nursing mother’s milk supply.  Those ingredients are things like Brewer's Yeast and Ground Flaxseed and they also include other good for a nursing mother’s general nutrition ingredients like oats & a small dose of cinnamon.  Some moms follow a dairy free lifestyle to help with potential colic in their new little ones, so that is why these cookies use shortening instead of butter.

Growing up in the midwest, it was simply a given that when one of my parents’ friends or a fellow member of our church had a new baby, the people around them provided dinners for the family as they adjusted to their new life. These meals were especially important if the families didn’t have extended family visiting. It was a way to not only show love for the family, but also to help the family through a potentially challenging time of learning to care for their own first baby, or of having to care for a new baby while also taking care of other kiddos.  I very distinctly remember my mom making spaghetti pie & blueberry dessert (two of her specialties) on more than one occasion to take to a family with a new baby.

Two of my friends have had babies this summer. While I’ve only had the chance to make dinner for one family, I did deliver some of these lactation cookies to both ladies. Anyone in their families can eat these cookies (men or other children won’t magically start lactating if they eat them), but they were especially intended for the new moms. The cookies are not supposed to be any sort of a miracle item, but I figure tasty cookies are bound to “help” a new mom regardless of if they dramatically increase her milk supply.

via I am Baker 
yields 72 small cookies,
recommending serving: at least 4 per day for the nursing mom 

1 1/2 c / 6.35 oz  AP Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cocoa powder

3/4 c / 4.9 oz Vegetable Shortening
1.5 c / 10.5 oz Granulated Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 c / 5.25 oz Rolled Oats
1 Tbl Ground Flaxseed
2 tsp Brewer's Yeast
10 oz Dark Chocolate Chips 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper (I try to line 4 pans, if I have them available). 
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening with the granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is well combined & fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs & vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape the bowl again. 
  4. Add the prepared dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients have been incorporated just halfway. Stop the mixer. 
  5. In the dry ingredients bowl that was just used, add the oats, flax, brewer’s yeast & chocolate chips. Pour those ingredients into the stand mixer bowl & mix on low speed until everything is just incorporated. 
  6. Use a 1 Tablespoon cookie scoop  to portion the cookie dough. Pan 3 rows of four cookies on a standard half sheet size baking pan.  
  7. Bake at 350 F for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the edges are just barely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan. Store cookies in an airtight container. Leftovers may be frozen, if necessary. 


  • The original recipe called for adding a tsp of allspice to the dry ingredients. I didn’t have any, so I just omitted it. 
  • The original recipe also called for dairy free chocolate chips. With my limited access to grocery options, I could not find any dairy free chocolate chips, so I instead opted to use dark chocolate chips, which will have a lower dairy content than milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips. 
  • In the future, I would like to try substituting the shortening for coconut oil, but it isn’t something I’ve tried yet.... 
  • I also recommend baking these cookies right after the dough is made. I refrigerated part of the dough & it did not seem to bake as well the following day. 

this post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Peach Surprise with Grandma Vein

“What’s the surprise?” asked my husband when I told him about my plans to make “Peach Surprise” with my Grandma Vein while we were back in North Dakota.  “I really don’t know.” I told him. And that’s the truth! I just know “peach surprise” is one of my absolute favorite summer-time desserts. 

After very suddenly losing my other grandma last year and since my sisters and I all live in different parts of the US, my motivation during trips back to North Dakota changed.  My number one focus has become spending as much time with family as possible. Grandparents are not alive forever. (really none of us are.) And we never know which visit will be our last.

Last month, we took a trip back to North Dakota/Minnesota to visit my family. We were fortunate to spend a few days in my hometown, followed by a few days at my family’s lake cabin in Minnesota.

My husband had to go back to work in Texas, but I stayed longer to spend some additional time in my hometown & to help my youngest sister move to Chicago.

One of the things I most wanted to do while in ND was to make something with my Grandma Vein. She’s a fabulous baker and cook! Last summer, we made a peach pie together, but this summer, I knew we needed to make “peach surprise.”

The recipe for “peach surprise” is straight out of an old lutheran church cookbook.  The pages where the good recipes are located are stained from years of use. Grandma has written her own notes & variations throughout the cookbook too.

Grandma’s favorite peaches are the elberta variety.  Every year, she patiently waits for them & buys them in mass quantities.  Grandma told me this year that she even called the store to reserve a whole lug of them (i.e. a little less than a bushel), fearing the store may run out before she could get any.

All those peaches get turned into delicious peach desserts, or sliced & eaten on their own with perhaps a splash of heavy cream.  Grandma also gives many of the peaches away to her sons so that their families may enjoy eating them.

One of the great things about “peach surprise” is that it is a no-bake dessert--just a graham cracker crust with peaches & a marshmallow/whipped cream filling.  But, since I can’t eat regular store bought graham crackers, we did have to turn on the oven to bake a batch of gluten free graham crackers first.

Grandma had suggested maybe we should make a gluten free cereal-based crust, using something like rice krispies, but I convinced her that gluten free graham crackers are rather fast and easy to make yourself. Honestly, I also just could not bear to change a classic too much!

While the gluten free graham crackers baked and later while the dessert was chilling in the refrigerator, Grandma and I had some good visiting time. She showed me all her latest photo albums & told me all the family news I’ve been missing. She has a hard time hearing voices over the phone, so our phone chats have been a bit difficult lately.  It was lovely to actually talk in person.

Though peach surprise is an easy dessert to make, I feel so fortunate and blessed to actually make it with Grandma. There are so many things she makes that my whole family loves to eat, but most of us don’t have those precious “memory food” recipes.

Even with my culinary school education, I treasure the times Grandma and I spend in the kitchen where she teaches me her tricks & techniques for making things.  I am actively trying to make sure that I document as many of her recipes, including the methods she uses that aren’t written in the recipes.

When I returned to Texas and told my husband and friends about my experiences making “peach surprise” with Grandma, they requested to try the dessert for themselves.  So for our Labor Day cookout yesterday, I made a pan of "peach surprise". It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer and a sweet finale to the evening.

Peach Surprise
yields approximately 12 servings

6 oz / 170 g / 4 cups Mini Marshmallows
4.95 oz / 139 g / 1/2 c Orange Juice

10 oz / 280 g /2 c Graham Cracker Crumbs {I used Gluten Free
2.45 oz / 69 g / 1/3 c Confectioner’s Sugar
4 oz / 112 g / 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted

5 large ripe peaches {Grandma would suggest Elberta peaches}
16 oz / 448 g / 1 pint heavy cream

  1.  In a double boiler, melt the marshmallows with the orange juice. Stir often. Remove from the heat to cool while the crust is made. 
  2. To make the crust: crush the graham crackers (if they aren’t crushed already) using either a food processor or a ziptop bag with a rolling pin.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the crumbs with the confectioners sugar.  Add the melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are moistened by the butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13” pan. Chill in the refrigerator while the filling is made.  
  3. To make the filling: Peel, and slice (and chop, if you like) 5 large peaches. Whip the cream to medium stiff peaks either by hand, or on high speed with a hand mixer, or on high speed in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Once the cream is whipped, fold it together with the previously made & slightly cooled marshmallow/orange juice mixture. Fold in the peaches.  
  4. To assemble: Spoon dollops of the filling over the prepared crust.  Smooth out the top surface of the filling. Cover the pan & refrigerate for 4 hours. 
  5. When ready to serve, cut the dessert into 12 pieces.  The dessert will keep for several days well covered in the refrigerator (if it isn’t entirely eaten immediately).