Mint Chocolate Chip Grasshopper Brownie Milkshakes

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It’s that time again, my friends.

Time for mint chocolate chip disasters, endless self-loathing, and massive emotional breakdowns.

Time for blog posts gone wrong, unreasonable hostility, and good old-fashioned hissy fits.

You guessed it – it’s time for another If the Spoon Fits birthday celebration!

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My little blog turned THREE this month (can you believe it?!) and I couldn’t be prouder.

Or more frustrated.

And also a little exhausted.

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On that fateful day in 2013 when I published my very first post, I promised myself that once a year on the blog’s birthday, I’d revisit my favorite childhood flavor: mint chocolate chip. But somehow (at least so far), each blog birthday has turned into a stunning disaster, resulting in anger, frustration, and desperate fast food choices, accompanied by the sweet and salty tears of overwhelming defeat.

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Even though I am 100% aware that my culinary talents are limited to traditional ice cream and NOT all the cool things I see on Pinterest, the temptation of doing something big and grandiose that I’ve never done before is always too much to resist, especially on such a momentous occasion as a blog birthday. Then, when things don’t turn out the way I want them to, I experience such a remarkable sense of self-disgust that it eventually results in massive, teary-eyed meltdowns, typically mid-photoshoot or better yet, in the middle of the night when I should be thinking about terrorism, world hunger, bed bugs, or other real problems much bigger than my ice cream blog.

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But not this year, I thought to myself.

This year, I’ll make a milkshake. But I won’t make just any milkshake. I’ll make THE MOST FANCIFUL milkshake the world has ever seen, and it will be delicious and boozy and the pictures will be awe-inspiring and magnificent to behold!!!

And..just to prove that I can be relaxed and have fun, I won’t even make the ice cream. I’ll just buy it, like a normal person. No eggs, no overnight freezing. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Right?!

Wrong.

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First of all, a milkshake is different enough from my usual ice cream set up that it requires a more decisive strategic approach to styling than a plain ol’ scoop or cone. It requires finesse and an eye for garnish, two qualities that I generally lack when it comes to food.

Secondly, making fanciful wonderful milkshakes isn’t as easy as everyone out there in blogland (and Pinterest) makes it seem. But of course, just like with everything else in my life, I probably overanalyzed even this seemingly simple milkshake process in an effort to make it just perfectly right.

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“Naked” shake. aka, hold the whip.

What started as a fun homage to my favorite childhood flavor turned into an overcomplicated mess of a dessert (albeit a delicious one).

I decided on a whim that I needed to incorporate crème de menthe into my shake, then this somehow spiraled into grasshopper brownies – something that I had never made before (but eaten plenty of, don’t you worry!).

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Despite appearances, grasshopper brownies are way harder to make than regular brownies. It was a little more similar to baking a cake than I would have liked, because we know I am NOT the best at cakes. There was a layer of mint frosting and ganache, which was a little bit more than I could handle on that particular afternoon.

So, even though I didn’t make the ice cream for this messy shake, I spent what felt like an entire day baking, frosting, freezing, and ganaching (is that even a word?).

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Once the brownies were finished, I moved on to my next disaster: my photoshoot.

I knew right away that the lighting wasn’t quite right, but I was cocky. “It’s my trusty blue background! My favorite props! What could go wrong?”

So I pressed onwards, but unfortunately the light never got better and I was already too frustrated to do anything productive about it. What resulted was one of the longest, messiest, and most laborious photo sessions I’ve had since…well, since the last blog birthday.

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As much time as I spent on the photoshoot itself, I think I phoned it in a little. I went with my same stupid standard background, and the same stupid paper straws I’ve had forever because I forgot to order the green polka dot ones I saw on Amazon that would have matched perfectly and now MY LIFE IS IN SHAMBLES AND EVERYTHING IS WRONG.

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In case you were wondering, yes, I did eat all of the brownies that were previously atop this shake.

As I started editing the photos, I hated them all. I stayed up late into the night, poking and prodding at myself, filing my mind with self-hatred. I fell asleep convinced I’d scrap the whole thing and spend my entire weekend re-doing it in exchange for my peace of mind.

But then the next morning I woke up, and thought, you know, these aren’t so bad.

And then, just like that, I decided to put on my big girl pants.

These pictures, although they aren’t my favorite, are just as much a part of the blog as the stuff that goes right, and they deserve their moment in the spotlight, too. You don’t put your heart and soul into something, then completely discount it because it didn’t turn out exactly how you wanted. Right?

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For now, the blog is 3 going on 13, giving me sass from every angle. And just when I think I’m starting to get the hang of it, something happens to completely throw me for a loop.

But in the end, I always know it’s going to be okay, and do you know why? Because of you gorgeous people!

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Through these blog posts I have revealed, little by little, that I am a complete and utter sociopath – the kind of person who picks fights over breakfast and sheds actual tears over ice cream cake. But yet, you my dear friends, keep coming back for more, validating my neuroses and giving me a cozy platform from which to vent about my stunningly dramatic, overblown, first-world blog problems.

I’m grateful for each and every one of you, and you’re all amazing.

Anyhow, enough with the mushy stuff and on to the milkshake!

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As the creator of an ice cream blog, I actually find it somewhat blasphemous that it’s taken me three years to feature a milkshake recipe. However in my defense, I really view milkshakes as more of a beverage than a dessert (which is like…really really fat, I know). I love ordering them when we’re at a burger joint, then I get really gross and American about it and dip my fries directly into the shake. It’s heaven!

I love all kinds of milkshakes, but my preference is to make them so thick, you can barely get them up a straw. So for this recipe, I use about a ¼ cup whole milk to each 1 cup of ice cream. If you’d like a thinner shake, add more milk per cup of ice cream until it fits your fancy.

When whipped cream becomes art.

When whipped cream becomes art.

Everything else in the milkshake is purely optional; though you’ll never find me turning down booze, brownies, or whipped cream! Make the ice cream yourself (there’s even a recipe on this blog!), or use  your favorite store-bought kind. For this recipe, I used Ohio fave Velvet Ice Cream, which makes stupid-good mint chocolate chip (and it’s the perfect shade of mint chip green, if I do say so myself!).

A Vitamix blender makes this smooth and creamy, but you can always use a little more liquid (and some elbow grease!) and mix by hand.

This milkshake was a lot of work, but if you strip away the brownies and the fanfare, what you have is a really delicious, rich and creamy milkshakes. Sort of like this blog. Take away all the hissy fits and the drama, and you’ve got..well, ice cream. And pictures. And me!

Thanks for putting up with me, everyone!

This one’s for you.

Happy scooping! 🙂

Mint Chocolate Chip Grasshopper Brownie Milkshake

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 12 hrs (including brownies)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Yield: 2 Milkshakes

Ingredients:

Hot fudge, to garnish the glass (if desired)

¼ cup Andes mints, chopped

4 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream, store-bought or homemade

1 cup whole milk (you can use skim or 2%, but whole milk creates a thicker texture)

1 tablespoon crème de menthe, or to taste (Bailey’s works too!)

1 cup chopped grasshopper or regular brownies, plus extra to garnish

Whipped cream, to garnish

Directions

  1. If desired, prepare milkshake glasses by swirling hot fudge up the sides and around the tops of the glasses. Dip the tops of the glasses in the crushed Andes mints, reserving some to sprinkle on top of the finished milkshakes.
  2. In a Vitamix blender, milkshake spinner, or by hand, combine the mint chocolate chip ice cream, whole milk, and creme de menthe until well blended, or reaches your preferred consistency. Fold in the brownie pieces by hand for chunky texture, or add to blender to pulverize if you prefer a smoother milkshake.
  3. Add milkshake to prepared glasses. Garnish with full-size grasshopper brownies, whipped cream, and crushed Andes mints.
  4. Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Ice Cream Cake

Happy birthday, If the Spoon Fits!

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Two years ago today, I wrote my very first post on this here little blog, and now she’s a TODDLER! Can you believe it?!

They grow up so fast 😦

If I’d had more foresight at the time, I would have waited one more day so that my blog’s birthday didn’t always conflict with Bastille Day, but such is the nature of the blog beast – there’s always some French national holiday trying to steal my thunder.

You’re just gunna have to learn how to share the spotlight, Bastille Day. Not everything is about you!

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In anticipation of today’s post, I spent a few days brainstorming special celebratory ice cream flavors that could measure up to such a momentous occasion as the birth of the blog. But after all was said and done, I settled on my tried and true: mint chocolate chip – the flavor that started it all for me.

Immediately, I had the idea of doing a mint chip cake, but I worried that this wasn’t, well, unique enough. I’ve been experimenting with some weird flavor combinations this year, and doing some sort of artsy variation of mint chocolate chip, like a white chocolate mint julep, seemed more in line with my blog strategy as of late. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t shake the idea of a simple, green, mint chip cake for two reasons:

1) Despite all of the culinary progression that I’ve made this year, I still haven’t let go of my childish notion that mint flavored things should be green. Unfortunately, white chocolate just doesn’t fit the bill.

2) The bigger issue? I just really, really, really wanted to make a cake for you guys, even if you can’t be with me in person to eat it. Because you deserve a cake. But not just any cake. You deserve the best cake in the whole world – a cake like those beautiful ones on Pinterest that’s all decked out with frosting and flowers and lit sparklers instead of candles because sparklers are HIPSTER and I wanted your cake to be GLORIOUS and CULTURALLY RELEVANT.

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Decision made, I headed into battle, armed with 4 quarts of mint chip and a vision – a vision of a beautiful three or four tiered mint creation with perfect tufts of whipped cream and dark chocolate ganache cascading down the sides. Forget that I’d never made a cake before, let alone used a piping bag. How hard could it be?

Well, as it turns out, it was VERY HARD.

On a scale from 1 to 10, I’d wager that making a beautiful cake is somewhere up there between climbing Mount Everest and performing open-heart surgery.

Disclaimer: I’ve never tried two out of those three things, but something tells me making a cake, especially of the ice cream variety, in all its melty glory, is its own special brand of Extremely Difficult.

And apparently, I’m not very good at it. Case in point:

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See the expert piping in uniform shapes and sizes? Yeah, neither do I.

On Saturday, I made the first version of this ice cream cake, and it was a mess and a half. The layers were uneven and the piping was awful. When I went to cover the top with chocolate ganache, the ice cream melted down the sides and the cake started collapsing in on itself like some sort of bad science project.

I yelled. I screamed. I threw a straight up temper tantrum.

And then, I cried.

I sobbed.

Real tears.

Over an ice cream cake.

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There are people in this world that are sick and starving and their countries are war-ridden, and I’m here crying over an ice cream cake (In my defense, at least I exhibited some level of self-awareness during my emotional breakdown; that counts for something right?). From there, I spiraled into a deep black hole of emotion, marked with bitter disappointment at my failure, but riddled with the shame and harrowing guilt that can only come with the first world problems associated with a part-time, not-for-profit, suburban ice cream blog.

I wallowed about for a few hours, trying to figure out my backup plan.

I started thinking, maybe I’ll just make some sort of dark chocolate mint ice cream, put it in a cone, throw in a candle, and call it a day. I’m clearly not capable of doing anything else.

Then, like a phoenix rising from its ashes, I found my resolve.

No.

I will make a cake, I said. And it will be hipster and green and glorious, because THE PEOPLE DESERVE IT.

And just like that, I decided to start over again.

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Is this cake perfect? No, of course not. In fact, it’s far from it. But you know what? I don’t care – I’m proud of it anyhow! And looks aside, it tastes pretty darn good (after all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts).

This blog isn’t about perfection; it’s about putting myself out there and trying something new. And part of that is realizing that not everything works out perfectly the first time around (or second or third).

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Yes, the blog is a toddler now, and I can’t think of a more appropriate metaphor for how I’m feeling: I know a little bit more than I did last year, but I still have a LONG way to go.

I’m insecure about my writing. I spell things wrong. I still don’t really know how my camera works. Sometimes my ice creams taste or look funny, and I get angry about it. Once in a while, I’ll cry.

But you know what? Those things are starting to feel less and less significant, and after I’ve failed, it’s been easier to pick myself back up again. And it’s all because of you guys! My super supportive, sweet, funny, “online” blogging friends who are slowly starting to feel like genuine, good old-fashioned pals.

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Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who has visited, liked, followed, shared, and commented on this blog. Heck, even if you dislike this blog, I still appreciate you (you could have spent that five minutes doing something else!).

I’m constantly floored by the level of talent in the blogosphere – people with day jobs who come home at night to bake and blog and take pictures. You’re a constant source of inspiration for me, and I’m lucky to know you all!

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So, dear friends, I present to you this perfectly imperfect mint chip ice cream cake, as a symbol of my appreciation for you and everything you do. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but there’s a lot of love in between those layers of brownie and ice cream. A lot of love, a little frustration, and a boat load of gratitude. Because that’s what this blog is supposed to be all about 🙂

Happy scooping!!! 🙂

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie Ice Cream Cake

  • Servings: 14
  • Time: 24 hr
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print
 Yield: 1 giant cake

You will need:

Two 8-inch spring form pans

Two quarts of mint chip ice cream, store bought or homemade

1 box of brownie mix (or homemade, but I actually prefer boxed mix for this because I’ve found it stays softer when frozen)

3 or 4 cups whipped cream or whipped topping

1.5 cups chocolate chips (semi sweet or dark)

3 tablespoons coconut oil or veggie shortening (use the shortening if you don’t like coconut)

1/4 tsp peppermint extract, divided (optional)

2 or 3 drops of green food coloring

Directions:

1. Preheat oven and prepare brownie mix according to directions. Split mix between two prepared (aka sprayed with oil or lined with parchment) spring form pans. Bake for about half the time that is suggested (20 minutes or less should do the trick). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Place in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen.

2. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow it to soften.

3. Take the pans with the brownies out of the freezer. Remove one of the brownies and set aside; line the empty pan with plastic wrap.

4. Once the ice cream is softened, spread one of the quarts of ice cream into the pan with plastic wrap; this will become one of your ice cream layers later on. Spread the other quart of ice cream directly on top of the brownie that is still in the cake pan. Make sure you spread the ice cream evenly. When finished, add a thin layer of whipped cream or whipped topping to the top of the ice cream to serve as “glue.” Take the brownie that you set aside earlier and press it firmly on top of the ice cream. Freeze both pans for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

5. Once the layers are frozen, remove them from the freezer. Take the ice cream layer that is in plastic and unwrap it carefully, placing it on top of the brownie layer in the other pan. Cover with plastic and freeze for another 2 hours.

6. Make the chocolate shell coating: combine chocolate chips and veggie oil in a heat proof bowl and melt in the microwave in 15 second increments until melted completely. Add in the peppermint oil, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.

7. Remove the ice cream cake from the sprinform pan, and pour the chocolate shell over the top, starting in the center and working your way outwards, allowing the chocolate to spill over the sides. Refrigerate until hardened.

8. Final touches: Make peppermint whipped cream or add peppermint oil and green food coloring to store bought whipped topping. Pipe some cute decorations on the tops and sides, as you see fit. Freeze for a bit longer, until decorations set.

9. Enjoy!!!! For easier cutting, dip a large knife in boiling hot water – easy as pie!

Mint Chocolate Chip and Happy Birthday Blog

 

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You guys!

A few exciting announcements for you today….

First of all, it’s National Ice Cream Day, which means it’s time to celebrate by stuffing as much ice cream into your face as possible. (Which admittedly is something that I tend to do every day…but at least on this particular day I have a somewhat legitimate excuse).

And secondly…

Happy Birthday, If the Spoon Fits!

(Well actually, happy belated birthday – I actually published my first post on July 14, 2013).

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I still can’t believe it’s been a whole year already! Especially since, looking back, I had a really hard time getting started and wasn’t sure how long I’d stick with the blog thing…

I was so nervous to publish that first post! I reread it over and over, each time finding more and more reasons why I shouldn’t move forward. I felt embarrassed of the pictures that I took with my iPhone (surely the “real” photographers would spot my amateur methods in a minute!), and labored over every single detail of the site setup. I delayed my first post for weeks, even months…after all, a blog about ice cream seemed so self-indulgent and unimportant. What was the point?

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Here we are, one year later, and not much has changed (other than my awesome new camera). I still worry about my posts being perfect, and what the “real” photographers will think about my pictures. But you know what? I worry a little less now, all thanks to you wonderful people!

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In honor of the blog’s first birthday, I figured I’d go back to the flavor that started it all – mint chocolate chip.

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If you read my first blog post, you know how much I love mint chocolate chip ice cream. This flavor holds so many warm memories for me, it only seemed appropriate that I commemorate this special occasion with a stellar homemade version of my all time favorite treat.

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A huge, heartfelt thanks to all of my followers and everyone who has visited, liked, commented on, or read my posts. Thank you for making me feel like writing about ice cream is a completely normal thing to do! You all rock, and I’m looking forward to another year of blog-filled goodness!

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I hope you enjoy this ice cream as much as I did – it’s hands down the best mint chip I’ve ever had, jam-packed with minty flavor and snappy chocolate chips.

Happy scooping 🙂

 

Best Ever Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Adapted from: Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Yield: A little less than 1 quart.

You will need:

For the ice cream

             2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk (2% works too if you’re in a pinch)

½ cup sugar

pinch of salt

5 large egg yolks

2 tsp. organic peppermint extract (start with one then work your way up – I think I ended up using around 2.5 tsp because I love a ton of mint flavor)

1 or 2 drops of green food coloring (optional…I suppose. But green is more fun!)

For the chocolate chips:

¾ cup dark chocolate, chopped into pieces

2 tsp canola oil

 

Directions:

  1. Gently whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar (1/4 cup) together in a medium sized bowl; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream, milk, remaining sugar (1/4 cup), and salt until it steams.
  3. Remove cream mixture from heat, and slowly incorporate it into the yolks, whisking constantly.
  4. Once all of the cream has been incorporated into the yolks, return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened (will coat the back of a spoon).
  5. Once the custard is finished, pour it through a strainer to catch any overcooked pieces of egg. Submerge mixture into an ice bath and stir until cool. Then place mixture in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Make the chocolate chips – please do this part if you have the time! It makes a huge difference in the finished product. Melt chocolate and oil in microwave (carefully) or via double boiler method. Once melted, spread onto a cookie sheet that has been covered in parchment paper (you want a thin, even layer). Refrigerate for half an hour, or until hardened. Once ready, remove the chocolate from the sheet and chop with a knife. Store in the refrigerator until ice cream is almost ready.
  7. Remove the ice cream base from the fridge, and stir in the peppermint extract. Be sure to taste as you go along – you don’t want to over (or under) flavor the base. Add green food coloring and stir, then freeze base according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add chocolate chips during the last minute.
  8. Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip and Waffle Cones

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Hello world! Welcome to my ice cream blog 🙂

I’ve thought long and hard about what I would like to say in this very first post, calling on years and years of ice cream eating experience for inspiration (and trust me, I’ve eaten A LOT of ice cream). Then I decided that it would only be appropriate if I kick this blog thing off right by dedicating some time to the flavor that started it all for me: mint chocolate chip. So listen up, mint chocolate chip – this one’s for you!

Mint chocolate chip was my go-to flavor throughout most of my childhood. After all, what kid doesn’t love mint chocolate chip? I’m convinced that even if you hate the minty flavor, the pure and simple fact that it is GREEN and LOVELY and WONDERFUL should be enough to warrant a spoonful or two now and again.

To be clear, I don’t love all mint chocolate chip ice cream; I have very specific requirements. Behold:

1) Mint choclate chip must be green. Yes, I realize that I am not 6 years old and there are plenty of delicious mint varieties that are white in color. But really, what’s the point? If it’s not green, I don’t want it.

2) It must have big, fat chocolate chips that are long and rectangular-shaped. Any other form is unacceptable (I’m talking to you, chocolate flakies). The chocolate must be shiny and dark, almost waxy in texture, so that it can properly stand out against the mint green color and provide a satisfying crunch/snap/munch while being eaten.

3) Lastly, mint chocolate chip must be served on a waffle cone. I have no reasonable argument for this other than the fact that cones are generally more fun than bowls, and mint chip is suppose to be fun! Green ice cream is meant to make a mess – embrace it!

Although I’ve spent my adult years trying to expand my palette (hello, bone marrow), at the end of the day, I’m still very much a Beef-n-Cheddar and curly fries kinda gal. Yes, all of the trendy lavendar-lemon-rosemary-honey ice cream concoctions out there are quite lovely, but mint chocolate chip is one of those uncomplicated staple flavors that the world will love forever, like chocolate and strawberry but even perhaps a little more special. Really, mint chocolate chip is the reason that I fell in love with ice cream, and consequently, why I started this blog.

So, Mint Chocolate Chip, I celebrate you in all of your simple glory, and to show you my appreciation for the years of happiness that you have bestowed upon me, I offer you this homemade waffle cone to make your home.

Happy scooping!

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Homemade Waffle Cones

Yield: 4 to 6 cones

Ingredients:

1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to room temperature

Directions:

1. In a medium sized bowl, mix the eggs and salt until evenly combined, about 1 minute.

2. Add the sugar, and beat for 2 minutes, until combined.

3. Gently add the first 1/3 cup of flour, stirring until it is absorbed into the batter.

4. Add the second portion of flour, then stir until all flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.

5. Add the melted butter, and stir until blended.

6. Add about 1/8 cup of batter to preheated waffle cone iron, and let cook until the waffle iron setting indicates that the waffle is finished. You want the cone to be a golden brown – if the waffle isn’t as dark as you would like it, feel free to leave it in the iron for a few more minutes (just make sure it doesn’t burn!)

7. Remove the waffle from the iron with a spatula and immediately place onto a hot towel. Use the towel to tightly wrap the waffle around a cone form, making sure you pinch the bottom of the cone so that ice cream cannot leak out in the future (Or, you can just add a mini marshmallow or some chocolate chips). Hold the cone around the mold for a few seconds to ensure it sets its shape, then place in a drinking glass or cone holder to allow it to cool.

Finished cones should last a few weeks when stored in an airtight container.

A quick note: If you don’t have a waffle cone iron, you can try baking the cones on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350°. I’ve never tried it before – I needed to justify my somewhat pricey waffle cone iron purchase, and thus needed to ensure that I had no alternative cone-making methods available :)I have, however, tried this recipe in a Belgian waffle maker. Makes a huge mess – just don’t even bother!

Mastering the cone making process takes time and practice; you might want to double the recipe to allow for a test batch. You’ll learn what works best with your iron as you go. And don’t worry if your cones aren’t perfect– that’s the beauty of homemade things, isn’t it?

Enjoy!