Pumpkin Chai Icebox Cake

So I must be the worst blogger around.  It is already October 4th, and I am just now posting my first pumpkin recipe of the season.  It's not that late in normal circles, but in the blogging world I'd definitely get a slap on my keyboard-clad wrists.  To be fair, I actually made this recipe almost a month ago.  I saved it, since I didn't want to bombard you all readers with pumpkin everything while the sun was still shining bright, but then the photos got forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of me trying to fit in as many sunny-day activities as possible before summer was official over. Pumpkin Chai Icebox Cake- Style Sweet CA

The truth is, you can enjoy this dessert any time of the year.  Strangely enough, it was my very first icebox cake.  As the name implies, it is served cold- or at least room temp.  It might not warm and ooey-gooey, but the result is like pudding goodness for the soul.  I am drawn to both individual desserts and large cakes alike.  I wanted to make something other than traditional cake, but something that would stand high on a cake pedestal.  After milling over some ideas and researching recipes, icebox cakes seemed to fit the profile.  Huge bonus?  They are super easy to make.

I went with an unexpected flavor combination that was both unique and popular for fall.  As over-saturated as pumpkin is, I have not seen a lot of pumpkin chai combinations.  When I thought of pairing the two together, I did a little research.  Either there are not a lot of recipes because A) the flavors taste terrible together, or B) I am truly original.  Now I bet neither are completely true, but I hope the truth is closer to the latter.

Pumpkin-Chai-Icebox-Cake

Pumpkin pairs terrifically with cinnamon.  And nutmeg?  Yes.  What about cloves?  Well I think so.  So why not all the spices of the chai family?  My thoughts exactly.  Mix the cream component with the pumpkin itself, and now we are in business.  Let me introduce: Pumpkin Chai Icebox Cake

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:29]

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:30]

 

 

Cookies and Ice Cream Sandwiches

 

Strawberry-Ice-Cream-Sandwiches-Tessa-Huff

Hello June!  Although I am guilty in indulging in a scoop or two of ice cream any time of year, nothing screams summer like our favorite frozen treats.  And really, what better way is there to eat one dessert than with another?  The idea of ice cream sandwiches always seem extra decadent and sinful, but sometime you just gotta go for it.  These SEA SALT AND DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES pair effortlessly with nostalgic STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM, and their versatility with other ice cream flavors is endless.

Ice-Cream-Sandwich-Assembly

Ice-Cream-Sandwiches-Tessa-Huff-Vertical

Unfortunately, my ice cream maker got left behind in California.  However, quality ice cream or gelato is pretty easy to come by these days.  For the cookie base, I did not want to stray too far from a classic chocolate chip cookie, but did want to kick the flavors up a notch.  I've topped the cookies with sea salt flakes and used chunks of my favorite dark chocolate Callebaut instead of the traditional chocolate chips from a bag.  This recipe is fairly basic, but beautiful cookies- crisp enough to withstand the ice cream.

Sea-Salt-Chocolate-Chunk-Cookies-Tessa-Huff

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:1]

Ice-Cream-Sandwiches-Tessa-HuffSea-Salt-Chocolate-Chunk-Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Mocha Sandwich Cookie Recipe

Chocolate-Mocha-CookiesText Between all of the French macarons, luscious layer cakes, delicate pastries, pies, and puddings- sometimes you just need something ooey, gooey, and chocolatey.  Last month, my husband and I hosted a mini after-dinner drinks and desserts party to celebrate our new apartment.  There were only 6 of us, so I didn't want to go overboard with the menu, like I usually do.  After all of the moving and unpacking, I just want to get back to basics with a chewy, flavor-packed cookie.  To off-set the Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti that I was already making, I created this CHEWY CHOCOLATE MOCHA SANDWICH COOKIE RECIPE.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIE RECIPE:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 20 ounces chopped, bittersweet chocolate 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 1/4 cups sugar 6 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon cappuccino flavor oil 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup cappuccino chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1)  Sift together the dry ingredients, and set aside. 2) Melt the chopped chocolate over a double boiler until smooth, and set aside to cool. 3) In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter with a paddle attachment until light, fluffy, and pale in color. 4) Gradually add in the eggs, one at a time.  Continue to mix on high until fully incorporated and creamy. 5) Add in the vanilla and melted chocolate. 6) Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. 7) Fold in the chips.  DO NOT overmix. 8) Using a medium disher or small, mechanical ice cream scoop, immediately scoop out your cookies while the batter is still sticky.  Place on a baking sheet cover with a silpat or parchment paper, at least 2 inched apart. 9) Moisten fingers, and gently flatten the tops. 10) Place in the oven and bake until the tops of the cookies are cracked and centers are slightly set- about 14-16 minutes. 11) Once done, cool cookies on the baking pan place on a wire rack.  Carefully lift off of the pan with a spatula once the cookies have cooled.

MOCHA BUTTERCREAM FILLING

1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) cappuccino flavor oil 3-4 cups confectioner's sugar 2 tablespoons milk

Cream butter until soft and fluffy.  Gradually add in the remaining ingredients, adjusting according to flavor and desired consistency.  Spread between cooled cookies or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Chocolate-Mocha-Cookies2