Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Late Summer Sweets

If you'd asked me 10 or 15 years ago what my favorite season was, perhaps via an email survey with several other important questions, I would have undoubtedly, annoyingly answered "Indian summer." It was totally cheating, but ask me again now, and my answer will likely be the same. 

Autumn is, technically, the winner: I love the back-to-school feeling it evokes, along with celebrations surrounding my wedding anniversary, birthday, and Halloween. However, even after days of relentless heat and humidity, I'm never quite ready to let go of summer. There's something completely magical about the weather that we get to squeeze in between pool days and those first colorful, falling leaves. 

The sun may still be hot during Indian summer, but it's much gentler, allowing for transitional outfits like dresses with boots, and a vast range of cooking opportunities. Almost anything goes. Tomatoes are still available, greens return with a vengeance, and people who are impatient for fall start pushing flavors like cinnamon and pumpkin.

It's slightly different at our house, however. We abide by seasonal produce, of course, but grill nearly year-round, and I never adjust my desserts for the time of year...they're all chocolate, all the time. The closest I've gotten to a traditional summer dessert in the past few months was homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream, and it was absolutely divine. I followed instructions for herb ice cream and substituted several (gifted) sprigs of mint in for basil to steep in the egg yolk and cream mixture, as shown below.

Making the chocolate chips was my favorite part of the process - so simple! I melted 4 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, added a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and spread it into a thin layer on a Silpat-covered baking sheet. After a stint in the refrigerator, I broke the chocolate into small shards, and into the ice cream maker they went. Unfortunately I was too pleased with myself to remember to take a picture of the finished product, but it was well-received by everyone who tried it.

My consolation baked good for coming back from vacation was this recipe for fudgy oatmeal cookie bars, which was very popular on Pinterest for awhile. I took a picture, but it was much less interesting than the others I've seen, but rest assured that the cookie bars are wonderful. The only thing I may change the next time I make them is the type of chocolate used for the filling - dark chocolate, instead of semi-sweet, seems like a logical next step.

As soon as I saw these brownies, I knew I needed to try them as soon as humanly possible. Last Sunday was nice and rainy, and I seized the chance to combine brownies with Kit Kat bites, plus a topping of Nutella, chocolate chips, crushed oreos, and Rice Krispies.

Need I say more? I know my high school and college selves would approve, whatever the weather.


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john said...

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