A small sherbet dish helps to control portion size

When I treat myself to something sweet, I want ice cream or chocolate – preferably both! Sweet and creamy vanilla ice cream with a fudgy brownie crumble fits the bill and is easy to make as long as you don’t mind baking the brownies first. Along with being an important add-in for the ice cream, the brownies are a necessary “garnish” as well. I used a Cuisinart ice cream maker for this recipe – enjoy!


Thin brownies are the key to a good crumble!

Brownie Crumble Ice Cream

Make any Ghirardelli Brownie Mix (I used Triple Chocolate), but bake it in a 10 X 15 or 9 X 13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes less than the suggested baking time on the box – approximately 30 – 35 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool and cut-up one cup of brownies into bite-sized crumbles. Place crumbles in a sealed bowl and freeze for 1 hour or more.


1 C whole milk

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/8 tspn salt

2 C heavy cream or whipping cream

1 Tbspn real vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, use a mixer on low speed to dissolve the sugar and salt in the whole milk, about 4 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla by hand until combined. Turn on the ice cream maker and pour mixture into bowl, setting the timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer goes off, remove the brownie crumble from the freezer and add the pieces to the ice cream, keeping the ice cream maker on and allowing it to turn for 5 more minutes. Turn off the ice cream maker and scoop the ice cream into a bowl with a tight cover. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight before enjoying. Garnish with a brownie or extra brownie crumble.



Citrus Tea Cake with Blackberry Maple Syrup


This tangy tea cake mops up the blackberry maple syrup


During the warm summer months, I still want dessert (of course), but I want it to be lighter and brighter, just like the season. My tea cake fits the bill with its sweet orange and tangy lemon and blackberry flavors. Serve it warm with the syrup drizzled over the top and a generous amount pooled on the plate as well, so the cake can soak up the syrupy goodness from the bottom. Whipped cream is essential. It can be enjoyed for breakfast too – I may have experience in that regard.

Quick tip: When cooking or baking, it’s very helpful to read your recipe through and have all of your ingredients, bowls and pans assembled prior to starting. In French, the term for this is: mise en place.



Mise en place keeps you organized in the kitchen


What are your favorite ways to eat blackberries?  Are you a “mise en place” kind of cook? Please comment below and let me know if you try this recipe.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!


Citrus Tea Cake with Blackberry Maple Syrup


3 T lemon juice

¼ C (approx..) whole milk

1 t vanilla extract

1 T orange zest

1 ¼ C flour

¾ C quick-cooking oats

1 t baking soda

½ t salt

½ C + 6 T butter (14 T total), softened

2/3 cup firmly packed, light brown sugar

1 egg


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8” X 8” pan.

Create flavored buttermilk by mixing 3 T lemon juice with enough milk to make ½ cup total. Swirl in vanilla extract and orange zest and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until well blended, 1 – 2 min. Beat in egg and flavored buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients at a low setting for 1 – 2 min.

Spoon cake mix into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 – 28 min. until toothpick in center comes out clean. Do not turn off oven because you will use it for the blackberry maple syrup.

Let cake cool and serve warm with blackberry maple syrup and whipped cream.


Blackberry Maple Syrup


2 C fresh blackberries

½ C Pure Vermont maple syrup, dark

2 t lemon juice

1/8 t ground cinnamon

¼ t orange zest

1 T butter, cut into 4 pieces

Oven should already be preheated to 375°F from the cake. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and place blackberries in the pan.

Using a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and pour over blackberries. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and remove the foil.  Stir the blackberry mixture with a spoon. Leave the pan uncovered and place it back in the oven for 15 more minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and serve warm with warm citrus tea cake and whipped cream.






Just in Time for Christmas: Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

This year, when we first put the tree up, half of the lights did not work. After hours of careful inspection, we managed to change most of the burnt-out bulbs. And I mean the royal “we” here as my husband did most of the work and has no fingernails left to prove it. The tree looks much better and the kids and I are happy to decorate it now – it’s no fun decorating a “dark” tree.

Along with tree lights, another thing that really makes it feel like Christmas for us are Grandma Rita’s Taralli cookies. The best part for the kids is decorating them with the colorful sprinkles. They wait patiently as I dip each one in the glaze and place it on the cookie rack. Then they take turns letting the tiny, ball-like sprinkles bounce all over the cookies (and the table, and the floor). Clean-up is even fun as we all use our fingers to taste the sweet glaze that has dripped from the cookies onto the table. The vacuum has to come out too, but no one seems to mind cleaning-up when we have such a tasty finished product.

I hope you all have a warm and wonderful holiday season. Enjoy this recipe on the “Recipe Rescue” page – Merry Christmas! Note: this recipe has been removed to make room for another delicious recipe.

Italian Sprinkle Cookies for the Holidays: Taralli

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

Delicious and Colorful Taralli Cookies

In my family, the holidays are not complete without homemade taralli cookies.  I’ve had some requests to re-post my Mom’s recipe for her Italian sprinkle cookies.  These delicately sweet cookies are delicious with a hot cup of tea or coffee and are the perfect pre-breakfast treat for Christmas morning.  To view my original blog post, click here: Taralli Cookies

Please enjoy this very special family recipe and Happy Holidays!

Let us know what your favorite family recipe is that makes your holidays special  –  Click on the title of this post (above) and scroll down to leave a comment – thanks!

Click here or on the Recipe Rescue tab at the top of the page for the recipe.  **Please note: this recipe has been removed for now to make room for another fabulous recipe rescue!**

Strawberry Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

Refreshing and decadent strawberry truffle ice cream!

Strawberries are in abundance this time of year and, as a dietitian, I should really tell you how they are high in vitamin C, antioxidants and an excellent source of fiber too.  I should also tell you some healthy ideas for enjoying strawberries, such as adding them to your morning yogurt or oatmeal.  Problem is, all I can think about is dessert and how I might incorporate strawberries into something sweet and decadent.  Did I mention I have a sweet tooth?  Well, I’ve managed to combine fresh strawberries with creamy, vanilla ice cream and bits of homemade, chocolate truffles.  I could tell you about the antioxidants in the chocolate or the calcium in the ice cream to try to justify it all, but let’s just call it what it is – a special treat that tastes as sweet as summer!

Prepare the truffles ahead of time as follows:

1/3 cup heavy cream

6 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring the cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan and add the butter until melted.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl.  Allow to cool for at least two hours in the refrigerator.  Use a melon ball scoop to form truffles into balls and refrigerate again until ready to use.

Prepare the strawberries ahead of time as follows:

1 pint container strawberries

1 Tbsp. Vermont maple syrup

Rinse the berries under cold water and pat dry.  Slice off the tops and slice the berries into a small bowl.  Add the maple syrup and stir gently to coat.  Lightly cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Ice cream preparation (milk and cream should be well chilled):

Puree enough of the strawberries in a blender until you have 1/2 cup, set aside.   Finely chop the truffles until you have 1/2 cup, set aside.

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 cups heavy cream

2 tspn. pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and whole milk until all of the sugar is dissolved (3-5 minutes).  Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.  Add the mix to the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker.  Add the strawberry puree and truffle bits during the last 5-8 minutes of mixing, following the directions for your specific machine.  Allow ice cream to freeze several hours or overnight – waiting is the hardest part!

Delicious in a cup, cone, or as a thick frappe

Let us know what you think – what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?  Click on the title of this post and scroll down to leave a comment.