Better Than Ice Cream

Happy almost weekend. Don’t ya just need some ice cream? I could probably go for some ice cream any day, anytime. BUT there’s ice cream, and then there’s gelato. One of my favorite things in Italy is all the gelato. It’s so amazing. I also just looks so much nicer than American ice cream too. I remember how much I loved it the first time I had some in 2011 in Rome.

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It was just as delicious this time. I was also psyched to introduce Mr. J to it. Of course he loved it! He imagined it to be more icy and less creamy than it is.

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Gelato was our “meal” during our six hours exploring in Florence. In Spain we spotted this stick place that had it coated in a hard shell. Mr. J had to try one. Afterwards we kind of felt like just experienced a European tourist trap.

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It wasn’t as good as regular gelato. It also was quite pricey…darn those euros.
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Gelato is so pretty piled high overflowing from the metal containers. I scooped ice cream for a good portion of my high school & college life so I feel qualified to attest that 3 gallon tubs we hung over to scoop from never look this nice.

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The crisp stuck in is the perfect touch for gelato in a bowl. Love it!

Guest Blog: Dessert Diva

While I’m in NYC working an event I’d like to reintroduce you to Miss Liz.

Miss Liz writes:
For the last few months, I have been the de-facto “party planning committee” work (Me-physician assistant working at at hospital-this will be come important later). Collecting money=annoying, but menu planning=fun. Well, one of our physicians left for a fellowship position last week, so I made trifle, which is one of my specialities.
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But this presented a problem because I really couldn’t make the same thing for another physician’s going away party this week. Someone suggested cupcakes but I wasn’t completely sold on the idea. The next morning during rounds, one of our physicians is eating a frosting filled donut (Yes, physicians eats frosting filled donuts for breakfast and then talk to you about diabetes and heart disease!). The donut inspired me, why not try filling cupcakes with frosting?
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Overall, it was actually very easy and went well. I used boxed cake mixed and make the cupcakes as per the box.
After they cooled, I used a knife to pop the top off, then with a pastry bag filled with frosting I injected until the top of the cupcake bulged.
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Then I frosted the cupcakes as normal. Everyone loved the cupcakes and thought they were so fancy. Its a great easy and fun dessert especially if you need to take it to go!
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One suggestion-I made two batches chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla cupcakes were considerably smaller and I had a harder time getting the top off. So next time, I would air of the side of making bigger cupcakes.

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I also made mini-cupcakes. These are great and remind me of my childhood, when my mother would make small muffins for us which we called “baby girl muffins”. But I didn’t even attempt to fill these! I use this all the time, mostly for brownies. I know it sounds crazy, but I prefer brownies from the box. So, i just spray the tray with pam and bake. When the brownies are done, you don’t have to cut anything and it makes serving very easy!
Thanks Miss Liz! If YOU are interested in being a guest blogger email emily@thethreebiterule.com!

Tasti (Forgive The Spelling- It Wasn’t Me)

After majoring in English and Journalism in college it always annoys me when companies misspell words to be catchy. Tasti D-Lite? Yikes! Grammatical errors are the same. Toys R Us? Come on!

I put that aside and eat their ice cream none the less (Tasti’s ice cream, not Toys’). Boston got it’s first Tasti D-Lite a while ago, but I hadn’t been other than in NYC. When I saw one in Florida I knew it had my name written allll over it.

I scooped ice cream, for a living, as a summer job in high school so I sympathize when ordering ice cream especially if they have to sing, dance, or wear funky uniforms. Their staff don’t have to lean head-first into freezers so I only felt so-bad for them. Luckily my ice cream was just ice cream so there was very little explaining to do whereas they have to teach customers what it means.

I got mud pie…which wasn’t the best ever. I felt guilty asking for a sample but I probably should have gone with the Cinnamon Crunch or Toffee Crunch which I just assume I’d prefer.

Mr. J got cake batter with fudge and vanilla crumbles. I thought his was super sweet but he liked it enough even though soft serve is more my thing than his. He leans towards regular ice cream but as Mum would say he could “choke it down”.

I Hate to Bake (well, hate is a strong word)

Allow me to introduce you to the  I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Brackenand an easy chocolate cake!Anyone can make this cake…even a non-baker like me! I grew up with homemade cakes, cookies of all varieties, cream cheese frosting, trifle, yogurt coffee cake, and a different dessert all the time. Mum is the best non-professional baker I’ve ever met but I rely on her for my treats and I don’t bake much.

She makes a mean Milky Way cake. I don’t love fruit desserts so I lean towards something with chocolate or caramel or nuts…why not all three?!

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Our family doesn’t deviate from our favorites. Birthday cake is ALWAYS chocolate ring of coconut fudge cake. Nobody will choose anything different. I was at my parents house for lunch and Mum whipped up a cake to go with it. It’s one we made way-back-when and it’s like a wild card…play it when nobody is expecting it.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup water

Directions

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Assemble dry ingredients in a 9 x 9 pan and stir to combine.
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Add wet ingredients and stir well.
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Bake at 350 for 20 – 30 minutes.
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(It’s a bit tricky to remove from pan.  Don’t be in a hurry.  If you are in a hurry, serve it directly from pan.)

It is fluffy and actually tastes like chocolate. I hate cheap brown cakes…they’re not chocolate! I inherited an intense love for chocolate from both of my parents. Dad loves something chocolate after certain meals.

All desserts are welcome in my world, especially to help me celebrate my birthday on Thursday! Stay tuned for my Birthday Mac & Cheese Taste-Off!

Save The Day and Send ‘Em Brownies

I’m not a baker so I just LOVE baked items from others! I also love saying thank you with food. I’m lucky that at work we were thanked with food! We got a mixed box of Fairytale Brownies.Yay for treats in the conference room. Also, it happens to be a very warm part of the office so these delicious brownies seemed more like freshly baked goodies!
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We received a big box of snack-sized brownies. Snack size was perfect sample a bunch of different flavors. My favorites were toffee crunch and espresso nib.
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Nib: (plural) crushed cocoa beans. Who knew? Now you can use that in Jeopardy.

These will be a fun thing to send, especially for a group!

“Easy” Oreo Truffles

These no-bake cookies, excuse me, truffles, are by no means easier than baking a cookie. I’m not an avid baker but this turned out to be about the same amount of work. Mrs. E saw them in a magazine add so we gave ‘em a whirl. They were fun to eat, didn’t use many ingredients, but they were definitely more of a challenge than we anticipated.

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I think these “Easy Oreo Truffles” have been around for awhile but they seem to be a crowd pleaser. Kraft Foods included them in a recent magazine and the recipe is online everywhere!

Ingredients

-1 package Oreo Cookies, divided
-8 oz. Cream Cheese
-1 pkg. Baker’s Chocolate, melted

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Directions:

Set aside 6-8 cookies for the topping.
Crush cookies in food processor or in a sealed bag until finely chopped. Add cream cheese and blend.
Roll into 1″ balls with a mini melon baller or teaspoons.
Dip in chocolate, and sprinkle top with crushed cookies.
Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.

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These are extremely sticky. Mrs. E and I would advise figuring out a few tool options prior to getting your hands oreo-ified! Refrigerating the cream cheese mix and crushed oreo might have helped make it easier to form.

I also recommend melting chocolate chips instead of solid chocolate pieces. We used a double boiler allowing us to take our time to dip them. I first attempted toothpicks, to no avail…maybe it would have worked if the formed balls were frozen. I ended up dropping the formed balls into the melted chocolate on the double boiler and spooning them out.

What else could go inside? Maybe nuts would have been good for a varying texture. The recipe calls for 1” balls, we made them smaller but maybe bigger would have been better. My last thought was making them a cookie bar with a chocolate topping or making them into mini muffin tins with chocolate topping, of course.