Ice Cream of the month: Mint chip, mint choc chip, mint.

It’s a bit minty.

Experiments with Earl Grey flavoured ice cream did not work out, so instead I’m sharing my all time favourite ice cream even though the photos are a bit pants.

If you like mint/chocolate combo’s this is the icecream for you. Creamy, mint flavored ice cream studded with chunks of mint fondant and minty dark chocolate chips.

For the mint chips I used Clarins mint creams (made by Bassets) available in most big supermarkets. Any firm fondant or mint cream could be used instead eg. Bendick’s Bittermints. For the chocolate I chopped up a bar of Lindt Mint Intense, you could substitute any other brand of dark, mint chocolate.

chopped mints

chopped choc

Mint chip mint choc chip mint Ice cream

  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 100g chopped mint creams
  • 100g chopped mint chocolate
  • 2 tsp peppermint essence

Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour. Heat the milk to boiling point.

Pour the hot milk over the egg yolks, whisking continuously. Pour it all back in the saucepan and stir briskly over a medium heat untill the mixture has thickened to the consistency of cream. Remove from the heat.

Pour into a jug. Add the double cream and peppermint essence. Put in the fridge to chill.

Chop the mints and chocolate into smallish pieces (see photo) Chill the pieces in the freezer.

Following the instructions for your machine, make the ice cream. Add the chocolate and mint pieces right at the end. Scrape into a tub and freeze until firm.

COTM: Vintage Chocolate Peppermint

Chocolate and mint has to be one of the greatest flavour combinations of all time. Mint choc chip ice cream was always the first choice in the day’s of my youth, mint chocolate, especially fondant creams, always a favourite treat. So what could be nicer than this chocolate peppermint cake, made super moist with sour cream, with lashings of minty buttercream and topped with that staple of many a childhood – mint Poppets?

The recipe comes from Elizabeth Craig’s “Complete Family Cookery” published in 1957, from the sponge cakes section. Originally the recipe was a mixture of ounces and the dreaded cup measurement. The quantities may seem a little odd, but trust me – they work!

The book also recommends icing the cake with “seven minute frosting”. It tastes a bit like marshmallow fluff but is a total pain in the bum to make. The first time it was going really well untill I added the green colour, then it just went totally runny. The second time it broke my hand blender (you have to whisk for seven minutes, hence the name, my blender was not supposed to run for more than 5 mins without a rest) and went all crystallised and weird. I avoid it like the plague now, buttercream works well, is easier to manage and is less sickly!

Chocolate Peppermint Layer Cake

  • 7oz (210g) plain flour
  • 1oz (30g) cornflour
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2¾oz (80g) softened butter
  • 9oz (270g) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3oz (90g) dark chocolate
  • 120ml sour cream
  • 180ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

Grease and line two cake tins. Pre heat the oven to 180°c (160 fan, gas mark 4)

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Put to one side.

Beat together the butter, sugar and egg until fluffy. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cornflour salt and soda. Beat half of it into the chocolate mixture then stir in the sour cream. Add the rest of the flour gradually, alternating with the milk.

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for around 25 mins or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 mins then remove from the tins and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Peppermint Buttercream:

  • 3oz (90g) very soft butter
  • 6oz (180g) icing sugar
  • up to 2 tsp peppermint flavouring
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Green food colouring (optional)
  • mint chocolates such as Poppets or Matchmakers to decorate

Sift the icing sugar over the butter, add the milk. Beat till smooth.

Add a dash of food colouring and half of the mint essence. Mix together. Taste for mintyness. Very gradually add more colour and mint until you think it looks and tastes right. Be careful, some mint extracts can be very strong!

Divide the buttercream between the top and middle of the cake. Decorate the top with mint chocolates.

The Winter Of Our Discontent

Look! Proof that we can have weather other than rain!

Buttered Crumbs is very interested in the Danish concept of “Hygge” and perhaps more so in the German concept of “Gemutlichkeit”, which is very similar but much easier to say.

Holly, of the decor8 blog sums them up very neatly in an article on how to create Hygge at home:

“a space or situation that is warm and cosy, that induces a cheerful mood and peace of mind, without a need to hurry or worry, and with a connotation of belonging and social acceptance”.

It’s all very much what the Buttered Crumbs blog is all about, though I am concentrating on the foodie aspect.

It has been said that Denmark has a high suicide rate, possibly linked to the miserable winters. This is rather unfair; on a 2012 Suicide Rate WHO list of 170 countries, Denmark came in at number 82, with 25 other European countries ahead of it and way behind Canada, the U.S and Australia. England came in at 105, it’s very hard to be suicidal while comsuming a cup of tea and some Jammy Dodgers. In actuality Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world, with high levels of personal wellbeing, so they must be on to something.

Don’t you wish we had an English word like Hygge or Gemutlichkeit? What would it mean to you? Tea and biscuits, long walks in the country, seaside towns, chips eaten piping hot out of the bag, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, lemonade and a bag of crisps at the pub on a summer afternoon, stately homes, feeding the ducks, crochet blankets, listening to a storm while tucked up in bed, all these spring to mind but how could you sum them up in one word? English can be such a poetic language but fails us here. How about Elevensesque or Tea’n’biscuitish? Any ideas?

Gluten Free Granola Three Ways

Now try saying it really fast ten times.

My gluten free experience is now over. Going without made no difference to whatever ailments I may or may imagine I have. It wasn’t a terrible experience by any means, week one was kind of exciting, week two you start to realise how many things you can’t have anymore, week three you really, really want those things but by week four you’re pretty much resigned. The first thing I ate afterwards was a big bowl (or three) of Coco Pops, bliss!

Have you noticed how expensive gluten free items are? Just a 400g pack of oats cost at least three times as much as the 1kg bag we normally get! Just one member of the family eating gluten free was pushing the weekly shop up to more than we could reasonably afford. The soloution is to make as much as you can at home from scratch.

Home made granola, gluten free or not, is way cheaper and contains less fat and sugar than shop bought varieties. Unless of course you are making my peanut butter choc chip granola….

Peanut Butter Choc-Chip Granola

  • 150g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g millet flakes
  • 75g raw peanuts
  • 150g peanut butter
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g milk chocolate (I used Green & Blacks which has a higer than usual cocoa content)

Mix together the oats, millet and peanuts in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven to 150°c (130 fan/ gas mark 2)

Put the peanut butter, sugar, honey, butter, vanilla and salt into a saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until everything is runny and well combined.

Pour the mixture over the oats and stir well until coated and clumping together.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork, until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and stir evenly through the granola. Store in an air tight container and eat within four weeks.

peanut granola 1Even more delicious and easier on the teeth is this soft bake Black Forest cake flavour granola. Being softer it won’t keep for as long, but we had finished it within a week so I’ve no idea how long it will keep fresh for!

Black Forest Granola

  • 200g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 25g white chocolate chips
  • a pack of dried cherries (I used Urban Fruit unsweetened dried cherries which contain about 90g)

Combine the oats and ground almonds in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven to 150°c (130 fan/ gas mark 2)

Gently melt the chocolate, honey and oil. It’s probably best to do this with a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water) as the chocolate can “seize up” and go fudgy if you melt it in a saucepan.

Combine the chocolate and the oats. If the chocolate is setting too quickly, you may need to add a splash or two of very hot water to help it mix in. It should make some lovely big clumps.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Add the white choc chips and the cherries. Store in an air tight comtainer.

cherry granolaFinally, something light, crispy and fruity:

Apple Pie Granola

  • 150g (gluten free) oats
  • 50g millet flakes
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 100g honey (I used honey from a cider orchard, which has a lovely apple flavour)
  • 40g butter
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each of ground cloves and mace (or nutmeg)
  • 50g dried apple rings
  • 30g apple crisps (available from some supermarkets and health food stores, I got mine from M&S)

Combine the oats, millet, almonds and spices in a large bowl. Pre heat the oven (see above recipes)

Gently melt the honey and butter. Pour over the oats and mix well.

Spread the granola over a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 15 mins, stirring around a couple of times with a fork, until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Cut the apple rings into pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors. Break the crisps into smaller pieces. Stir into the granola and store in an air tight container. Use within six weeks.

Granula was invented in 1863 by Dr James Caleb Jackson, for his health spa in Dansville, New York. John Harvey Kellog created a similar cereal which he called “granola” to avoid legal action. The name is no longer copyright protected, except in Australia and New Zealand.