Endless Ice Cream: Rose Petal

While not a prevalent flavor in the United States, rose is fairly common elsewhere. Across the Middle East, particularly Iran, it is used to flavor all manner of sweets. Ice cream is the only use of rose in food that I have found palatable. Rose candy tastes like grandma’s perfume to me, and rose scones just taste wrong. But the ice cream gives a nice rounded sweetness that is just right for such a delicate flavor. The rose petals themselves are not really potent enough to stand up to the amount of sugar and cream that ice cream requires, so it’s fleshed out with rose water.

Rose water can be found at most Middle Eastern grocery stores and at specialty stores. The potency of the rose water will vary from brand to brand, so you may want to start of by whisking in one teaspoon at a time until you are satisfied with the flavor. I used Nielson-Massey, which is pretty strong.

Rose petals should be unsprayed, or organic. The best would be from a friend or neighbor, as they would be the freshest. Otherwise try natural foods stores or a florist/nursery specializing in organic flowers.

Rose Petal Ice Cream

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Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles

How do you eat your Oreos? Do you twist? Dunk? Twist, then stack, then dunk? How about crushed and pulverized into a small ball and then covered in chocolate? I never thought an Oreo could get much better until  I visited my girlfriend’s family for the holiday and discovered “Oreo Balls.”  These creamy spheres are made of Oreos crushed up and mixed with cream cheese, then covered in chocolate. They are so good, I’ve been conditioned to salivate just from talking about them.

Fast forward over a year and a half, and my sister’s graduation is upon us. In order to pitch in, I volunteered to make Oreo Balls with a twist—a peanut butter twist. Admit it:  you put some peanut butter on your Oreos occasionally. So I bring to you “stick to the roof of your mouth” Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles.

I figured that actual peanut butter Oreos would work in the recipe, but was prepared to throw in spoons of peanut butter just in case. And of course, since I’m a health nut, I used fat-free cream cheese. Turns out that the one package of peanut butter Oreos was enough to give a sufficient taste of peanut butter in the truffles. The end result is a sweet, creamy, peanut-buttery bite of deliciousness. Imagine the taste of dunking a peanut butter Oreo in milk. It’s better than that. I promise.

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Endless Poptails: Blueberry Cabernet Cheesecake

Blueberries, wine, cheesecake…in a popsicle. Yes, it’s possible to have all that in a poptail. I went against my usual hard liquor & fruit for dessert profile and instead took a blueberry cheesecake recipe, then shot it up with some cabernet sauvignon and froze it.

The cabernet gives the blueberry its full bodied shot of booze, while the eggless, heavy cream and cream cheese mixture gives the popsicle its cheesecake cred, and the little bit of graham cracker crumb inserted for a crust-like authenticity brings it all home.

This holiday weekend, forget trying to find a way to juggle your wine in one hand your dessert in the other — just mix them into one and lick your way through.

Blueberry Cabernet Cheesecake Popsicle

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Extreme Brownies: Cookie Dough Cheesecake Brownie Pastry Pockets

Have you seen this new trend in which describing something as “to die for” is no longer good enough? I keep seeing these recipes named “Better Than Sex Cake, Sex in a Pan, etc…” Really? I’m pretty sure sex outside of a pan is still better.

But I get it. It’s a quick hook to get you to look a little closer. And if there’s one recipe that I’m going to describe that way, it’s definitely this one. Now that we’ve established that, do lean in close and take a look at this sexified brownie creation.  Inside that pastry pocket is a cookie dough cheesecake brownie bar — yes, It’s a mouthful. This mouthful is an extreme brownie with a sweet and salty combination that finishes with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and some chocolate and caramel drizzle — how’s that for a happy ending?

So in playing along with the current sex and food trend, I give you the Brownie Sex Maker. This will make you and the person you share with it want to do anything…for reals.

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Brownie Pastry Pockets…a.ka. The Brownie Sex Maker

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Super Snacks: Poutine Potato Skins

At Endless Simmer we’re a little obsessed with all thing poutine. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We haven’t figured out how to turn it into a dessert just yet (any ideas??) but breaking news…we now have poutine as a handheld appetizer.

The idea for poutine potato skins came when I saw that Mile End — the champion of our tour de poutine — was offering these as a take-out Super Bowl snack. I made my version for Super Sunday as well, but I’m pretty sure they make sense for March Madness, too. Or St. Patrick’s Day. Or Easter Sunday. Or a random Monday morning.

These aren’t actually so different from regular potato skins; you’ve just got to pair the spuds with gravy and cheese curds, the other two elements of the holy trinity that make up poutine. The biggest hurdle, of course, is finding fresh cheese curds. In New York, I tracked them down at Saxelby Cheesemongers. For the gravy, I decided to go a little more American than the dark gravy usually found on Montreal poutine, and went with a white bacon gravy. Since I had to cook up bacon strips to produce that gravy, in the end I crumbled them up and added that to the top of the skins as well, because…yeah, I don’t have to explain myself there.

Poutine Potato Skins

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Grilled Cheese Gone Wild!

Sure, mom’s buttery white bread and American cheese version is a classic, but these days grilled cheese has hit a whole new level. Here are some of our favorite crazy grilled cheese options.

1. Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Can’t decide between your two favorite cheesy snacks? Have them both with Simply Scratch’s simply amazing jalapeno-cream cheese-onion-sourdough-colby concoction.

2. Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese

Fried inside fried? Yes and yes. Life’s Ambrosia has the recipe.

3. Bechamel Grilled Cheese

You thought rubbing a layer of butter on grilled cheese was indulgent? At Firefly in D.C., chef Danny Bortnick’s cadillac grilled cheese has bechamel sauce spread in between white bread, with garlic-herb butter, aged Cabot, and Gruyere.

(Photo: Dakota Fine)

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Gridiron Grub: Grilled Cheese BLT Dip

When I was in high school, we had a tradition every Thursday night before Friday football games.  Myself and a few of my  friends would finish up with practice and show up sweaty and famished at my house. For some reason my Mom not only condoned this, but encouraged it by offering to feed the huddled masses. Dinner was always the same on these nights; grilled cheese with bacon, lettuce and tomato on wheat bread. This tradition has permanently seared in my palate the sweet, smoky combination of late-season tomatoes, gooey cheese, thick bacon and chewy homemade bread as the perfect complement to fall days and Friday night lights.

Grilled cheese is somewhat difficult to pull off at a tailgate and even harder to bring when you are invited somewhere. Can you imagine the reaction to showing up to watch a game with a tray of soggy, lukewarm BLT grilled cheeses? From then on you would definitely be the asshole in charge of bringing the soda and chips. Because of that, I  have tinkered with a homemade grilled cheese/BLT dip over the years. It hits all the right notes, though early in the process I realized that lettuce just wasn’t a good fit so I switched to the dip staple: spinach. This has been my go-to takealong for last-minute tailgates and game-watching.

Grilled Cheese BLT DIP

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