If you have ever had the pleasure of trying a true Belgian waffle, then you know that they are entirely different from the ones in the United States. Three years ago around the holidays, we were visiting our family who live in Amsterdam, and we took a three day side trip to Belgium, wandering the fairytale streets of Bruges, climbing spiral staircases in old medieval castles in Ghent, and roaming around a Christmas market in Antwerp sampling freshly made hot chocolate and of course the waffles that the country is so famous for. We tried several kinds during our short trip, and surprisingly, the best ones were at the train station on our way back to Holland. We knew they were going to be good when the baker asked us if we could wait five minutes while he made a fresh batch so we could enjoy them hot from the iron. Trying these authentic Belgian waffles was an experience that we will always remember. They were nothing like the waffles that we grew up eating for breakfast, as these didn’t come with any toppings or condiments. They had a sweet and crispy glazed exterior covered in a crust of glistening sugar like the best creme brulee, and a soft, sweet and buttery, chewy inside with pockets of molten sugar throughout. We thought that we would never be able to replicate the complex texture and unique sweetness of that incredible delight, but this recipe we discovered perfectly captures the authentic flavors of Belgium that we remember from that glorious day.
A few years ago we realized that our kitchen was missing a very important appliance… an ice cream maker! After doing some research, Adam surprised Ryan with one for his birthday, plus a cookbook to go with it called Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones. The very first recipe we made was the vanilla—made with real vanilla beans—and it was the creamiest and smoothest ice cream we had ever tasted. We immediately looked into the ice cream shop listed on the cover of the book: Bi-Rite Creamery. Well, as anyone in San Francisco could tell you, it is a popular place with almost 8500 rave reviews and a 4 1/2 star rating on Yelp. The point is: these people know their ice cream. So when we decided to make cookies and cream ice cream bars for this Labor Day weekend, the obvious choice was to begin with this book. We used their classic cookies and cream recipe as the base to get that silky rich texture that they are so well-known for, and we added more cookies to give it a more chocolatey flavor and a delicious crunch. And when we were experimenting with ways to keep the prep time under five minutes, we discovered an ingredient that makes these decadent bars even creamier, turning this simple and refreshing treat into one of our new favorite desserts.
It is quite possible that you are reading this from the beach. Maybe there’s a cool breeze blowing through your hair this very second, while you’re stretched out on a soft towel, listening to the calming sounds of seagulls and crashing waves in the distance. You might be at an airport, returning from a family vacation, or maybe you have just arrived home from a peaceful evening stroll around the neighborhood. Wherever you may be, we are all approaching the final weeks of summer, soaking up the sun, enjoying every last bit of it, and willfully denying that Fall is right around the corner. Well, we have the perfect solution for this, a classic dessert that will not only help ease this sensitive seasonal transition for everyone, but will also be a delicious exclamation point to the end of your summer!
Everyone knows how easy it is to make popcorn, but did you know that with just a few extra steps you can have homemade butterscotch caramel popcorn?! A delicious combination of caramelized brown sugar, butter, and vanilla is poured over your favorite popcorn, then baked to a crispy and chewy, salty and sweet golden perfection. Plus, it takes just five minutes to make the creamy butterscotch, so the only hard part is having to wait patiently while it cooks in the oven developing its satisfying crunch.
How is it possible that this classic, chocolatey, Spanish dessert is not a household name? And why has it taken so long for Ryan to tell Adam about this magnificent treat that he grew up with? There are many questions in life that remain a mystery. Recognizing this, the best advice for Adam is to just let it go, be thankful that he now knows the recipe, and to make up for lost time by preparing this as often as possible.