April 2015 CookBook Club Wrap-Up

lemon bars

Whew! This month really flew by. I don’t know what happened, but here we are, about to enter May, and I didn’t get nearly everything I wanted done. But I DID make a lot of delicious treats from Lesley Stowe’s Desserts from My Kitchen!cookies

This book is gorgeous–you all know that. But it’s so pretty it could almost seem intimidating. Luckily, the instructions are fabulous and I was making brand new dishes that all turned out delicious! You can see the pictures and reviews of all the recipes by searching for #GHCookBookClub on Instagram.

The recipe I loved the best (and will be making ALL spring and summer long) was Lesley’s vanilla semifreddo (on page 219). According to Lesley: “A semifreddo (which translated means ‘half cold’) is a partially frozen Italian dessert that has the texture of frozen mousse and is slightly richer than ice cream.”

This cookbook has 5 different semifreddo recipes and variation suggestions in addition to those. I thought I’d start simple and I may work my way to the other ones next time I whip up a batch. This recipe is quicker and easier (in my opinion) than regular ice cream and tastes SO much better. But it does require that you have an electric mixer and a LOT of bowls. Lesley Stowe was kind enough to let me share this recipe below!

Vanilla Semifreddo 

semifreddo

Ingredients:

  • 4 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, beat cream until it holds soft peaks. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. In a third mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue mixing until firm (but not dry) peaks form.
  5. Fold whipped cream into yolk mixture, then fold in half of the egg whites and mix until well combined. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared loaf pan and freeze for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Slice with a hot knife to serve.

Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can check out her book for the other flavors! Or just fold some Nutella in it and eat it straight out of the loaf pan like I may have done. I’m classy like that.

One embarrassing and fun fact about semifreddo: I always accidentally say “semi-frodo” when I read it. I may have also accidentally written that a few times. But I like to think it’s a desert a hobbit would enjoy. Speaking of hobbits, stay tuned for May’s cookbook club book: I think it’ll be an unexpected culinary adventure for many of you! 😉

One last piece of business before I say goodbye to April’s GH Cookbook Club pick: Lesley Stowe’s giving away a copy of the book and some Raincoast Crisps to one lucky Geeky Hostess reader! Enter below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Quick Holiday Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Planters Peanut Butter Balls

Around this time of year, my apartment goes missing and in its place is a workshop of chocolatey proportions. I have traditional holiday candies I make every year as well as some other basic treats to bring over to potlucks and parties, and any other homemade gifts Mr. Geek and I concoct. And while some of the candies and gifts are fairly tedious to make, there’s one that I love making over and over, and it’s these chocolate peanut butter balls.

I wish I could say the recipe has been passed down for generations, but in reality I found a magazine clipping years back and have made it my own since. These peanut butter balls are easy to make, take under an hour (plus some chill time in the fridge), and are absolutely delicious. I usually make way more than I actually need to give out, and steal some whenever I need a quick pick-me-up. So if you’re looking for a quick and delicious treat to make for the office party or need a creative and homemade gift for a friend or family member, don your apron and get ready to party. (Bonus: Kraft currently has a ton of coupons you can use at Target, and you can use them to save $1 off of the peanut butter used in the recipe!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • Approx. 4 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) Melted Butter
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Planter’s Peanut Butter (I used creamy, but feel free to go wild with crunchy or one of their other flavors!)
  • 2 11.5 oz bags of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, melted butter, and peanut butter until smooth. Consistency should be almost play-doh like and easy to roll into a ball. If not, add more powdered sugar.

Roll the mixture into small, even balls (around the size of a large marble or gumball).

Melt the milk chocolate chips in a double boiler or by very carefully microwaving them in a bowl for 30 seconds at a time. Don’t burn the chocolate!

Dip the balls in the milk chocolate until they’re evenly coated and place on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Top the chocolate covered balls with some sprinkles if you’d like (I love the extra crunch and pop of color!), and then place in the fridge for around an hour to chill.

Package them up for your friends/parties before you eat them all yourself.

Or heck, just eat them all yourself.

What’s your go-to holiday treat?

From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.