Daring Bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Bombe

So many components to this dessert!  Two ice creams, hot fudge sauce, chocolate cake, whipped cream…and then there’s the assembly process.  Whew!  When I told Ben all the things I had to do, he said “Can you imagine having to do this when you were still teaching?”  Yes, I can imagine that.  I would have freaked out.  Probably like this scene from Julie & Julia.

Thankfully I saved myself, and Ben, from this potential freak out by spreading everything out over 5 days and having this thing ready to enjoy 3 days before the Daring Bakers reveal.  Having a lot of free time is such a luxury.

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

I must confess right now that I cannot attest to how good this ice cream treat is at present.  I haven’t yet cut into this impressive dessert and tasted it.  It is sitting in my freezer just waiting for me…calling to me, really.  I’m saving it for our 4th anniversary this Thursday.  I’ll make sure to amend this post once I get to try a slice as we celebrate 4 years of marital bliss!


PW’s French Breakfast Puffs

This recipe was posted to Pioneer Woman back in December of 2007 and I knew from the ingredients alone that these had to be delicious.  And who can argue with bread dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar?  No one.  That’s who.  Here is the link to her post.  I really like her site and every recipe I’ve tried has been great.  If you don’t follow her blog already, then you should.

I don’t know why I haven’t tried these until now.  My mother-in-law made them a few weeks ago, and I was inspired to try them myself.  I made them in mini muffin cups instead of the regular size so that I would have more tasty treats.  I had leftover batter after filling the 24 cups, so I used a madeleine pan for the rest…they didn’t look that great t, but they tasted good.

Since I was using a smaller pan, I reduced the baking time to 15 minutes.  Other than that everything is the same as Pioneer Woman’s recipe.  Why mess with a good thing?  While these are a bit messy to prepare, they are worth it.  Any puffs left over can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days.  They don’t taste quite as good as fresh, but they will still satisfy your sweet tooth.


Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastries

These sweet little pastry packages are lovely.  Pre-made puff pastry makes this a dessert that requires very little hard labor in the kitchen.  Assembling these pastries is not exactly a breeze, but they are worth it.

I found this recipe hidden in Fine Cooking from August of 2010.  It is the “Letter from the Editor” section that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t seen the recipe in the index.  The other fruit pies in this edition are so beautiful, but more time consuming since you make your own dough.

For me, this was a perfect dessert for our Sunday night dinner guests.  I made them earlier in the day and stored them in the fridge until time to bake.  I stuck them in the oven when we sat down to dinner, and they were done at the perfect time to enjoy them.

The recipe below is changed slightly from the original.  The original recipe calls for creme de cassis, which I do not have on hand these days, and so I substituted almond extract with good results.  I used low fat cream cheese, and cut smaller circles to make smaller pies.  Unintentionally, I did not cut vents in my pastries.  This probably caused more of the gooey insides to leak out, but they were still delicious.  I served these with vanilla ice cream.  The crunchy sugary tops are wonderful, and the combination of blueberry and cream cheese in the center reminds me of a grown up Toaster Strudel.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastries


  • 2 17.3 ounce packages frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (low-fat is fine) softened
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs yolks
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons cornstartch
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 egg yolk and mix until well combined.
  3. Combine the blueberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and salt and mix gently.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out individual puff pastry sheets into a 10 by 10 inch square.
  5. Using a round cutter (3 1/2 inches to 4 inches) cut out 4-6 rounds from the pastry depending on the size of your cutter.  Arrange the circles on a parchment lined baking sheet. (You will need 2 or 3 sheets)
  6. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water.  Brush the outer edges of each dough round with egg wash.
  7. Dollop about 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture in the center of the round, then top with about 1 tablespoon of blueberries.
  8. Fold in half to form a half moon and pinch edges to seal.  You may use  the tines of a fork to seal as well.
  9. Lightly brush each pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Cut a small steam vent in the top of each pastry.
  10. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
  11. Cool slightly, then remove from the baking sheet.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Summer Cobblers and Worldwide Fame

When my mom and I set out to make American dessert for a group of young adults (ranging from 19-30) from Ireland, Scotland, Korea, and the UK I had no intention of blogging about these recipes.  This will explain why the only pictures of the night I have are these of the practically devoured leftover portions.  And yes, I know the picture quality is less than stellar.

Why the blog post, you ask?  I must make you wait in suspense, because I rarely get to share such an exciting story and I want to milk this one.  It is good.

We made a peach cobbler, and a berry crisp.  I enjoyed them both, and they were especially delicious when combined in the same bowl with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.  When serving this to our guests, I made a great point of telling them that nowhere else in the country would they have better ice cream than this night.  I think they found my love for this creamy taste of heaven to be pretty amusing.

I cannot remember where my mom found the recipe for the peach cobbler, but I must find out because I would make it again.  The topping is so delicious, sweet and crunchy.  The berry crisp recipe I found on epicurious.com.  Here is the link.  The recipe can be found at the bottom of the post as well.  I made absolutely no changes, and wouldn’t make any in the future.  This is an incredibly easy and homey dessert.

NOW for my incredible story.  The group that had dessert in Round Rock was driving cross country in a 15 passenger van.  My cousin Peter is working for a company that takes these groups around the country, stopping at various sites and camping out mostly at state and national parks.  Their tour of Texas on their way to Louisiana includes Austin, so Peter made plans to come see us and bring his group.  They were glad to get some home cooked food and to spend an evening in an air conditioned home.

After dessert, one of the girls, Sinead (forgive me if I misspell it!) complimented the dessert and my mom tells her that I helped and that I had a food blog.  The girl…who, just to remind you, is from IRELAND…asks the name of the blog and upon being told it was Hottie Biscotti says, “I’ve read that blog!”.  Can you even believe this?  I know.  Crazy.  I ended up talking to her a bit about food blogs and then about her family and how she is going back to school to get an English Literature degree and how she wants to be a writer.

Anyway, I now claim worldwide fame as a food blogger.  It may not be much, but its something.

Summer Berry Crisp


  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Crisp topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Pyrex pie plate.
  2. Gently combine the berries with the sugar, flour and cinnamon; place in the prepared pie plate.
  3. Prepare the topping: Combine the oats, flour, both sugars and salt in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or 2 knives to work in the butter until topping resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over the berries.
  4. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove the crisp to a rack to cool slightly. Serve in dessert bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.

Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Spread

This is my first mobile post, so forgive me if this doesn’t work or look quite right!

I whipped this up tonight when I saw that I had a bunch of leftover pesto and a lonely package of cream cheese in the fridge. This is really simple and tasty. You can adjust the amounts to your personal taste.

Easy Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Spread
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  •  4-5 tablespoons pesto
  • 6-7 chopped sun dried tomatoes

1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 2. Serve with crackers or crusty bread pieces.


Aunt Susan’s Spinach (or not) Artichoke Dip

My Aunt Susan made this dip a few Christmases ago when we were visiting my mom’s side of the family in Richvale, California.  It was so delicious that I just had to get the recipe.  When she wrote it down for me I was surprised at how short the ingredient list was and how easy it was to put together.  Those are the best recipes.  Simple, easy, quick and delicious.

This dip can be made with or without the spinach.  Susan originally made this without the spinach, but I like it with.  It makes me feel like I’m being good to have the spinach in this dip.  If you use light mayo (or a mixture of plain yogurt and mayo), and low-fat mozzarella this isn’t the worst dip on the planet.  Using the spinach just adds to the flavor and adds some extra goodness.

If you decide to use spinach, you can use fresh or frozen.  I like to use fresh, but sometimes it’s not the quickest thing to do.  If you’re using frozen, thaw it completely then squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible.  To use fresh, just saute in a pan with a little olive oil and minced garlic.

You can serve it with almost anything; crackers, baguette, veggies, sourdough pieces, etc.  Just use what you like.  I like to use toasted bread for a nice contrasting crunch.  Enjoy!

Spinach (or not) Artichoke Dip


  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup mayo (light, regular or half mayo half yogurt)
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, wilted
  • 1 cup grates Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • cayenne pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Pour into a shallow baking dish (a 9-inch pie plate is perfect)
  3. Bake at 350°F for 45  minutes.
  4. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Toasted Corn, Cherry Tomato and Edamame Salad

Finding tasty, refreshing vegetable side dishes can be difficult.  I am all for a nice salad, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.  Steamed or roasted veggies are delicious, but when the weather is warm I want something cool.  This salad is the perfect solution to all these problems!  Using seasonal ingredients like fresh corn and juicy tomatoes is a great way to celebrate summer.  The fresh basil and mint in the salad make it even more delicious.

I only made one slight change to this recipe.  Since I am not a huge fan of drowning a salad in dressing, I simply drizzled the dressing over each individual serving of salad.  You don’t need much to add a nice zesty, and tangy flavor to this salad.  I left one serving completely naked except for a light sprinkling of salt and thought it was great.  The herbs provide so much flavor alone that you could do without the dressing completely.  It is up to you.

I served this with Quick Tandoori Chicken, here is the link.  I used chicken breasts instead of thighs.  The flavors were robust and yummy, but I wouldn’t serve these two things together again.  Serving this salad with a simple grilled steak or simple flavored grilled chicken would be wonderful so that you don’t have competing flavors.

Toasted Corn, Cherry Tomato and Edamame Salad

Courtesy of Fine Cooking (Here is the link)


  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 medium ears)
  • 2 Tbs. plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. clover honey
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping cup quartered cherry tomatoes (about 15)
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil


  1. Cook the edamame according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool completely.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels are golden brown in patches, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Slowly pour in the remaining 4 Tbs. olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. In a medium serving bowl, combine the cooled edamame and corn, the tomatoes, and the herbs. Gently toss. Add half of the vinaigrette and gently toss. Add more vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.