Ice Cream

Roasted Cherry Brownie Sundaes

by Shawnda on June 4, 2012

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies,Cherries,Chocolate,Fruit,Ice Cream

Roast Cherry Brownie Sundaes

Has any single pound of cherries ever been so decadent? I’m not so sure. And I’m not so sure it should ever be again.

The hardest part of buying cherries is not polishing off the entire bag before you even get to your bookmarked recipes. It’s a difficult race to pit the cherries fast enough for the 2-Year-Old. Because when I fall behind, she simply pops a whole one into her mouth, stem, pit, and all.

After making the Roasted Cherry Chocolate Cake for Project Pastry Queen, we were (I was) hooked on roasted cherries. I’ve had these brownies from Annie’s Eats bookmarked since last summer. Roasted cherries and dense, fudgey brownies? Sign me up.

Roast Cherry Brownie Sundaes

I roasted the cherries in some of our port to concentrate the rich berry flavors and then folded that almost magical reduction into my current favorite brownie recipe – Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownies. I have a couple of friends who swear that no homemade brownie can touch a from-the-box brownie. And after one bite of the Ghirardellis, I can at least temporarily agree.

For the sauce, I was looking for something less sweet. something to pair with the rich brownies and sweet vanilla bean ice cream. We simmered more cherries in more port to make a very grown-up topping for a very grown-up sundae.

I can’t even imagine how many miles in 863% humidity I’ll have to run to wipe that brownie sundae off the books. It’s probably better if I don’t dwell on it.

Roasted Cherry Brownie Sundaes

A rockstar brownie sundae celebrating cherry season: rich brownies studded with cherries roasted in port wine, topped with vanilla ice cream and a roasted cherry-port sauce.


  • For the brownies:
  • 1/2 lb cherries
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 1 box brownie mix (I use Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownies), or your favorite brownie recipe, prepared according to direction
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • For the roasted cherry-port sauce:
  • 1/2 lb cherries
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Remove stems, pit cherries, and then cut in half (or quarters if very large).
  3. Place in a small baking dish with 1/4 cup of port.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until the cherries are very soft and the port has slightly reduced (you'll have 2-3 Tbsp of liquid).
  5. Set the cherries aside to cool while you prepare your brownies according to directions.
  6. Reduce oven heat according to your brownie recipe.
  7. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  8. As the last step in making the brownie batter, stir in the cherries and accumulated juices and then transfer to the baking pan.
  9. Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs attached (~45 minutes in my oven).
  10. To make the cherry port sauce, remove the stems and pits from the remaining 1/2 lb cherries.
  11. Quarter the cherries and then coarsely chop.
  12. Add to a small sauce pan with the port and sugar, cooking over medium-high until it begins to boil.
  13. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until very thick and syrupy (you'll have ~1 cup of sauce).
  14. Serve brownies topped with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of warm cherry-port sauce.
  15. Leftover sauce will keep in the fridge for several days, serve rewarmed.


Yields: ~1 cup cherry-port sauce; sundae servings very

Brownies inspired by Annie's Eats, Cherry-Port Sauce from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 2 hours 30 minutes




I don’t need a calendar to tell me that summer is nearly here. The days get longer, the electric bill skyrockets, we enjoy weekend lunches by the pool, evenings are capped with dinner and a beautiful sunset on the patio, and the neighborhood kids get louder with each passing day as they pile off the school bus. They know that there’s an end in sight.

I totally remember those days.

Nearly two years ago, we decided that we just couldn’t take another Texas summer without a swimming pool. We loaded up our 8-month-old daughter and moved to the suburbs. We found the perfect pool that just happened to have a house attached. Lucky us.

When the school year ends, that new backyard quickly becomes family barbecue central. Nieces and nephews pour in from Dallas and San Antonio with my sisters, brothers, and in-laws in tow.

I love entertaining, but I’d much rather throw an informal, potluck-style backyard barbecue with friends and family than a fancy dinner party. One requires food that’s far less fussy and lets me spend more time with family. And one requires mascara. It’s really a no-brainer.

Carafes of margaritas, sweet tea, and fresh-squeezed lemonade sit on ice next to a stack of Solo Cups. The smell of pork ribs and mesquite smoke in the air mix with chlorine and 50+ SPF sunscreen. The little ones squeal with excitement when the Cannonball Championship starts – biggest splash has bragging rights for at least a week!

The picnic-style lunch menu is rounded out with dad’s baked beans (it’s not a barbecue without them), hot dogs and burgers with a spread of fixins to make everyone happy, grilled vegetables, and a bowl of potato chips.

An ice cold watermelon is perfectly chilled and sliced into wedges piled high on a platter next to the salt shaker. We are a family divided: 1) my mother and I, who salt our watermelon before eating it and 2) everyone else.

No one’s perfect.

And just when you think you couldn’t – shouldn’t – eat one more bite, out comes a bowl of banana pudding and a baking sheet full of ice cream cones for dessert!

Is there another dessert that makes people as happy as eating ice cream in a cone? Adults relish in memories of childhood summers; the melody of the ice cream truck and camping out in the backyard seem much more recent than 20 years ago. And the kids giggle as they race to catch the dripping ice cream before it hits the patio. It’s the stuff that makes 30-somethings feel like teenage-somethings and cannonball into the deep end of the pool.

Nestlé® Drumstick® Lil’ Drums are one of my favorite summer treats. They’re smaller than the classic Drumstick – something that’s extremely important when we’re talking about desserts and bathing suits in the same sentence – but still have that signature chocolate-coated sugar cone. Do not stand between me and the Caramel Graham cone. With a drizzle of caramel sauce and graham cracker pieces on top of vanilla ice cream, it was love at first bite – try it, you’ll see. There are several new flavors, you can check them out here.

My husband typically shuns the Lil’ Drums and heads straight for the classic full-sized Drumstick.

Regardless of the flavor, anyone who doesn’t bite the bottom of the cone off first doesn’t get invited back.

I kid, I kid.

And now for the giveaway! Nestlé is kicking off the summer in a very fabulous way for one lucky reader with a $100 Walmart gift card! To enter the giveaway, simply answer this question in the comments below: What is your favorite summer activity with your friends and family?

Giveaway Rules
1. No duplicate comments.
2. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
– Leave a comment in response to the question “What is your favorite summer activity with your friends and family?”
– Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
– Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
– For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
3. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
4. The Official Rules are available here.
5. This sweepstakes runs from 5/14/2012 to 6/15/2012.

Be sure to visit the Nestlé Drumstick page on, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

This post was sponsored by BlogHer and Nestlé.




Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

by Shawnda on May 7, 2012

in Chocolate,Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

This is the second recipe for peanut butter cup ice cream that you’ll find here on our blog. The first one is my favorite of the two – it’s absolutely divine. It’s a rich, chocolatey base studded with chunks of homemade peanut butter cup filling and chopped peanut butter cups.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

How can you go wrong with that?!

My husband, however, is partial to this version: our favorite homemade vanilla ice cream swirled with peanut butter, fudge ripple, and chopped peanut butter cups.

And yet, our marriage endures :P

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

I’ll give him this – it’s my second favorite peanut butter ice cream :) But you can’t really go wrong with the chocolate & peanut butter combo!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Vanilla bean ice cream swirled with peanut butter, fudge ripple, and chopped peanut butter cups.


  • For the ice cream:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 scrapings from 1 vanilla bean)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 12 oz bag mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped and coarsely chopped
  • For the fudge ripple:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • For the peanut butter swirl:
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2-3 TBSP milk


  1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, and salt in a medium sauce pan.
  2. Pour the remaining cream into a large bowl and set a fine strainer on top.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks while slowly adding a couple ladles of the heated milk.
  4. When the side of the bowl is warm to the touch, pour the yolk mixture into the sauce pan.
  5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  6. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste.
  8. Stir occasionally until cool, and then transfer to the fridge for another 2-4 hours. (Setting the bowl in a sink with ice and cold water substantially speeds up the process.)
  9. To make the fudge ripple, stir together the water, sugar, corn syrup and cocoa over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges.
  10. Let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then remove from heat.
  11. Stir in vanilla.
  12. Let cool and then store in a jar in the fridge (will keep for several weeks). The fudge ripple must be completely chilled to use.
  13. Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.
  14. Whisk together the milk and peanut butter (the mixture might look a little separated but the final product freezes smoothly).
  15. Add the chopped peanut butter cups and then let the mixer run another 1-2 minutes more (or fold them in manually).
  16. Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream into a storage container.
  17. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp each of fudge ripple and peanut butter swirl over the top.
  18. Repeat, with the next 1/3 of the ice cream and more fudge ripple and peanut butter swirl.
  19. Transfer the last of the ice cream to the bowl, top with more fudge ripple and the remaining peanut butter, cover with a lid, and put in the freezer until completely firm.


Yields: 1+ quart

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

Estimated time: 6 hours