It’s a Pumpkin Pie Day

The smells and creations that came out of my mum’s kitchen growing up make up many of my fondest memories. My mum fed people. She still does. She has always had a God-given, generous spirit and often whenever she cooked, some of it left our home to get to someone else’s. I love her example and whenever I cook I often think of my mum. There are things she has made for ages that I have given up attempting because it just doesn’t taste like hers. It lacks her special touch. She’s always tweaking recipes and if she has written the recipe down for me there are notes in the margin that say things like:

“Add celery too”

“Use some half and half” 

“Eyeball it” 

Oh dear! I’m out of my depth! 

This past November when our second daughter was born mum came to help. I remember her washing copius loads of laundry, making meals, cleaning up dishes, mopping floors, and keeping Izzy, our two and a half year old (at the time), a happy camper. What she also did may be one of my favorite adult memories to date. She taught me how to make her pie crust. Her pie crust needs a moment of foodie silence. It’s an all butter crust that is perfectly flaky and crisp, yet somehow manages to simultaneously melt in your mouth.  We ran out of time to go from crust to pie but I ended up with two lovely chilled disks of my mums dough. More importantly I got to help her and learn from her. I felt like I was five again except this time I didn’t have to sit on the counter. 

After she left I attempted the cooking of a filling and the assembly of a pumpkin pie and came to the consensus that I would need a LOT more practice. One thing mum and I agreed on together and giggled about in the process of her instruction was that I have not the hands of a pastry chef. My mom has frigid hands whether it’s 90 degrees or 20. Mine are hot whether it’s 90 degrees or 20. Hot hands and butter that’s supposed to stay chilled are not a happy match. Maybe I can soak my hands in ice water next time or maybe I should just leave the pie baking to my mum. 

Well today as I remembered back to learning how to make pie crust, I ached for the smells of home. My hot hands weren’t up for tackling pie crust so I made some pumpkin pie ice cream instead … And wished mum was here to try it. 

Maybe it wasn’t with your mum but with your dad, grandma or friend, but what are smells or recipes that bring to mind precious memories? I’d love to hear them. 

The Iconic Magic Shell from Childhood

This post takes me back to my childhood. Until we moved houses, when I was six, we lived a mere three blocks from a Dairy Queen. Thus I had my fill of chocolate dipped cones growing up. I am a texture junkie when it comes to food so I loved that oh so yummy soft serve encapsulated by that decadent, crunchy, chocolate shell.  

Years later while making my own ice cream creations I stumbled upon a post where Georgia Johnson from the Comfort of Cooking blog  claimed to make the iconic Dairy Queen magic shell. I was excited. She seemed to love it as much as I did, and as I was researching for my own mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe, I discovered a connection and decided to give her recipe a whirl. 

Have you ever put whole chocolate chips in ice cream? It works in a pinch but they get so hard when frozen that it’s not entirely pleasant. But what happens when you melt down chocolate with a bit of oil, let it cool, and then add it to churning ice cream? Magic! Magic shell to be quite precise. It makes all the difference in the world and literally takes 2 minutes. That’s even a generous time estimate. 


To make the loveliness that is magic shell, take a cup of chocolate and place it in a microwave safe measuring cup or dish. Add 2 tablespoons of oil (I used coconut oil) and microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Every microwave is different. My magic number is 49 seconds. Yours may be more or less but it won’t take long. The chocolate simply needs to melt enough that when you stir it all together it’s nice and smooth. Let it cool slightly and you’re in business. How simple is that! An added bonus is it keeps fantastically at room temp for a month! Thus don’t be afraid to double or triple the recipe. 

So next time you make ice cream and want to step it up a bit, make a batch of magic shell and pour it in slowly during the last few minutes of the churning process. Take the extra 49 second seconds. You’ll be oh so glad you did. No more pesky hard chunks of chocolate. Now you’ll have light, crisp strands woven throughout each bite. 


Just want a scoop of ice cream? Pour it over top or if you really wanna get fancy try doing your own dipped cones and tell me how it works out. 

Happy Shelling! 

The Only Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe You’ll EVER Need

My daughter Izzy has yet to meet with an ice cream she doesn’t like but this one about makes her vibrate out of her skin with excitement. It’s texture is like velvet and the chocolate flavor is seriously amped up, which sadly is not always the case. Have you ever had a scoop of chocolate ice cream that left you wishing you had just eaten chocolate? When I read similar thoughts from The Bright Eyed Baker I knew I had to try her chocolate ice cream. It was a recipe adapted from David Lebovitz, thus it was going to be delicious. 


I am like my mum, in that I rarely follow a recipe. I end up changing a few things, tossing in a handful of something, removing an ingredient, etc. But this ice cream DOESN’T NEED ANY TWEAKING. I even tried! From one chocolate lover to the rest of you out there … you need to make this! It’s a fabulously, non fussy recipe, and it’s downright delicious! I have made several quarts of it lately and it reminded me of the Helm’s Deep scene in Lord of the Rings where they keep saying they won’t last the night. This stuff won’t last the night if it’s in my freezer without an owner, and I know it won’t last in yours. Invite friends so you have others to share it with. I doubt you’ll have to do any serious arm twisting. 

Happy Chocolate Churning! 

Note: Although the recipe is solid, it WILL make a difference if you use quality chocolate. I have used the easy to find Toll House and Hershey unsweetened cocoa powders but my mum sent me a bag of Valrhona and it took this recipe to another level. For the non-powder I always use Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips which are easy to find, delicious, and easier on the pocket book than other gourmet brands.   

For added inspiration … This past week my daughter and I added chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter (seasonal=best) Cups for an order we received. The consensus: oh please repeat! 

What are your favorite add-ins? I’d love to hear from my fellow chocolate ice creamians.