Thursday, July 7, 2011


Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
The burning question right now is what I am going to do when I am done with culinary school.

This fall I will be an intern - hopefully in some wonderful New York City bakery - and I'll get to keep learning. That is the part I am excited about. After that I really want to start developing my own recipes. And I might start telling all of my neighbors that they should think of me the next time they need a cake for a special occasion.

A friend suggested that I start writing about easy dinners for working couples. I don't think I am destined to be the next Rachel Ray with a cookbook of 30 minute meals. But maybe my friend was onto something and I I should try to capitalize on what I love to do most: quick and easy desserts that look impressive, but take little effort.

This mint chocolate ice cream cake is the perfect example. It's my twist on a suggestion I found a while back in Mary Engelbreit's "Sweet Treats Dessert Cookbook.''

Before culinary school I used to cheat and buy a ready made Oreo Crust for this cake and it tasted pretty great. This year I thought I had to make my own crust. I separated 20 Oreo cookies and scooped out the cream. Then I crushed the cookies in a food processor, drizzeled 4 tablespoons of melted butter over it, pressed it into a pie plate and froze it for about an hour.  The crust was a little stubborn when I went to cut up the cake. It didn't want to come out of the pie plate, but when I wrestled it out, it did taste wonderful. Maybe next time I'll use less butter or won't press it so tightly together.

The secret to this cake is buying premium quality ice cream. I use 2 pints Haagen-Dazs mint chocolate. I like it because it doesn't have any artificial color to make it green. Then I let the ice cream sit on the counter til it's soft, empty it into a bowl and stir in some green creme de menthe. Next spread the ice cream in the crust and freeze it until it's set. I usually do this over night.

Now comes the fun part: decorating! Place half a pint of heavy cream in a mixer and whipped with a tablespoon of sugar to make a whipped cream that will hold its shape if you want to put it in a piping bag. I also use Andes candies and run a vegetable peeler over a bar of chocolate to get shavings that I scatter on top of the cake.

But you can decorate it anyway you want to make your own perfect summertime treat. Thin Mint girl scout cookies would work really well too if you have any left in the house.

The best part is it takes minimal effort and it will impress the heck out of your friends.

Oh, and did I mention how wonderful and refreshing it taste? Yum!