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In Search of German Chocolate Ice Cream
I have always loved German chocolate cake, not because of the cake itself, but rather because of the wonderful filling! I could eat a bowl of stuffing with no problem! A few years ago I “discovered” Haagen Dazs German chocolate ice cream and tried it. It was, needless to say, delicious. However, my enjoyment was short-lived as it was only a seasonal taste. Over the next few years, I faithfully checked the Haagen Dazs display at EVERY grocery store I went to, to no avail. I only ran across it once – barely enough to satisfy my palate! Then a few months ago, when I visited my neighborhood Smith’s, I found German chocolate ice cream in the supermarket’s “Private Selection” section. I bought it and couldn’t wait to get home to taste it. My excitement was unfortunately short-lived; the taste fell far short of my expectations. I finally realized that the only way to satisfy my ice cream craving was to make it myself.
Making this specialty ice cream involves a two-step process: creating the German chocolate filling and making the chocolate ice cream. I immediately went looking for recipes. I make German chocolate filling in my kitchen at work, but I don’t need twenty pounds of it! I had to find a recipe that had a significantly lower yield. I went to several websites and found similar recipes. Knowing what ingredients the recipe should contain, I selected one from Allrecipes.com that met my criteria. For the ice cream portion, I adapted a recipe I chose from the 1981 book “Ice Cream” by Mable and Gar Hoffman. I substituted a smaller amount of Half and Half cheese for regular whole milk to get a richer ice cream. The end result was a delicious and suitable substitute for the Haagen Dazs version I miss so much. Although the ice cream is easy to make and requires a few more steps, I think it’s worth the effort.
As a side note, when I try this recipe in the future, I will only cook the German chocolate filling to about 170 degrees. I’m also considering using a pastry bag and piping it into the finished ice cream I’ve just removed from the machine. This procedure might give me more gooey stuffing to break down instead of a firmer piece.
German chocolate filling
1 cup of sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
3 egg yolks
1 cup of coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine the sugar, evaporated milk and egg yolks in the top of a double boiler or in a large metal bowl. Add the pieces of butter. Cook over boiling water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and the thermometer reads 180 degrees. Remove from water and stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, put in a smaller bowl or plastic container and cover by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling. Refrigerate overnight. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper and spoon or drop the filling onto the sheet in teaspoon-sized amounts. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Important note – When I make German chocolate filling, whether at home or at work, I prefer to cook it in a double boiler rather than in a pot over direct heat. This way I can do more while the filling is cooking than just stand on it and mix. It also minimizes the risk of overcooking and scrambled eggs. While the filling is cooking, I prepare the ice cream base.
Chocolate ice cream
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half and half
2 eggs, beaten
3 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 70% chocolate bar – remember that higher quality chocolate makes for better tasting ice cream)
4 oz. evaporated milk (if you buy a 12 oz can, use 8 oz in the filling recipe and the rest in this recipe)
1 cup whipped cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in milk and half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Stir about half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, then pour it back into the pot into the remaining hot milk mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Mix in evaporated milk, whipped cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate (you could technically use the mixture after it’s warmed to room temperature, but it takes longer to freeze). Pour the mixture into an ice cream canister and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
When the mixture freezes, place a large metal bowl in the freezer. Remove the German chocolate filling pieces from the wax paper. When the ice cream is ready, spoon it into the bowl you keep in the freezer and mix in the German chocolate filling pieces. Put in a container and let the ice cream harden. Have!
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