Three Days Before the Celebration
 Two Days Before the Celebration

I adjusted this recipe and used less chocolate than called for.  These cookies are kind of a mess to make.  The dough is very wet -- more the consistency of batter than cookie dough.  I dropped the dough / batter from the tablespoon and then shaped it a little with my fingers because I was worried that the cookies would be misshapen as the chocolate melted.  The cookies look shiny, dry and cracked when they are done baking.  They aren't very pretty but boy do they taste great.

Everyday Divas Celebrations
with Mimi and Sue
 Welcome Back to Buck Hill 2014

Make your Tomato Jam
  • 2 lb roma tomatoes
Rinse, pat dry and core the tomatoes.  To core a tomato, insert a pairing knife at the stem end, circle the stem, cutting into the tomato about 1/3 of the way down and just pop out the cone shaped core.  Cut tomatoes into quarters.
  • 1 bunch rosemary
Strip the needles from the stem.  Finely chop.  You need about 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
  • 1 lemon zested
You need about 1 tablespoon of zest.
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pulse rosemary, lemon zest and sugar in a food processor until the ingredients are well incorporated and moist.
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Add to bowl of food processor along with the tomatoes.  Pulse quickly 5-6 times.  You want to have a large dice on the tomatoes.

Transfer to a sauté pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium high and continue to boil allowing the moisture to evaporate and the mixture to thicken and become jammy.  Stir frequently.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn.  This process could take as long as 20-25 minutes.  When mixture reaches the proper consistency, remove from heat, add salt and pepper and additional lemon juice to taste.  

Make your vanilla ice cream
  • 12 oz milk
  • 20 oz heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean split with seeds scraped out (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
Place ingredients (including the scrapings from the vanilla bean) in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally (Do not boil mixture.)  Remove from heat when you are satisfied that the vanilla flavor is infused into the mixture (This could take 10-15 minutes.)  Remove vanilla bean.

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Beat with a hand mixer at high speed until yolks are creamy, slightly puffy and light yellow.  One eighth of a cup at a time add the warm milk/cream mixture to the egg yolks.  This is called "tempering" so that the yolks do not cook.  When you have added enough milk/cream to the yolks so that the yolks are warm pour everything into medium sauce pan and place over very low heat.  Cook this mixture stirring constantly until it completely coats the back of the spoon and has a "silky" texture.  Place this mixture in a bowl and refrigerate overnight before freezing in your ice cream maker. The next day it should take 20-25 minutes in the ice cream maker to freeze.  You then may spoon it into a container with a tight cover and place in your freezer until ready to serve.

Bake your chocolate decadence cookies
(adapted from Wall Street Journal Bittersweet Decadence Cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
​Sift ingredients together and set aside.
  • 4 oz  72% chocolate
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
Place in a double boiler (see box at right), melt and stir so that butter is incorporated into the chocolate.  Remove, set aside and bring to room temperature.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine in second bowl.  Place over simmering water and stir until mixture is lukewarm.  Stir this mixture into the chocolate.  Then stir dry ingredients into this mixture just until incorporated.
  • 4 oz 54% chocolate chopped into chunks
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
​Stir into chocolate mixture.  Using a tablespoon drop onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Space at least 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake until cookie surface looks dry and slightly cracked 12-14 minutes.  The inside will still be soft.   Carefully move to a wire rack to cool.  Store in a tightly sealed plastic container.  If you stack the cookies Put a layer of parchment paper between each layer.

 Pour water into the bottom of a deep sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Put a metal bowl into the sauce pan, take it out.   If it's wet, pour out a little of the water.  You do not want the bottom of the pan to touch the simmering water. 

 When I was taste testing this, I told Mimi it was too sweet for my liking.  

 I had a feeling Sue wouldn't like this.  Her palate is more savory than sweet.  Honestly, I was concerned that the jam was cloyingly sweet as well.  The recipe called for 3/4 cup of sugar which I believe was just too much.  I have adjusted it to 1/2 cup of sugar here as a result.  We both agree that the saltiness of the ham created a nice balance for the sweetness of the jam.   

The cookies were good and very rich.
Honestly, though not my cup of tea. Too sweet. 

My husband thinks Hagen Daaz should be a food group all its own!  You know my theory on making your own ice cream -- labor of love.  Why bother when store bought ice cream is so great?  Although, our friend Betty does go crazy for Mimi's homemade ice cream ... and everybody else.