Archive for February, 2017
My wanderings around my world this week started with…
A couple favorites that we get every time.
And a new-to-us dish – a delicious Thai version of the Vietnamese hu tieu that we adore.
This was really good.
Freezing my shoulder off at physical therapy.
Bought a screen for our bathroom window. Screen turned out to be just barely too large. After much screen manipulation and jamming, somehow managed to actually get the screen in without breaking it!
No, we do not live in a forest, it just looks that way.
Where are you wandering this week?
Across the river from the Notre Dame, we took to the streets, wandering Le Marais.
The contrast to chilly, rainy London was quite striking – it was so warm in Paris that day, we decided to stop for gelato!
We got a three-scoop cup of vanilla, mango, and passionfruit gelato. Refreshing, and really delicious – we almost went back for more, but a huge line had formed after we bought ours.
More wandering – I love finding these little nooks of greenery in the middle of a city.
It was already getting late in the day, so we took the Batobus back to the Eiffel Tower, and stopped by our hotel long enough to eat the vanilla eclair with speculoos filling (omg so good!) before heading out to dinner.
After yesterday’s face-off between Thin Mints and Samoas, I couldn’t let Thin Mints just run away with the victory that easily!
I mean, that Thin Mint Oreo Milkshake was insanely delicious, and I can’t deny it deserved to win, but… to be honest, I’ve kind of always been just a bit more of a Samoas girl.
This Samoas bark was something I made for my sister last year for Christmas – we were visiting my grandparents for Christmas, and I wanted to be able to give my siblings something, but didn’t want to have to lug all their Christmas gifts all the way to Arizona and back.
Since Kristen’s known for being a lover of all things Samoas, I had the idea of making a Samoas-inspired chocolate bark for her. (Patrick got homemade licorice caramels – I’ll be posting that recipe later this year.)
When I thought up the idea, I did a quick search to see if anybody had made this before. And while yes, of course there are people who’ve made Samoas-inspired chocolate bark before, none of the recipes out there were quite what I had in mind.
This recipe couldn’t possibly be simpler. Layers of chocolate, shortbread, caramel, coconut, and more chocolate – just like the Girl Scout cookie! Except even more decadent, because you get way more chocolate and caramel in every bite with this version. (No regrets.)
If you like Samoas, then you’ll definitely love this bark – and love how easy it is to make!
- 22 oz chocolate, divided
- 10.6 oz (2 packages) Walkers shortbread
- 22 oz caramel bits
- 1 cup coconut
- Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt 15 oz of the chocolate in a double-boiler, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring well in-between microwaving.
- Spread the chocolate evenly over the parchment paper.
- Put the shortbread in a ziplock bag, seal the bag, then use a rolling pin to crush the shorbread into crumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over the chocolate, and lightly press into the chocolate with your fingers. Let the chocolate cool completely before proceeding.
- Melt the caramel in a double-boiler, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring well in-between microwaving. Stir in the coconut.
- Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the shortbread.
- Melt the remaining 7 oz of chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over the caramel, to create stripes. Let everything cool completely.
- When the bark is completely cool, use the parchment paper to remove the bark from the baking sheet, and place the parchment-lined bark on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into triangles (or whatever shape you prefer).
When it comes to Girl Scout Cookies, are you Team Thin Mints, or Team Samoas?
Everybody’s one or the other. My mom? Team Thin Mints. My sister… solidly in Team Samoas.
But what about Tagalongs, I ask you? Or Do-Si-Dos? Or the classic but unfairly maligned Trefoils?
Those cookies are great and all… but I guarantee you, it’s the Thin Mints and Samoas people go for first.
(Trust me – I used to be a Girl Scout!)
So on Fridgg, which cookie comes out as the winner – Thin Mints or Samoas?
Thin Mints get an early lead, with Laurie’s no-churn Thin Mint ice cream and Thin Mint truffles edging out Deb’s Samoas scones!
And it looks like the Thin Mints are keeping their lead, with Jamie’s Thin Mint-inspired naughty Girl Scout cocktail and Justine’s Thin Mint pots de creme – although Claire’s Samoa cookie doughnuts do look delicious!
But wait – do Samoas have a chance? Lisa’s Samoa rice krispie treats, Phillip’s Samoa mini doughnuts, and Jess’ homemade Samoa cookies all look like winners!
But alas, it wasn’t to be! Team Thin Mints takes the win, with this boozy Thin Mint Oreo Bailey’s Irish Cream milkshake from Peabody!
Did your team win? Tell me who you were rooting for!
(As for me? I’m Team Tagalongs. I’m a rebel like that. 😉)
Obviously, I had to try out the winning milkshake – because when you mix Thin Mints, Oreos, ice cream, and booze, everybody wins!
And my goodness, was it delicious! It tastes like drinking minty oreos… not a bad way to enjoy your Girl Scout Cookies!
Thin Mint Oreo Bailey’s Irish Cream Milkshake
Recipe barely adapted from Sweet Recipeas.
- 4 large scoops of good vanilla ice cream
- 100ml (about 3 oz) Bailey’s Mint Irish Cream (or an equivalent amount of milk for a non-alcoholic drink)
- 4 Thin Mint cookies
- 4 Double-Stuffed Oreos
- whipped cream and extra cookies to garnish
- Add the ice cream, booze or milk, Thin Mints, and Oreos to a blender. Starting low and slowly increasing the speed, blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass, and top with whipped cream and additional cookies.
After a very long and food-filled first day in Paris, we got quite a late start on day two.
By the time we made it out of our hotel room, it was already past noon – so we started our day with another pain au chocolat as well as a jambon panini from the bakery downstairs.
It being a Monday, the crowds around the Eiffel Tower had quieted down a good bit, so we were able to find a quiet bench in the park to enjoy our breakfast/lunch.
And a macaron.
As you do in France.
After a short ride on the Batobus from Eiffel Tower to the Saint-Germain-des-Pres stop, we unexpectedly found the Ponts de Arts – the love lock bridge.
It’s insane how many locks there were on that bridge!
No, we did not add to it. Not really our thing.
From there, more walking, more wandering.
Wandering, but not aimlessly!
Ladurée Bonaparte was our goal today, to try the other famous macaron bakery in Paris.
We were there for the macarons, but if only we had time to try all the other beautiful sweets there! Everything looked so delicious, but alas, we only had 24 hours left in Paris, and a body can only consume so much in one day.
After making our purchases, we walked back to Saint-Germain-des-Pres, and took the Batobus to Notre Dame exit.
Of all the memorable moments we had in Paris, the one that sticks out most to me is the moment we walked into the plaza in front of the Notre Dame. The cathedral is spectacular – one can’t help but feel a sense of awe standing next to it.
As usual, we weren’t of a mind to battle the lines to get inside, so instead we wandered.
There’s a pretty little park behind the Notre Dame, so we sat in the shade a bit, and got into the macarons we bought at Laduree.
So which were better – Ladurée or Pierre Hermé?
Well, Ladurée’s macarons were a little more vibrantly-flavored, while we just slightly preferred the texture of Pierre Hermé’s macarons.
In other words… inconclusive! Guess we just have to go back to Paris and eat more macarons. You know, just to be sure…
After resting a bit (and sharing a few macarons), we took a little time to wander around Notre Dame island, before we went off to explore the other side of the river!