Boulder’s Best Root Beer Float

Oak at Fourteenth isn’t just serving some of the best lunch and dinner in town– Their dessert menu is pretty tempting and well worth a glance.  I’m a new-found fan of their root beer float that my esteemed tour guide Heather and I split after enjoying a fantastically delicious meal at OAK for her birthday.

Neither Heather nor I felt like ordering dessert, but our waitress brought us a root beer float with a candle to say Happy Birthday, so how could we resist…  Now, here’s the cool part- they serve the ice cream, brownies, and pretzel bites in a glass and bring the root beer in a small caraffe on the side to pour your float at the table. I like that detail very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is made in-house except the pretzel bites, which add a nice crunch to the vanilla ice cream, brownie bites, and root beer. Sip it with a straw, dig into it with a spoon- The last sip is slurp-worthy, so if the restaurant is bustling and loud, you just might get away with some impolite slurping.

OAK at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl Street, Boulder CO

Taste 7: Cherry Almond Orange Chocolove Biscotti

I love baking biscotti, and since he’s been talking about biscotti lately, I thought I’d make one of my biscotti recipes for my seventh taste of how much I care.  But, I better stop snacking on these to be sure he actually gets a taste…

When baking with butter, I like to whip fresh cream into butter rather than use a pre-made stick, so that was the first step of this recipe. If you choose not to do that, start with softened butter. Also, I love chopping up Chocolove chocolate bars for recipes that call for chocolate chips or chocolate chunks. They are a local favorite of mine. For this recipe I used an Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate Chocolove bar.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup whipped, fresh butter
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp lemon, orange, or clementine zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 Chocolove bar, chopped (I used Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate for this recipe)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder (1 tsp if at altitude)
  • a little nutmeg
  • a little sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

I like to toast my almonds while the oven is pre-heating, but be careful. One minute too long in that oven and they could easily burn! I usually put a big handful of raw, whole almonds on a baking sheet and put them in the oven right when I turn it on. I check them every few minutes and give them shake or stir. After 7-10 minutes, they should be fragrant and golden brown. Remove them from the oven and pour them onto another tray, or into a bowl. Let them cool before giving them a coarse chop.

Sift the flours, baking powder, nutmeg, and sea salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine your chocolate chunks, chopped almonds, and dried cherries (cherries are definitely optional).

Next, start to cream together the butter and sugar in your mixer. Add the eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and lemon or orange zest. When the wet ingredients are well combined, add the chocolate, almonds, and cherries and mix for a few seconds. Finally, slowly add the flour mixture while mixing on slow speed.

When the dough holds together well, remove it from the mixer bowl and form it into an oval-shaped ball with your hands. Then, press it down onto a parchment paper lined baking tray until it is rectangular in shape and 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 15 minutes or so until it is golden brown on the edges and cooked in the center.

Remove it from the oven and let it cool to the touch. Then, transfer it to a cutting board and slice it into 1/2 inch thick pieces.

Turn these on their sides so the inner section faces up and bake another 5 minutes. Remove and flip each piece to double-bake the other side for another 5 minutes. Allow them to cool on wire racks before serving.

Store for one week or more in an airtight container, or eat them all within the first few days as I usually do!  Either way, share with someone you love.

Bourbon Peach Sorbet

Peaches. I just love them. I wait for them all year until they are local, ripe, delicious, juicy, sweet, velvety, irresistible… I guess I should say I long for them all year and then eat as many as possible until they are out of season. Then I wait and wait and wait..

Well, it’s that time of year: peach season! PEACH SEASON! I am thrilled! I was consumed by the thought of peaches today after Nathan Miller, the esteemed chef/baker/chocolatier from The Tasterie Truck, asked some friends if they had any requests for desserts with local Colorado peaches.  It had me thinking of peaches all day, and on a near-100 degree day, I had Bourbon Peach Sorbet on my mind when I came home from work.

It’s super easy if you have a Vitamix. You can make sorbet in less than one minute with fresh, seasonal fruits and add as little sugar as you’d like.  I like that.

I added a peach (pit removed, of course), 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark, 1/2 tsp homemade vanilla extract, 1 TB agave nectar, and 2 cups of ice to the Vitamix. Then, with the lid on and the tamper in place, steadily turn it up to 10, then high, tamping it along the way.  It will form 4 golfball size domes when it is done. Turn it off, and serve.
This sorbet was an ice-cold velvety peach delight.  And, there was just enough bourbon for the flavor to come out without overpowering it and making it taste like a whisky cocktail.  It has inspired me to do more with peaches this weekend, and has me eager to taste Nathan’s creations for The Tasterie Truck.  Visit their Facebook page to find out where they are and what they’re serving.  I’m known to be a fan of the whoopie pie.

Coconut Dates for Taste & Create

For this month’s Taste & Create I was paired with Corina from Searching for Spice, a blog I had never heard of. It’s always fun to discover a new food blog through Taste & Create, and then search through the recipe archives to decide what to re-create. Making a decision was easy for me- I love dates and coconut and had never made coconut covered dates before, though I had considered it many times. Now that I’ve made them and see how easy they are, I can guarantee dates will be stocked in my kitchen from now on.
Here’s a link to the original recipe, and here’s what I did-
I coarsely chopped 8 large Medjool dates (my favorite kind of date) and put them in a small sauce pan with 1 TB unsalted butter. Keep an eye on this and mix it every now and then to make sure the dates start to “melt” evenly. You’ll see the texture change and it really does seem like the dates are melting at first. Add a little cardamom- I opened 2 cardamom pods in my mortar and pestle and then crushed the seeds from the pods, added them to my heated mixture, and stirred for another few minutes.
Remove the dates from the heat when they look like a sticky dough. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes so you can handle it with your fingers.

While the dates cooled, I dry toasted some cashews on medium heat for a few minutes on the stove. The original recipe calls for almonds, but I substituted with cashews this time since I had them in the kitchen.

When the date mush cools, take approximately 1TB in your hand, flatten it into a pancake, put a cashew inside, and roll the date mixture around the nut, forming a ball. Roll the date ball in unsweetened, dehydrated coconut, and try to finish rolling them all before you start to eat them. They are really delicious, very easy to make, and somewhat “healthy” if you think about the ingredients. I plan to make many different versions of coconut dates, so I’m glad I found Searching for Spice and the inspiration to make them for the first time!
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