Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl

| by | Desserts, Holiday Recipes, Ice Cream & Frozen Treats, Recipes, Seasonal

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl: This ice cream starts with a rich chocolate peppermint base and features a peppermint crunch marshmallow swirl throughout. Creamy in texture, perfectly decadent, and full of chocolate and peppermint flavor, this ice cream is the perfect cold Christmastime treat!

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl |

Hi there! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of food, laughter, good times, and more food. :)

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl |

As I mentioned in my last post, we celebrated the holiday in Texas this year. However, for me, the fun began on Friday. For a few weeks prior, my mom and I discussed the idea of taking a day trip the day after Thanksgiving for some hiking and relaxation, and to get away from the madness that is called Black Friday. I was happy that the sibs were in favor of the idea (you know, they really can be wet blankets sometimes… just kidding! kind of.), even though there was grumbling about the early departure time involved. The two state parks we originally discussed visiting were a little too far for a day trip so Caddo Lake was settled on.

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl |

I had heard and seen pictures of Caddo Lake and from what I could tell it looked lovely. Also, the general feedback was very positive; people seemed to love it. Anyway, so on Friday morning (after a two hour delay in leaving…) we headed off. After spending way too long in a Texas-sized-are-you-kidding-me-this-place-is-huge rest/truck stop, three hours of sore bums, and arriving three hours later than planned, we arrived at the park. Let me tell you, drive included, I saw a side of Texas I had no clue existed. If it weren’t for the fact that the people around gave it away – Texans will be Texans – I’m not sure I would have known we were still in the state! It’s a beautiful area and the lake itself is truly magical with the bald cypress trees adorning it. And guys, there were trees all around! Even on the drive there – I mean, I. never. knew. (The area I live in, Dallas/Fort Worth, is not aesthetically pleasing with its many buildings and roads.)

Caddo Lake State Park | Sempre-Dolce.comCaddo Lake State Park | Caddo Lake State Park | Sempre-Dolce.comCaddo Lake State Park |↑ This photo was taken by my mom :) 

The east side of Texas, however, is obviously different (the state park is right on the Louisiana border and the lake actually goes into Louisiana). Trees lined the highway and when hiking around the park, I actually felt like I was on the east coast.

We spent the first bit of our time canoeing and kayaking around the lake (I must say I was disappointed and somewhat relieved at the same time at not seeing any alligators) and the other bit taking a short hike in the park and taking in the beautiful scenery until sunset. I’m so glad we went and am already longing to go back and explore more of the lake (it has over 50 miles of paddling trails!).

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl |

OK, so now that you have probably been thoroughly bored by the wordy details of my family’s trip, let’s talk about this Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl (< good grief, what a mouthful). This recipe is another in my growing list of no-churn ice cream recipes and it’s the perfect cold Christmastime treat.

I can never say enough about this no-churn ice cream base – the texture is amazing and the flavor possibilities endless. This particular combination is super yummy, perfectly Christmasy, and the flavors are out of this world amazing. The peppermint crunch candy gives it just the right amount of crunch without being overly crunchy. I also loove the way the chocolate flavor shines through, making it rich and decadent. So if you plan on making any ice cream this winter, consider making this one – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl |

Cottura Felice!

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream with Peppermint Crunch Marshmallow Swirl
Save Recipe


  • 2 C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 C. marshmallow creme
  • ⅓ C. peppermint crunch baking chips (I recommend Andes)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. In a large bowl and using a rubber spatula, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and both extracts, stirring until well combined.
  3. Fold in whipped cream, making sure all ingredients are combined (this might take a little muscle! ;).
  4. Pour into a 2 quart container (a freezer safe loaf pan works well)and set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together peppermint chips and marshmallow creme.
  6. Spoon marshmallow/peppermint mixture in 3 dollops on top of ice cream mixture.
  7. Using a knife, swirl marshmallow creme through ice cream (be sure to use knife to break up large clumps) until incorporated.
  8. Cover pan and freeze for six hours, or until firm.
  9. If desired, serve with ganache/hot fudge and/or extra peppermint chips.


Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping

| by | Breakfast, Pancakes & Waffles, Recipes, Seasonal

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping: these sour cream pancakes are luscious, rich, and melt-in-your-mouth. Topped with an apple pie topping, which adds just the right amount of sweetness, these pancakes are a fall breakfast must!

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

Happy Thanksgiving week, dear readers! Do you have any special plans for the days leading up to and for the holiday? Do you travel? Do you spend it with family/friends? Do you have a nice quiet celebration at home? What do you do??

My family alternates between Boston and Texas every year and this year we’re in Texas. I’m hoping to start baking as early as tomorrow (thank goodness for cheesecakes which can be made ahead of time!), but we’ll see – I don’t have any of the groceries yet. :/

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

I do hope that no matter where and how you are celebrating, and who you are celebrating with, that this holiday will bring much joy and times of grateful musings – even in the midst of possible pain and sadness.

There is always so much to think about, so many things that need to be done, and time seems to quickly be running out. There are times of sadness and anxiety; times when life seems to be nothing but a nightmare and you wonder why you’re even here. However, even in the midst of such times, you can look up and see a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, experience the joy of a sudden breeze, watch the snow fall and the earth become quiet and still, and all of a sudden joy and light creeps into even the darkest of places. You become full of gratitude, and thankful that you should be granted such a gift.

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping | Sempre-Dolce.comSour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

My mom picked up the children’s picture book (sometimes I think these books are written more for the adults, don’t you?), Penguin Problems by Jory John some days ago and brought it over for me to look at – we both ♥ children’s picture books – and I fell in love. Not only is it a cute and humorous story full of lovely illustrations, but it also contains this quote which I think speaks to what I’ve been talking about. It is delivered by a walrus who is speaking to the main character, a penguin, who goes about the day complaining about this and that.

“Good afternoon. I sense that today has been difficult, but lo! Look around you, Penguin. Have you noticed the way the mountains are reflected in the ocean like a painting? Have you gazed upon the blue of the cloudless, winter sky, my friend? Have you felt the sun as it gently warms your back? Have you simply stood with your penguin brothers and sisters and elders, who adore you?

Yes, some things are challenging out here. Yes, we all have difficult moments, from the walruses to the polar bears, from the whales to the penguins. But hear me now, my new friend: I wouldn’t trade my life for any other, and I am quite sure you wouldn’t, either. I am certain that when you think about it, you’ll realize that you are exactly where you need to be.”

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

I think that about says it all right there! Sometimes we need to stop and look around and see the joys and beauty about us. And occasionally it can be a little hard to make out, but it’s there. It’s there.

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

OK, moving off my Thanksgiving clichés (bless you if you’ve made it this far!) and onto these sour cream pancakes! My older brother is the pancake/waffle maker in the family and has been making them on Sundays for yeeears now. So it’s only natural that he be the one to introduce me to these pancakes, which have become a personal favorite.

These sour cream pancakes are not too thin and not super thick either. They are the perfect middle ground and the flavor is outstanding. They are a richer pancake and out of this world with chocolate chips (I’m drooling over here…).

Did I mention they melt in your mouth?

It is a pancake of many qualities.

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for a while now and am super happy to share this version perfect for fall mornings (or evenings – I’m a believer in breakfast for dinner). What I did was made the original recipe (with a couple of tweaks) and added some nutmeg to complement the apple topping. The apple topping is actually the filling I use in these apple hand pies and I love it as it can double as a topping (my sister just made it as a topping for pound cake) and is so perfect for fall. 

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping | Sempre-Dolce.comSour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

Now an important thing to note is that if you are making these for 6 or less people, half the pancake recipe. It makes enough to feed a small army, which is perfect if you have visiting guests.

Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping |

I hope you enjoy!


Sour Cream Pancakes with Apple Pie Topping
Save Recipe


  • 3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 c. sour cream
  • 1¾ c. milk
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 4 C. apples (about 3 large - granny smith work well) cut into small cubes
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg


    For the pancakes:
  1. Turn oven onto warm setting ( about 175° F.).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,
  3. salt and nutmeg.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, whisking until just combined (batter will have small-medium size lumps).
  6. Set aside.
  7. If you are using an electric griddle, set to medium heat. If you are using a stove top griddle or skillet, wait until apples are almost done cooking, then heat over medium heat.
  8. For the topping:
  9. In a medium/large bowl, toss apples with the lemon juice.
  10. In a small bowl, combine the next 4 ingredients.
  11. Spoon mixture over apples and toss gently to coat.
  12. Place apple mixture in a large skillet over medium-high heat, covered, for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until juices are bubbling and apples are soft.
  13. While apples are cooking, begin cooking pancakes.
  14. Working in batches, grease griddle (or a skillet) with butter and pour ⅓ C. batter (per pancake) onto griddle/skillet, spacing each about 2 in. apart.
  15. When bubbles appear around edges and the bottoms are golden brown, flip and cook until other sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes total.
  16. When apples are done cooking, remove lid and place skillet with topping onto a warming burner or keep on very low heat until ready to serve.
  17. Transfer cooked pancakes onto a baking sheet, covering loosely with foil and place in warm oven until ready to serve.
  18. To serve, transfer apple topping to a heatproof bowl and serve alongside pancakes.
  19. Serve with syrup (maple’s the best!), butter, or whipped cream, if desired.


Remember to half the recipe if making for less than 8 people!

These pancakes can be enjoyed without the topping year-round and are super delicious with chocolate chips!

Recipe adapted from Country Living (pancakes) and Southern Living (topping)


Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping

| by | Bars, Cheesecakes, Desserts, Recipes, Seasonal

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping: These pumpkin cheesecake bars start with a flavorful gingersnap crust and in the middle feature a luscious pumpkin filling. To finish, the cheesecake is topped with a deliciously tangy marshmallow-sour cream topping. Perfect for the upcoming holidays!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |“People who love to eat are always the best people.” ~ Julia Child

One of the most used quotes by foodies, but truly one of the best. When I first read it, it was a YES! moment, because no words could speak more to the heart of a person who loves food. :)

I mean, for me, people who enjoy food to the measure my family and I do are seriously fun people to be around; the kind of people who enjoy the delicacies of eating pastry, the people who say you should try x bakery/restaurant and you know it’s going to be good. Also, the people that when traveling know the trip doesn’t just revolve around seeing the sites, but also checking out the local eats.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |

Food is a powerful thing and can break many a bond. Why a conversation could get started just by someone asking for a recipe; a friendship could be formed over a mutual love of waffles or, you name it. Food can give us something to talk about when other words fail; food can comfort and bring joy. Food is a wonderful thing, people.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |

Anyway, so I’m assuming that if you’re here, you might perhaps love food too. Great, because I love sharing recipes with you, and it gives me great joy to experiment around that I might bring tasty treats to this blog. No recipe ever gets posted on here unless it brings me personal excitement to do so. That said, there is the occasional recipe that excites me beyond all excitement. A recipe that has me wanting to tell the whole world how awesome it is and wanting e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. to try it. That’s how it was (and still is) with this pumpkin cheesecake from Epicurious. I don’t know what possessed me to try it a few years back – I don’t even like cold pumpkin desserts (sorry pumpkin pie lovers)! – but I did, and it was love at first bite.

The combination of the gingersnap/pecan crust with the flavor of the crystallized ginger shooting through every bite, paired with the flavor and texture of the cheesecake itself (not to mention the marshmallow sour cream topping…) is absolutely killer. Guys, for the first time in my life I was passing the chocolate cheesecake up for this – and if you knew me (#chocolateobsessed) you would know what that means and the volumes it speaks for this cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |

You need this pumpkin cheesecake in your life, your family/friends need it as well. And for the pumpkin pie adverse readers who think this dessert falls in that same category, I hear you. I truly do. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, still don’t, and never will. But for some reason this cheesecake is different, it has magic powers or something.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |

I was going to originally post the recipe as is from Epicurious but then decided to try making it in bar form. If you will be making this to take to a gathering, I might suggest making it this way. It’s easier to present (no trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to get that whole thing from the pan to a serving plate) and might be easier for people to carry around and eat. Also, what’s awesome about making cheesecakes for gatherings is that they can be made up to two days in advance (just wait to make the topping until the day you serve it) and actually taste even better the longer they chill.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping |

Well, there it is; my rhapsody of love on a theme of pumpkin cheesecake. I hope you get to make it and then experience the luscious joys of consumption!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping
Save Recipe


  • 2 C. (about 9 ounces) gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • 1 C. pecans
  • 1/4 C. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Cheesecake Filling:
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • ½ C. pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. (1 ½ tbsp = 4 ½ tsp.) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (freshly grated can also be used)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • Topping:
  • 2 C. mini marshmallows (or large marshmallows cut into ½ in. cubes)
  • 1/4 C. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. sour cream


    For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment or foil (making sure parchment/foil comes slightly over sides of pan) and spray with cooking spray.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, grind gingersnap crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger until pecans are finely ground.
  4. Gradually add the melted butter using brief pulses to blend.
  5. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan and press evenly across the bottom.
  6. Bake 10 minutes, or until crust is set and lightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  8. While crust is cooling, make filling.
  9. For the filling:
  10. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  11. Add in pumpkin, mixing until combined.
  12. Beating on low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each addition.
  13. Add flour, spices, and salt, beating until just blended.
  14. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
  15. Transfer filling to crust and bake for 35 minutes, or until filling is just set in the center and edges begin to crack.
  16. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool, about 1 hour.
  17. Transfer cheesecake to fridge and chill uncovered for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
  18. For the topping:
  19. In a medium saucepan set over low heat, stir together marshmallows and milk, until marshmallows are melted.
  20. Remove from heat then stir in the vanilla and salt.
  21. Let mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  22. Once mixture is at room temperature, add sour cream. Stir (using a combination of stirring and folding) until combined.
  23. Pour topping over top of cheesecake. Spread evenly and leave about 1/2 in. uncovered around the edges.
  24. Return to fridge and let topping sit at least 1 hour, preferably longer.
  25. When ready to serve, remove cheesecake from pan by gripping parchment/foil corners and lifting out. Cut into squares sized about 2 ½ in. x 2 ½ in. (or your desired size) and place on a serving plate/platter.

Recipe only slightly adapted from Epicurious

0 comment

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts

| by | Breakfast, Doughnuts

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts: These baked chocolate doughnuts are easy to make and so decadently delicious. Studded with chocolate chips inside and full of chocolate flavor, you won’t miss the fryer for these!

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

Do you ever get those cravings that hit full force and won’t let go until satisfied?

Uh-huh, you know what I’m talking about. The thing which makes a person tell every poor soul around that they feel like _____ for days, weeks (maybe even months!) on end until the glorious moment when they finally get it. I had been dealing with one of these cravings until it was finally put to rest yesterday. For weeks I had this craving for a sour cream doughnut, and even more specifically, a sour cream doughnut from Krispy Kreme. So yesterday I finally had enough.

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

Sometimes on Sunday after church, we as a family like to occasionally to treat ourselves to some goodies from our favorite bakery in Dallas or maybe to some doughnuts from Top Pot. Yesterday was one of those days and the favored choice going around the car was the bakery. But me? I wanted a doughnut, I wanted Top Pot. I don’t know why, but sometimes I would happily pass on a Kouign Amann (seriously??) for the simple pleasure of a doughnut. I don’t know why – maybe it’s like the difference between classical and easy listening music; one is a more involved experience that requires most, if not all of a person’s attention to hear and process the beauties within, while the other requires very little thought and attention and is thus turned to in times when heavy brain involvement is not desired.

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

Or maybe it’s like comfort food; that occasional desire for chicken pot pie, pizza, macaroni etc. as opposed to the more refined meal.

Whatever the reason, I wanted a doughnut. And even when the decision for the bakery was made, I was still determined to get my doughnut. So I did. After picking up some croissants and kouign amann, we went to Krispy Kreme and I finally got my long desired sour cream doughnut. I am satisfied. (However, Landon has been dealing with cravings involving a special In n Out burger and I have a feeling we won’t hear the end of it until he gets one. Patience, Landon, patience.)

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

I don’t know what cravings you might have right now, but I sure hope doughnuts are in there somewhere, because today I have for you a baked doughnut recipe to end all baked doughnut recipes. I’ve talked before about my thoughts on doughnuts and fried vs baked and how fried is usually better for the authentic doughnut experience, but sometimes there are recipes that will not leave you missing the fried ones. This is one of them.

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

This is a recipe my brother Parker has been making for years and it’s always a special treat when he does. Oh my goodness, they are the best home-baked chocolate doughnuts I’ve ever had. They are so perfectly chocolaty and melt-in-your-mouth. Some doughnut recipes can taste fudgy (which, depending on the recipe, can be good or bad) but these have just the right chocolate flavor. They also have a good texture as they’re not (sorry to use this word again) too fudgy and also not dry.

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

Unfortunately, I’m not doing this recipe any justice in my description – I’m finding it very hard to explain why these are so so darn good! So all I can do is to strongly urge you to make them for yourself and taste the awesomeness. Make them and see why my family raves about and begs for these doughnuts.

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts | sempre-dolce.comThe Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts |

Please be sure to read the recipe notes before baking!

The Best Chocolate Baked Doughnuts
Save Recipe


  • 2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. espresso powder or instant coffee granules.
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 C. buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 1 C. (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 (12 oz) bag mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Glaze:
  • 4 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 - 1/3 C. milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Generously spray a doughnut pan with cooking spray, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture, set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
  5. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.(Some folding may be required to incorporate all the flour mixture.)
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon batter into pans, filling cavities about ¾ full (please see note below if you haven’t already!).
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly touched or toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when inserted.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.
  10. Invert doughnuts onto a cooling rack and let cool almost completely before glazing. During this time you can go ahead and re-spray pan and bake more doughnuts.
  11. For the glaze:
  12. In a medium bowl, combine first 3 ingredients.
  13. Add milk, whisking to combine (start with ¼ C. and add a little more if glaze is too thick).
  14. Place wax or parchment paper under rack/s with doughnuts.
  15. Spread glaze generously over doughnut tops, or dip if making mini doughnuts(if desired, top with sprinkles). Let stand a few minutes to allow glaze to set before serving.
  16. Yields: 15 doughnuts


For mini doughnuts, I would recommend halving the recipe - unless you need more than 36 doughnuts (the recipe as is would yield about 70+). :)

For a mini doughnut pan, fill cavities ½ full instead of ¾. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

These doughnuts are pretty versatile topping-wise. I haven’t tried any of these options personally, but I think some of these glazes/toppings would be fun to play around with:

For a fall theme, try a pumpkin or maple glaze.

For Christmas, maybe a chocolate peppermint glaze with crushed peppermints on top?

A ganache topping would be tasty!

A plain powdered sugar coating would be fun as well.

Feel free to experiment around!

Recipe only slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens.


1 2 3 22