Chocolate Cookie Gelato Sandwich Recipe

When it comes to Gelato and Ice cream sandwiches, I don't think it gets much better than this double chocolate dream cookie frozen. The chocolate is absolutely wonderful and the cookie is just  a perfect match! A little drizzle of a bittersweet chocolate over the top and there's the perfect dessert. Next time I will double the recipe, as these went in 60 seconds and no crumbs to be found! I wasn't sure if I would add the chocolate on top again, half loved it the other said it was over kill. You decide.

Even with the drizzled chocolate frozen they still were easy to eat and the perfect dessert I love more chocolate! Kids and Adults loved these, I just didn't make enough.

Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons shortening
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pints of ice cream of choice
 (I made homemade Gelato,  Chocolate flavored)
Chocolate (a good grade like Lindt) melted to drizzle

In a large mixer bowl add the sugar, cocoa, butter and shortening, beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating one at time, flour, salt and vanilla.

Drop onto parchment paper or silpat mat using a 2 tablespoons ( ice cream scooper or meatball scoopers works great). If you don't have one use 2 tablespoon mounds of cookie dough. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree hot oven making sure only six cookies per cookie sheet as they spread out.
Bake 15 minutes or until edges are brown, middles are still soft.

Cool completely. Loose on parchment then freeze on the cookie sheet until firm. Take frozen cookies out and place ice cream flavor of your choice ( I made homemade Gelato chocolate ice cream) that has been softened to fit each center. Top with another cookie, roll into sprinkles and freeze again. When firm you can drizzle melted chocolate over the top or leave plain. Serve immediately or re-wrap individually in wax paper.

Makes around 12 cookies that makes 6 sandwiches.  

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Chocolate Torte Recipe

When I made this torte for my birthday today.  I thought it would be way to rich for me. I was surprised on the wonderful texture of the cake and the perfect silky pastry cream in the middle to compliment the chocolate, it was just right. Then with  melting the bitter sweet chocolate over the top it was the right blend of sweetness. Assembly was easy. The trick was to freeze the cake then slice in half after it thawed around 15 minutes. Fill the center with the pastry cream (which I can eat with a spoon anytime, it's so good!) and then top it off with melted chocolate.
Of course let's not forget that cherry on top!

Here's all you need:

Pastry Cream

3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream

Make this first and refrigerate.

In a medium sized saucepan, add 2 1/2 cups milk, sugar and simmer.

While this is warming up, in a medium size bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and rest of the milk and eggs together. Blend in this mixture with the warm mixture whisking together until mixture thickens.

Put this mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the butter and vanilla and place in the refrigerator.
While that is cooling whip the cream till it has soft peaks.
Fold into the cooled pastry cream until blended.

Chocolate Torte Cake:

1 cup bittersweet chocolate melted ( I melt mine in the microwave)
8 eggs separated ( place whites in electric stand mixer bowl, yolks in another bowl)
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar

1 cup cake flour

Grease a 9 inch that's 2 inches deep heavily with butter and flour or line with parchment which is my first choice.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degree hot oven.
In a medium bowl beat the 8 egg yolks with butter, chocolate and vanilla until smooth.

In a stand up electric mixer beat the 8 eggs whites until they stand up and begin to form adding the pinch of salt and slowly add sugar until sift peaks form and hold their shape.

Fold in the  1/3 of the white batter into the chocolate yolk batter and it becomes a little lighter  in color.  Pour the lightened  chocolate batter over the rest of the egg whites in the bowl and fold around 30 times.  Add the cake flour into this batter until all the whites are blended gently folding.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until the middle is clean with a toothpick around 35 minutes.  Cool completely.  I freeze my cake for easier cutting.  After it comes out of the freezer, let it stand 15 minutes. Slice in half and add the pastry cream. Then pour the glaze over the top. Add the cherry.


1 cup bittersweet chocolate melted with 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Las Vegas Trip Reviews

Vegas, yes sin city, the rightful name in many ways. Whatever your looking for it's here. Art work, shops, gambling, food, drinks, escorts, sightseeing, recreations of places like New York, Rome Italy, France, Mexico, just to name a few. 

The Venetian has gondolas its a ride by reservation only. Get there early the lines are long if you would like to experience this Venice Italy ride. 

My niece Lana and I kicking back and enjoying some cocktails and good conversation. We sure had alot to catch up on. Was great seeing her and Don, her husband. 

My favorite is Caesars Palace. The art is amazing, sculptures and surroundings are a wonderful experience, they even give a free show every day in the afternoon you won't want to miss it.  I loved walking through looking at the fine artistry and the atmosphere just shouted Roman everywhere, just beautiful.

The trip was actually my birthday present and my husband and I met up with my niece that also flew in with her husband.  The whole trip was very full. We actually walked 8 miles up the strip starting from the Mirage and  using my pedometer it measured 11,800 steps. We ended at the Excalibur and took the bus back.

As we toured each Casino, each has their own special qualities, such as the Mirage they have a Volcano show in front at dark, Treasure Island has pirate shows at dark, Venetian has gondola rides,  Bellagio, MGM has the slot machine everyone stands in line for that hasn't paid out in 20 years, New York, New York, Paris we stopped in Hard Rock Cafe then as we walked we saw Planet Hollywood. We missed going into Circus Circus, Flamingo, Bally's and Luxor and several more as the sand blowing in our face with the wind was horrible this April week. As we walked the wind was so hard and unreal, pushing everyone all over, we had to walk backwards at times,  that made us walk even slower getting everywhere. The sand and dryness of the dessert really dried the membranes in our noses, skin and lips out. I highly recommend if you go to get some saline drops and or moisturizers also wear very comfortable sneakers. The other tip if you walking is to surely stop at the local drug stores and pick up water, they charge huge amounts in the Hotels. Food and water is extremely high priced in Las Vegas. One sandwich in a Hotel was $23.00 and they charged $3.00 for sharing. We were told that Hotels and food is the number driver for the economy there, then entertainment and gambling third which has declined alot over the years the local folks told me. That's why the prices in restaurants were ridiculous, Hotels fees are $25.00 and then they add taxes on which you don't know until checkout. Yes, gone are the days of the $2.99 buffets from the 90's and thinking Las Vegas can be an inexpensive get away.

Although the outside looked like Paris this was disappointing inside, not at all the feeling of Paris.

Just one of the many beautiful views from the 25th floor.

Oh yes old Downtown Vegas on Fremont Street. This is Downtown Vegas with many walks of life to partake upon. First of all if you are going to this street party then here is a tip before you get there.  We learned very quickly about the cab service in Vegas. One cab charged us $40.00 for a ride that was 10 minutes with a 20% tip and surcharge for using a charge card. The next cab another time charged us $14.00 and was less in miles. If you charge they will ask you to pick from a 20, 30 or 40% tip to add on plus charges for using a charge card. They want cash, so keep that in mind, they also make small talk to see if it's your first time there and then nail you.
Taking the bus is much cheaper. They have a double decker bus for $6.00 for 2 hours or $12.00 for 24 hours. Got us back and forth no problems and the ride was very pleasant stopping anywhere to all the large Hotels back on the main boulevard. There are also shuttles that will take you to and from with reservations through the Hotels Concierge.

 On with downtown Vegas, less expensive for trinkets for sure, some good food that really inexpensive, deli mostly. It's a party in the street. So as for our street party the fun starts really big at 9:00 pm. The most obvious and largest part of the Fremont Street Experience is this canopy light show. The canopy towers 9- feet about the ground and spans the length of five footballs fields.  This covered street ceiling light show features famous Musicians like Bon Jovi, the concert in lights is amazing. Very cool indeed.

 Most every part of the street is filled with costumes, violinists, bands, interesting attires up and down to ponder. If you have been to Key West this is a similar atmosphere. party all night, lower priced drinks and music in the streets with a laid back atmosphere. 

Of course part of the scenery at New York New York

As for the gambling, these are in the Airport. I can tell you yes, I tried every Hotel for a lucky chance, nope not so lucky. Before we left to get on our plane, I decided well these machines are calling my name just one time I decided to try one more time. My first dollar I got back almost half of what I lost in the 3 days we were here. I kept playing until we boarded our plan and almost gained back all my losses. I couldn't believe the people around me that were also winning in the Airport. I found it interesting that all the same machines in the large Hotels, never hit that often once, while these machines gave back every time you pulled the lever. Was just an observation, can't wait to go back to the Airport again, hee hee.

As for the food, this pizza below was $23.00, with water and a small appetizer that bill was $43.00 with tax and tip. The restaurant was fancy in a leading Hotel and the pizza wasn't very good trying to portray Authentic Italian pizza. The sauce was dry, the crust was just soft and soggy,  very disappointing besides being so small and not able to feed more than one no less two people, it was 10 inch thin crust.  I did have a deli sandwich we split with a $3.00 share charge. The sandwich had at least 2 pounds of turkey and 2 pounds of bacon in it along with lettuce and tomatoes. It cost $23.00 and we split it. The average breakfast in the Hotel for 4 people with coffee and juice before tips was $93.00. Nope nothing fancy, some breakfast sandwiches, omelet, coffee, juice. 

 These were just some of my experiences of shock when we got there, so if you are taking a trip, make sure you have set aside double the amount of money for your food if your budgeting at all. Even a cup of coffee not at the leading coffee shops are $4.00. All and all it's a great time if you are prepared. The shows are great there and the best thing to do is walk the strip, there are places that sell you those tickets with a huge discount for the same night, don't buy them at the Hotel, you will pay much more. Hope this helps you out if your planning a trip and you set aside that gambling money or cocktail money, food is double the price, cabs and tips. If you want to cut corners take some of my tips and cut corners to have a great time in sin city!

Next time I go I will be more prepared and not be taken on a tour cab ride for $40.00 indeed! Vegas is worth a trip, at least once.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Easter Peep Cocktail Recipe

Wishing all my readers a Happy Healthy Easter and a little cheer for a peaceful day of great food, conversation and fun.
A salute to all. 

This is Regina,  she was named after Regina from Once Upon A Time series. She is indeed my evil Queen. Gets into everything, I took at least 35 photos before she let me get one. Hope you have a great day everyone. For now Peace and Happiness from our house to yours. Ciao 

Easter Peep Cocktail Recipe

2 ounces Tequila
1/2 ounce Blue Cuarcao
Splash Cake Vodka
Splash Tonic water
Shake everything together and strain. Pour into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with Peep on a stick.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Easy Mock Cassata Easter Cake Recipe

I know your all wondering what in the world can this be? Well it's cake mix using a fudge marble with a layer baked on top to make this a delicious Mock Italian Cassata found at Easter time. The original version has a crusty top and bottom, filled Ricotta cheese with cherries and chocolate sometimes dried fruits and nuts according to what Region of Italy is making it. This however is a imitation version of that really rich delightful dessert. If your a hurried cook, or someone that says I am not a baker, you will want to wow your guests with this delicious semi homemade cake, look no more you just found it. Check out this simple recipe below and I have to say it's pretty darn fantastic even being a quick imitation of the best dessert on our table at Easter.


2 lbs whole milk Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
grated milk chocolate bar
3 tablespoon or more chopped marachino cherries drained well
Optional Using any or all: 3 tablespoons or more each chopped dried fruits(citron or pineapple medleys and pistachio nuts

Garnish is Optional:
Whipped cream
Whole Strawberries
Mini chocolate chips
Option 2:
Powdered sugar

1 boxed marble cake mix 
In a large mixer make the cake to you package instructions and pour into a greased 11x15 inch pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Topping Instructions:

In another large bowl mix together the cheese, sugar, eggs, cherries and chocolate.

Pour cheese topping over the cake batter and bake on 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Cool and serve plain or choose a garnish (if desired) with whipped cream, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and top with a strawberry.

+claudia lamascolo 

Rosemary Herb Smashed Potatoes Recipe

If your a potato lover like I am, you never have enough recipes or ways to make them. Here is a delicious boiled potato with herbs and spices that can be considered low fat if your not just watching carbs. Fresh rosemary is the key to this special gourmet flavored potato mash!  I highly recommend using fresh herbs.
 Anytime winter, spring, summer or fall,  treat yourself to an easy side dish and it's always perfect with any meat. The freshness of the herbs enhance the potato flavor and 

buttery soft taters to another level.

Golden potatoes or white potatoes boiled in salt water until soft around 35 minutes then drained (make the amounts for your family size)
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Boil potatoes  in salt water with skins on until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain. Place in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Add all the herbs, spices, butter and olive oil. Serve warm with any meat dish.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Marshmallow Popcorn Treats Recipe

Reminds me of the famous Rice Krispie Treats except with popcorn and sweeter like kettle corn. It's a terrific quick snack!

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick)
1 bag large marshmallows (10 ounce)
12 cups popped popcorn (I use the microwaved method click here)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a heavy duty 5 quart saucepan melted butter and sugar. Add marshmallows, vanilla and stir in popcorn. Spread on a buttered cookie sheet cool and break into pieces.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Easter Recipes and More

Every year we make Easter Bread I just love it! here is the photo for this year and the recipe link enjoy! We have to make a different shape every year. I always flavor mine with anisette, however you can make it lemon or almond if you like. Any kind of flavoring is fine even plain vanilla. This bread works well with shapes, you can mold it into bunnies or whatever your creative hands will do. 
With or without frosting this is a keeper recipe. Click the links below for more recipes for Easter.

Bird's Nest for the kiddies

 Easter Egg Art

Cream of Coconut Cake Recipe

Here is a cake I have been making for years. This is the perfect cake to feel like you just went on vacation to a tropical island. Fresh, light, sweet and oh so decadent.

Cream of Coconut Cake
1 box coconut cake mix or yellow
3/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 can (8 ounce) crushed pineapple with liquid

In a bowl using an electric mixer add the cake mix, pineapple with juice, water, eggs and oil. Beat till light and fluffy around 4 minutes.

Pour into a greased 13x9 sheet cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake at 350 until middle is set for around 35 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and poke holes in the cake evenly on top. Pour the mixture below while still hot.

1 can cream of coconut (12 ounce)
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk (1/4 cup coconut rum optional for an adult version)

shredded coconut to sprinkle on top evenly around 1/2 cup or more
1- 8 ounce tub of whipped topping or real whipped cream

Mix the cream of coconut and condensed milk in a bowl and rum is using. Pour over hot poked cake.
Cool cake completely. Spread whipped cream topping over the cake and garnish with coconut. Refrigerate before serving.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Fun Peep Easter Cake or Cookie Ideas

A childhood favorite and through adulthood I love my peeps. Even if I don't always eat them (which isn't the case)  I have to decorate with them to bring out the Easter Holiday festive look to our tables. You can get as creative as you like. Cakes, cookies, cupcakes with just a few decorating idea's the kids will love these treats and it's easy for them to make too!

Here is a few ideas to get started and ingredients I used:

Canned white frosting tinted green with food coloring
Green food coloring
Jelly beans
Any Cake mix or use my favorite recipe Chocolate Cupcakes  click here for my favorite recipe

Any Cookie mix or here's my favorite recipe for Chocolate Nutella filled cookies click here

Any color marshmallow peep bunnies

In a mason jar or plastic zip lock bag, add 1/2 cup coconut with 2 drops of green food coloring and 1 tablespoon water. Shake and let sit.

Make your cupcakes to package instructions.
Bake your favorite cookie recipe or use mine above.

I use around 1 cup canned frosting to 1 drop of green food coloring mix evenly.
Frost the tops of cookies and cupcakes or 9 inch round cake,  with green frosting. Pile on the tinted coconut. Place two or three jelly beans on top. Stand up 1 peep on the cupcakes or cookies on the back of cupcake of cookies setting into the frosting. 
Note:  You would  use several on a 9 inch cake using more jelly beans and extra coconut to cover the top and the whole can of frosting. 
You can also dip half the peeps into chocolate and then use a lollipop stick to insert and make sucker peeps.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Quick and Easy Pita Pizza Recipes

White or garlic pizza is a real treat with many Italian dishes. Garlic bread is a must with pasta. Here is a quick fix when the craving of either one arrives and all you need is some homemade pita bread to start with or store bought will work too!

For thicker pizza, stack two adding sauce and cheese in the middle. Stack them and bake with cheese on top, italian spices more sauce and drizzle with olive oil.

When I work all day and want a fast and easy dinner, this is it! If you love pizza, this is an easy satisfying fix! If you have topping available in the refrigerator great if not then a little sauce and slices of mozzarella is fine.  You can turn this pita bread into a banquet if you just have a few ingredients in the refrigerator or pantry! Things to have on hand or in the freezer tips, pita bread, frozen shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, frozen veggies like peppers or spinach will be a great start!

Here's all you need to get started:

Store bought pita bread or homemade if your lucky!

Homemade Pita Bread Recipe

jar sauce of your choice

mozzarella cheese slices or shredded

topping suggestions: 

slices of tomato, fresh spinach and ricotta and fresh basil leaves, sliced olives, chopped peppers, cooked meats IE sausage crumbled, sliced pepperoni, crushed meatballs, roasted chicken, ham and pineapple, sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant.

You can also make a white pizza (shown above)  by brushing with melted butter, 1 clove crushed garlic, fresh parsley and oregano to the top with mozzarella cheese.  Alight layer of ricotta spread on top makes this extra cheesy!
Use any of the suggestions above in any combination you like. 

Place the pita on a lightly spray piece of tin foil. Bake at 400 for around 10 minutes,  Remove from oven. Top with your favorite sauce, meat or vegetables combinations then cheese, sprinkle with grating cheese. Bake at 400 until cheese is browned and bubbling.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Penne with Red Diavolo Seafood Sauce Recipe

A favorite in our family is a medley of fish in our seafood. During lent, (especially on good Friday during Easter week),  we always had an abundance of fish dishes. This was one that was quick and easy. It can be inexpensive if you just use tuna in the sauce like mom did, or you can add more types of seafood you can afford. In this particular recipe, I used salmon, haddock, shrimp and tuna. The sauce was very rich in flavor and will stick well to any pasta. The dish is hearty and will satisfy any seafood lover that loves a little heat as well.  
Penne with Red Diavolo Sauce Recipe

3 cloves minced garlic 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon or more to taste red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon each dried parsley, basil and oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 28 ounce can tomato puree
1/2 can water or red wine
3 cans tuna packed in olive oil
1 cup medium cleaned and deveined shrimps no tails on
1 lb of haddock cut in small chunks
1/2  pound salmon cut in chunks
1 pound penne, rigatoni or other pasta you like
romano cheese for garnishing

In a medium sauce pot add oil and garlic saute 1 minute, add both cans of tomatoes. Add the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste, herbs and sugar. Add the fish and cook for around 45 minutes on low heat.
Boil the pasta to package instructions. Top the pasta with fish sauce, sprinkle more parsley and grating cheese for garnish.

+claudia lamascolo  Author

Best Dessert Rewind Recipes



Triple Berry Ricotta Cheesecake


Italian Cannoli Cake

Italian Cream Cupcakes

Vanilla Doughnuts with Ganache

Eggless Tiramisu Italian Pustie

Italian Cassata

Italian Fried Dough Pizza Fritta

+claudia lamascolo    Author

Curt's Peanut Butter Molasses Cookie Recipe

Last week Curt called me and said he loved the taste of Peanut butter and gingerbread can we develop a cookie together with both ingredients. Well we got together on Sunday and this is what we came up with together. Peanut butter that look like a crinkle cookies. I know they would need to have powdered sugar but since they were messier we decided to roll them in sugar.  He was very impressed with the end results as I was. I am going to give him the credit for the recipe on Curt's Delectable Blog since he really came up with this great cookie idea and I would love for you all to get to see some of his great recipes. He is the inventor in the family!  So here is our cookie project. What do you think? Hop over and see the recipe if you like the finished product. The taste is really a great combination of flavors and an easy recipe to make! 

Click here for the recipe

Quick Soft Pretzel Sticks Herb Brushed Recipe Video

For those who love garlic knots which is a family favorite of ours, here is a great little soft garlic pretzel that is every bit as good and so easy to make. You will not believe how quick and easy these come together, no rising the dough, just mix, cut, boil 30 seconds, bake and eat (or use your favorite dip) but you really don't need a thing! They are fabulous the way they are.
 (pictured are herb and garlic brushed pretzel sticks, see below)

Whether you love to dip soft pretzels in mustard, melted cheese or Nutella or even plain, these are the perfect easiest homemade dough you will ever make! A great snack for the kids and you can change it easily with brushing some different flavorings on top additions in the dough. Some people like them with dipping sauces and some more suggestions that I've made below! 
Very versatile and easy to make.

Quick and Easy Soft Pretzel Dough

2 tablespoons sugar
1 packet dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 - 1/4 cups flour
1 - 1/4 warmed cup half and half

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Prepare a cookie sheet with silapat or parchment paper.

in a large bowl using an electric mixer, add warmed half and half to a large electric mixing bowl with paddle. Let mixute sit in the bowl and stand around 10 minutes.

Add flour, salt and mix well in stand mixer for around 4 minutes.

 Add regular tap water to a 5 quart saucepan and fill with the addition of  + 1/4 cup baking soda added leaving 3 inches from the top.

Roll out the dough, cut into 4 pieces then roll into long ropes and then cut evenly with a sharp knife to make pretzel sticks around a thumbs length and an 1/2 inch wide. 

 Place around 6 to 8 pieces into the boiling water at a time for around 30 seconds. Then remove with slotted spoon add to a silapat mat lined cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper cookie sheet.

Brush with some beaten egg mixed with a tablespoon of water and sprinkle with coarse salt (I used pink salt).

Bake until tops are nicely browned around 9 to 10 minutes depending on thickness you rolled them out too.

We love them brushed with herb and garlic or dipped in mustard and then the boys love these dipped in melted Mexican style cheese dip but again they are great plain!

For the garlic butter variation in the photo:

While still warm brush with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and 1 teaspoon melted butter and  shake in a ziplock bag adding 1/2 teaspoon each,  garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley and basil little black pepper or cayenne pepper.

For a sweeter version:

While still warm,  brush with melted butter and then dip or sprinkle in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Dipping suggestions:

Use Nutella as a dip with these pretzels.
Some like melted cheese to dip them in ( any kind you like).
Old time favorite mustard of choice for dipping

You can also add 1/3 cup of variations to the dough:

Add other additions to the dough for a different flavor during the flour stage of the recipe by adding your favorites,  such as chopped pepperoni, bell peppers, Asiago or other sharp long shreds of cheese, crumbled bacon or just fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme and some minced garlic. You can try and make any other kinds of gourmet style pretzel ingredients you like with this dough as well.

+claudia lamascolo  Author