I judge cookbooks the same way I judge meals: by the desserts. However gloriously crunchy, salty, savory, spicy and cheesy all the other the content may be, if there isn't something resembling cake at the end, I become very crabby.
So when a few years ago I received the first cookbook from America's sweetheart, Chrissy Teigen, I gasped when it abruptly ended with a recipe for stuffed chicken breasts. As Teigen explains in the introduction to "Cravings," she wanted her book to have everything — "except dessert." This to me is like ending a rom-com before someone runs to the airport to declare their love in front of a TSA agent.
But something changed along the way to Teigen's second cookbook, "Cravings: Hungry for More." This time around, the mother of two includes a modest but impressive chapter devoted to sweets, thus enabling me to now feel free to emulate her lifestyle in my own small, EGOT-free home.
When it's too hot for anything baked, my family and I still scream for ice cream. Teigen's recipe for a magic shell topping is well-known — I first discovered it via Cook's Illustrated. It typically is made with coconut oil, and my daughters share a vehement loathing of all things coconut.
It turns out, however, that you can create your own Klondike Bar experience efficiently with any neutral oil. I think it's even better — and more authentic tasting — this way than with the coconut option. Then, dress up that bowl of ice cream even further with a salty, nutty cereal crackle from Teigen's chocolate mousse recipe. While you may never appear in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, you'll definitely have a damn fine sundae to see through the dog days of August.
Recipe: Twitter Famous Ice Cream Sundae, adapted from Chrissy Teigen's "Cravings: Hungry for More"
Makes approximately four servings
For the sundae:
- 1 pint of your favorite ice cream
For the magic shell:
- 1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Generous pinch of salt
- Add oil, chocolate and salt to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave at high power for 30 seconds, or until just melted.
- Stir well to combine, and let come down to room temperature.
For the nutty cereal crackle
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup Rice Krispies, or cereal of your choice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts, or nuts of your choice
- Generous pinch of salt
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil it.
- Add sugar, corn syrup and water to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let the mixture get bubbly and dark, swirling occasionally.
- Remove from heat, and add baking soda and salt.
- Add cereal and nuts, stirring quickly with a wood spoon.
- Immediately spread out on your pan to harden and cool.
- When it's set, break into pieces.
- To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls. Drizzle on chocolate topping, and sprinkle with crackle. Enjoy immediately.