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Midnight Snack: ABO Balls

Ever since I recently wrote about the PBNO Balls I made, I haven’t stopped eating nut butters since.

(Nut butters meaning peanut and almond butter.)

After I wrote that post, I made my way to Trader Joe’s one night after work. My mission was clear: find some amazing almond butter to bring home.

I found myself in the nut butter part of one of its aisles staring at all of the different kinds of nut butters. I was fascinated. There were all kinds of varieties of not only nuts, but creamy or chunky choices too. I was then approached by a very friendly employee who guided me in my search. We spoke for several minutes about which almond butter I should choose: creamy, chunky, sea salt, no sea salt.

After showing me the several types the store had, I ended up choosing the creamy one with sea salt in it (see picture).

If you asked me if I prefer creamy or chunky nut butter, honestly I have no preference. I love both just the same.

I’ll admit, I was curious about the salt content in the butters while standing there speaking to the employee. However, the man assured me that there wasn’t a ton of salt in the salted almond butter if you’re watching your salt (if you’re curious now too, it has 60 mg of salt in a 2 tbsp serving, not bad!), and the non-salted one doesn’t have that same flavor the salty one has.

The night I bought it, I opened the jar and mixed it for awhile with a spoon (as the oil of the natural butter can separate). I haven’t had almond butter in a long time, and to take that first taste was magical. A very grainy texture, with a hint of that sweet-salt taste, but not overly sweet.

Rich.

Thick.

Delicious.

So now, I’ve been alternating these past few weeks, between having a spoonful of almond butter on occasion, or having a spoonful of peanut butter with an oreo placed in the middle of the spoon on another occasion.

Which brings me to tonight’s midnight craving. My love of chocolate was calling my name, and I immediately started thinking about the almond butter and how I could combine the two to make ABO Balls.

My next thought: “Hey, I can put these in the freezer to harden them up a bit!”

And here’s what resulted:

ABO Balls.

ABO Balls (a sister to PBNO Balls):

-1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter of your choice (I chose Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter with sea salt)

-2 chocolate sandwich cookies (I chose some Oreo Double Stuf’s. Oh, yes.)

-chocolate syrup (for decor)

Method:

1. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies onto a plate.

2. Spoon the almond butter on top of the cookies.

3. Roll almond butter and oreo’s together to make two ABO Balls.

4. Place ABO Balls in freezer (covered in plastic wrap) for 20-30 minutes (you can even let them sit for longer if you want them a little crunchier).

5. Take ABO Balls out of freezer and spritz a little chocolate sauce on top for decor.

6. Enjoy!

These balls, like the PBNO Balls, had a great texture and a great balance of sweet and savory. Because this nut butter in particular was grainy and thicker than a regular store-bought nut-butter, it thickened up quickly and very well in the freezer. It had a good consistency to pick up in your hands and not get too messy.

You’ll still want that mug-o-milk to wash it all down!

A fun, quick, easy snack to make in the middle of the night, or any time of day.

Enjoy!

LONG ISLAND — Freshly Baked Desserts at Heritage Diner, Mt. Sinai

(This post is entirely dedicated to the love of sweets.)

I’m a sweet tooth, I’ll come out and say it. Put chocolate and/or sweets in front of me, more than likely I’ll eat it.

Tonight my parents and I headed to another one of our frequent spots, the Heritage Diner in Mt. Sinai.

I’ve always had a fascination with diners. The little jukeboxes that play old hits (and the sing-alongs to go with it), the amazing food no matter what time it is, and most especially, the desserts.

I’ve always grown up going to diners, whether it be in N.J., C.T. and now L.I.

The Heritage Diner in Mt. Sinai, however, is different from most diners I’ve ever been to. Not because they are open 24 hours, because unfortunately they’re not, and to me, that doesn’t really make it a diner-diner. This diner branches away from the normal diner food and has a ton of gourmet options. In the past I’ve had some amazing dishes there, including a grilled chicken avocado mustard sandwich, turkey artichoke ciabatta panini, balsamic chicken over spinach, and tonight, a favorite dish of my grandma’s, chicken scampi.

But what really blew me away tonight? The freshly baked desserts, baked right on the premises.

One of the owners, Peter, told me to try the banana cream cake:

And he decorated it himself too: chocolate syrup, whipped cream and all. This cake was different than any cake I’ve had before: the creamy, yet light banana cream frosting, with the carrot-cake like cake, except it was more of a cinnamon-nut cake taste to it. This was an awesome cake and I recommend it if you go.

My mom got the lemon meringue pie which she loved:

And my dad? He was craving mocha cake, which was delicious as well, very light, fluffy frosting.

So if you are looking to fulfull that sweet tooth craving, head to your nearest diner. You never know what you may find. Something new may just strike your fancy.

(And I read on the menu this diner does birthday and wedding cakes too! How cool.)

275 Route 25A

Mount Sinai, NY 11766

1 631.642.3700
Hours

Mon – Thu: 7:00 am 1:00 am
Fri – Sat: 7:00 am 2:00 am
Sun: 7:00 am 1:00 am

SYRACUSE — GANNON’S ISLE

Photo courtesy of strathmorebythepark.org

GANNON’S ISLE:

1525 Valley Drive, Syracuse (Valley), NY // (315) 469-8647

4800 McDonald Road (Shadybrook Plaza), Syracuse (Onondaga Hill), NY // (315) 475-1250

—–

A few nights ago I was craving an ice cream sundae.

It was very warm out this week, and as I sat in my apartment, I started to dream about ice cream. I wanted it. It was the mission of the evening. But where to get it? I had a choice to make.

I had tried a place with three of my friends before in the Hawley-Green district that was amazing, but this time I wanted something different, something new that I haven’t tried yet.

Which then suddenly, an article from Syracuse’s newspaper, The Post-Standard, came to me. I had read this a few months ago:

Ice Cream Dream: Gannon’s Isle of Syracuse prepares new flavor for Strathmore homes tour (with video)

I remember watching the video of how they made their ice cream and thinking, “Wow, this place looks really great, I HAVE to try it!” Another friend of mine had told me about it too and how great it was.

This past Thursday was the perfect opportunity to try it.

I picked up Avantika and headed to one of their two locations: Onondaga Hill’s location. I had driven there before exploring the area a few weeks back and I discovered the Gannon’s Isle location happened to be there. I turned on my “Sacred TomTom” (as my mom and I call it) and Simon (the British male voice) led us there.

The drive to Onondaga Hill is very peaceful: once you leave the city vicinity of Syracuse, you enter a world of luscious trees and lots of hills. Because it was so dark outside as well (we went around 9 p.m. that night), we were wondering if we would actually find the place.

Lo and behold, we pulled up to Shadybrook Plaza on McDonald Road. The parking lot was PACKED.

This location of Gannon’s Isle is a very cute sized location: not too small, not too big. A white picket fence surrounds the building, as the line to get into Gannon’s took up the entire picked fence when we got there. It was an exciting experience.

There were lots of families and groups of friends there, getting their ice cream and eating outside. There are a few benches and picnic tables outside and there are also a few tables outside the deli in the plaza, where we ate. We also found people eating their ice cream in their cars, which is another great place to eat ice cream.

Avantika and I waited on line for a little while. The line was moving fast, but it was just a long enough wait for us to figure out what we wanted. We both knew we wanted a sundae.

The atmosphere inside Gannon’s is great; you are directed to walk in one side of the building and leave through the other, for good traffic flow.

The decorations made me smile very wide. The animated characters on the wall of different ice creams (in the picture above as well) on an island are so adorable. This is a very family-friendly atmosphere.

Avantika got a single scooped sundae with chocolate chip ice cream, hot fudge, nuts and whipped cream. She absolutely loved hers, and it looked fantastic.
I decided to try one of their named ice cream sundaes versus the make-your-own. I tried the “Oreo Explosion”: crushed oreos with hot fudge, nuts, whipped cream and the ice cream of your choice. Going along with the Oreo theme, I got their Oreo Cheesecake ice cream.

WHAT A SUNDAE.

My sundae cost around $6, which was well worth the money spent. It came in a huge bowl, with my ice cream filled to the top and their thick hot fudge spread all over the sundae. Every bite I took tasted of oreos and fudge. Mmm. I cleared my bowl on this ice cream very quickly, and I didn’t feel overly full either: many times if you get a large ice cream like that you may end up feeling really full afterwards. I felt very comfortably content.

Gannon’s Isle, has two locations for you to check out, one in Onondaga Hill, where I went, and another in the Valley.  According to their website, they have over 200 rotating homemade ice cream flavors for you to try. Their website also tells the story of how the Gannon’s Isle locations came to be: siblings Eileen and John Gannon have been making ice cream at their business since 1982.

If you’re in the mood for some ice cream today, definitely check out Gannon’s Isle at one of their locations. It’s well worth the trip.

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