Meet Blaire Wilson, the red-headed farmer. She’s the newest addition to the American Girl Doll line. Blaire has a family-run restaurant right on the farm. The table is set with plates, food and flowers in empty bottles for the centerpiece. There’s a menu, of course, pictured below.
Blaire lives with her family on a sustainable farm with her pet pigs, goat and chickens. She bakes for her community and overcomes her shyness about her food allergy.
On New Year’s Day (American Girl Doll REVEAL day), I found myself tugging my granddaughter into the store that was brimming with Nanas and Mimis and Gigis all ogling the doll, the kitchen in the farmhouse, the garden and all the accessories. Not only is this an exquisite toy; the doll beautiful, the details intriguing (multi-colored eggs sitting next to a farm sink), the message is totally in-line with my passion.
Back when my granddaughter was enthralled with everything American Girl, I often wondered about the genius behind their marketing team. They design dolls with narratives that appeal to multi-generations while problem-solving contemporary story-lines. They don’t dumb it down. Each doll has books that take you into their make-believe lives. They deal with real issues and ask you to believe in their truths – almost like having a doll mentor.
Yes, the whole thing is expensive… that’s why there is a community of grandparents in the check-out line. But, it’s also inclusive, creating dolls from different cultures and even genders! One of the displays in the story has a boy-doll on a float in a swimming pool!! Check out this menu from the doll café!
You are probably asking what the heck this has to do with my food blog, and I’m here to tell you it has everything to do with food and family. Teaching impressionable children the importance of family (whatever that family looks like) is my passion. Blending this while instilling the value of farming, knowing where our food comes from and caring about the environment that creates this food, is a life lesson for future generations. What a way to begin 2019!
And now for the recipe! One of the farm doll’s offerings was a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake. I haven’t created her recipe…. yet. But I can offer you my recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks from Sunday Best Dishes. I think your American Girl Doll will approve!
Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
3 cups half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
Heat the half and half and vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.
To make the caramel, heat the sugar and ¼ cup water in another pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat and bring the sugar to a boil until it turns a golden amber color, about 8 minutes. Swirl the pan around to insure even coloring.
Slowly pour the warm half and half into the caramel. Be careful, it will bubble vigorously and expand up the sides of the pan.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Pour about ½ cup of the caramel into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Immediately pour back into the pan. This prevents the eggs from scrambling. Stir over medium heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Pour the custard into the bowl of your ice cream maker and process according to directions. Stir in the salt and chopped chocolate during the last two minutes of chilling. Serve immediately, or transfer to a container and freeze for up to 3 days. Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.