Category: ice cream

Whiskey (or bourbon) caramel & a Guinness ice cream float.

Shamrocks on the windowsill.

God bless shamrocks that signal it’s spring. God bless Guinness. God bless whiskey. And… God bless the Irish.

I don’t believe in (a) God, per se. I’m more of an Agnostic myself. But if I did I’d ask him to bless the Irish- the people who make the best whiskey, make (some of) the best beer, have the best sense of humor, & who know how to have a good time. I mean… GUINNESS, PEOPLE. GUINNESS.

Oh what the hell. Hey, universe: bless the Irish.

And bless me, because I made this:

Guinness ice cream floats with vanilla ice cream & whiskey caramel.

Oh, what’s that, you ask? That’s just a Guinness ice cream float.

Just like it says. Yup. Oh and it’s topped with whiskey caramel. Mmm hmm. Yes. Ohhhh yes.

Guinness floats with whiskey caramel.

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Cherry ice cream.

1950's beach bunnies- my grandma, mom & great aunt.My grandma, mom & great-aunt at Point Lookout beach in the mid-1950′s

It’s summer! It’s hot, sticky & everyone is heading to the beach. Because ice cream is as much a fixture in the summer as sun & sand, I find myself making more & more ice creams once the mercury goes up. It’s really easy, it’s fun to come up with recipes & ideas, & because I keep the freezer bowl for my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment in the freezer at all times, I can make it pretty much any time the mood strikes.

As you (probably) know, it’s also cherry season. Cherries are everywhere. Or rather, they were in June, when I couldn’t walk past a farmer’s market or fruit stand without seeing bags & bags of gorgeous cherries. But I figure it being only July 1st, it’s still early enough to say that cherries are still “in season.” And what do you do when you pass those bags of cherries? Do you buy them or walk on by? Because I buy them.

Tons of them.

They’re too pretty not to.

Fresh cherries (ice cream recipe).

But then I’m faced with the rapid decline of such beautiful little red orbs, and I have to then pit every single one (or most of them) and in turn freeze them, bake with them, preserve them, booze-ify them or booze-ify them and then bake with them. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, really, considering. I mean… there are far worse complaints.

I didn’t know this, but cherries are actually a pretty old fruit. Prehistoric in fact:

The native range of the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout its range since prehistoric times. A cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, modern day Turkey, also known as the Pontus region, in 72 BC.[2]

A form of cherry was introduced into England at Teynham, near Sittingbourne in Kent by order of Henry VIII, who had tasted them in Flanders.[3][4][5]

The English word cherry, French cerise and Spanish cereza all come from the classical Greek (κέρασος) through the Latin cerasum, thus the ancient Roman place name Cerasus, today a city in northern Turkey Giresun from which the cherry was first exported to Europe.[6]

- Wikipedia

Which means that people have been having this cherry problem for centuries! And by problem I clearly mean having far too many cherries & not knowing what to do with them all. But they probably didn’t end up making an ice cream as good as this one.

Vanilla cherry swirl ice cream made with fresh cherries.

Ice cream is a great vehicle for cherries, because they go perfectly with both vanilla & chocolate. This particular ice cream is actually a French vanilla with a cherry swirl, including some chunks of fresh cherry. It reminds me of an old fashioned ice cream parlor or a 1950′s soda shop. Or a day at the shore. It’s the kind of ice cream that you serve with a fancy spoon, in a parfait glass, or a sundae glass, instead of just a regular ol’ bowl.

Very summery.

Very yummy.

And also, very perfect for the 4th of July!

Delicious vanilla cherry swirl ice cream.

Super creamy & summery cherry swirl ice cream.

VANILLA CHERRY SWIRL ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup (divided)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lb. fresh cherries, pitted & halved

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the cherries & 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook, stirring, until the cherries have started to break down & release juice, & the mixture thickens. You want a thick, jam-like consistency. Once it reaches that point, place the mixture in a bowl. Once it comes to room temperature, refrigerate.
  2. In another medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat, set aside.
  3. Place egg yolks and sugar in a mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on speed 2, very gradually add half-and-half and mix until blended. Return half-and-half mixture to the medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
  4. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream, vanilla and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
  5. Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher and drive assembly as directed*. Turn to STIR (speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. Slowly spoon in the cherry mixture until the vanilla is swirled with it. Turn off mixer & freeze in an airtight container until firm (8-10 hours).

*Directions given are for a KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, follow directions on your ice cream maker.

Decadent & delicious vanilla cherry swirl ice cream.

Talk about delicious! And creamy.

It went pretty fast.

By that I don’t mean that it melted fast… but that it was eaten fast.

This vanilla cherry swirl ice cream is beyond delicious.

And it may seem as though there’s a lot of sugar, or that this ice cream would be too sweet. But you have to remember that the cold dulls the sweetness. Something that would be way too sweet when baked, wouldn’t be when frozen. If you’re using sour cherries, add 1/4 cup more sugar to the cherry mixture as you cook it.

You can also make the French vanilla ice cream alone, and omit the cherries. Or serve them on the side.

Or make some cherry bourbon chocolate sauce to serve with it.

Alternately, you can also make a vanilla frozen yogurt & use the same cherry technique to make it vanilla cherry frozen yogurt. Oh, the possibilities!

A recipe for an amazing vanilla cherry swirl ice cream. Perfect for summer.

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream.

‎”Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” —Voltaire‎

Kings County Distillery chocolate flavored whiskey.

One can only imagine what Voltaire would say about this ice cream in particular: a double whammy of both chocolate and chocolate-flavored whiskey from the Kings County Distillery, made for my favorite guy’s 32nd birthday. Yup, that’s right. Jay turns the big 3-2 today! Just so you know- he’s older than I am (by a whopping 2 months & 7 days, but let’s not get into that). See the thing is, usually I ask him what he wants me to bake for him for his birthday (as I do with everyone), then I bake it and give it to him on the actual day. But this year, Jay’s been on tour for over a week and he’s got a show tonight too. So tomorrow is his only day off and then Saturday it’s back to work. I decided to make something that would keep well and only get better with age (like Jay!).

What better than whiskey ice cream?

Chocolate whiskey ice cream. Made with two types of chocolate and chocolate "flavored" whiskey from Kings Co. Distillery.

I mean, the man’s been on tour for a week drinking probably nothing but bourbon & whiskey. Why not just keep the streak going?

Not to mention the fact that I believe it’s officially ice cream time. Memorial Day is next week, and the weather was a partly cloudy yet humid 75° F when I made this batch. To me, that means it’s the start of ice cream season. The whiskey I used for this is, like I said, from Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn, NY. It has actual bits of dark chocolate floating around in it. It’s pretty strong, in my opinion it’s not a terrific “sipping whiskey,” more so one that’s best suited for mixing or baking. However it also has a strong chocolate aftertaste that makes this ice cream super special. But a regular whiskey or bourbon works just fine, too. And I can just imagine using that cherry bourbon chocolate sauce on this… lawdamercy. But the topping I used was pretty spectacular (keep reading for that).

This should probably be called ‘triple chocolate whiskey’ ice cream since there’s two types of chocolate PLUS chocolate whiskey. Call it whatever you want. Either way, it’s amazing.

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream made with two kinds of chocolate PLUS chocolate 'flavored' whiskey from Kings Co. Distillery.

Triple chocolate ice cream: the creamiest ice cream you'll ever make. Or eat. Made with Kings Co. Distillery's chocolate whiskey.I love the way the light reflected & made a halo around the bowls. Even Mother Nature loves this ice cream!

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE WHISKEY ICE CREAM

Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Kings County Distillery chocolate flavored whiskey
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Whisk together egg yolks, whiskey and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk together cream, vanilla, chocolate and 1/4 cup of sugar. Simmer over low heat until the chocolate is melted. Temper egg yolk mixture by slowly adding hot cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, with a ladle, a little at a time. Once egg yolk mixture is thoroughly warmed add to the saucepan with the warm cream mixture. Stir until thickened and remove from the heat.
  3. Strain mixture into a bowl over ice. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Spin in an ice cream maker for 25 minutes… it probably won’t get much firmer, but this helps “churn” it. Add to a freezer-safe container & freeze for 12-24 hours so it gets firm.

Peanut butter whipped cream!

For an extra special treat, for my peanut butter lover… I made some peanut butter whipped cream to top it with. I know. I know. Don’t even say anything. There’s nothing you CAN say, it’s ridiculous. If you use a creamy peanut butter, yours will look smoother. Mine was crunchy.

Oh. I almost forgot: there are chocolate sprinkles too. Can’t have a birthday without sprinkles.

PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM (from Yes, I Want Cake)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (chunky peanut butter works also, I used it)
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it’s almost but not quite “stiff.”
  2. Add the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat for another minute & serve.

Triple chocolate WHISKEY ice cream. Two types of chocolate and chocolate whiskey come together to make the creamiest, smoothest, most chocolatey ice cream ever. Oh, and there's peanut butter whipped cream to go with it.

Yeah. Not much to say about that. Well, other than WHOA. This is literally the softest, most creamy ice cream I ever made. It’s super decadent, fudgy & delicious. But it also has a little whiskey bite. Not much, mind you, just enough. However… it melts fast! So be careful. Only take it out right when you’re gonna serve it. It does NOT have to sit out & soften. In my experience, it’s ready to go right out of the freezer. Of course, if you freeze it for weeks, it might get a bit harder, but it still isn’t going to take long to “defrost” enough to serve. I also wouldn’t serve it in cones, it’s far too creamy.

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream. Dark chocolate & semisweet chocolate combine with chocolate whiskey to make a smooth, creamy, rich ice cream that you'll LOVE. Add some peanut butter whipped cream & chocolate sprinkles to complete the experience.

On that note I’ll end this by saying…

Happy birthday Jay! And many more…

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream with peanut butter whipped cream!

Psst.. .the tiki mug giveaway is still going strong. You’ve got until May 27th at 11:59 p.m. to enter. So go!

Sources & credits: Arcoroc French made smoky-clear glass bowls; vintage, Le Creuset mini coccottes in “Twilight” (white shown).

This is me NOT screwing up caramel apple jam.

;

If I do something, and I screw it up, it bothers me FOREVER. I’m one of those mildly-OCD perfectionist people. I can tell a drawing won’t go well if the first line doesn’t come out right, so I toss the entire sheet of paper (environmentalists avert thine eyes). If I throw on a random outfit & something about it isn’t working for me, I don’t care if all I’m doing is going to the fruit market… my entire day will be messed up. If I screw up a recipe- whether or not it still tastes good, I go over & over in my mind what I did wrong until I make it again & redeem myself.

I sound nuts, right?

Anyway. Moving on. Look- it’s ice cream.

;

Last fall I made caramel apple syrup. It was supposed to be caramel apple jam, but it was kind of a fail in that aspect. Not a massive fail, mind you, because what resulted was a beautifully delicious concoction my father nicknamed “apple pie in a jar.” He ate it right out of the jar, as a matter of fact. Devoured it. It was a much beloved creation, mistake or not. But it still sort of bothered me. It was so stupid to me that I screwed up such a simple jam, especially because it was something so dumb like forgetting to add the pectin… that I wanted to try it again this fall. Because not only was what I made not jam but it no longer existed anyway. The jars were long gone; eaten, emptied, washed out & re-filled with who-knows-what. All that remained were the memories, and questions like “When are you making that apple syrup stuff again?” And I was debating it, actually, since it was such a hit.

Then I found this recipe. ERMAHGERDS.

;

How was I supposed to turn away from that!? It’s apple season! There are apples everywhere I look. I’m bombarded with apples every day; on Pinterest, on blogs, in the supermarket, at the Farmer’s Market, at the fruit market… they’re just all over the place. I got momentarily distracted from my Halloween bacchanalia for apples, and when I went to the farm to pick pumpkins & get apple cider donuts, it just boosted my apple-ness even further. And so of course, I thought this jam sounded especially glorious. And the best part? No pectin! So I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting to add it again.

The other jam I attempted was yummy, even if it ended up as syrup. But this one is different. The vanilla bean & rum elevate this to a whole ‘nother level. It’s not like your average jam. It’s like a dessert in and of itself.

CARAMEL APPLE JAM WITH VANILLA BEAN & RUM (halved & adapted very minimally from Hitchhiking to Heaven)

Makes about 2-3 half-pint (8 oz.) jars, maybe with some overflow

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened homemade applesauce (store bought is okay, just get the highest quality organic one you can, making sure it’s unsweetened)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (I used a little Himalayan pink)
  • 3 teaspoons dark rum (*optional)

Directions:

  1. If you don’t have applesauce on hand, make your sauce. Start by coring and slicing the apples; about 1 1/2 maybe 2 lbs of them- (don’t peel ‘em) and cooking them over low heat until they’re soft. I usually add about 1/2 cup of water to the pot so they don’t stick or burn. Cover the pot while the apples are cooking; they should be ready in about 20 minutes. Put the cooked apples through a food mill (use the medium screen if you have a choice) and, voilà, sauce!
  2. Prepare your jars and lids. Set them aside.
  3. In a clean, dry large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar, the water, and the lemon juice. Pour the sugar into the pan evenly, rather than as a big lump to one side or something like that, because you don’t get to stir or shake the pan for the next step, which is caramelizing the sugar.
  4. Without disturbing the contents of the pan, bring the syrup to a boil and let it boil gently — adjusting the heat as needed — until it turns golden brown. Watch the mixture carefully and take it off the heat before it turns darker than you’d like. Mine was a nice light-brown color and smelled caramel-y.
  5. While the sugar is caramelizing, add the additional 3/4 cup sugar and the sea salt into a small bowl. Split your vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the bean into the sugar and salt. Combine well, then add the pod into the sugar, too. Set aside.
  6. When the caramel is ready, slowly add the applesauce and the rest of the sugar, vanilla bean and all, off the heat. Be careful- it WILL splatter! Turn the heat back up to medium-low and stir the mixture until the sugar and caramel completely dissolve. Then bring the jam to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 8-10 minutes. This is the part where you need to monitor the temperature — reducing it if necessary — and stir the jam steadily enough to keep it from attacking you. You will know the jam is done when it thickens up and your stirring spoon very briefly leaves a clear track at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Remove the jam from the heat, discard the vanilla bean, and stir in the rum. Ladle or pour the hot jam into your sterilized jars. Wipe the rims clean and add the lids. Process 10 minutes in a hot water-bath canner. Remove from canner, let cool and check seals after 12 hours. Any jars that aren’t sealed, pop in the fridge & use immediately.

;

And this time it actually came out like jam, not syrup! Wonder of wonders, glory of glories. Hallelujah & all that jazz. It came out absolutely perfect.

;

I know. Pancakes, ice cream, waffles, oat bran muffins, English muffins and yogurt will never be the same. Neither will oatmeal. I don’t even like oatmeal, but a little of this would upgrade that ish to something way more special. It even works with ham & pork chops (or so I’ve been told, I don’t eat pork chops); both as a glaze melted on top while cooking, or just on the side. It’s good on toast, too, but that seems so banal for a jam like this. This kind of a jam begs for something exciting; like fresh buttermilk pancakes. Or a golden vanilla pound cake. Or… over a homemade vanilla bean ice cream, like I did. Ohh, Rodelle vanilla beans, how I love thee.

HOMEMADE VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM (courtesy of Epicurious)

Ingredients:

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. With a knife halve vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape seeds into a large heavy saucepan and stir in pods, cream, milk, and sugar. Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring occasionally, and remove pan from heat.
  2. In a large bowl lightly beat eggs. Add hot cream mixture to eggs in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into pan. Cook custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 170°F. (Do not let boil.) Pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl and cool. Chill custard, its surface covered with wax paper, at least 3 hours, or until cold, and up to 1 day.
  3. Freeze custard in an ice-cream maker, in 2 batches if necessary. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, try this recipe for the ice cream. It takes a bit longer, but I’ve always had good results! I love me my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, though.

And as far as the jam goes… you can also eat it right out of the jar. Which I’m not supporting of course… *ahem*

It’s cheesecake. It’s ice cream. It’s delicious. & ridiculous.

The last week or so, it was hot. Okay, let me rephrase: it was GODDAMN hot. So hot, an ice cream truck could melt.

The handy Weather Channel app on my phone informs me of this as if I haven’t noticed. As if my t-shirt sticking to my back as I water my vegetables wasn’t a clue. Or as if the fact that even when the A/C is on high it isn’t quite cold enough wasn’t a clue, either. Yeah. I’m pretty much uninterested in anything unless it involves air-conditioning, eating ice cream, eating ice pops, or swimming. Or listening to my summer music on full blast; Dr. Dre, Snoop, Incubus, Sublime, Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan and of course, the Notorious B.I.G. (those just scream summer to me for one reason or another). I also try to avoid the 6 million mosquitos that want to feast on me like I’m one of those naked sushi-platter chicks. Yeah, I know I’ve said it before, but that’s pretty much all I want to do in a nutshell.

‘Cause really… when it’s this freakin’ hot, who wants to cook? Or bake? Not I, says the girl who runs the BAKING BLOG.

But honestly. I know I’ve posted a lot of baked stuff lately; pie, cupcakes, galettes, etc. In spite of all that even I sometimes really can’t face turning the oven on. Not in this heat, not even with my A/C on full blast and not even at night when it’s slightly cooler. So when you want something sweet, what else is there to have? Ice cream! Ice cream screams summer, too. And coincidentally, July is also National Ice Cream month (thanks to Ronald Reagan; it was probably the best thing he did as President). And I decided that I wanted to make some ice cream inspired by cheesecake after seeing an ad for ice cream made with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. So I adapted it a little to suit my needs.

;

Hey, it’s also my birthday month. If I want ice cream, I’ll have ice cream. Not only is it my birthday month, but my birthday is in just 9 days. Ice cream is practically a requirement right now! But first, a little history:

In the Persian Empire, people would pour grape-juice concentrate over snow, in a bowl, and eat this as a treat, especially when the weather was hot. Snow would either be saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal“, or taken from snowfall that remained at the top of mountains by the summer capital — Hagmatana, Ecbatana or Hamedan of today. In 400 BC, the Persians went further and invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli, which was served to royalty during summers.[4] The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavours.

Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years. The BBC reports that a frozen mixture of milk and rice was used in China around 200 BC.[5] The Roman EmperorNero (37–68) had ice brought from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings. These were some early chilled delicacies.[6]

Arabs were perhaps the first to use milk as a major ingredient in the production of ice cream.[citation needed] They sweetened it with sugar rather than fruit juices, and perfected means of commercial production. As early as the 10th century, ice cream was widespread among many of the Arab world’s major cities, including Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo. It was produced from milk or cream, often with some yoghurt, and was flavoured with rosewater, dried fruits and nuts. It is believed that the recipe was based on older Ancient Arabian recipes, which were, it is presumed, the first and precursors to Persian faloodeh.

Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat asserts, in her History of Food, that “the Chinese may be credited with inventing a device to make sorbets and ice cream. They poured a mixture of snow and saltpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero.”[7][8] Some distorted accounts claim that in the age of Emperor Yingzong, Song Dynasty (960-1279) of China, a poem named Ode to the ice cheese (詠冰酪) was written by the poet Yang Wanli. Actually, this poem was named Ode to the pastry (詠酥; 酥 is a kind of food much like pastry in the Western world) and has nothing to do with ice cream.[9] It has also been claimed that, in the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan enjoyed ice cream and kept it a royal secret until Marco Polo visited China and took the technique of making ice cream to Italy.

In the sixteenth century, the Mughal emperors used relays of horsemen to bring ice from the Hindu Kush to Delhi, where it was used in fruit sorbets.[10]

When Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici married the Duke of Orléans (Henry II of France) in 1533, she is said to have brought with her to France some Italian chefs who had recipes for flavoured ices or sorbets.[11] One hundred years later, Charles I of England was, it was reported, so impressed by the “frozen snow” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative.[12] There is no historical evidence to support these legends, which first appeared during the 19th century.

The first recipe in French for flavoured ices appears in 1674, in Nicholas Lemery’s Recueil de curiositéz rares et nouvelles de plus admirables effets de la nature.[11] Recipes for sorbetti saw publication in the 1694 edition of Antonio Latini’s Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward).[11] Recipes for flavoured ices begin to appear in François Massialot’s Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits, starting with the 1692 edition. Massialot’s recipes result in a coarse, pebbly texture. Latini claims that the results of his recipes should have the fine consistency of sugar and snow.[11]

Ice cream recipes first appeared in 18th-century England and America. The recipe for ice cream was published in Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts in London in 1718.[13][14]

-Wikipedia

Before modern refrigeration techniques, ice cream was a rare treat to be consumed only on special occasions. Luckily now it’s something we can have any time we want, in any flavor we want, morning, noon or night. Birthdays or not. And we’re most especially lucky to have it in cute little ice cream cups like I have. ¡Viva Mes Nacional del Helado!

CHEESECAKE ICE CREAM (inspired by & adapted from a recipe from Philadelphia Cream Cheese)

Ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 4 graham crackers, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Mix the first four ingredients in a stand mixer until thoroughly blended. Freeze for 4 hours or until almost solid.
  2. Re-beat the mixture with the stand mixer until creamy. Add graham crackers to mixture, mix well.
  3. Freeze for 8 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer around 15-20 minutes before serving. Let stand at room temperature to allow it to soften before scooping into bowls.

And that’s basically that’s all. You can sit back, relax, and have a refreshing dessert that doesn’t require an ice cream maker, an oven or a stove-top at all. Hallelujah! It reminds me of the kind of ice cream you get at one of those super cute little retro ice cream parlors. Smooth, creamy, delicious.

And it tastes just like a slightly melted cheesecake!

It reminds me of a much richer, higher fat version of the Red Mango plain yogurt + crushed graham cracker combo I usually get. You can substitute crushed Oreo cookies for the graham crackers too, kind of like an Oreo cheesecake. Or, incorporate fresh berries into the mix before freezing.

Serve it with anything you’d top a cheesecake (or ice cream sundae) with: fresh berries, strawberry sauce, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce, crushed Oreo cookies, etc. I had some fresh raspberries so that’s what I put out for a topping. But even sprinkles are fun. Go nuts. Like I said, it’s National freakin’ Ice Cream month. Do I really need to elaborate further?

No. No, I do not.

Une petite glace à l’amande avec les financiers.

Before I start in on ice cream & financiers & such, I just wanna say that Jay is home from Switzerland! In case you didn’t know, Mr. Rockstar was over there playing a music festival in Muotathal. He’s safe & sound back in New York now. It’s nice to have him back in the same time zone as me, let alone the same breathing space. It was really weird to imagine he was somewhere 6 hours ahead of me. But anyway, I got my Swiss chocolates, and plenty of them. I shall be gorging myself on these for a few days, or at least a couple more hours. The first one there, the Cailler of Switzerland Lait & Caramel Pointe de sel? I can’t wait to hang my fangs on that one. The Lindt assortment is pretty amazing, though, in and of itself. I haven’t opened the Camille Bloch Torino one yet, but I’m intrigued to try it; it’s a ‘chocolat au lait suisse fin fourre creme de noisettes et d’amandes’ or, as it’s said in English, fine milk chocolate filled with a creme of hazelnuts & almonds. Mmm.

So speaking of Europe & European confections, last month, the people at Donsuemor contacted me and asked me if I’d come up with a recipe featuring one of their delicious French cookies for their Dessert a Day project. Being a little bit of a  francophile (although also an anglophile, and pretty much someone who’s enthusiastic about everything in general, especially desserts), I immediately jumped at the chance. I chose the French almond cakes, or financiers & I could not wait to get my hands on them. For a non-French company that’s fairly new (started in 1976), the selection of items & the implied quality impressed me. So I really was excited to make something with these little cakes… oh, and eat some too.

And then… they arrived! Pretty quick, actually. Oh, happy day!

Sacré bleu! I’d been brainstorming all kinds of recipes for these guys. Ah, little did they know when I first opened that box what their ultimate fate would be. Mes petits financiers, mes pauvres. Groped at by greedy hands was the least of it.

French Almond Cakes, or <financiers>, as they are known in France, are elegant little cakes with the rich and nutty taste of sweet almond. Soft and moist with crisp edges – a “Donsuemor signature” – these elegant treats are made with the finest quality, all natural ingredients.

Led by the drive and determination of our talented French pastry chef and dedicated team, inspired by the Parisian original, Donsuemor proudly launched the French Almond Cakes in September 2009. Although we had the desire to bake other products over the years, we committed to do so only if they could live up to the standards of the madeleine. The French Almond Cakes exceed our standard, and thus became the first new product Donsuemor developed since the first madeleine was baked in Berkeley in 1976.

History of Financiers

Financiers were created by a baker named Lasne in the financial district of Paris in the 1890′s. Named after the rich financiers who frequented his bakery, traditionally baked in the shape of gold bars, Lasne designed the little unglazed cake to be enjoyed without utensils or risk to suit, shirt or tie.

Financiers are as rich as the bankers they were named for. They are made with ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, and eggs – pure and simple ingredients.  Once you taste Donsuemor’s French Almond Cakes, you will know why Donsuemor is the one you remember.

- text & French Almond cakes photo from Donsuemor.com

I had to resist eating them all before making the recipe, but I managed. I also managed to keep them out of everyone else’s hands. Partly because I hid the box. Yes I did, & I have no problem admitting that. Although people I know will read that & get a bit miffed, I’m sure, considering I think I told them there weren’t any more. Oops.

The quality & taste was definitely what I had expected. Anyone who knows me or reads the blog knows I’m honest to a fault, so trust me here. My father liked them so much, he asked for the website name (perhaps ordering me a gift… hmmm?).  They were very moist, very cake-like, and had a great almond flavor. Because it was so warm & humid, I decided to go with an ice cream instead of a baked dessert; an almond ice cream to be exact. I crumbled up some of the cakes and mixed it in with the ice cream, and then topped each serving with a cookie. Mmmm.

Delicious little surprises in the form of chunks of almond cake throughout, plus those sliced almonds.

Do you love my ice cream sundae glasses? Not to mention ma petite tour Eiffel!

I’m not kidding when I say this is some amazing ice cream. Fantastique. You know birthday cake ice cream? It has bits of cake floating through it, and sometimes ribbons of buttercream or sprinkles? Well, that’s awesome, but too much for me. I find it too sweet after a few bites. This was not. I ate way more of this ice cream than you’d think was humanly possible. Seriously. I even ate it for dinner one night. I broke out my grandmother’s vintage jadeite dessert plates, too. This ice cream (& me) certainly deserved it.

Okay, enough teasing. You want the recipe, don’t you?

ALMOND ICE CREAM WITH CRUMBLED DONSUEMOR FRENCH ALMOND FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4-6 Donsuemor French almond cakes, crumbled, plus more kept intact for topping (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, and eggs in a heavy medium saucepan until they’re completely combined.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat back of a spoon. Strain custard through a sieve into a medium bowl. Add vanilla & almond extracts and stir to mix thoroughly. Cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator (covered), 6-8 hours.
  3. Freeze in ice cream maker according to maker’s directions, adding the crumbled cakes 2-3 minutes before it’s finished. Ice cream will be the consistency of soft serve, freeze overnight for firmer set.

I have the KitchenAid ice cream maker stand mixer attachment, so it took about 20 minutes in there. However I made mine on a night when we had torrential rain, incredibly high humidity and it was pretty hot on top of that. Thanks to those conditions, my first attempt at photos were an epic fail; sure they looked cute, mainly thanks to my vintage plate & Eiffel tower set up… but the ice cream was a melty mess. On top of the initial ice cream’s soft consistency, it just melted all over the place in the high humidity. So I popped it in the freezer and the next day, voilà, perfection. With a mug of hazelnut coffee made in my Keurig… *sigh* However it’s positively French-Victorian picnic style when served with a cut crystal goblet filled with some cold sparkling Effervé lemonade.

Effervé had nothing to do with this post, it’s just delicious lemonade.

A great way to salute the swan song of summer & say a delicious goodbye to that wonderful season. If not grudgingly. Also a good reason to hide in your house & hope Hurricane Irene steers clear of your home. Not that I speak from experience or anything…

‘Vanille français’ sounds nice, ‘curd’ does not.

It really doesn’t. It sounds gross. Curd. Go on, say it. Curd. It rhymes with ‘turd’ for Christ’s sakes! What kind of name is that for something as smooth, delicious and lovely as this?

‘This’ being David Lebovitz‘s “improved” lemon curd. For those of you not in-the-know about fruit curd, here’s a little Wikipedia to help you out:

Fruit curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with lemon, lime,[1] orange or raspberry.[2] The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely-flavored spread. Some recipes also include egg whites and/or butter.[3]

In late 19th and early 20th century England, home-made lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam, and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts.[4] Homemade lemon curd was usually made in relatively small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam. In more modern times larger quantities are feasible because of the use of refrigeration. Commercially manufactured curds often contain additional preservatives and thickening agents.[5]

Modern commercially made curds are still a popular spread for bread, scones, toast or muffins. They can also be used as a flavoring for desserts or yogurt. Lemon-meringue pie, made with lemon curd and topped with meringue, has been a favorite dessert in Britain and the United States since the nineteenth century.[4]

Curds are different from pie fillings or custards in that they contain a higher proportion of juice and zest, which gives them a more intense flavor.[6] Also, curds containing butter have a smoother and creamier texture than both pie fillings and custards; both contain little or no butter and use cornstarch or flour for thickening. Additionally, unlike custards, curds are not usually eaten on their own.

This recipe is actually a Meyer lemon curd, but by adapting the amount of sugar you can use regular lemons (as I did). I really had no idea that Meyer lemons were that different from regular lemons until I did a little reading on it. Apparently, they’re native to China & are thought to be a cross between a mandarin orange + lemon, and are milder & sweeter than regular lemons, Eureka for example. Meyer lemons were actually banned in the U.S. for a while! DISEASED REBEL LEMONS! Sounds like a punk rock band.

By the mid 1940s the Meyer lemon had become widely grown in California. However, at that time it was discovered that a majority of the Meyer lemon trees being cloned were symptomless carriers of the Citrus tristeza virus, a virus which had killed millions of citrus trees all over the world and rendered other millions useless for production.[5] After this finding, most of the Meyer lemon trees in the United States were destroyed to save other citrus trees.

A virus-free selection was found in the 1950s by Don Dillon of the California company Four Winds Growers,[6] and was later certified and released in 1975 by the University of California as the ‘Improved Meyer lemon’ — Citrus × meyeri ‘Improved’.[7][8]

Crazy the shit you find out just by looking up recipes. Anyway, this post is going to be pretty huge, because it’s really two recipes in one. See, with this lemon curd, I made a French vanilla ice cream. Or, ‘vanille français.’ Why? Because a) it was a request by my mother for her birthday on the 5th and b) I had seen during my numerous searches on this big, beautiful interwebs that some people mixed their lemon curds with frozen yogurt or ice cream, and it sounded good. Although lemon curd is also great on toast, scones, crumpets, or as a filling in cakes or cupcakes.

The curd cooking away…

LEMON CURD (from David Lebovitz)

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup freshly-squeezed Meyer or regular lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup sugar (or ½ cup, if using regular lemons)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

  1. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
  3. Add the butter cubes and set the pan over low heat, whisking constantly until the butter is melted. Increase the heat and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
  4. Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.

Some people like a little zest in their curd, feel free to add a teaspoon or so of it if you do. David says it makes a cup, but I actually got 1 ¼ cups myself. My lemons were pretty big though, and I didn’t want to waste any juice so I just squeezed it all out. Haha. That entire sentence sounds dirty. Anyway, I’m sure this could be doubled or tripled easily if you want to use it to fill a cake, etc.

Alright, well that ends the fruit curd portion of our program. So now, on to the ice cream! Vanilla ice cream has always been my favorite, just like vanilla cupcakes have always been my favorite. Some may find that boring, but really, when you’re as awesome as I am, you can’t have too much other stuff going on, you have to let the awesome-ness speak for itself. Vanilla is always the perfect backdrop or companion for everything. But have you ever wondered what the difference was between vanilla & French vanilla?

While today’s ice cream enthusiasts may view vanilla as a bland or generic offering, it used to be considered a very exotic flavor indeed. Because it became such a popular choice for consumers, vanilla became the standard bearer of the ice cream family, closely followed by chocolate and strawberry. The complex flavors created by the vanilla bean, a member of the orchid family, were never intended to become a generic base, however.

There are several variations on the standard vanilla flavor, including a particularly rich and creamy variety called French vanilla. While both traditional vanilla and French vanilla ice creams can still be used as a base for milkshakes and other dessert treats, there are a few differences between them. Traditional vanilla flavor is derived from the seeds of a vanilla bean pod, or at least a synthetic chemical equivalent called vanillin. French vanilla is more of an egg custard before freezing, and contains egg yolks for a richer consistency.

Traditional vanilla ice cream is also likely to contain small flecks of vanilla beans, but French vanilla is often strained to remove these flecks. Because of the egg yolks, French vanilla ice cream also appears to be a deeper shade of yellow than traditional vanilla ice cream. French vanilla ice cream is often viewed as creamier in texture than many standard vanilla ice cream brands, which may be a result of starting with a custard base instead of cream.

- Wisegeek

..

The term French vanilla is often used to designate preparations that have a strong vanilla aroma, and contain vanilla grains. The name originates from the French style of making ice cream custard base with vanilla pods, cream, and egg yolks. Inclusion of vanilla varietals from any of the former or current French dependencies noted for their exports may in fact be a part of the flavoring, though it may often be coincidental. Alternatively, French vanilla is taken to refer to a vanilla-custard flavor.[19] Syrup labeled as French vanilla may include custard, caramel or butterscotch flavors in addition to vanilla.

-Wikipedia

 

Well that settles that, huh? Ya learn somethin’ new everyday. The reason for that particular little culinary history lesson is that I’m sharing today a recipe for French vanilla ice cream. It does not have the little black vanilla seeds in it, true to form, and it is indeed quite an off-white color.  This recipe is from the little booklet that came with my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, so the directions given are for that particular brand. The thing is, it requires an ice cream maker. If you don’t have the KitchenAid one & you have another brand/model, that’s totally fine, just mix the ingredients together either with a hand mixer or another stand mixer, refrigerate for the 8 hours +, and then just freeze according to the directions of your ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker- buy one. But be forewarned: you’ll make a lot of new “best friends.” Anyway, I mixed mine for 30 minutes in the freezer bowl and then froze it for a while (couple of hours) since it wasn’t firm enough for me. It was like soft-serve consistency, which is nice, and I won’t lie… I ate more than I should’ve while it was soft. But I like it better firmer, and it was pretty hot & humid, so it melted fast anyway.

There’s Lola, mixin’ it up…


THE MOST AMAZING HOMEMADE FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ cups whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat, set aside.
  2. Place egg yolks and sugar in a mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on speed 2, very gradually add half-and-half and mix until blended. Return half-and-half mixture to the medium saucepan; cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
  3. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in whipping cream, vanilla and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
  4. Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher and drive assembly as directed. Turn to STIR (speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. Immediately transfer to serving dishes for soft-serve or freeze in an airtight container until firm. Prepare yourself for the deliciousness.
Served with lemon curd, blackberries & raspberries

Okay… this is the most amazing ice cream I ever had. The absolute best French vanilla ice cream EVER. I must stress the pure vanilla extract here. Usually, I don’t make a fuss because in a cupcake, especially chocolate or other flavor, it’s not really that big of a deal. But in this, you really need a good, true, real vanilla flavor. For a vanilla lemon curd ice cream, just spoon some of the curd (or all of it, depending how much you made/like) into the ice cream maker a few minutes before it’s ready. If you want streaks of it throughout, add it much closer to the end, just so there are ripples of lemon curd in it. If you want it mixed in completely, add it about 5-10 minutes to the end. The curd is also excellent served on top of the ice cream and then topped with fresh blackberries or raspberries, like I did above. The blackberries & raspberries were huge & beautiful… and also buy one, get one free, so you better believe I bought those babies. Vanilla ice cream is so easy to build on, you can top it with anything, or add anything. Add crushed cookies, fruit, jam, chocolate chips, brownie pieces, broken waffle cones, etc. Top it with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, butterscotch sauce, whatever! An Italian restaurant me & Jay go to serves their French vanilla ice cream in a parfait glass with two delicious, soft almond cookies. Amazing. You could even freeze it until it’s really firm, then sandwich it between two chocolate chip cookies to make a homemade Chipwich!

I know, there are like 10 egg yolks and 2 extra eggs in these recipes combined. A whole dozen. But, like the coconut cupcakes that take 5 eggs, it’s so worth it. And you can freeze the whites and use them to make meringue later on! Or, use the whites to make meringue, use the curd to fill little pie shells or tart shells (even store-bought ones), then top them with the meringue- and you have mini lemon meringue pies! So cute.

And that, children, concludes the most epic Cupcake Rehab post ever, a.k.a. the post of the century. After writing all of this up, I will now go and collapse on the floor and cradle my newly Carpal Tunnel ridden-wrists.

Aint Tee’s Luscious Lemon ice cream. Hells yeah.

A few months ago my friend Rain recommended to me a book called Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories by Patty Pinner. Rain made a Facebook post about the Dr. Pepper cake and I was sold on the book and HAD to have it. I mean, look at that cover! It’s amazing, and I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but this time the cover speaks volumes about the content. Give me a bright pink cake & some old timey pictures and I’m done for, dude. I ordered it right away and I’ve had it for ages now, but of course, still haven’t made that damn Dr. Pepper cake! The book was read cover to cover within minutes of me getting it- I loved all the stories that went with the recipes, and the old pictures are amazing. Just reading this book made me want to pack up and move down to the South 40+ years ago in a Time Machine to share recipes with these phenomenal ladies. It really made you feel as though you were present, sitting at the bright kitchen table with My My (Patty’s grandma), Aint Bulah and the rest.

I have made some things from the book here & there, one cake (I turned it into cupcakes) but mainly cookies. However, every single cookie I made from it was awesome, some were even deemed “the best cookies ever made” (no kidding, Jay’s mother actually said that about the peanut butter cookies, although she says that about my favorite chocolate chip cookies too).  I still have to get around to posting those peanut butter cookies, now that I think about it!

But anyway, this post isn’t about cookies. It’s about ice cream. In this weather, all I can tolerate making is either ice cream or stove-top stuff like fudge. By “this weather”, I mean the 98°-degrees-but-with-humidity-feels-like-110°-degree weather that New York has been slammed with this past week. Don’t get me wrong- air conditioning is a wonderful thing. But no amount of A/C can make you feel good bent over a stove, baking batches of cupcakes… whereas a big ass container of fresh homemade ice cream makes everyone feel good, A/C or no. So I turned to the back of this delightful book and went right to the ice cream recipes, keeping in mind the half-dozen organic lemons sitting in a jadeite bowl on my counter. What stuck out to me was “Aint Tee’s Luscious Lemon Ice Cream.” As the author writes:

“”Aint Tee” was what we called My My’s sister, Laura. Aint Tee wasn’t too quick to give out her recipes… not even to family. In fact, if she agreed to give you a recipe, you had to agree to give her one back. Aint Tee traded recipes the way children traded paper dolls and marbles.

This ice cream has a soft, smooth texture and tastes lemony delicious. I like to fix myself a heaping bowl with raspberry sauce.”

Isn’t that totally enough to make you want a big ol’ bowl of lemon ice cream? Yes, yes it is. And with this one you will not be disappointed. It’s super silky with an awesome lemon flavor. As a matter of fact, it tastes almost exactly like lemon saltwater taffy. It’s almost like the best of both worlds; sorbet & ice cream. I prefer it plain, but if you’re into that kind of thing then, like the author suggests, a raspberry sauce would be lovely. Here’s one by Emeril Lagasse. Also, fresh blueberries would probably be dee-lish as well.

I have an ice cream maker, actually the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment (an early birthday/anniversary gift from Jay last year). It’s the bees knees, trust me. I keep the bowl stored in the freezer so it’s all ready whenever I wanna get my ice cream on. But according to the recipe, any ice cream maker will work. The one caveat: you have to have one. So if you don’t, go get one. It’s worth it. If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, I recommend the attachment. If you don’t, then there are plenty of stand alone ice cream makers to choose from.

LUSCIOUS LEMON ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ tablespoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, milk, and lemon juice. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 175° F, about 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
  2. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and cool in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Add the cream and the lemon zest to the cooled lemon curd and mix well.
  3. Pour the custard into the canister of a 2-quart ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes about 1 ½ quarts.
Artsy shot.

What happened with the KitchenAid ice cream maker was that I mixed it in there for about 30 minutes, then I put it in an airtight container and froze it for 3 ½ hours. When I took it out, it was perfectly soft-frozen. So I plopped it in ramekins & topped it with some lemon rind. For firmer ice cream, freeze longer, even overnight. Then if it’s too hard, let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to soften a bit.

Enjoy! And get ready to eat summertime in a bowl!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…

PEANUT BUTTER FORKIN’ ICE CREAM!!

Of course my new ice cream maker has sort of taken over my life. I knew this would happen- first of all, it being summer, what could be better than homemade ice cream? Second, it being summer, what could be better than a delicious treat that doesn’t require baking in a hot oven? I knew that my soul would temporarily be sold to the cold, creamy, frosty devil known as ice cream. My spare time is spent thinking of what ice cream flavor to try next, and what experiments I can perform using ice cream/frozen yogurt/etc. So I apologize to those of you who don’t own an ice cream maker- you’re probably going to be seeing a fair amount of ice cream recipes on here. At least until the cooler weather kicks in… but why don’t you get yourself one too and then we can all be fat, happy, ice cream eating campers?

Ice cream is a weird thing, when you think about it. Who came up with the idea in the first place? The first recipes for ice cream appear in the 18th century, and the earliest reference to it is in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1744.

Before the development of modern refrigeration, ice cream was a luxury reserved for special occasions. Making it was quite laborious; ice was cut from lakes and ponds during the winter and stored in holes in the ground, or in wood-frame or brick ice houses, insulated by straw. Many farmers and plantation owners, including U.S. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, cut and stored ice in the winter for use in the summer. Frederic Tudor of Boston turned ice harvesting and shipping into a big business, cutting ice in New England and shipping it around the world.

Ice cream was made by hand in a large bowl placed inside a tub filled with ice and salt. This was called the pot-freezer method. French confectioners refined the pot-freezer method, making ice cream in a sorbetière (a covered pail with a handle attached to the lid). In the pot-freezer method, the temperature of the ingredients is reduced by the mixture of crushed ice and salt. The salt water is cooled by the ice, and the action of the salt on the ice causes it to (partially) melt, absorbing latent heat and bringing the mixture below the freezing point of pure water. The immersed container can also make better thermal contact with the salty water and ice mixture than it could with ice alone.

The hand-cranked churn, which also uses ice and salt for cooling, replaced the pot-freezer method. The exact origin of the hand-cranked freezer is unknown, but the first U.S. patent for one was #3254 issued to Nancy Johnson on September 9, 1843. The hand-cranked churn produced smoother ice cream than the pot freezer and did it quicker. Many inventors patented improvements on Johnson’s design.

I’ve got to say I’m happy things aren’t that difficult now. It takes me about 30 minutes tops to actually make the ice cream, and depending on the type, only a few hours in the fridge. This particular batch didn’t have to be cooked, as there were no eggs in it. As I mentioned previously, Jay loves peanut butter. So does Indy, actually, but I don’t know if there’s any correlation there. Anyway… the first thing Jay said to me when he bought me the ice cream maker was “Peanut butter ice cream!” I wanted to ease into the whole ice cream making thing slowly, previous to owning an actual ice cream maker I’d only ever made it by hand in my freezer (which was okay, it came out great, but was a pain in the ass) and aside from that, just an easy sorbet. So I thought I’d take it slowly by doing frozen yogurt first, which was a success, then moving on to a recipe that didn’t require cooking, like this peanut butter one.

And holybabykittenspuppies&Jesus, this was amazing. So tasty. I might be over-exaggerating, but it was seriously phenomenal. And I didn’t really do anything but wait around for the fridge and the ice cream maker to do their thing. I have to say, based on my success with this, I’m feeling like peppermint ice cream (tinted pink of course) might be on the horizon. I love peppermint ice cream.

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the creamy peanut butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the milk and blend on low speed for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has been dissolved.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla with a mixing spoon or a whisk.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  5. When ready, pour the ice cream base into your frozen ice cream maker bowl.
  6. Let mix until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. If you are adding in candies or peanuts, add them in the last 5 minutes of mixing.
  7. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours.

I’ll tell you what would be fantastic with this: Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups. Just throw ‘em into the mix 5 minutes before it’s done and it would be really awesome. Alternately, you could use chocolate chips, or even peanut butter chips. Or just plain old peanuts! I had it plain and it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, as I’m sure you can imagine, but it’s fun to play around with toppings & stuff to put in the ice cream. And have I mentioned how much of a glowing review I give this ice cream maker attachment? Yeah. It’s sick. Of course, you need a KitchenAid mixer to use it. So if you don’t have one, then you may be better off just buying a stand-alone ice cream maker. And if you have a lot of kids, or eat a lot of ice cream, the KitchenAid attachment might not be beneficial to you- it only makes 2 quarts. For me, that’s perfect. I don’t need to have to go up a size to a 6 all because I got an ice cream maker. Forreals.

All this ice cream I plan to make will surely soothe the sadness I feel that my adorable new haircut, that was just a month old, had to be changed drastically. It was cut shorter because of the dreaded hair breakage us platinum blondes are so plagued by. So now I’m back to my old Michelle-Williams-in-Vogue/Tabatha Coffey-esque ‘do, still platinum blonde. However next month I’ll have to go a bit darker. This entire sentence should be punctuated by deep, lingering sighs. Don’t get me wrong, I love short hair. It’s just that I was growing mine out for over a year. Oh, the perils of beauty! I had black hair for 5 years and kept it mainly because I couldn’t get rid of it without cutting my hair off, then I finally get rid of it, cut it short and go blonde, then grow it out again just to have to cut it off… again.*

*(Some of you may read this & see a cautionary tale. I do not. I’ve been going through this cycle since high school, and I don’t plan on stopping now. I am an ever-changing being and having the same hair color & style bores me to death. I’d rather have my hair break off & cut it short than look like 85% of the rest of the planet.)

Daring Baker’s Challenge: Chocolate Valentino (flourless chocolate cake) & homemade ice cream.

This months’ Daring Baker’s challenge wasn’t really all that much of a challenge for me because I’ve already made flourless chocolate cake, so I was familiar with it. Of course, this one is very different from the one I made. This one, popularized by Chef Wan, is dense and fudgy and brownie-like, mine was more light, delicate and melt-in-your-mouth soft. Flourless chocolate cake is a rich, indulgent dessert and is great for celiacs and people who just want to avoid gluten/wheat as well. Details on the creators of this challenge, as they said on the super-secret Daring Baker’s forum, are as follows:

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

We had to make the cake and an ice cream to serve with it. Being that I don’t have an ice cream maker, I used this link combined with the below recipe. The heart shape was created by using cookie cutters to cut the finished cake into smaller cakes, then topped/sided with the fresh ice cream. Alternately, you can use a heart shaped pan, or a few heart shaped pans. Either way the result is yum! I used 8 ounces Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, 4 ounces Baker’s semi-sweet and 4 ounces Baker’s German (sweet) chocolate. This cake ends up tasting exactly like the chocolate you use, so keep that in mind. My cake had a rich, sweet taste cut with a slight bitterness from the bittersweet chocolate, so it wasn’t too sweet. If you use all bittersweet, your cake will be exactly that. There is no added sugar in this cake, so just remember that when choosing your chocolate.

Talk about simple. Three ingredients, and no time to complete it. The ice cream was a bit more challenging, but hey, thats part of the fun. I know, next time I should really take pictures of the process. I tried, but the picture of my melting chocolate didn’t come out so I threw in the proverbial towel.

If you do make the ice cream, just remember that using the vanilla bean isn’t required, but it adds those cool black vanilla seeds in the ice cream and adds a better flavor than extract.

CHOCOLATE VALENTINO
Preparation Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated

Directions:
1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

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