Category: Ice cream

Prediction: Ice Cream

July 5, 2011

I have a prediction and I can almost guarantee it will come true.  Guar – an – tee.  Like sure enough that if I was a betting woman and if they placed bets on things like ice cream or cookbooks or ice cream cookbooks, I would clean up in Vegas.

The internet is soon going to become overrun with recipes pulled from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book.  For real.  It’s going to hit big and it’s going to hit hard, maybe not with the same strength as No-Knead Bread or the New York Times chocolate chip cookies, but strong all the same.  This time I am on the cutting edge, not joining in the club two years after it has formed.

“What is the big deal?”, you might ask.  Have you ever made ice cream?  Used lots of yolks, and had to strain out the scrambled bits?  Made a truly delicious treat but with just a bit more iciness than you would like in your ice cream?  This woman, Jeni, she has been making ice cream for years and she has nine ice cream shops (and counting) to prove that she knows her stuff.  She doesn’t use eggs.  At all.  What she does is use a bit of cream cheese and cornstarch and a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup.  The cooking method is streamlined – milk and cream get boiled together for exactly four minutes.  A cornstarch slurry is stirred in and then the mixture boils for exactly another minute.  Whisk the whole thing into cream cheese with a bit of salt, and you have the base for your ice cream.  I’ve always thought that making ice cream was so easy for how delicious it is – now I think it’s even easier.

In addition to coming up with and streamlining this process, Jeni has shared her treasure trove of recipes in a delightful book.  They are arranged seasonally – seasonal ice creams!  Who knew?  I’m a person who likes to chew when eating ice cream and I love that there are plenty of add-ins, mix-ins, and pairings that make even the most routine flavor exciting.

Graham’s eyes got really big when he saw the cover of the book.  He immediately pointed to the scoop that looked like it had cherries in it.  We made Cherry Crisp Ice Cream.  We roasted cherries, made the crispy bits (think a streusel on a cherry crisp), and used our new technique to make the ice cream.  We licked the paddle (swoon!), alternated the vanilla bean ice cream with the other goodies in the container, and put it away in the back of the freezer to firm up.  The result?  The boys did not like it.  I had a feeling they wouldn’t.  Their ice cream tastes are more simple.  They probably won’t like the Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream which intrigues me, or the Black Walnut Divinity Ice Cream which does not.  It might be that I have to use my other more traditional ice cream cookbook when making that special treat for them.

As for Randy and I…well.  Randy said it was the best ice cream I have ever made.  Most recently I made a strawberry version (from another book) and both of us were turned off by how icy it was.  This was the opposite.  So creamy, velvety, not a hint of an ice crystal.  This is totally Randy’s type of ice cream flavor and totally not mine.  But holy cow was this good.  I’m a little worried.  If a totally-not-my-type-of-flavor has me dipping my spoon directly into the container over and over again, what am I going to do when I make a totally-me flavor?

One Year Ago:  Big French Salad
Two Years Ago:
Coconut Bars
Three Years Ago:
Panzanella with Artichokes, Olives and Manchego

Cherry Crisp Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart

For the ice cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
1½ ounces (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
1 recipe roasted cherries (recipe follows)
About 1 cup Crisp Streusel (recipe follows)

Mix about 2 tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.  Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean.  Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Spread about ½ of the cherries over the bottom of a freezer safe container.  Scoop out about 1/3 of the ice cream and sprinkle with 1/3 of the streusel.  Top with the other half of the cherries, another 1/3 of the ice cream, and another 1/3 of the streusel.  Repeat with the remaining ice cream and streusel.  (There will be quite a bit of streusel left over.  Use it for another ice cream or for a pie or crisp topping.)  Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, about 4 hours (if you can wait that long.)

Roasted Cherries
2 cups pitted fresh or frozen (not thawed) red or black cherries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Combine the cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a 9-inch square baking dish, tossing to mix.  Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the juices are thickened and bubbly, stirring every 15 minutes.  Let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.

Crisp Streusel
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups old-fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Put all the ingredients except the oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture looks like coarse sand.  By hand, add the oats and mix well.  Spread out on a baking sheet and break up any large clumps into crumbs about ½-inch in size.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until toasted and browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, especially in the corners, and to turn over the unbaked portions.  Let cool completely, then freeze until ready to use.  The streusel can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Hot-Tin-Roof Sundaes

September 15, 2010

Let’s pretend for a moment that this is a great photograph.  Let’s pretend that it was taken outside in natural light with no shadows and just moments after this Tin Roof Sundae was made.  So it is not melty and there are no artificial lights bouncing their glare off the glass.

My brother Michael’s birthday is August 26th.  It is sandwiched between my anniversary ( August 24th) and our brother Alex’s anniversary (September 1st).  It falls in the last week of August when my parents are always in Sun Valley.  That last week of August also happens to be when people are cramming their days full of summery things because school is about to start.  And Michael is always very aware of the fact that school is about to start because he is a teacher.  Suffice it to say, Michael’s birthday tends to get a little overlooked.  (I have tried to teach him that if you make a big stink about your birthday, you can actually milk it for a month or more.  But I am a Leo and he is a Virgo and Virgos seem not to care.)

This year, our other family members and his girlfriend were out of town on his big day, so I offered to make him dinner.  I told him he could invite friends and I would make whatever he wanted.  He paused for one second and then told me he wanted the Banh Mi-like Vietnamese Tofu Sandwiches.  He left the appetizers and sides up to me but he was adamant about dessert.  Hot-Tin-Roof Sundaes.

Last summer, Micheal asked me to cook a special bachelor dinner for his best friend who was about to get married.  It was a long night – five courses.  It was the night that I made vegan pâté, a melon soup, and that tomato-burrata salad that I won’t shut up about.  By the time the main course rolled around, I was tired and just done taking pictures.  The sundaes turned out really well and the very full groom-to-be and his friends wolfed down every bite.  I was sorry I didn’t get a picture so I could share with all of you.

So, if you are excited about this, it’s Michael you should thank for asking me to make them again.  To be honest, I was surprised this was his birthday choice.  Michael is a cookies guy, a cake guy, a pie guy – I didn’t really think he was an ice cream guy.  At least not as his first choice.  When I asked him, he said that he just loved the combination here.  He remembered the components better than I did.  Cocoa nib ice cream, chocolate caramel sauce, and chile-lime peanuts.  Oh yeah.  That was pretty good.

So I couldn’t let another stab at this beauty go by without sharing.  Please, look past the bad photo and give this a try.  Of course, you could do any one part of it and have a great dessert.  Or just make the peanuts for a pre-dinner snack.

One Year Ago: Holly B’s Bruschetta
Two Years Ago: Pomodori Al Forno (this is one of my most requested appetizers)

Hot-Tin-Roof Sundaes
Adapted from Gourmet
6 to 8 servings

In my experience, this recipe makes way more chocolate sauce than you will need for the sundaes.  This is not a terrible problem to have.  However, if you make it in advance and are reheating it, don’t reheat the whole portion at once.  Just scoop out as much as you will need and rewarm that portion.

Chocolate-Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup corn syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 60% cocoa), chopped

Ice Cream
3 cups reduced-fat milk (2%)
12 tbsp. cocoa nibs, divided
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 large egg yolks
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream
Pinch of kosher salt
Chile-Lime Peanuts (recipe follows)

For Chocolate Sauce:
Stir first 4 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush.  Increase heat and boil until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Add cream and butter (mixture will bubble up).  Stir until any caramel bits dissolve.  Stir in salt and vanilla.  Add chocolate; stir until melted.  (Can be made 1 week ahead.  Transfer sauce to medium bowl.  Cover and chill.  Rewarm before using.)

For Ice Cream:
Bring milk, 6 tablespoons cocoa nibs, sugar, and corn syrup just to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat; cover.  Steep 20 minutes.

Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in medium bowl until blended; gradually whisk in warm milk mixture.  Return custard to same saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens and just begins to boil, 2 to 3 minutes.  Strain custard into large bowl; discard nibs.  Whisk in cream and salt.  Chill custard until cold.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to container; mix in remaining 6 tablespoons cocoa nibs.  Cover and freeze at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

For each sundae, place 2 scoops ice cream in a short tumbler; spoon warm sauce over.  Sprinkle with Chile-Lime Peanuts.

Chile-Lime Peanuts
Makes about 2 cups

2 cups raw Spanish peanuts
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
¾ tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Toss peanuts, olive oil, coarse kosher salt, and sugar in medium bowl to coat evenly.  Scrape mixture onto rimmed baking sheet.  Roast nuts until fragrant and beginning to darken, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Transfer nuts to large bowl.  Add lime juice, hot pepper sauce, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat.  Cool nuts completely.  (Can be made 1 week ahead.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.)

Lavender-Honey Ice Cream

July 23, 2010

In a moment, I am going to show you a photo of some ice cream.  The ice cream is white and it kind of looks like vanilla.  Actually if it were homemade vanilla, at least the way I make it, there would be black flecks in it from the vanilla bean.  So, the ice cream I am going to show you looks even more vanilla than vanilla – if you catch my drift.

This is my garden.  I posted about it in May and, as you can see if you compare the photos, it has exploded.  Our study, where I do all my writing and emailing, faces this garden.  As I gaze out the window in January, it seems impossible that plants will every bloom again.  Everything is cut back and looks completely dead.  But then, right on schedule this happens.

And this.

And this.

Back to the ice cream.  You see those plants up there?  Lavender.  As you walk up to our front steps, you get a tremendous whiff of lavender.  I used to think I didn’t like the scent.  I still don’t if you are talking about a perfume, an essential oil, or a sachet.  But fresh is something else all together.  At the risk of sounding like one big cliché, I first smelled fresh lavender in Provence.  On our way home, after our year in London, we spent a week at a special little villa with some friends.  The English couple who owned the villa harvested the lavender and left it out to dry around the property.  It was there that I learned that the scent of those purple flowers is much more delicate and much sweeter than the potpourri in a bad B&B would leave you to believe.

Still, lavender in ice cream?  When I told my brother I had made Lavender-Honey Ice Cream, he immediately yelled, “Soap!”.  But no.  It tastes of cream and honey with just the slightest and most subtle floral undertone – and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.  This is actually the second time I have made this flavor and the first time Randy told me it was the best ice cream he had ever eaten.  Randy is not a big food person but he loves ice cream.  He loves it enough that if I said I couldn’t live without one of those $500 ice cream makers which take up a tremendous amount of room but don’t require the bowl to be frozen for 24 hours before using it, he’d probably run right out and buy me one.  But then I would be making ice cream constantly so it’s probably best that I stick with my $50 Krups model.

In my head this is also known as the ice cream that almost burned my house down.  The first time I made it, I was steeping the honey with the lavender.  This is accomplished by putting the honey and lavender flowers in a small pot, bringing the heat up so the honey is hot, and then turning off the heat and allowing the flavors to meld together.  Right as I turned the heat on under the burner, I got a phone call.  I ran into the study to check something on the computer while still on the phone and proceeded to forget about the honey.  I also forgot that I had left a rubber spatula (heat resistant to 650ºF!) in the pot and by the time I smelled my error, the entire pot was burned (my one quart!), the spatula was non-existent and there was smoke throughout the house.  Just as I ran upstairs to try and furiously fan the smoke away from the detectors so my boys wouldn’t wake up, alarms all over the house went off.  This is a long story.  All I’m really trying to say is – don’t walk away from the honey.

One Year Ago: What do you know?  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Lavender-Honey Ice Cream
The Perfect Scoop

Makes about 1 quart

½ cup good-flavored honey
¼ cup dried or fresh lavender flowers
1½ cups whole milk
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1½ cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

Heat the honey and 2 tablespoons of the lavender in a small saucepan.  Once warm, remove from the heat and set aside to steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Pour the cream in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.  Pour the lavender-infused honey into the cream through the strainer, pressing on the lavender flowers to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the lavender and set the strainer back over the cream.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lavender flowers and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture overnight in the refrigerator.  The next day, before churning, strain the mixture, again pressing on the lavender flower to extract their flavor.  Discard the flowers, the freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Gianduja Gelato

May 1, 2010

The first time I ever tasted Nutella, I was on a three month-long bike trip in France.  It sounds romantic, doesn’t it?  Rather than spending spring trimester of junior year in a classroom, I spent it on a bike riding through five different regions of France.  Even as I type that I think,”Man, that sounds amazing”.  Parts of it were amazing.  But not seeing the sun for 14 days straight and camping in soaking wet tents along the side of the road was not.  I was 16, cold, wet, hungry, and homesick.  Food was more important to me than it ever had been in my life up until that point.  Meals, homestays, and mail were the things that kept me going through what proved to be a difficult trip.

All of us carried food with us either in our paniers or, as in the case of baguettes, strapped to the back of our bikes.  There were certain things that some people were never without.  For me it was a large bar of chocolate.  Others were intensely loyal to Nutella.  I thought the idea of spreading a chocolate/hazelnut mixture on bread sounded like a strange and not-all-that-appetizing practice.  The color and consistency of Nutella turned me off  so I didn’t eat it.  Then one day, when I had run out of jam, I accepted a smear from a friend and then – oh yes – I understood.

What does this have to do with ice cream?  Friends, this is Gianduja Gelato.  In other words, Nutella ice cream.  Oh, and with a ribbon of dark chocolate running through it.  Homemade ice cream will impress just about any dinner guest (“You made the ice cream??”), but just to totally blow peoples’  minds, try serving this with Nutella Pound Cake.  Prepare yourself for praise.

(If you are looking for something more savory, I posted a terrific Eggplant Parmesan recipe over at Amazon Fresh.)

Gianduja Previously: Gianduja Mousse
One Year Ago: Classic Currant Scones

Gianduja-Stracciatella Gelato
The Perfect Scoop
Make about 1 quart

1½ cups hazelnuts, toasted
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sugar
¼ tsp. coarse salt
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
Stracciatella (recipe follows)

Rub the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to remove as much of the papery skins as possible, then finely chop them in a food processor or blender.

Warm the milk with 1 cup of the cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.  Once warm, remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts.  Cover and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Put the milk chocolate pieces in a large bowl.  Heat the remaining 1 cup cream in a medium saucepan until it just begins to boil.  Pour it over the milk chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Set a mesh strainer over the top.

Pour the hazelnut-infused mixture through a strainer into a medium saucepan, squeese the nuts firmly with your hands to extract as much of the flavorful liquid as possible.  Discard the hazelnuts.

Rewarm the hazelnut-infused mixture.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the milk chocolate mixture.  Add the vanilla and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Make enough for 1 quart of ice cream

5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (do not use chocolate chips)

In a clean, absolutely dry bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate stirring it until it is absolutely smooth.

Mixing it in: Drizzle a thin stream of the warm chocolate into the ice cream during the last possible minute of churning.  If the chocolate clings too much to the dasher, remove the ice cream from the machine and drizzle the chocolate into the frozen ice cream by hand while you layer it into the storage container, breaking up any chunks as you stir.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

July 22, 2009


I grew up on an island.  It sounds exotic, but it was anything but.  My island was a floating bridge away from Seattle and it was suburbia to the hilt.  It was safe and scenic, but it was also boring.  If you wanted to grocery shop, pick up your dry cleaning, eat bad Thai food, or check on your bank account, then you would never have had to leave the Island.  If you wanted any other kind of services – restaurants, shopping of any kind, movie theatres, you know…culture – then you had to head over the bridge to Seattle.

We did, however, have a Baskin and Robbins.  My mother, who is incredibly careful about her weight, actually has a serious thing for ice cream.  Most Sundays, we would head down to the shop and get my mom her Jamocha Almond Fudge while my brothers and I would get a scoop of our choice.  I always pretended to not be able to decide between two flavors so that she would say,”OK, you can get two scoops.”  Chocolate chip or mint chocolate chip were always in my bowl.  (I never did then, and I still don’t now, like eating my ice cream on a cone.  I’m a bowl girl.)


I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream making kick lately.  Since discovering the wonder that is homemade, I have been making up for lost time with my ice cream maker.  When I brought dinner to my friend with a newborn last week, the gnocchi and the broccoli, I decided to bring ice cream.  I know I have said before that you must bring a nursing mother brownies.  But that was before my ice cream making days and besides, it was too hot to turn on my oven that day.

In all my years of subscribing to food magazines and dutifully cutting out recipes and carefully taping those recipes into my notebooks, I know I have thrown away many a recipe for ice cream.  Before I got over my fear of using my maker, I just passed all those delicious recipes by.  I don’t fret though because I have The Perfect Scoop which is, in my and many others much more esteemed than myself’s opinion, the last word when it comes to ice cream.  I’m pretty simple with my ice cream tastes.  Something with chocolate in it, please.  However, as I go through this book, things that have never appealed to me suddenly sound good.  Rum raisin?  Sure, why not?  Fresh Apricot?  Let’s make it!

So far, I’ve kept it pretty simple.  This chocolate chip ice cream is tears-in-your-eyes sublime.  It’s just super incredible vanilla ice cream with shards of bittersweet chocolate running through it.  It’s a million times better than Baskin and Robbins.


Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 quart

This recipe is fairly simple, but read it carefully as you go.  The first time I made it, I followed it to the letter.  The second time, I had too many things going on in my kitchen and I forgot to add the milk to the custard.  Somehow, it still ended up being delicious.  Believe it or not, Costco is a great place to buy vanilla beans – they are incredibly affordable and very high quality.

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well.  Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a measuring cup in the microwave in 30-second intervals.  Remove from the microwave while there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those.  Right before you are ready to turn off the ice cream maker, carefully pour the warm chocolate in through the spout, avoiding the beater blade as best you can.  Turn off the machine and scrape any chocolate that has collected on the blade back into the bowl.  Either serve or scrape into a container and place in the freezer.

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