Monday, July 19, 2010

Quadruple Chocolate

[This guest post is from my sister Lacey, who recently got her own ice cream maker.]

Rating: *****
Nickname: Pity Party Chocolate

This ice cream was inspired by a Facebook status that my friend Cate posted during the World Cup when her team got knocked out of the running: “No one makes a chocolate ice cream that's chocolaty enough for my pity party.” My natural reaction, of course, was to remedy that situation, so I set out to make an ice cream chocolaty enough. Here’s what I came up with:

For the base (Chocolate 1) I used Jerry’s Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. For the cocoa I used a combination of Scharffenberger organic unsweetened cocoa and Hershey’s Special Dark, which made for an extremely dark color and rich chocolate flavor.

Chocolate 2 was about half of an 8x8 pan’s worth of gooey brownie chunks. I used the recipe for Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies from Luscious Chocolate Desserts by Lori Longbotham — the whole recipe calls for only 1/4 cup of flour! I undercooked them slightly and used pieces from the middle for maximum gooey goodness factor.

Chocolate 3 was about 1/3 cup of shaven bittersweet chocolate – I used Scharffenberger 70% cacao baking chocolate.

Chocolate 4 was a chocolate syrup made from 2/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in a double boiler, then mixed with 1/4 cup cream, cooled somewhat so that it wouldn’t melt the ice cream but that it would still pour from the pan.

I churned the base ice cream until it was basically ready, then added in the brownie chunks and shaven chocolate at the end to get them mixed in. Then I alternated dollops of ice cream with glops and drizzles of chocolate syrup as I transferred it to the freezing container.

The result was phenomenal, if I do say so myself. This ice cream has lots of different chocolate flavors and textures, but beware – it’s extremely rich! I can only manage one scoop in a sitting, which is probably just as well.

The 5-star rating is based on the following individual ratings and comments:

Kirsty: 5 out of 5
Robbie: 4.5 out of 5 (compared to B&J’s Phish Food)
Hugo: 4 out of 5 (for a man who says he doesn’t like chocolate ice cream, that’s pretty high. On a scale of only chocolate ice creams, he gave it a 5)
Me: 5 out of 5 (“Wow.”)
Cate: 5.5 out of 5 (“When I said I wanted chocolate ice cream, this is exactly what I had in mind.” And “This is seriously the best ice cream I have ever tasted.”)
Victor: 15 out of 10 (“5.5 out of 5? Are you kidding me? 15 out of 10!”)
Natalia: no specific rating, but it ended up all over her face in her eagerness to scarf it up, which is about as good as you can ask for from a 19 month-old. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Rating: *****
Nickname: The Mother-in-Rule's Favorite

Last summer I was commissioned by Cheryl's mother to make her a carob ice cream. Well, now the in-rules (they aren't technically my in-laws) are visiting again, so the time has come!

Turns out there is a peculiar dearth of straight-up carob ice cream recipes. The only one I found was a vegan version from Altered Plates. I didn't particularly want to do a vegan one, since I want to get a clear experience of what carob ice cream is like, without being distracted by substituting dairy stuff, etc. So I backwards-converted the Mimicreme, almond milk, and agave, and came up with the following.

Bring to just boiling:
2 c. cream
6 T carob powder
1 c. sugar
pinch salt

Cut heat and melt in:
1 c. carob chips
Whisk in:
1 1/4 c. milk
1 t vanilla

Blend smooth with immersion (or regular) blender.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Churn and freeze in the ice cream machine.

I've never particularly been a fan of carob, but I must say I was surprised at how good this turned out. Linda enjoyed it as well, and apparently it lived up to the memories of the carob ice cream she used to get in college. Success!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Strawberry Basil Sorbet

Rating: ****
Nickname: You Say BAY-sil, and I say BAA-sil....

I don't usually go for sorbet myself, but this recipe from Scoopalicious looked very intriguing. So Cheryl and I made a batch to take to Cathy's 4th of July picnic.

It's one of those flavors that keeps you paying attention. You can't just go on autopilot, "Yep, I'm eatin' strawberry, yep.... whoa! Basil!" So it's kind of fun in that way.

The one thing I'd add to the recipe is that it's probably worth straining out any remaining basil leaves before you freeze it. At least, my immersion blender couldn't really catch them all, so instead they clumped up in the ice cream maker and had to be picked out later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pear Rosemary

Rating: ***
Nickname: Rose and Mary make a great pair

This was one of Cheryl's ideas. It's actually a neat combination, though I'd adjust the proportions next time. Turns out you taste the rosemary much less after it's been frozen. The pear flavor could also have been stronger. So here's the recipe we made, with my guesses at appropriate adjustments.

Peel and chop:
2 pears (make this 3)
Mash together with:
1/4 c. sugar (could perhaps be less)
Cover and let sit in refrigerator.

Heat to nearly boiling:
2 c. cream
1 c. milk
1 t. chopped dried rosemary (try doubling this)

Turn off heat and let steep for 10 minutes or so.

Whisk together:
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar

Remove the rosemary from the milk with a strainer, and discard.
Combine everything.
(If you like pear chunks, leave as-is. Or you could try pureeing it in a blender to smooth it out.)
Churn and freeze in the ice cream machine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Earl Grey White Chocolate

Rating: ****
Nickname: "Gee, darling, is this Darjeeling?" infused Earl Grey, teasingly.

Cathy had a tea party picnic for her birthday a week or so ago, so I thought a new sort of tea ice cream would be appropriate for that. I made it using the same method as Chai version 2, with the change that I used 5 or 6 Earl Grey teabags in place of the chai spices.

The white chocolate idea came from an Eat Me Delicious muffin recipe that Cheryl found a while ago (and has been using as inspiration for a variety of different muffins). I simply added in 3/4 c. of white chocolate chips when the ice cream was almost done.

I like Earl Grey tea well enough, but I like the ice cream version of it far more. Since this and the Chai recipe both work so well, I should think of other tea flavors to try the same way. Any suggestions?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry Brownie

Rating: ****

I made this ice cream for Dad's birthday. He had requested strawberry, but he also likes things with chocolate in them, like mint chip and moose tracks, so I thought this would be a fun combo.

The strawberry part is straight out of Ben & Jerry's, page 54. Then Cheryl made some brownies and I put pieces in shortly before the ice cream was done. I ought to have measured how much I used, but I think it was only around the amount of two generously-sized brownies. I tried to use mostly edge pieces, though, since they were a bit more solid and less likely to break into crumbs. It's still worth using fairly big chunks, though. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coconut Ginger

Rating: ****
Nickname: "Flying Down to Rio"

For the coconut base, I decided to take Ben & Jerry's sweet cream base #1 and then roughly substitute coconut milk for the cream. ("Roughly," because a 14-oz can of coconut milk is about 1 2/3 cups, and then I just used milk to finish off the necessary 3 cups of "dairy.")

In contrast, I noticed later that B&J actually have a coconut recipe in the book, but they make the whole sweet cream base plus the coconut milk. I assume that'd make it a bit less strongly coconuty and less sweet. But I like how this version turned out.

The coconut flakes add texture, but aren't necessary for flavor. For ginger, we used uncrystalized Buderim ginger, diced up tiny. (If they're too big, they're too chewy.)

Here's the recipe:

2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1 14-oz can of coconut milk
1 1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. coconut flakes
1/4 c. (generous) diced ginger

Whisk the first four ingredients together and put in the ice cream maker. Add the last two towards the end, when it's thickening up.

[About the nickname: "Flying Down to Rio" was the first Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film, so it had ginger in it, and I assume there are coconuts grown in Rio de Janeiro. Best I could do on this one, anyway. :-) ]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Persimmon and Pepper

Rating: ***
Nickname: "Persimmon to Drool"

This recipe from Epicurious uses crushed black pepper, boiled up in some sugar water. Along with a bunch of fresh persimmons, there's only about a cup of actual cream. I was worried it would turn out a bit icy, but it's actually okay. It has a slightly more gooey-fruity texture to it than regular ice cream, though. I think the peppery bits are kind of fun, but they can be a bit strong if you get too much at once.

We made this recipe mostly as written, but with an extra 1/4 c. of sugar because it didn't seem very sweet, and an extra persimmon just for the heck of it. Most fruit recipes I've done involve mashing the fruit up with some extra sugar first, but this one didn't.

Anyway, it was good, though I'm also tempted to just do a regular, sweet ice cream with persimmons. Maybe with a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg or something.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carrot Cake

Rating: ****
Nickname: "The Carrot and the Stick"

I made a couple batches of ice cream for my moving day last weekend, as an incentive for the lovely friends and family who helped out. One was chai, a known favorite, and the other was Cheryl's suggestion for carrot cake ice cream, for which we used this recipe from the LA Times. The only modifications we made were not soaking the currants in whiskey, and adding 1/2 cup of milk (since we were that much short on the sour cream).

The candied pecans were extremely tasty, and had the most effect on the overall flavor. The cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon in the base made it more reminiscent of cheesecake than carrot cake, but I don't mind that at all, since cheesecake is awesome. The carrots themselves didn't actually come through very much in the taste, strangely enough (even with 2 cups of them). We had grated them, rather than dicing, thinking smaller would be better for going into ice cream. But maybe having slightly larger chunks would have been better. Still, the ice cream as a whole is very good, and very interesting, since there's so much going on in it.

One thing to note about making ice cream with so much cream cheese and sour cream in it: the base is so thick that it doesn't churn very well on its own. (You can see how thick it is in this photo, before it's even frozen, when we're just trying to pour it.) It very quickly seizes up into a giant lump in the middle and then just sits there. But luckily, this recipe has a lot of add-ins, so we just added those sooner rather than later, and that loosened in up enough to churn properly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dragon Fruit

Rating: *****
Nickname: +20 Against Dragon Attacks

Cheryl and John were in Miami last week and brought back a lot of dragon fruit. I'd never seen it before, and it's neat stuff. Once you peel off the "scales," the inside looks like a hot pink kiwi, though the taste is sweet and not so acidic. I found an easy ice cream recipe for it at The Gourmet Mama, so Cheryl and I made a batch to take to our gaming group tonight.

We used 4 dragon fruits, but I think they may have been smaller than the Gourmet Mama's, since the ice cream didn't come out quite as intensely pink. (We didn't measure the actual amount once it was mashed, to compare for sure.) But it still tastes absolutely delicious. It makes me think of strawberries and cream, though that's probably because my brain doesn't really know the taste of dragon fruit well, so it latches on to the nearest approximation. The kiwi-like seeds give it little crunches, but in an enjoyable, unobtrusive way.

If you ever find yourself in possession of some dragon fruit, make this ice cream. It's awesome.