Monday, May 31, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Adapted from David Lebovitz. I used Eastwind creamy unsalted peanut butter and it worked fine. It's very rich and has an interesting texture, smooth but kind of clumpy in a good way.

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (I used brown sugar, but the recipe calls for white)
2 2/3 cup half and half (I used 2 cups cream and 2/3 cup 2% milk)
pinch salt
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (I used Tollhouse Minis)

Puree the peanut butter, sugar, milk/cream/half and half, salt, and vanilla in a blender (I used an immersion blender) or food processor until smooth. Chill thoroughly (I didn't bother since everything had come out of the fridge and was cold anyway), then freeze. Add chocolate chips at the end.

Fresh MCC

Treasure Island had huge bunches of fresh mint a few weekends ago, so I decided to try making my favorite ice cream by steeping the mint in the milk. The end result is completely different from your usual mint flavor. It’s very green and fresh. Mint extract will give you that cold sharp feeling in your mouth, but this is gentler, if not exactly subtle. My friend Kevin said it tasted like eating catnip. Scott loves it. I wasn’t a huge fan at first, but the flavor grows on you. Just don’t mentally compare it to traditional mint when you’re eating it, but think of it as a new flavor.

1 large handful mint leaves (still on the stems)
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup milk (I use 2% because it’s what I usually have around the house, but most cookbooks recommend whole)
4 egg yolks
2/3 – ¾ cup white sugar
1 cup (more or less if you like) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, or any other chocolate you like

Wash and pat the mint dry. Add to the cream and milk and scald in a medium-sized pot. Remove from heat and let steep for as long as you like (I let mine steep for about 4 hours sitting out; if you let it steep longer, I’d put it in the fridge once the milk cools to room temperature). Once it is done steeping, fish out the mint and squeeze out all the liquid from it.

Whisk the egg yolks until they look very yellow and smooth. While whisking, slowly pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the mixture is at the ribbon stage (pale yellow, flows smoothly off the whisk when you lift it up). You could also use an electric mixer.

Reheat the mint cream mixture until it is steaming. Temper the egg/sugar mixture by slowly drizzling in the hot milk while stirring the eggs. Once it is all combined, put it back on the stove and bring the mixture back to up to steaming (don’t let it boil or the eggs will curdle). When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat, pour into a bowl, cover with saran wrap (to keep pudding scum from forming).

When the custard is cold, churn in ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is almost finished churning, add in chocolate chips. Freeze. Enjoy

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

This is a combination of a recipe for hazelnut gelato and chocolate ice cream. Basically I took the recipe for the hazelnut ice cream as a base, then reduced the amount of sugar and chocolate used in the chocolate recipe. I also added about 1/2 cup more of milk after steeping the hazelnuts, since they soak up a lot of liquid.

1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk (could go as high as 1 cup)

Toast the hazelnuts in the oven (350 for 10-15 minutes until they are golden and smell toasty). Peel by rubbing with a tea towel. Allow to cool completely, then grind them up with the 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor.

Heat ground hazelnut mixture with 2 cups cream and 1 cup milk and 2 oz hard chocolate. Once the hard chocolate has melted completely, whisk in the cocoa powder slowly so it doesn't clump. Bringl liquid just to a boil. Take off the heat, cover, and let steep for 1 hr.

Strain out hazelnuts with a fine strainer, pressing out all the liquid. Add extra 1/2 (or even 1 cup) cup milk and return to low heat. Meanwhile whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar in a bowl. Temper the eggs with the heated milk mixture, then return to heat and let thicken. Chill and churn.

The chocolate and sugar are approximate. If you find it not sweet or chocolatey enough, add more.

Although I was skeptical at first that what was effectively hazelnut tea could impart a strong nut flavor, it's actually very strong, and also very delicious. The resulting flavor was very gourmet, and definitely as good as any store-bought chocolate hazelnut ice cream I've ever had.

Update: I modified this recipe to make hazelnut ice cream with a fudge ripple. Don't use the chocolate, cocoa powder, or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar. Instead use another 1/4 cup sugar whisked in with the egg yolks. When putting the finished ice cream into the freezer container, layer it with the cooled fudge ripple recipe, which I got from David Liebowitz, below:

Fudge Ripple:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Put all ingredients except vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it reaches a simmer, cook for 1 minute, then chill completely. Drizzle over ice cream as you layer it into the freezer container. Tastes like the Hershey's syrup out of a can! Also it would be good drizzled over other desserts as a chocolate sauce.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

There's an amazing ice cream parlor in Columbus, OH. They make the most bizarre yet delicious flavors, like Maker's Mark, salted mint white chocolate chip, Thai peanut (spicy with coconut flakes), and salted caramel ice cream. Since M loves the salty-sweet combo, I decided to make some for her to celebrate a recent academic milestone. I used David Lebovitz's recipe, including the praline. Since making caramel can be a bit tricky (you have to be careful to get it dark enough to give it flavor without burning it), I made sure to read all his tips about the process, too.

The results are quite good. It's a very rich ice cream, and it doesn't freeze completely solid because of all the butter. I'd recommend it served on top of apple pie, rather than as a dessert on its own. Also, I'd either break the praline into much smaller pieces, or leave it out altogether (I love me my creamy smooth ice cream). Finally, I might even up the salt just a bit to 3/4 tsp instead of a scant 1/2.

Strawberry Ice Cream

I have an aversion to cooked strawberries. They get globby and stringy. But S loves them and really wanted to make strawberry ice cream, so when our local grocery story started selling them for $1.49/lb, I decided to do it. But my way.

To avoid any globbiness or seediness (I hate seeds in my ice cream; I prefer it smooth), I macerated chopped strawberries in sugar and just a dash of lemon juice (seriously a tiny dash is all. When I made peach ice cream and put in the 2 tbsp required, the ice cream turned out tart. Ew.), then pureed them and ran the puree through a fine strainer. And even I admit the results are delicious.

2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tps vanilla
1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add 1/3 cup sugar and the lemon juice to the chopped strawberries. Stir and let sit for 2 hours. Puree in a food processor or blender, strain through a fine strainer and set aside.

Scald cream. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks and remaining 2/3 cup sugar together in a bowl. Temper the eggs with the scalded cream, then move mixture back to the heat, adding remaining milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken. Be careful not to overcook it, or you'll end up with chunky custard. Strain mixture into a bowl, then mix in strawberry puree and vanilla. Chill. Churn. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dulce de leche

This is adapted from a Gourmet magazine 2007 recipe, posted on NYTimes. I used their recipe to make my own dulce de leche, then used that to make the ice cream.

Dulce de leche is really easy to make but it takes several hours. It doesn't require constant vigilance, but you have to stir it occasionally.

Dulce de leche Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Chill and churn.

Now, my dulce de leche didn't turn out very thick, so I didn't heat up the milk and cream because the dulce de leche just stirred in right away. Then I could churn it without impatiently waiting for the mixture to cool down. But if your dulce de leche turns out really thick and caramelly, I'd heat up the milk.

Dulce de leche

1 quart milk, preferably whole, organic and as fresh as possible
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

In a large, heavy pan with tall sides, combine the milk and sugar. Split the vanilla bean along its length and scrape the seeds into the pot, then throw in the pod. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

When it has reached a simmer, remove from the heat and add the baking soda and water, stirring vigorously. When the mixture settles down, return the pan to the heat and bring to a brisk simmer. Simmer for about one hour, or until it turns golden brown. You don't have to stir - go about your business and keep an eye on it. I ended up cooking it for about 2 1/2 hours and it still never got as thick as they say it will. But it still tasted delicious.

After the milk mixture has changed to a deep golden brown check it more frequently. This is where you can decide just how dense and thick you want it to be. If you want it pourable, like caramel sauce, wait just until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup - about 20 minutes after the color change - and take it off the heat. Strain through a mesh strainer into a glass jar or container and let cool. Or, if you prefer a jam-like consistency to spread on toast, crackers, and anything else you can think of, let it cook longer. It will solidify into chewy candy if you cook it long enough.

I use this to sweeten my coffee, too. It's like a caramel vanilla latte only better because it's not artificially flavored.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gingersnap Ice Cream

Adapted from Check out Topics: Ice Cream for more recipes.

Instead of their vanilla custard base, I used the vanilla custard recipe in the Cuisinart Ice-20 booklet. I also halved the spices, since the Times recipe is for a larger ice cream maker.

I also added crushed Sha Sha Ginger Snap cookies and it was delicious. This ice cream gets better with every bite. It's gingery but with a very fresh ginger flavor, which is very different from powdered ginger.

The one problem I encountered was that I curdled the custard. I'm not sure why, but I think I let it get to hot when I was heating up the egg/milk mixture in step 4. It certainly didn't curdle when I was tempering the eggs. It might be that all the chunky spices encourage curdling, so I'd watch it like a hawk. I did save the custard by straining out all the curds, but I ended up with about 2/3 of the liquid I started with.

1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 cup milk
2 cups cream
2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
1/4 whole nutmeg, crushed
1 cracked cardamom pod, or a pinch of seeds
3 large egg yolks, 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dark molasses

1. Bring small saucepan of water to boil. Add ginger, and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer ginger to large saucepan.

2. Add milk, cream, granulated sugar, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and cardamom to saucepan; bring to simmer (I roughly crushed up the spices with a mortar and pestle; you want to be able to strain them out at the end so your ice cream is smooth). Turn off heat; let spices infuse for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, yolks, brown sugar and molasses.

3. To make the base, bring milk mixture to a simmer and remove from heat. Add a little hot milk mixture to yolk mixture to warm it, stirring constantly to keep yolks from curdling. Pour yolk mixture into rest of hot milk mixture, stirring constantly.

4. Return custard to stove, and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until it thickens enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat, and strain custard through fine sieve. Chill until thoroughly cold, for at least 4 hours.

5. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

This could easily be made into chai ice cream by adjusting the spice ratio. Less ginger, much more cardamom; no nutmeg, molasses or brown sugar (use more white instead). And don't forget the black tea, of course!