Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice cream. Show all posts

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh-No-She-Didn't Avocado Ice Cream

Way back in March, I asked around for suggestions on what to do with a bunch of avocados I had acquired from a coworker. I received some very strange suggestions, like avocado pudding, avocado cupcakes, and avocado milkshakes. But the most common suggestion was avocado ice cream. Really guys? Look what you've gone and made me do!

Mitchell's Ice Cream in San Francisco has a famous one. So it couldn't be that bad, right? I went online to research avocado ice cream recipes. I looked at forums, blogs, and recipe websites. A lot of online reviews complained of the ice cream tasting like rotten bananas. That scared me. It's one thing if one person makes that comment and has a strange taste experience, but when multiple people say the same negative thing, and about completely different avocado ice cream recipes? That's when the red flag appears. I got to thinking, yeesh, what if pureed avocados mixed with milk and sugar do taste like rotten bananas? It would be a bizarre discovery, but also a fascinating one!

I looked for tips on how to make the ice cream more pleasing to the tastebuds, and ultimately decided to modify Alton Brown's recipe to eliminate any chance of it tasting like rotten bananas. I added a pinch of salt to his recipe, as well as increased the quantity of sugar significantly.

The result is an amazingly creamy ice cream. The high fat content in avocados negates any need for eggs and requires much less heavy cream than most ice cream recipes. The color is a beautiful light, sort of milky, green. And let's talk about taste. No essence of rotten banana. Hooray! But weird? Yes! It definitely tastes like avocado, which is strange, but fortunately, I added enough sugar to mask any offensive or overwhelming taste. It's refreshing, and friends discussed with me how this recipe might be used alongside the meal, rather than as dessert. Think of it as frozen guacamole. You can't dip chips in it, but maybe a small scoop would be the perfect accompaniment for enchiladas, or served as an amuse bouche before the main course.

I admit, there's a lot left in my freezer, but that's because when given the option, my friends are going to go for my chocolate or vanilla ice cream over something so unconventional. Still, they all tried the avocado flavor and were pleasantly surprised! Maybe the trick is to add chocolate chips or a swirl of fudge ripple so I can finish off the batch once and for all! Any takers then?

Avocado Ice Cream
Adapted from Alton Brown's recipe in the Good Eats episode "Curious Yet Tasty Avocado Experiment"

12 ounces avocado meat, 3 to 4 small to medium
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup - 1 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream

Peel and pit the avocados. Add the avocados, lemon juice, milk, salt, and sugar to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a medium mixing bowl, then add the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place the mixture into the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. For soft ice cream, serve immediately. If desired, place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours for firmer texture.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Peel and pit the avocados. Place in the food processor...

Add lemon juice, milk, salt, and sugar..

Puree until smooth...

Pour the mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl...

Add the heavy cream...

Whisk to combine, then cover and chill overnight in the fridge...

Churn in the ice cream maker, then serve as is or place in the freezer to set more...

Be brave. Try it! :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

My Uncle Gary recently suggested I make a butter pecan ice cream with Kentucky bourbon. He has an incredible sweet tooth that is practically unmatched, though I think my mom (his sister!) could give him a run for his money. We have yet to put that to the test, but I will say, this obsession with baked goods and sweet things definitely runs in the family.

I saw this Butterscotch Pecan recipe in David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, which called for scotch whisky, and I was on my way to sort-of fulfilling my uncle's request! The funny thing is, while looking to see if I had scotch whisky in stock, I also discovered I had Kentucky bourbon, and a whole lot of other liquor. I'm not really a drinker, but my liquor cabinet is pretty impressive. Mostly so I have every option under the sun to bake with! You never know when a recipe will call for a tablespoon of brandy or a splash of sherry, a little tequila or a capful of amaretto. I've got it all! Pastry chefs across America would be proud.

Uncle Gary, my inspiration for making this ice cream. I wish I could mail him some!
And by the way, he happens to be ordering ice cream in this photo!

This butterscotch pecan ice cream is fantastic. Don't expect it to taste like those suckable butterscotch candies. It's more of a brown sugar-butter flavor with nuts, or what most people call butter pecan. You prepare the pecans separately first and then toss them into the ice cream maker during the final moments of churning. I've served this to several friends now, and it is quite a crowd-pleaser! Try it!

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz in The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 1/4 quarts

5 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon scotch whisky
Buttered Pecans - see recipe below

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and salt. Whisk in 1 cup of the cream (you'll still have 1 cup remaining) and all of the milk.

Warm this brown sugar and cream mixture. 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 a tiny bit of the warm brown sugar mixture into the egg yolks (maybe a few tablespoons, one tablespoon at a time, but do not add ALL of the mixture into the egg yolks), whisking constantly, then scrape all 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 coast the spatula (you've just made custard!). Pour the custard through the strainer that's resting on top of the bowl with cream, then stir. Add the vanilla and scotch, and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (I recommend a full 24 hours), then churn it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. During the last minute or so of churning, add the Buttered Pecans that you prepared ahead. I tend to prefer to chill my ice cream in the freezer and let it set more, but you can also serve this ice cream straight from the machine and it will be very soft serve.

Buttered Pecans
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet (the microwave works just fine!). Remove from the heat and toss the pecans with the melted butter until well coated, then sprinkle with the salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once during baking. Watch to make sure you don't burn the nuts.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To add the buttered pecans to the ice cream, chop them coarsely and add them to 1 quart of ice cream during the last minute of churning, or you can just sprinkle them over when serving the ice cream.

Note: Buttered Pecans can be stored for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the sugar and salt...

Whisk in 1 cup of the cream and the milk...

Add a little bit of this warmed cream-sugar mixture into the egg yolks, then pour all of the warmed egg yolks into the saucepan and cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spatula and make a custard...

Pour the cream-sugar-egg mixture through a strainer into a bowl containing the remaining cream over an ice bath, then add the vanilla and scotch whisky...

To make the Buttered Pecans, first melt the butter...

Toss the pecans in the butter to coat, then sprinkle with the salt...

Bake the nuts for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees F...

Churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker, and toss in the buttered pecans during the last minute of churning, then freeze the ice cream in a container until set...


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Chunks

Chocolate-peanut butter is probably my favorite flavor combination and the only flavor at Baskin Robbins I ever order. This recipe by David Lebovitz is a little different in that the ice cream base has peanut butter stirred into the chocolate until smooth, plus the already familiar chunks of peanut butter folded in. So there's double the peanut butter presence in this! It's also very fast to put together because it doesn't have eggs in it and therefore doesn't need the more involved custard method. You just throw a bunch of ingredients into a saucepan, heat it all up while stirring, and then chill it in the fridge overnight before churning it.

The one extra step to this recipe is making the mix-ins. I love the way peanut butter tastes cold, especially big chunks in ice cream. David Lebovitz has a recipe for Peanut Butter Patties that you can make the night before you churn your ice cream, let freeze overnight, and then toss into the ice cream maker in the last couple seconds of churning. The patties are ridiculously easy to make, only requiring peanut butter and powdered sugar stirred together, and then dropped into little nuggets on a saran wrap-lined plate to freeze. I suppose if you're feeling really lazy, you can just chop up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or skip the mix-ins all together. But all I can say to that is BOOOOOO! How many times do I have to tell you to trust David Lebovitz?

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Recipe by David Lebovitz in The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
Peanut Butter Patties - See below for recipe

Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (it will start to foam up). Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until thoroughly blended.

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

Peanut Butter Patties
6 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Mix together the peanut butter and sugar in a small bowl. Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap. Pinch off small pieces of the peanut butter mixture, about 1/2 teaspoon each, and drop them onto the dinner plate. Once you've used all of the mixture, freeze the patties.

Mixing them in: Fold the Peanut Butter Patties into 1 quart (1 liter) of ice cream as you remove it from the machine.

Storage: Peanut Butter Patties can be stored in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan, then heat the mixture to a rolling boil while whisking...

Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, then transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill overnight...

To make the Peanut Butter Patties, stir together the peanut butter and powdered sugar...
Stir until smooth...

Drop little nuggets of this peanut butter mixture onto a plastic wrap-lined dinner plate, then freeze overnight...

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker and add in the Peanut Butter Patties in the last few seconds of churning...

Scrape the churned ice cream into a freezer container and freeze until set, or eat the ice cream right away as soft serve!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

The first time I had Mexican chocolate ice cream, I was at Marianne's Ice Cream in Santa Cruz, California, as a little kid. I remember there being 71 flavors and I'd spend forever tasting samples and probably driving the employees crazy. Out of 71 flavors, I'd frequently decide on the Mexican chocolate as my scoop du jour, and come on, out of 71 delicious flavors, that's saying something.

The combination of chocolate and cinnamon is fantastic. I find it in a lot of baked desserts. So it was time I tried my hand at chocolate and cinnamon in a homemade ice cream. Plus, I just purchased David Lebovitz's latest cookbook Ready for Dessert and I was in dire need to try something, ANYTHING, out of the book.

The result is an ice cream so rich, so chocolaty, that one friend said she could hardly call it ice cream. She said it was as if she were biting directly into a piece of chocolate. This is the kind of ice cream where you really only need a junior size, or a teeny tiny scoop, or perhaps even just a spoonful. You'll want it with a glass of milk or water. It is that chocolaty and rich. And delicious! A true chocolate lover's ice cream!

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

Recipe by David Lebovitz in Ready for Dessert
Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons brandy
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large egg yolks
1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the chocolates, cream, and brandy. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set a mesh strainer across the top.

In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and cinnamon, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm milk-sugar mixture, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.

Set the bowl containing the custard over a large bowl of ice water. Stir the custard until cool, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Stir the almonds into the just-churned ice cream when you remove it from the ice cream machine.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Heat the chocolates, cream, and brandy in a double boiler. Then pour into a bowl and place a strainer on top...

In a saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add some of this milk-sugar mixture to the eggs to temper the eggs. Then add all the egg back into this milk-sugar mixture and cook until it coats the back of a spatula...

Pour the egg-milk mixture into the bowl of cream-chocolate through the strainer. Then cover and chill in the fridge overnight...

Last step! Churn into amazing Mexican chocolate ice cream!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Container I Swear By to Store My Homemade Ice Cream

I have been making ice cream from scratch for a few years now. Until recently, I was storing the ice cream in airtight Tupperware containers. It worked fine enough. But one day not too long ago, my mom bought me an ice cream container from Crate and Barrel that advertised it could keep a pint of ice cream frozen for 90 minutes outside the freezer. What!!! Turns out the Crate and Barrel container was just repackaged for the store, but it's actually a Zak Designs Ice Cream Tub. It has insulation in both the tub and the lid that keeps the ice cream from melting! And I know it works as I've tested it! The tub comes in four colors: green, orange, blue, and white, and costs about $12. The lid twists on and off easily. Plus, isn't that spoon on the lid adorable?

Let's just pause for a second on the fact that you can keep the ice cream out for 90 minutes. That's life changing! Earth shattering! It means you can bring it to a picnic and it won't melt right away while you eat your sandwich and potato salad first. It also means you can drive with it to a party, even a party that is 50 miles away, and it won't melt in the car! It's also great at home when you're hosting a party, ice cream social or any theme, and you want to leave the ice cream flavors out so people can serve themselves. Before this tub, I'd take my Tupperware container out, serve everyone at once, and then put the container back in the freezer so the ice cream doesn't melt. If anyone wanted seconds, they'd have to take it out of the freezer. See! Colossal!

Most of the time, I only make one ice cream recipe at a time, but last week I made a few ice cream flavors and only had the one white Zak Designs tub my mom got me at Crate and Barrel. It was then I realized I'd need to place an order for some more tubs...stat! So I went to Amazon and purchased the orange and the blue. I'm still holding off on the green, despite LOVING the color, because sadly it's the one color that is not eligible for Amazon Prime and I refuse to pay for shipping when I don't have to.

If you make homemade ice cream, you really should invest a couple bucks into one of these containers. It will change your life forever and the way you think about ice cream. Heck, you could even buy one for a friend, make ice cream, fill it with that ice cream, and drive it to the friend's house to present it to her with a nice big ribbon. She gets ice cream and a container out of it, plus you've just proven to her that it works as you sat in traffic for 30 minutes to hand deliver it! Ain't that sweet!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Handel's Ice Cream, An Ohio Tradition and My Personal Favorite

My mom ordering her two scoops at the window

Handel's Ice Cream is some of the best food you'll ever eat in your life. It's mostly found in Youngstown, Ohio, and surrounding areas, but there is one West Coast location in Southern California. On a recent trip to Palm Desert, my mom and I stopped at that one California location, in Upland, about 45 minutes from Los Angeles. We couldn't miss the chance to eat here! My mom is from Youngstown and grew up eating this stuff. There's something about the creamy, soft texture of Handel's that can't be beat, and it's made on the premises. I've visited Youngstown for family reunions and we've been known to stop at Handel's 5 times in 2 days, and other crazy ratios like that. Do the math; that's a LOT of ice cream. Plus we'll get two or three scoops at a time.

My Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk and Mocha Almond Fudge Ripple

My mom's Praline Pecan and Chocolate Malt with Caramel

We are so grateful for this one California location, even if it is not just up the road. In fact, my parents once drove down to LA from the Bay Area to visit and made a trip to Upland to get ice cream. But they didn't just eat there; they went to Albertson's across the street, bought an ice chest and dry ice, then purchased several pints of Handel's to drive all the way back up the state. Now that's true love.

The Upland, CA, location

Handel's ice cream shops always have a window where you order from the street, and then the server gets your scoop from one of the many freezer bins inside the shop. All seating is outside. The servers let you taste samples galore and they don't skimp on scoop sizes. Plus, they're just really friendly people.

At the outdoor ordering window

Handel's was invented in 1945 by Alice Handel in Youngstown, Ohio, and today is headquartered in Canfield, Ohio. USA Today, Chocolatier Magazine, and all named Handel's one of the best ice creams in America, and National Geographic named it #1! I feel like a proud mother.

Inside the shop, where only employees go,
the ice cream girl scoops our ice cream from freezer bins

If you don't live near one of the Handel's locations, you can have it shipped, though there's a hefty price tag for the care required to mail ice cream. I think I heard somewhere that Bill Cosby gets it shipped. If I had the budget for $90 pints of ice cream, I'd do it, too.

The classic Handel's blue bench!

Handel's offers dozens of flavors and they are often flavors you've never seen anywhere else. Some of my absolute favorites are Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Malt with Caramel, Buckeye, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk, Graham Central Station, Coconut Creme Pie, Spouse Like a House, and Heavenly Hash.

The flavor menu

When my mom and I were at the Upland location for this most recent Handel's experience, we tried to stuff our faces full of scoops. We each ordered two scoops to start. My mom got Chocolate Malt with Caramel and Praline Pecan. I got Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Chunk and Mocha Almond Fudge Ripple. We sat in our car to eat since there is no indoor seating and it was cold and rainy outside. When we had both licked our bowls clean, there was this funny moment of silence and then we turned to each other, lifted an eyebrow, and non-verbally communicated to each other, "Well, can you fit another scoop or two into your tummy?" We both were so stuffed we didn't end up going back for more, and we were pretty disappointed in our low threshold.

But there's another family reunion in Youngstown, Ohio, coming up in May. So I'm going to need to organize another trip to the Upland location to work on increasing my tolerance level for several scoops in a short period of time to be ready for Youngstown! There's no such thing as moderation in this plan! Ice cream overload or bust! Come to think of it, both!

The Details
Upland, CA location
373 South Mountain Ave.
Upland, CA 91786
(909) 946-9077

To find a Midwest location, check the Handel's website.
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