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Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream

14 Sep

One morning, a grandmother was surprised to find that her 7-year-old grandson had made her coffee! Smiling, she choked down the worst cup of her life. When she finished, she found three little green Army men at the bottom. Puzzled, she asked, “Honey, what are these Army men doing in my coffee?” Her grandson answered, “Like it says on TV, Grandma. ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.

Two cups of cappuccino chip ice cream. One for me. One for The Husband.

Kids say the darndest things!

When my sisters and I were little, we loved watching America’s Funniest Home Videos and Kids Say the Darndest Things (probably because we were forbidden from watching 90210, Friends, anything on Fox or MTV, in other words, anything that wasn’t G-rated). Irony of all ironies, Bob Saget, who we loved from Full House, hosted America’s Funniest Home Videos, but boy does he have a potty mouth these days. See mom and dad, that’ll show you! You should have just let us watch what we wanted – it would have avoided tons of fights. But, alas, we were pure and untainted by the trashy 80’s/90’s TV shows and I suppose we’re better people because of it…

Must. Have. Cappuccino. Now.

In my older years, I’ve started re-watching the Cosby show. I have to say, that show is outrageously funny. The other night I was watching it on my iphone in bed, when I began belly laughing. I woke up The Husband. He was pissed. I felt badly, but honestly, Bill Cosby is too funny for words. Now that’s a good wholesome show worth re-watching!

Mixing the coffee granules and cinnamon into the hot milk mixture

Onto the ice cream. I promise this post is about more than strict TV schedules and funny 80’s sitcoms. Fast forward 20 years and instead of watching innocent, harmless TV, I sit at a desk all day and drink coffee. Well, the sitting at a desk part is true, the all day drinking coffee is a slight exaggeration. You see, I love coffee. Unlike most people who drink it only for caffeine, I actually drink it because I like the taste. In fact, I can’t actually drink caffeine because it makes me so jittery and insane. I’m already Type A enough, I don’t need a dose of caffeine to keep me going! So, instead, I drink decaf coffee and savor the flavor.

Oooh look at that beautiful frothy swirl

If you recall, I can’t really have all that much dairy, and so while I love me a good cappuccino the milk doesn’t love me back, and by the end of the day, I’m paying for it. But, like any stubborn food lover, I ignore my belly aches and drink the coffee anyway. So, during a coffee-less morning last week, I began daydreaming about cappuccinos when boom – this flavor came to me. Cappuccino Chip. It’s the perfect mixture of coffee, cinnamon and cream. The chips add a great extra layer of texture and because they are infused with coffee and cinnamon, they match the ice cream’s flavor profile perfectly.

Tempering the egg mixture by slowly adding in the coffee cream into the eggs

In short, this is a great ice cream and it’s even more delicious when served in a coffee mug. The Husband and I loved it. Dig in!

Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream

Ice cream base adapted quite a bit from Ben & Jerry

The chips are a 365scoops original!

Ingredients

The Ice Cream

3 1/2 tbs good quality instant coffee

1 tbs cinnamon

3 large egg yolks

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

After melting the chocolate, patting it down to form the chips

The Chips

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp instant coffee mixed with 2 tsp hot water

1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Heat the milk and half-and-half in a large pot on the stove-top. While the mixture is warming, whisk the three egg yolks together, slowly adding the sugar until well-blended. Once bubbles start to form around the edges of the milk, stir in the instant coffee and cinnamon. Remove from heat and slowly pour into the egg mixture. Add a little milk, whisk, and repeat. Congratulations, you’ve tempered the eggs! Now pour the liquid back into the pot and heat until it reaches 170 degrees F (so that the eggs are fully cooked). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before chilling completely in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Breaking up the chocolate, espresso, cinnamon chips before adding to the ice cream

While the mixture is cooling, make the chocolate chips. Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl, add the cinnamon and coffee. Melt in the microwave on high for 15 seconds, stir, and repeat until the chips are fully mixed. This should take no more than 30 -45 seconds. Alternatively you can heat the chocolate in a double broiler but since I don’t have one, the microwave worked just fine. Be careful not to burn or overcook the chocolate!

Behold, the power of cappuccino chip ice cream!

Put a piece of wax paper on a plate or baking sheet. Scoop the chocolate onto the wax paper, and working quickly, flatten out the chocolate. You can either use your hands (as I did) or you can cover the chocolate with another piece of wax paper and use a rolling pin to methodically and evenly roll out the chocolate. Put the chocolate into the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

Once the ice cream mixture is completely chilled, pour into the bowl of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and break into small pieces. Approximately five minutes before the ice cream is done churning (which for me was after 15 minutes) add in the chocolate chips. Let the mixture blend thoroughly before transferring to a freezer-safe container.  Freeze for approximately 2 hours before enjoying!

One delicious cappuccino chip ice cream, coming right up!

The Verdict: Tastes just like a cappuccino! Success. The chips are a must for this flavor. Next time, I might cut the cinnamon a bit, especially because The Husband complained that it was too cinnamon-ey. Otherwise, it was really creamy and lasted quite well in the refrigerator. A real treat. A must eat. Grab a spoon and dig in!

Nutella Gelato

8 Sep
“Che cosa sarebbe il mondo senza Nutella?” ~ Nutella Slogan
(What would the world be without Nutella?)

Boy was that delicious.

I ask myself the same thing every day.

What was the world like before Pietro Ferrero and his son Michele invented Nutella? How did people live? The simple answer is, they didn’t!
Lately Nutella is everywhere. In fact, it’s so big – and so widely loved – that February 5th became World Nutella Day. Pimping their image, Nutella came out with a new advertising campaign claiming to be a healthy breakfast. This is where you lose me.  I am a self-proclaimed sweet-o-holic, but even I know that Nutella is no match for a healthy breakfast. In fact, the commercials claiming that it’s made with fresh hazelnuts, skim milk and “a hint” of cocoa is a bunch of malarkey if you ask me.
Let’s all do ourselves a flavor and admit that yes, Nutella is insanely good, and yes, Nutella is the perfect topping for any crepe or brownie, and yes, the Ferrero family is brilliant, but please, oh please, let’s not convince ourselves that Nutella is part of a wholesome, balanced diet. It’s not. And it never will be.
So, for the time being, let’s focus on the perfectly creamy treat, and how it found its way into my Gelato.

The not-so-secret ingredient

I made this flavor as a special gift for a friend who, not so subtly, mentioned that Nutella is one of her favorite things in the world. This girl has managed to put Nutella in everything from brownies to waffles. But, she doesn’t ever need an excuse to eat Nutella; she tells me that it’s just as good straight out of the container. As if I didn’t know that already.

I don’t necessarily discriminate against Nutella. In fact, give me a jar, and I’m likely to take a scoop right off the top. But during my informative tour of Amorino Gelato I learned that Nutella produced here in the US (typically sold in plastic bottles) and that produced in Europe (available in glass jars) actually taste quite different. Naturally, I made this flavor with the US-produced version (still totally delicious, don’t worry) but next time I’m going to use the European version for an even more authentic taste.
But for the time being, grab a spoon and dig in. The was absolutely outrageous and one of my personal favorites.

Adding Nutella into the milk mixture. Getting very excited.

Nutella Gelato

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis and Ciao Bella

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 cup cream

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup Nutella, plus additional for topping

Toasted and chopped Hazelnuts, for topping

Whisking the egg yolks and sugar. Let the tempering begin.

Method

Heat the milk and cream in a heavy duty saucepan. Once bubbles start to form around the edges, whisk in the Nutella so that it fully incorporated into the liquid. Turn off the heat and set aside.

While the milk and cream mixture is heating, whisk together the 4 egg yolks with the 1/2 cup sugar in a large, heat-proof mixing bowl. Add sugar slowly until the egg yolks get thick and pale yellow. Once the sugar and egg yolks are fully blended, slowly pour in the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Once the milk and egg mixture is fully combined, pour it back into the saucepan and heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F (which is when the egg yolks are fully cooked). Add the vanilla and let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heating the egg, milk, and Nutella mixture to 170 degrees F

Once fully chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn for approximately 20 minutes or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into a freezer safe container (if you even make it that far) and freeze. When you’re ready to eat it, place two generous scoops of Nutella Gelato into an ice cream bowl, drizzle Nutella on top, add a few toasted hazelnuts and enjoy!

Up close and personal. Pure heaven.

The Verdict: This. Is. So. Good. (And very addictive . I’ve had two bowls in the time it took me to write this post). To be honest, though, when I first tasted this gelato it was too sweet for my liking (I know that sounds insane coming from a lover of all things sweet). But, once the gelato sat overnight in the freezer, it miraculously lost some of its sweetness, and the Nutella flavor became more prominent. There’s probably a culinary term for this phenomenon, but since I don’t know what it is, I recommend that you let this flavor sit overnight before eating it. The good news is that it’s still delicious (if not more delicious) a week later. I really just can’t get enough. Hopefully my dear friend, the self-proclaimed “Assistant Director of Flavor Creation & Tasting” liked this flavor as much as I did.

Amorino Gelato

1 Sep

“L’amore si trova nel tuo cuore non per resarci, ma per essere condiviso.” ~ Italian Proverb

(Love is in your heart not to stay, but to be shared)

The famous Amorino flower

You know that intoxicating feeling you get when you buy someone a gift, and upon giving it to them, you see an enormous smile sweep across their face? It’s the best thing on earth.

So, if you’re anything like me, you derive great pleasure from giving gifts – from sharing something of yourself with others. As a kid I always loved getting gifts, and truly nothing has changed since then. I never understood why my parents would always take photos of me opening presents – was it because they loved documenting me with awful “sleepy hair” on the morning of my birthday? That’s what I used to think. Now as an adult, I realize they loved capturing my enormous smiles – my unadulterated joy and sheer happiness. Those reactions were just precious. I get it. My parents were the best. They still are.

This week, I received one of the coolest gifts in a while. I was invited by Amorino Gelato to come and take a behind-the-scenes tour of their flagship NY shop, learn about how they make each flavor, and even sample some gelato straight out of the machine. I was in seventh heaven.

Sorbets and Gelatos. All Natural. All Delicious.

Amorino’s name pretty much sums up their company’s motto and ethos. The translation of Amorino is “little love” or “cupid”, and they try to infuse every single bite with a little bit of love. Love for authentic Italian gelato, love for high-quality, organic ingredients, and most importantly, love for excellent flavor. Amorino believes (and I agree!) that their goal is to get the best flavor possible, using the best possible ingredients from around the world. They attempt – and in my opinion succeed – in infusing every single bite with strong flavor notes that are representative of true artisanal Italian gelato.

Churning the gelato...made fresh daily!

Filippo, the EVP/COO of the US branch of Amorino (did you know that they have 53 stores in Europe?) is from a small town in Italy, called Reggio Emilia. In his town of 150,000 people (or 400,000 if you count the surrounding areas) there are 80 gelato shops. That’s insane (and my dream come true!). His father is a Gelato master, and it’s this family treasure that has propelled him, and Amorino, forward into the US gelato market.

For consistency’s sake, Amorino mixes all their ingredients in Paris (where the company is headquartered) and blast freeze it before sending to NYC for production. Then, in the basement of the Union Square shop, they churn each individual flavor daily. Everything is all-natural so even though they use stabilizers, theirs are totally natural. In fact, they are so committed to good, wholesome ingredients that if you take a close look, their grapefruit sorbet is uber shiny – “too shiny for my taste” says Filippo. But, the shine is actually a result of the organic stabilizer – and let me tell you, it is delicious. I suppose the shininess is just a small price to pay for organic, natural delights.

And that's my chocolate gelato straight from the machine. Life is good.

Good ingredients make good gelato. Plain and simple. So it should come as no surprise that Amornio uses only the best of the best. Pistacios from Sicily, Hazelnuts from Piedmont, Chocolate and Bananas from Ecuador, Vignola Cherries from Italy, Alphonso mangoes from India, Speculoos from Belgium, and Amaretto and Passion fruit from Italy. But, the best flavor, in my opinion is “L’Inimitabile” literally meaning, “it can’t compare.” Well hell, they’re sure right about that! This flavor (once called Nutella) is a chocolate hazelnut that is, simply put, to die for. The flavor is so accurate, yet not too rich, so creamy, yet not too milky, and utterly delicious.

Artesanal Gelato. Fresh Daily. The sign says it all!

Visiting their kitchen was a dream come true – and being able to sample chocolate gelato straight from the machine as it was churning, is something I will never forget. It was outrageous! Delicious! I loved it. Ti amo! Italian is, after all, the language of love.

At the end of my tour, I got my very own Amorino flower. When I asked Filippo how this shape came to be, he told me that’s how gelato is served in his region. What? You mean, not only did those geniuses create gelato but they also invented the beautiful presentation? They don’t glob half scoops of gelato into a cone and hand it to you, half melting down the side. Instead, they meticulously (yet impressively quickly!) craft a flower, with the most firm flavor in the middle to create the center petals, and up to 22 other flavors surrounding it. For someone who loves to sample a lot of flavors (but not too many at once, or else you’ll miss the unique flavor that each one offers), this Amorino flower is the way to go.

Check out my awesome Amorino flower....

Bottom line: run, don’t walk to Amorino. You must taste what I’m talking about.

Luckily, as I was leaving, Filippo sensed my sheer happiness, and managed to snap a shot of me eating my very own Amorino flower (that’s my flower on the right, but not me!) Filippo definitely gets it. Sharing your gift with others is, in it of itself, the greatest gift one can give. Thanks Amorino for sharing your story and gelato with me. It was truly a precious present!

Graham Cracker Ice Cream

30 Aug

“I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted – stay up all night or eat ice cream straight from the container.”  ~ Bill Bryson, American Writer

Graham Cracker Ice Cream - check out those graham specks of deliciousness

Newsflash people. I am all grown up…

The only problem is that I’m not so keen on this “grown up” thing – there are too many darn responsibilities. But, one of the redeeming qualities about being a grown up is the ability to eat ice cream whenever I want, straight from the container, in a bowl, or better yet, out of the ice cream maker. I even get to decide that ice cream is dinner. Or lunch. Or Breakfast. Hell, I’m my own boss, and I make the rules. It’s pretty awesome. So in my “grown up” book, ice cream can satisfy any meal you want. Some flavors are more apt for breakfast, others for an after dinner treat. Just ask The Husband. He knows.

The other day I caught The Husband leaving for work when I noticed that he had sugary crumbs on his face and chocolate smeared on the corner of his lip. “Did you just eat a cookie for breakfast?”  I asked him accusingly. A guilty look plastered his face. I caught him red-handed. “What? It’s a balanced breakfast.” OK. That’s totally false, but he’s a “grown up” and as such, he can decide what to eat and when. So there you have it. Eating ice cream for breakfast is totally acceptable! If we can do it, so can you.

crushed graham crackers added to the milk mixture

Now that I’ve convinced myself that ice cream is a perfectly appropriate meal (and I’m very good at convincing myself of this!) it’s time to talk about the recipe.

Over the past few months I’ve come to learn quite a bit about the history of ice cream. In fact, lately I’ve been having a lot of fun researching the origins of these sweet treats and frozen concoctions. I’m not sure whether I’m thirsty for food trivia, or whether I’m a masochist for wanting to know all the ingredients in these creations in order to feel bad about myself for eating them all the time. Jury’s still out on that one – but either way, it’s still pretty cool to know the history of the food we consume.

Separating the egg whites and egg yolks

So, it might not surprise you to learn that the Graham cracker was actually named for Reverend Sylvester Graham in 1829. Originally marketed as “Dr. Graham’s Honey Biscuits” these wafers were conceived as a health food and were the staple of the Graham diet. This regimen was created in order to suppress unhealthy, carnal urges – the source of many maladies, according to Graham.  Well, good ‘ole Reverend Graham was onto something because his graham cracker became extremely popular! Today graham crackers are everywhere, making appearances in cheesecake crusts, ‘smores, ice creams, pies and more. Nice work Reverend Graham, you really left a legacy.

Adding the sugar and whisking the egg yolks. Let the tempering begin!

This graham cracker ice cream was a special request from the ultimate graham cracker love.  Graham crackers are literally this girl’s favorite thing…ever. I guess it’s sort of like my love affair with chocolate and caramel. So it seemed only fitting to make a graham cracker ice cream in her honor. I searched high and low for a good recipe and when I came across this one from Christina Lee I knew it was a winner. Rumor has it that the graham cracker connoisseur agrees!

Graham Cracker Ice Cream

Adapted ever so slightly from Christina Lee, Pastry Chef/Recette

Ingredients

2 cups milk
2 half-and-half
5 graham crackers
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks

It's important to fully heat the egg/milk mixture after tempering the eggs. No one wants salmonella ice cream.

Method

Heat milk and cream to a scald and then turn off the heat. Crush the graham crackers and add them to the hot milk mixture (they will dissolve rather quickly in the milk). Stir thoroughly until the crackers are dissolved.

In a large heat-proof bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  As you slowly add the sugar the eggs will thicken tremendously and also turn paler shades of yellow.

Very slowly pour the hot milk mixture over the yolks to temper. Whisk together. Next, pour the egg and milk mixture back into a sauce pot and cook while constantly stirring until thickened. This mixture should reach 185 degrees F* so that the eggs are fully cooked.

*Some recipes say 170 degrees, other say 185 degrees. Personally, I have found that either is fine. Be careful – if you heat the mixture to 185 degrees do not to overcook or else you will definitely scramble the eggs. And nobody wants scrambled egg ice cream. Trust me, it’s gross.

Remove from the heat and strain the mixture into a bowl to remove any small egg clumps (aka small pieces that look like scrambled eggs) that may have formed during the tempering process.

Let the mixture cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes). Once set, transfer to a freezer safe container for storage until ready to serve.

Graham cracker ice cream straight out of the ice cream maker. So creamy and smooth!

The Verdict: This ice cream would  make Reverend Graham proud! While you could definitely taste the graham crackers, I would suggest adding 1-2 more next time. Initially I was afraid that the ice cream would taste soggy from the crushed graham crackers, but because they were added to the hot milk mixture and then whisked into the eggs, they dissolved beautifully and in turn provided a great flavor. So, grab a spoon and dig in. If you want to use this ice cream as a base for ‘smores, smother it in your favorite chocolate sauce and a dollop of Marshmallow Fluff. You won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion

27 Aug

“There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with Chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson, The Pickwick Papers 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion!

I owe this recipe to a good friend. Here’s the story:

I recently walked into my apartment building, arms filled with groceries, when the doorman stopped me to let me know that I had a package at the front desk.

Uch, not this again – another package that doesn’t belong to me.

You see, last week we received two mysterious packages that were not for us. One was small and had The Husband’s name on it, so we opened it. Turns out it was for The Brother-In-Law. Womp Womp.

The second one was rather large and looked quite appealing from the outside… but again, not for us. Grr. (If this handsome looking package belongs to you, let me know, and you should come and claim it ASAP!).

Save me a bite!

So, you can imagine that after these two huge let downs, I was afraid to get my hopes up.  I informed the doorman that I wasn’t expecting anything and was about to carry my groceries into the elevator when I decided that maybe, just maybe, this surprise was actually for me…

Guess what? It was! (Insert victory music here!) You all know how much I love sweets. I think I’ve made that very clear. But, as much as I love sweets and treats, I also love presents. Just ask The Husband, he’ll tell you!

Well, I picked up this amazing surprise present at the front desk, and you know what it was? The Serendipity Sundaes book, which features tons of amazing ice cream constructions and frozen concoctions. Honestly, it’s the best. I opened the book to find a cute little note from my dear friend which read I saw this and thought of you. Hope it helps provide a little inspiration for 365scoops.

You can bet your little bippy that this book provided me with some great inspiration. This recipe is a testament to how awesome this book is, but more importantly, a testament to how super duper awesome my friend is. I’m the luckiest girl in the world!

So, grab a spoon and dig in!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips (A.K.A. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Explosion)

From Serendipity Sundaes

Look at that beautiful chocolate.

Ingredients (Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

9 ounces best-quality bitter sweet chocolate (I used Scharffen Berger), chopped

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yes. I melted the chocolate in a personalized ice cream bowl. Why not? An awesome gift from my girlfriends.

Ingredients (Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons peanut butter

Method

First make the chocolate peanut butter chips. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and melt on high for 30 seconds, remove, stir, and repeat until the chips are completely melted. This should take 1 minute – 1.5 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. Stir in the peanut butter.

Chocolate peanut butter mixture.

Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. With a spatula, spread the melted chocolate peanut butter to the size of a 9×12 inch rectangle. Place the tray into a refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. When the mixture is firm, break into chunks and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Now it’s time to make the ice cream base. Combine milk and cream in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat until warm over low heat.

Chocolate peanut butter chips on their way to being melted

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a heat-safe bowl (you are tempering eggs!)

When the milk mixture is warm, add the chopped chocolate. Heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is beginning to simmer. Set aside.

Chocolate milk mixture melting

Add one-fourth of the warm chocolate mix to the yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the remaining milk mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour the batter into a clean heat-safe bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk the vanilla extract into the batter, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Tempering the egg mixture

Remove from the refrigerator and pour out one cup of the prepared batter and whisk in 1/2 cup of peanut butter until smooth. Whisk this small mixture into remaining batter and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning, slowly pour in the peanut butter chocolate chips so that they mix thoroughly into the ice cream.

Adding the home-made chocolate peanut butter chips

Scoop the mixture into a freezer-safe container and enjoy. Warning, you might eat  this ice cream sttraight from the machine, it’s that good!

Voila! Look at those chips. Dang that was good!

The Verdict: Dark chocolate peanut butter explosion! Definitely an apropos name for this special treat.  This ice cream was really rich, and really creamy. The bittersweet chocolate gave a slightly bitter flavor (duh) , but that was countered beautifully by the semi-sweet chocolate peanut butter chips. This ice cream hardened slightly more than usual so just leave it out for 5-10 minutes before scooping. It’s really yummy. Really, really yummy. It even made a guest appearance into an ice cream sandwich so stay tuned for more!



Strawberry Basil Gelato

29 Jul

“All the things I like to do, I like to do more with ice cream.”  ~Michael Ian Black

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Hold onto your seats ladies and gentlemen…This is a first.

That’s right. This is the first flavor ever created by The Husband.

Now, let’s not get confused. The Husband took no part in actually making this gelato. Well, that’s a small lie. He went out and bought the lemon, but that’s it. Oh, and he ate the gelato too, but that doesn’t count.

Up close and personal...

This is also a first for me because given my past track record with egg-based ice creams, I’m proud to report that this one went off without a hitch. Heck, I may go so far as to say that “technically” this is one of my best creations yet!

And, this is also a last. It’s the last post during National Ice Cream Month, and frankly, I’m shedding a tear just thinking about it…

Anyhow, a little background of how this flavor came to be. The Husband has a real affinity for basil, so much so that he’s been eating the leaves for breakfast. I kid you not. In fact, he even claims to “brush his teeth” with basil. Don’t get me wrong, and don’t get me started on how strange that is…

I love basil, give it to me on fresh pasta and pizza, and I’m sold. But, please don’t give it to me before noon, thankyouverymuch. Apparently The Husband holds by a different standard because he just can’t get enough of it! We recently purchased a little basil plant to feed his habit. Everything was going smoothly until one night I went to make pizza and noticed that the plant was totally depleted. Naturally I confronted The Husband who remarked sheepishly, “what, I wasn’t supposed to eat the whole thing?”. Ug. No.

Fast forward a few weeks and we’ve replenished our basil collection. I was putting the finishing touches on the New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie when boom. It hit him. Strawberry Basil Gelato.

I personally love gelato, but find it’s slightly harder to make it at home because gelato, unlike ice cream, has a lower fat content due to the primary use of whole milk. As a result home-made gelato doesn’t always keep as well in a home freezer. Additionally, it’s often made with eggs, and I personally get rather temperamental when tempering eggs. But, I gave it the old college try because strawberry basil gelato seemed like a good idea.

Lemons for the strawberry base

I came home to make this flavor after an excruciating high interval training workout.  Again, don’t get confused and think that I actually work out like this regularly. The Husband gave me a free one week gym membership so I decided to milk it for all it’s worth. Yeah, well I’ve never sweat that much in my life. And I’m uber sore today too. Thanks a lot…

Anyhow, making egg-based gelato requires an enormous amount of whisking, and after a long upper body workout, I wasn’t thrilled to be doing that again. But, for the love of gelato, I did. And I’m glad I did, because it helped me get over my fear of tempering eggs, and contributed to this delicious flavor. So, without further ado…

Strawberry Basil Gelato

Gelato adapted from Ciao Bella; Flavor created by The Husband

Hull and slice, hull and slice...

Ingredients

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups whole milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup of sugar (for gelato base)

1 pound box of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

1/4 cup of sugar (for strawberry swirl)

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

7 large basil leaves

candy thermometer*

*You don’t technically need one, but trust me when I say that it will make your life much easier when tempering and heating the egg mixture

Method

Prepping the yolks before tempering... slowly adding the sugar until the yolks are thick and pale yellow

Day 1 – To make the custard base pour the milk and half-and-half into a medium pot. Heat slowly, and stir occasionally so that a skin does not form on the milk. Heat until small bubbles form on the sides, but do not boil.

In the meantime, whisk the four egg yolks together in a large heat-proof bowl until smooth. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup of sugar until the yolk mixture is very thick and a pale yellow color. Here’s where you’ll begin tempering the eggs. Slowly add the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and whisk continuously. Once you’ve combined the eggs and the milk, pour back into the medium pot and slowly heat the mixture until it reaches 185 degrees F. Trust me here, you’ll want to use a thermometer. If you overcook the egg mixture, it will scramble, your whole kitchen (or apartment if you live in NYC) will smell like eggs, and the mixture will be ruined.

The eggs have been tempered! Success!

With the heat on low, it will take at least 15 minutes to bring your mixture to 185 degrees. Stir occasionally until the mixture reaches the desired temperature and thickness. Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer so that you catch all the little mini pieces of “scrambled egg” that may have formed. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

To make the strawberry mixture hull and thinly slice 1lb of strawberries. Put them into a small pot on the stove, cover with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 tbs of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let them sit (with the heat off) and marinade for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat on low and let the mixture cook until the strawberries are mushy and a syrup begins to form, approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating overnight.

Day 2 – To actually make the gelato pour 3/4 of the strawberry mixture in the blender with the gelato base and 5 basil leaves. Puree until smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust the basil flavor to your liking. I added 7 leaves and found that was the perfect “earthy” flavor, but yet the basil flavor was not overpowering.

Churning...right after adding the strawberry swirl

Pour the mixture into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is ready (for me this was after 13-15 minutes) add in the remaining 1/4 of the strawberry mixture. Scoop the gelato into a freezer safe container, garnish with a basil leaf and store in the freezer for 2 hours before serving.

Most creative flavor...Strawberry Basil Gelato!

The Verdict: I was so surprised and pleased by these flavor notes. First, I succeeded in tempering the eggs, and therefore the texture was so creamy and smooth. Second, the basil to strawberry ratio was spot on. When you take a bite of this gelato, the first flavor you’ll taste is basil. Then the strawberries hit you and together it’s a perfectly earthy combination. It’s hard to describe, so just trust me on this one.

And the award for most creative idea goes to…drum roll please…The Husband!

‘One Sunny Night’ Ice Cream

30 May

“The Project Sunshine volunteers not only bring smiles to the faces of our patients, but they are also a vital part of the healing process, enabling children to heal through play. “~ Nuria Claramunt Miami Children’s Hospital

Last week was Project Sunshine Week, an annual week dedicated to Project Sunshine’s mission and services that raises awareness and funds for the organization.  As many of you know, I have been working for Project Sunshine for the past five and a half years. Project Sunshine’s mission is to empower a dynamic and dedicated corps of over 10,000 volunteers to bring programming – recreational (arts), educational (tutoring and mentoring) and social service (HIV and nutritional counseling) – to over 60,000 children facing medical challenges and their families in 150 major cities across the United States and in five international satellite sites: Canada, China, Israel, Kenya and Puerto Rico.

Project Sunshine volunteer Bar Refaeli reads with hospitalized children

Project Sunshine’s volunteers selflessly donate their time to relieve the anxiety of young patients and in a context of fun and play, foster in them the courage and coping skills necessary to confront procedures that lie ahead. Project Sunshine volunteers spread sunshine, restoring a crucial sense of normalcy to the pediatric healthcare environment.

Ever since starting 365scoops, my coworkers have been wonderful guinea pigs for my many flavor concoctions. In fact, the Project Sunshine team was the first to support this ice cream project. So, it is only fair to them – and to the children and families that we serve – that I dedicate this ice cream to Project Sunshine!

A little about this lovely flavor. My mother makes an outrageously delicious lemon meringue pie. Personally, I turn my nose up at lemon meringue pie because, well, it tastes really fake and airy. Not this one. This one, ah, it’s perfect. First, you start with a beautiful meringue crust, then you fill it with home made lemon curd, whipped cream, lemon zest, and top it off with delectably sweet raspberries. The flavor combination is perfect, and this dessert is gorgeous too.

Project Sunshine volunteer, NY Yankee Brett Gardner, high fives a young boy after a hospital event

Being that this dessert is also yellow, I felt that it was a no-brainer to make it the (official) Project Sunshine ice cream. Oh, and one more thing, this year Project Sunshine’s benefit celebration (which culminated the spectacular Project Sunshine week) was called One Sunny Night – and so this ice cream is it’s namesake.

So, raise your ice cream bowls and cheers this wonderful organization! To the 60,000 children and family members served by Project Sunshine each year, this one’s for you!

The creamy ice cream base...yum

One Sunny Night Ice Cream

Inspired by my mom’s famous lemon meringue pie and created by moi!

Ingredients

Lemon Curd

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream (whipped)

Ice Cream Base

1 1/2 cups lemon curd/whipped cream mixture

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tbs lemon zest

Egg whites (before they become the meringue)

Meringues

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

Method

First make the meringues since they take quite a while to cook. Separate the egg yolks and whites (reserve the yolks for the lemon curd) and using either an electric hand mixer or a mixmaster begin mixing the egg whites until they start to get foamy. Little by little, begin adding the cup of sugar into the egg whites. Pour in a little sugar, and continue mixing. Repeat this process until you have used up all the sugar and the egg whites form small white peaks. This, at least, is the technical way to make meringues. But, if you grew up in my household, the true test to see whether the egg whites are ready, is to hold the bowl upside down over your head, and if they don’t move or fall on you (and heaven help you if they do, it’s a big fat mess to clean up!) they’re ready! Whatever you do, don’t underbeat the eggwhites.

A meringue dollop before it's cooked...

Before baking the meringues, cut two pieces of paper from large brown paper shopping bags (you know, the kind you get a wholefoods if you forget to bring your own bag!) Cut off the handles and cut the paper bag into two sheets, one for each cookie sheet. Again, most people use parchment paper, but I swear that brown paper bags is the best technique. My mom has been been doing it forever in her house, and I’m telling you, it makes these meringues perfect.  Spoon dollops of the meringue batter onto the cookie sheets and bake at 200 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to two hours. When checking to see whether the meringues are ready, never open the oven door, you’ll lose all the heat. Instead, turn the oven light on. Once the meringues are ready (they’ll brown slightly on top) take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.

Meringues fresh out of the oven (Notice the brown paper bag!)

Now it’s time to make the lemon curd (bear in mind that you’re doing this while the meringues are baking). Combine egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until thickened. Remove from heat and cool for one hour.

While the lemon curd is cooling, beat the whipping cream in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Using the same beaters, beat the lemon curd filling until smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the lemon filling until blended.  This is the first time in any ice cream recipe that I’ve pre-whipped the whipping cream, and I must say, this made the ice cream extremely airy and soft and the resulting consistency was something very special. More to come on that soon…

The lemons and fresh lemon zest

And finally – the piece de resistance – the ice cream base! Now that you have the lemon curd/whipped cream mixture ready, you’ll use this as one of the main ingredients for the actual ice cream. In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups of the lemon curd/whipped cream mixture, 1 cup of half-and-half, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbs lemon zest. Once the mixture is completely stirred and the sugar is dissolved, let cool completely in the refrigerator.

Once chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which for me was 22 minutes. The resulting ice cream will be very creamy (much creamier than any other ice cream to date, and I think that’s because I used whipping cream that had already been whipped, thereby adding more air into the mixture, making it supremely creamy and delicious.)

Drumroll please...the final product...One Sunny Night!

Sigh. Now it’s time for the assembly. Scoop yourself a few heaps of the lemon ice cream. Crush up one meringue on top and garnish with raspberries.

The Verdict: I may be slightly biased here, because the lemon raspberry meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, but when turned into an ice cream this recipe is super creamy, airy, delicious and refreshing. You’ll see specks of lemon zest beautifully woven throughout the ice cream, and the combination of sweet meringues with tart lemon ice cream and fresh raspberry is truly perfect. This is an excellent summer dessert, and a perfect way to top off any meal – it truly makes for One Sunny Night!

Great Eggspectations

4 May

“I’m frightened of eggs, worse than frightened, they revolt me.”

~Alfred Hitchcock 

Ok. I like eggs. I really do. Give me a spinach and feta fritata and I’m a happy girl. Eggs Benedict –  even better.

That Alfred Hitchcock is a nut. Not sure why he’s so scared of eggs. But if he were to edit the quote slightly, I actually might agree with him:

“I am frightened of tempering eggs.” That’s it!

The first time I tried tempering eggs I had no idea what to expect. If you had seen me in the kitchen you may have remarked “Is this a joke?” or “Does this woman have a clue what she’s doing?”

To answer your questions: NO – I had no freaking idea what I was doing. It was just a shot in the dark, and lucky for me, it worked!

Truth be told, I really would have loved it if someone had given me advice on tempering eggs  before  I attempted that feat.

As you all know, this is a “live blog” in other words, I blog as I make the ice cream. If I screw up or the flavor is gross, well, so be it! You’re going to have to read about it, and even worse, I’m going to have to eat it. Lucky for me, there’s only been one tragedy at 365 scoops. Hopefully not too many more will come my way! Being that this is, however, a live blog, I didn’t do much research on tempering eggs – I really just dove in head first and hoped for the best. Perhaps that’s my mantra in life!

Whisking the egg yolks

Here are some things I wished I had known about tempering eggs before my first try.  I hope they’re helpful to you.

  1. Buy a thermometer. This whole guessing game is totally ludicrous. Though it worked for me, I probably slightly over cooked my eggs, or worse, they could be slightly raw,  giving everyone who ate this ice cream salmonella. Sorry if that was you…
  2. Whisk the heck out of the egg yolks. And just when you think you’ve whisked enough, whisk some more. The creamier and frothier the better.
  3. Essentially, tempering eggs is slowly raising the temperature of your egg yolks up to the temperature of a hot liquid you have on the stove. This serves the purpose of preventing the yolks from turning into scrambled eggs if you simply dump them in.
  4. To quote The St. Louis friend in her recent post, make sure to temper the eggs nice and slowly or else “they will throw a temper tantrum” and scramble. I love this!
  5. This video might be of some use to you all. I think it’s helpful..http://www.bhg.com/videos/m/32071602/tempering-eggs.htm
This whole post probably begs the question: why eggs in ice cream anyways?

To be frank, I often wonder the same thing myself. And to be even more frank (is this confessional or something?) I prefer my ice cream without eggs!
There. I said it.
But, there are some of you who really do like the added creaminess that egg yolks undoubtedly provide, so that’s why I am committed to trying recipes with eggs.
David Lebovitz gives an excellent explanation of the difference ice cream made with and without egg yolks. I feel compelled to share it with you so that you are fully informed readers.
There are two basic types of ice cream: French-style which is a cooked custard made with egg yolks, and Philadelphia-style which is made with cream or milk, but no eggs.  French-style ice creams tend to be smoother and silkier due to the emulsifying power of the egg yolks, which get cooked on the stove top (hello tempering!). Philadelphia -style ice creams can be simply mixed or pureed, thoroughly cooled, and then churned (i.e. much simpler!). Because Philadelphia-style ice creams don’t have egg yolks they tend to be a little firmer, freeze harder, and have a somewhat chewier texture (note: I have no idea what David is talking about here!). The advantage, of course, is that Philadelphia-style ice creams have no egg yolks so they’re a little lighter tasting and easier to make.
So now you can choose for yourself. Philadelphia or France, that is the question… ponder it and stay tuned for the next recipe…

Caramel-Espresso Ice Cream

3 May

Did you know that Milton Hershey’s first business was actually the Lancaster Caramel Company? That’s right! He started with caramels before ever dabbling in chocolates! 

That Milton Hershey really knew what he was doing!

So, it looks like this is caramel week here at 365. The only thing is, I wish this post was on April 5, 2011 – National Caramel Day. Let’s just pretend it is. Ok?

Between my two dulce de leche posts and now this incredible caramel-espresso ice cream recipe, I am in caramel heaven.

The only issue here is that I did not get to try this aforementioned ice cream. I sent in my proxy taste testers and the enthusiasm for this flavor is palpable all the way across the country!

Here’s the story:

When I started writing this blog, I realized it might not be sustainable to make a new frozen treat each day. Yet, inherent in the name 365 is the idea of a daily ice cream post. Furthermore, when I started this blog I knew very little about ice cream making, and wanted to make sure that those near and dear to me with more experience than I, were able to share their love for making ice cream with you, my loyal readers.

Excuse me for one second; I may have told a tiny little white lie. As you know, this blog really grew out of my love for all things sweet (especially frozen sweets!) but its inception is closely tied to the news of a majorly discounted ice cream maker. Well, actually, there may have been one itsy bitsy teeny weeny factoid that I left out (intentionally, of course, so that I could save it for this blog post).

The golden caramel mixture right before churning...

You see, my St. Louis Friend is a really incredible chef. She always makes these mouthwatering treats (the first of which is this delectable caramel ice cream recipe) that I salivate over while perusing her photos on facebook. One day, this dear friend posted an image of Caramel-Espresso Ice Cream. I asked for the recipe, read through it completely and thought to myself “easy enough, I can make this.”

That is, until tragedy struck: I realized that I needed an ice cream maker, and I was pissed off. I felt totally isolated and stranded. Moreover, I felt like I was being held back from my real dreams of making frozen treats.

How could I allow this to happen? I filed the recipe away for a few weeks and searched the internet in hopes of finding a moderately priced ice cream maker. All the while, this recipe was a constant reminder of the things I could accomplish if only I had an ice cream maker. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that day arrived, and it’s been a cake walk (or should I say ice cream walk) ever since!

So, perhaps I really should credit the inspiration for this blog to The St. Louis Friend…

Now it’s only fair for this friend to debut her incredible recipe on this site. I have been asking her for quite some time to do a guest post on 365 – she needs to show the world what she’s made of: CARAMEL-ESPRESSO ICE CREAM!

So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to The St. Louis Friend: chef, baker, and ice cream maker extraordinaire!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the words of my St. Louis friend:

The first time I made this ice cream, I was terrified.

Not because of the 6 eggs. . . after a few years of making ice cream, I’d gotten pretty good at handling recipes with a custard base.

Caramel - keep stirring until all the caramelly bits melt into the mixture

No, it was the caramel. An avid reader of food magazines and blogs, I’ve heard a number of nightmare caramel stories – mainly of the burning variety, also a few of the ithardenedandstucktoeverything! variety. But it sounded too tasty not to try, so I gave it a go. And aside from not using a large enough saucepan (seriously folks, learn from my mistakes. Use the biggest, tallest one you’ve got!) it was an astounding success!

Whenever I make it, I can’t keep certain people (ahem, my husband and certain friends whose identities I’ll keep anonymous!) out of the freezer. Incredibly rich (6 eggs yolks will do that) but not too sweet, and that perfect caramel color – its hard not to drink up the custard before churning it, but it is worth the wait!

I’ve tweaked the original recipe a bit. . . adding a dash of espresso powder and a cinnamon stick to the milk/cream mixture gives this ice cream a decidedly grown-up edge. It is superb with any apple dessert, tastes great with a few dark chocolate shavings on top and because of the coffee undertones is totally acceptable to have with breakfast. (365 scoops definitely agrees!)

Also, I’m no longer terrified of making this ice cream. In fact, I can practically do it with my eyes closed. Not recommending that, of course, with the whole bubbling caramel mixture you’ll be making. But I do recommend giving this one a go, you will not be disappointed!

Caramel-Espresso Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, which adapted it from the restaurant One Sixtyblue in Chicago, which is apparently a Michael Jordan restaurant!

Milk/cream mixture with vanilla, cinnamon and espresso powder

Ingredients

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1 ½ cups whole milk

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise*

⅛ – ¼ tsp instant espresso powder (I went with ⅛, but may increase it next time)

1 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

6 large egg yolks**

*Note – vanilla beans are expensive and definitely out of our soon-to-be one income household budget so I reserve them for when the vanilla flavor is paramount.  That’s not the case here, so I recommend using 1 tablespoon of vanillabeanpaste. Unlike extract, you still get the vanilla bean specks and at $9-$11 per jar, you’ll stretch that dollar a whole lot further than with beans. If you prefer to use vanilla extract, that’s fine too – just add it in at the end, right before you finish cooling the custard in the fridge.

**Bonus! Use the 6 egg whites for a nutritious breakfast the next day. It counteracts the ice cream.

Method

Heat the milk/cream mixture: Place cream, milk, espresso powder, cinnamon stick and pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean (or add vanilla bean paste). Bring to a simmer; cover and keep warm. Do not let the milk/cream mixture come to a boil.

Make the caramel: Stir the sugar and ¼ cup water in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns a dark amber color. Keep a close eye on things, the sugar will be clear for what seems like ages and then go from golden to burnt in a matter of seconds. To help out the process, swirl the pan occasionally and brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush (I like to keep a small bowl of water and pastry brush right near the saucepan). This process takes about 8-10 minutes, or 15 if you’re really slow and careful like I am. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to pull back your hair and put on a pair of oven mitts.

When ready, turn the heat down to low, take a step back and add the hot milk mixture. It will foam up, bubble like crazy and possibly scare you a bit if it’s the first time you’ve done this.

Caramel foaming up like crazy after adding the milk/cream mixture

Stir over low heat until any caramel bits dissolve. Often at this point, I find pieces of hardened caramel stuck to the bottom of the pan. Take the time to keep stirring, and eventually it will melt into deliciousness. If you want to be certain, tilt the pan a bit to check for any caramel still stuck. Any hardened bits will be strained out later, but why waste caramel? Also, this is a good time to pull out the cinnamon stick.

Prep the egg yolks: I usually start the whisking while the sugar is dissolving. I can’t help but multitask. It’s fine though to keep the caramel on low heat and then start in on the eggs. Give those egg yolks a good beating in a large bowl, whisking until they are light yellow and fluffy.

Egg yolks light and fluffy

Put it all together: Gradually add a bit of the warm caramel into the eggs, then add a bit more, stirring the whole way until all the caramel is incorporated (fancy term for this is tempering. Do it nice and slowly, or your eggs will throw a temper tantrum, as in, end up scrambled).

Don’t panic if the mixture starts to curdle a bit, it will all work itself out in the end. You now have a caramel-egg custard – pour it all back into the large saucepan and stir over medium-low heat. It’s done when you dip a spoon into the custard, run your finger down the middle (lick your finger) and the custard is thick enough to not run back together. (Eggs are fully cooked at 160 degrees; check with a thermometer if you want to be absolutely certain.)

Slowly stir over low heat until the custard coats the back of a spoon, or until 160* F

Be patient: This is the hardest part! Pour the caramel custard into a clean medium bowl through a fine mesh strainer. Let cool to room temperature, place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard (this keeps a skin from forming), cover and place in the refrigerator. I recommend keeping it there overnight but 4-8 hours should do.

The next day, give it a stir and process the custard according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. After tasting, transfer to a freezer-safe container (Ilikethese) until firm. This ice cream is best eaten within a few days, but that’s not usually a problem.

The Verdict: Out.Of.This.World.

Voila! The finished product

Dulce de Leche Gelato

27 Apr

Not to like ice cream is to show oneself uninterested in foods.

~ Joseph Epstein

All the swirly scoops of Dulce de Leche Gelato

Honestly, there are no words.

In a recent post about my love affair with dulce de leche I described a rather embarrassing moment in my lifetime, and an all-time low in the world of gluttony.

For some odd reason, I find myself there again.

To set the record straight for any of you who may be confused, I love chocolate and caramel. Really – it’s the perfect marriage between creamy, chewy, milky and just thinking about it I am salivating. Writing this post is really hard because I just want to be eating chocolate caramel right now. Ugh.

Back to the point. When The Husband and I were recently in Argentina we made it a point to eat at all the famous ice cream places. There were Freddo and Persico (two of the big chains) and a much lesser known but wildly superior Chungo. We discovered this little known gem on our second to last night in Buenos Aires (how we waited that long to try that place is something I will never understand) and it was on that very momentous night that I had the most perfect dulce de leche gelato EVER. So much so that we went back the next day to purchase a 1/2 kilo “to go” so that we could eat it in the taxi on the way to the airport (a poorly thought out idea, considering I would be sitting on an airplane for 11 hours with nothing but gobs of gelato in my belly!).

When I started this blog I decided that dulce de leche ice cream or gelato would have to be one of my first few posts.

The rationale: I am going through withdrawal.

I also promised myself  not repeat recipes throughout the course of this blog because there are so many incredible ice cream combinations to be had, but I will most certainly be making a variety of dulce de leche products.

The rationale: I cannot live without it.

I realize that in re-reading this blog post I sound a little nutty, but it’s the truth. I love dulce de leche.

So, as you saw in my post last week, I made the dulce de leche, the base for this recipe. You will see how it is incorporated below.

Delicious.

Dulce de Leche Gelato

From Ciao Bella Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup dulce de leche (store-bought or you can make your own very easily here)

Method

In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and the cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring or whisking occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges. If you are using a thermometer the mixture should reach a temperature of 170 degrees F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. A word to the wise about this – you really need to whisk a lot, not only so that the sugar dissolves, but also because you really want to whip the yolks to make them slightly frothy and creamy.

Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. You need to pour the milk mixture little by little so that it does not heat the egg yolks too quickly and create scrambled eggs. NO ONE wants scrambled eggs gelato!

Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon or spatula (and you can run your finger across the spoon and it leaves a clean path where your finger was). If using a thermometer the custard should reach a temperature of 185 degrees F. Whatever you do, do not bring this to a boil.

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It’s important to strain the mixture because inevitably a few clumps of egg will be at the bottom, and you don’t want clumpy, egg gelato!

To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir the custard until cooled. Once it’s completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight (I recommend overnight!).

Churning...

Here comes the dulce part!

Once the mixture is totally cooled, place half of the mixture in a blender and add 1/2 cup of the dulce de leche. Blend until smooth, then whisk into the remaining base.

Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for me it was approximately 25 minutes).

In a small saucepan over low heat, gently warm the remaining 1/2 cup dulce de leche. Just after churning the custard, transfer a few scoops of the gelato into the container you’re freezing it in, and drizzle a few tablespoons of the dulce de leche over it.

Dulce de leche drizzled in the ice cream container

Repeat layering with the remaining gelato and dulce de leche, then freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. (The gelato layering and drizzling is not an exact science, you cannot mess this up, so don’t worry. The goal is to make sure you swirl dulce de leche into the gelato. Each bite will be slightly different, and that’s OK!)

When I made this amazing treat, the gelato was so extremely soft  and creamy that it needed to freeze over night.

The Verdict: YUMMERS!

I should note here that what made this treat truly extra special was the drizzle of chocolate ganache on top.

Like I said, something about caramel and chocolate really is to die for, and I could not resist adding that ganache to this ice cream. It was heavenly together.

I strongly recommend that you do the same!