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S’mores Ice Cream Pie

7 Nov

Ham Porter: Hey, you want a s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham Porter: No, do you want a s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet… so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham Porter: You’re killing me, Smalls! These are s’mores stuff. Now pay attention. First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then you cover it with the other end. Then, you stuff. Kind of messy, but good!

~ The Sandlot

The S'mores Ice Cream Pie

This week I had the distinct pleasure of making a birthday cake for the best dressed one year old…ever…

Naturally, he deserved a spectacular cake.  The only requests I got were chocolate, egg-free, and in a pie shell. And then the idea came to me …

S’mores Ice Cream Pie – all home made (duh). What’s in this said pie, you ask? Tons of scrumptious things including a graham cracker crust, Hershey’s chocolate ganache, triple chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff and toasted marshmallows. This pie was fit for a king (or a one year old, same thing!)

(Insider’s tip: If you want to be as well dressed as this cutie, order shirts from his father’s chic company!)

Graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and salt. Mmmm..

S’mores Ice Cream Pie

Created by 365scoops

This is a multi-step recipe, best prepared over two days. Below I provide you with all the individual elements of this pie, and at the bottom I detail how to assemble it. Here you go…

Graham Cracker Crust

From Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing

10 graham crackers (pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

The beautiful crust

Method

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9″ disposable pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 11 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. If anything, you want to under cook this slightly as it will be frozen and harden too much if over cooked.

Chocoholic

Hershey’s Chocolate Ganache

Created by 365scoops

Ingredients

9 oz Hershey’s Milk Chocolate

1 cup whipping cream

Method

Heat the whipping cream until small bubbles form around the edges, and it’s almost boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes and cool slightly before using.

Pie crust with a layer of chocolate ganache

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

Created by 365scoops

Ingredients

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup whole milk

1 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

Triple chocolate ice cream mixture

Method

Heat the whipping cream, half-and-half, whole milk and sugar on the stove top in a large pan. While it’s heating, chop the unsweetened chocolate into small pieces and measure out remaining chocolates. When small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the milk/sugar mixture, pour in the 3 types of chocolate and whisk vigorously until thoroughly blended. Let cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Layering the chocolate ice cream on top of the pie

Toasted Marshmallow Topping

1/4 – 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff

20 Marshmallows

And now for the great assembly!

I recommend making this S’mores Pie over the course of 2 days to give it ample time to set and cool.

Ice cream covered pie

Since I am a wacko-organized freak, I shall outline the steps below using none other than bullet points:

  • Day One: make the graham cracker crust and let it cool completely.
  • Next make the chocolate ganache. Once it’s cooled a bit (say, 10 minutes) scoop into the fully-cooled (this is key!) graham cracker crust. Cover tightly with tin foil and let it sit overnight.
  • Make the Triple Chocolate Ice Cream base. Let it cool completely, refrigerate overnight.
  • Spreading on the fluff

    Day Two: churn the ice cream. Immediately after it’s done churning scoop and spread into pie crust. Cover tightly and freeze immediately.

  • After 2-4 hours, remove from the freezer and spread with a thin layer of Marshmallow Fluff. Put back in the freezer.
  • Do these remind you of a camp fire?

    Place 20 Marshmallows on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Broil the marshmallows for 2 minutes, 30 second (but check them after 2 minutes to make sure they have not burned, and are only slightly brown).

  • Remove the pie from the freezer and decorate with the toasted marshmallows in a circular pattern. Serve immediately or store in the freezer.
  • Before serving, place the pie in the oven and broil for approximately 1 minute so that the marshmallows heat ever so slightly. Enjoy!
The Verdict: Last night, after the guest-of-honor (and his cool parents!) enjoyed the S’mores Ice Cream Pie, I got a voicemail and text message from his parents. Here’s what they said, I think it speaks for itself:

The S'mores Ice Cream Pie

“That cake was absolutely insane. It was like the best friggin’ cake I have ever had in my entire life!  It was totally, totally ridiculous. That cake was really something not normal! I didn’t want it to end. I had cutting duty, so I cut everyone small pieces so I’d have leftovers. Thank you so much.”

Loyal readers, I will happily make you one too! Just order here.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, Redux

2 Nov

“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.” 
~ Yogi Berra

Limes - they "key" ingredient (I'm so funny!)

Yogi Berra had a plethora of wise and witty comments to share with the world. This one happens to be right up my alley. On the rare occasion that The Husband and I go to dinner, I always push for dessert. Being that The Husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth (I know, I know, I am working on it…) he always defers to me. “You pick” he says, “and I’ll have one bite. You have to promise to eat the rest.” I respond by saying that I can’t eat the whole thing, it’s too big and too much. But, when the dessert arrives, I cut it in half, and lo and behold, manage to eat both halves! Yogi Berra taught me well. It’s really just mind over matter!

You may all remember that I made Key Lime Pie ice cream a few months ago. It was good, people seemed to enjoy it. But this recipe, oh this recipe, it’s in a whole different ballpark. In fact, I just went out for ice cream the other night (well, make that out for 2 ice creams, at two separate places, in one night, but who’s counting?) and so badly wanted to enjoy a refreshing fruit ice cream, so I mustered up enough courage to try the pomegranate.  And then I saw chocolate. And then I saw red velvet. And then I saw coffee oreo. And then it was all over. I suppose that just proves my point: fruit is not a dessert in my book.

This flavor, however, is an exception. If I had seen this Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, I can assure you that I would have ordered it. It’s just that good.

Ok enough ranting.

Here’s how this ice cream redux came to be: The Husband and I went to Chicago a few weeks ago to spend time with The Sugar Family. It just so happened that everyone wanted to try 365scoops, so like any committed ice cream blogger, I went out and bought another ice cream maker and started taking orders. The first on the list was Key Lime Pie. I liked the flavor I made last time but wanted to try making a custard (with eggs) and thought that caramelized graham crackers would make a great addition. Graham cracker crust seemed essential for the ice cream, but I was afraid that plain graham crackers would get soggy. By caramelizing the graham crackers, the sugar essentially formed a shell to protect the graham cracker – and as a result it stayed crunchy and delicious. See Sugar solves every problem. You’ll thank me later for that pearl of wisdom.

The lime juice and zest are added to the milk base

As I was making the custard base, I noticed that it started curdling. I flipped out, and was half way to the sink to throw out the mixture when The Mother-In-Law yelped. Noooooo is all I heard her say. It was in slow motion, straight out of the movies. I’ll cut to the chase here and say that saving that mixture was the best thing I ever did. The curdling was only temporary (a result of adding lime juice – aka acid- to a milk base, totally harmless) and led to the creation of this masterpiece flavor. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream, Redux

Created by 365scoops

Ingredients

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup whole milk

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

juice from approximately 4 limes (to taste)

zest from approximately 2 limes (to taste)

Caramelized Graham Crackers

Tempering the eggs - adding the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk and sugar concoction

Method

Make the caramelized graham crackers and set aside.

Pour the half-and-half and milk into a pot on the stove and heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Meanwhile, using a hand-mixer or whisk, mix together the egg yolks, slowly adding in the sugar until the mixture gets very thick and pale yellow. At this point, remove the milk mixture from the heat and slowly add it into the egg yolk mixture (see photo above), mixing in between milk additions until thoroughly combined.

Adding lime zest into the mixture

Now you’re going to add the lime juice and zest. Full disclosure: as much as I want to give a very detailed recipe, it’s hard to do because depending on the size of the lime, you’ll need either 4-6 to get sufficient juice. Start out by squeezing one lime at a time (into a separate bowl so you can fish out the seeds) and add to the mixture. Stir thoroughly. It will curdle, don’t be alarmed. Repeat this process until you’ve added the juice from 4 limes and then you’ll continue adding lime juice to taste. Next, zest 2 limes into a bowl and add in the zest, tablespoon by tablespoon. Again, you want this mixture to be tart and zesty, but not so puckeringly (is that a word, don’t think so) tart that you make an ugly, scrunched up face in response.

Mixture for caramelized graham crackers

Once you’ve reached your desired tartness, pour the mixture back into the pot and put it on the stove top until it thickens and reaches 185 degrees (or coats the back of a spatula). Remove from heat, let cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight. The colder the mixture the better!

Remove from the refrigerator, taste the mixture. If you think it needs a bit more “oomph” add in a little more fresh lime zest. Then, pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 5 minutes before it’s done, add in the caramelized graham cracker chunks. Reserve 1/3 of them for garnish when you serve the ice cream. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for 2 hours before enjoying. To enjoy, serve two heaping scoops of ice cream, sprinkle with caramelized graham crackers and enjoy!

Caramelized graham crackers. Amazing.

The Verdict: Sheer pleasure. This was out-stand-ing. Definitely one of the top 5 flavors created by 365scoops. I apologize profusely for not having a photo of the final product – just imagine how good, refreshing and creamy it was!

Charleston Chew Ice Cream

26 Sep

“There is no treasure like friends.” ~ Mivchar Hapeninim

Charleston Chew Ice Cream

I treasure my good friends. I also happen to treasure chocolate and marshmallow. Apparently I’m not alone.

When I first told my friends that I was making Charleston Chew Ice Cream they responded with  “OMG do you know how much I love charleston chew? Especially frozen?!?!” or “Wow, that’s a blast from the past, haven’t seen those in a long time…Didn’t canteen sell those?” and my personal favorite “That’s camperrific”.

Dig in!

I’ve been wanting to do a canteen-inspired ice cream for a while, you know, complete with all the  chazzerai that we filled our bellies with for 10 consecutive summers at Camp Ramah (henceforth affectionately referred to as the best place on earth). But, alas, my friends and I couldn’t agree on the perfect flavor. My favorite canteen order included 2 pizza bagels, a strawberry sundae (totally melted by the time it arrived at my bunk), a package of Rollos and 100 grand. Putting all that into an ice cream seemed disgusting.  So instead, I’m going to be creating numerous camp-inspired ice cream treats, to pay homage to the 10 amazing summers I spent with some of my closest friends in the world.

Before I continue with this post, I have to lay down one ground rule:

These three chocolates - semi sweet, unsweetened and cocoa powder are what comprise the chocolate base

Don’t tell The Husband – he might get jealous, but I am having a love affair with Camp Ramah. No matter how much I try to move on, I simply can’t. There’s something about camp that gets under your skin and into your blood – and it stays there forever. The friendships formed, the bonds created, and the life lessons learned, cannot be replicated elsewhere. There is some sort of magic in the air at Camp – a widespread feeling of love that is truly palpable. Simply put, Camp Ramah is the best place on earth.

In case all this anecdotal evidence hasn’t convinced you that Ramah is amazing, get a load of this: Huffington Post ran an article this week about the merits of none other than CAMP RAMAH! Camp, the author argues, “is serious business and serious fun commingled to great effect.” The point of a camp experience like Ramah, is to foster in each individual the values of community and Jewish identity.  Each day, in a natural and seamless way, campers are filled with pride about their unique individuality, as well as their cohesive binds as a community.

Whisking the chocolate mixture together

It is without a doubt that Camp Ramah is the place where I found my community. This pride and identity, built by Camp Ramah, and further instilled at home, has shaped my adult life and strengthened my core Jewish values. Camp truly is the nucleus of my Jewish identity.

It just so happens that ice cream also happens to be a core part of my identity. So it follows logically that this ice cream is camp inspired. This flavor was conceived a few weekends ago when six of my friends were together celebrating a friend’s bridal shower. After all the festivities were over, we took a trip to Jaxson’s ice cream in Ft. Lauderdale. This old fashioned ice cream parlor offered nearly every flavor and topping you could imagine. Sitting in the booth with my girls I was immediately transported back in time. We were 15 years old again, arguing over what ice cream flavors to choose. Flash forward, and you have 4 grown ups, 5 scoops of ice cream and 5 toppings. Some things never change.

So here’s to two timeless treasures: good friends and happy memories. Dig in!

Adding in the semi sweet chocolate

Charleston Chew Ice Cream

Created by 365scoops 

Ingredients

2 1/4cups half-and-half

3/4 cup milk

4 egg yolks

3/4 sugar

1 oz unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs semi sweet chocolate chips

1 – 3.5 ounce bar of your favorite milk chocolate (I used Cadbury)

Marshmallow Fluff (approximately 1.5 cups)

1 package mini Charleston Chews

Tempering the egg mixture

Method

Whisk together the four egg yolks with the sugar until it becomes pale yellow and thick, and the sugar is nearly dissolved. Meanwhile, heat the half-and-half and milk on the stove top. As small bubbles start to form around the sides, and it reaches 170 degrees F, add in the 3 chocolates (unsweetened, semi-sweet chips and cocoa powder) and whisk until fully integrated into the milk mixture.

Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly pour into the egg yolk mixture, whisking along the way. Ah ha! You’ve now tempered the eggs.

Spreading the melted chocolate -- about to create chocolate chips!

Pour the mixture back on the  stove top and heat slowly until it reaches 185 degrees (at which the eggs will be fully cooked and safe to eat). Again, remove from the stove and let cool to room temperature completely before refrigerating for 2 hours or overnight (I refrigerated overnight).

While the mixture is cooling, melt the chocolate for 15 seconds in the microwave, stir, and heat again for 15 more seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is melted completely. Pour onto a wax paper sheet, spread with a spatula into a thin layer and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. Right before you are ready to use, break the chocolate into small pieces/chunks. You’ll use this later on.

Layering the chocolate and fluff...yum

Once the ice cream mixture is completely chilled, pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately five minutes before it’s done churning, sprinkle in the chocolate chips, let the mixture churn, and sprinkle in some more. Repeat until all the chips are mixed into the ice cream.

Once it’s done churning, you’ll begin the marshmallow layering process. Spread a hefty scoop of fluff on the bottom of a freezer safe container. Scoop ice cream on top. Repeat until the container is full – at least 6 layers. Top off with more marshmallow and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

Cheers! To good friends and great memories.

When you’re ready to eat, scoop ice cream into a bowl and sprinkle with a few mini Charleston Chews. Enjoy!

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.

Indego Africa’s Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae

22 Aug

365 Scoops: “If I were to make a flavor for Indego Africa, what would it be?” 

Indego Africa: “Good question…what flavor would represent empowerment?” 

Now that's an "empowerment" sundae

When I think of Indego Africa, I think of innovation and empowerment.

When I think of Indego Africa, I also think of transparency and good governance, creativity and sustainability, and most importantly unparalleled impact.

In sum, Indego Africa is an innovative non-profit social enterprise – built on core values of transparency and good governance – that attacks systemic poverty by delivering access to export markets and job skills to African women. Indego Africa’s business model is simple yet powerful.

I’ve been involved with Indego Africa for the past 2 1/2 years, and for those of you who know me, you understand that this organization marries some of my deepest passions for Africa – where I have been traveling for the past 7 years – and women’s empowerment – a crucial part of my graduate and professional work. This organization really is the bee’s knees. Trust me.

Nicole Miller and Indego Africa partner to produce these vibrant, fair trade bangels

But, just in case you need more proof get a load of this…Indego Africa has been recognized by the likes of Harvard Business School, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Program, and iconic fashion designer Nicole Miller. Its list of corporate and nonprofit partners is wildly impressive and includes Generation Rwanda, Vision Spring, Amazon, Anthropologie and many more. Most notably, however, Indego Africa won the 2010 AfriPro Charity of the Year, and the Fair Trade Federation Award for “Most Positive Change in a Producer Community” and has been recognized because “their innovative business and education model creates a broad, deep, and sustainable impact on the artisans’ lives.”

In short (ok, maybe that was not short, but I have a lot to say about this great organization!) if you don’t already support Indego Africa then hurry and join. All the cool kids are doing it.

One last thing…We’re having an awesome fundraiser in NYC on Wednesday August, 24 at Libation. Buy your ticket, come hang out with me (if that’s not an enticing offer, than I don’t know what is!) and have fun all while supporting a good cause.

Do it. You know you want to!

Blueberries, sugar and lemon marinading

Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae (A.K.A. Empowerment Sundae)*

Inspired by Serendipity Sundaes and Ciao Bella

*This empowerment sundae is purple to represent Indego Africa’s logo color. Blueberries also happen to be a very powerful fruit, which is fitting for this empowering organization.

Ingredients

Ice Cream:

3 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

2 cups half-and-half

Beautiful blueberry sauce

1 cup whole milk

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

Crumble:

5tbs butter

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Milk mixture and blueberry sauce right before blending

Method

To make the blueberry ice cream pour 3 cups of blueberries into a pot, add 1/4 cup of sugar and 2tbs of lemon juice. Toss to coat thoroughly and let sit for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, pour the 2 cups half-and-half and 1 cup milk into another pot and heat until bubbles form around the sides (do not boil).

While the milk mixture is warming, whisk together the 2 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in a large, heat proof bowl. Because there are fewer egg yolks than usual (most of my recipes call for 3-4 yolks) this mixture will get extra thick when whisking. Once the milk mixture is hot, temper the eggs by slowly pouring the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking the entire time. Once fully incorporated, pour back into the pot and heat slowly until the mixture reaches 170 degrees, F – this should take approximately 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool entirely before refrigerating for 2 hours or overnight.

Making the crumble topping

At this point, the blueberries will have marinaded sufficiently and are ready to cook. Heat the blueberry mixture on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and some of the blueberries burst. Stir occasionally and once ready, remove from the stove to cool completely before refrigerating.

Anything with butter is delicious and this is no exception

While you’re waiting for the blueberry and milk mixtures to cool completely, make the crumble topping. In a medium sized mixing bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats and until well-blended. Chop the butter into small pieces and thoroughly knead into the flour mixture. Eventually when the ingredients are mixed, you’ll get a big ball of buttery-goodness. Spread evenly into a 9″ pie pan and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I cooked mine for 11 minutes and it was well-browned and toasted.

Yum! Crumble topping straight out of the oven

Once the blueberry and milk mixture are well-chilled,  pour half of the milk mixture into a blender with the blueberry mixture. Whisk in the remaining milk base and pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions or approximately 20 minutes. Once ready, scoop into a freezer-safe container and store for later use.

Yes. This was outrageous.

And now, the final creation…Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Sundae! To assemble, place two generous scoops of blueberry ice cream in a sundae dish. Pour 1/4 cup crumble on top or layer with ice cream and crumble to create a parfait, drizzle a few fresh blueberries on top and enjoy! Warning: this is outstanding. You may not actually be able to sit down and enjoy it because it will be gone by the time you reach the table!

The Verdict: Unequivocally one of the best flavors yet! The marriage between sweet, creamy blueberry ice cream, and crunchy crumble is simply divine! I’m really a fan of deconstructed desserts so it should come as no surprise that this blueberry crumble ice cream sundae made the top of my charts. More importantly, however, you should feel really good eating this flavor – after all, it supports Indego Africa, which by now should be synonymous with women’s empowerment in Rwanda and long-term solutions to systemic poverty.

The Mama Chipwich

21 Aug

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  ~Ernestine Ulmer

The chipwich slice in all of its glory

Dear Ernestine,

I could not agree more. You are a genius.

Yours sincerely,

365Scoops

This chipwich is the creme-de-la-creme of ice cream sandwiches and the mac daddy of all chip ‘wiches. This is huge. I owe all credit for this recipe to my fabulous cousin, a fellow foodie, dessert-o-holic, and amazing chef. You see, this cousin sends me recipes daily and each one is more delectable than the next. I have to stop myself from drooling directly onto my computer screen while reading them. It’s embarrassing. This recipe came through a few weeks ago, I filed it into my ever growing ice cream folder, until I realized that this one needed to be on the fast track.

One cookie smothered in butterscotch sauce (before the assembly!)

Well you should know that when The Husband came home from work, and saw this magnificent creation in our kitchen, he was instantly elated and then instantly pissed. Elated because the poor guy thought this big fat chipwich was for him (you should know that chipwiches are his favorite desserts) and then pissed because this dessert was not for him. Woops. Fatal error. Note to self: next time you make a chipwich make it exclusively for The Husband.

Wanting to pay homage to the original chipwhich I present you with some fun chipwich facts:

Did you know?

– The chipwich was invented by Richard LaMotta who owned an ice cream/confection shop he set up with friends

– Chipwiches date back to 1981 when LaMotta invented the Chipwich and began a guerilla marketing campaign, in which he trained and enlisted 50 street cart vendors (mostly students) to sell the Chipwich on the streets of New York City. Within an hour these amazing treats were sold out!

– The original chipwich was named by a young student in NJ – until then these frozen treats were virtually nameless!

Churning the chocolate ice cream

Now that you are probably salivating, let’s move on to the recipe…

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Adapted only slightly from the Key Ingredient website

Ingredients

 Butterscotch Sauce:
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 pinches (plus more to taste) of sea salt/kosher salt

Word to the wise: set out all the ingredients before assembly...

Cookies:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces)
*I used the same chocolate base from the Truffle-upagus ice cream and omitted all the mix-ins. It was perfect and creamy!

Step 1: Cover the bottom cookie with butterscotch sauce

Method

For butterscotch sauce:
Combine first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until both sugars dissolve. Increase heat and boil until large bubbles break on surface and sauce drops thickly from spoon, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in cream and vanilla (mixture may bubble vigorously) and then add in the salt to your liking. I probably added one teaspoon, but it could have been a bit saltier.  (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm slightly over low heat before using.)

Step 2: Cover with chocolate ice cream

For cookies:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray and flour two 7″ diameter cake pans.  Sift flour, baking soda and salt into small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until well blended. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop half of dough by large spoonfuls into each prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake cookies until light golden, about 14 minutes (Whatever you do, don’t overcook, so I would bake for 12 minutes and then check each minute afterwards. You want the cookie to be a bit gooey since you’re going to freeze it…) Cool cookies in pans on racks. Carefully turn out cookies.

Step 3: Cover with the second cookie, drizzle with butterscotch and freeze

The Great Assembly:

Place 1 cookie, top side up, in 7-inch disposable pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Drizzle 1/4 cup sauce over. Spread evenly with ice cream; drizzle with 1/2 cup sauce. Top with remaining cookie, top side up; press gently to adhere. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons sauce. Cover pan and freeze ice cream cake at least 5 hours. Cover and chill remaining sauce. (Cake and sauce can be prepared 3 days ahead.)
When you’re ready to serve the cake, remove from the freezer and let it stand until ice cream is slightly softened, about 5-8 minutes. Rewarm butterscotch sauce over low heat, cut cake into wedges, drizzle with sauce and enjoy!
The Verdict:
Really good, but not great and here’s why. Each individual component of this creation was delicious but once put together and frozen for 5 hours (it needed to harden and mold into its shape) the cookie got too hard. The problem was, if you thawed it before eating, the cookie softened but then the ice cream melted. Uch, it was a catch 22!

A nice side view!

So, the next time I make this (or perhaps just in a later post, you’ll see…) I will make individual cookies and fill them immediately before eating, that way the cookies are soft and fresh – just like the good ‘ole chipwich!

Having said all that, I served this treat at a party, and it was definitely a crowd pleaser! Heck, what’s not to love about 2 chocolate chip cookies smothered in butterscotch sauce and chocolate ice cream? Enjoy!

Watermelon Bombe

16 Aug

“Without an open minded mind, you can never be a great success.” ~ Martha Stewart

The lovely slices of the watermelon bombe

A friend recently sent me a slideshow with 60 different frozen treat recipes created by none other than Martha Stewart. “60 days of inspiration”,  read her note. “Get cracking!”  is what went through my mind! Well let me tell you, I scrolled through each of those beautiful creations and my friend was right…I’ve been inspired. So, with an open mind, I set out to make this wonderful watermelon treat.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the great reveal…

The W-A-T-E-R-M-E-L-O-N B-O-M-B-E!

Was it worth it? No

Will I do it again? No (Actually, maybe yes, but only to perfect the recipe)

Was this Watermelon Bombe a bomb? Emphatic Yes!

Ok. That’s a lot of ranting. Let me qualify the above statements.

In actuality this recipe was beautiful. It worked (even with substantive adaptations) just like Martha said it would. And even though I am a really harsh critic, when I sliced the “watermelon” a very pure, child-like smirk came over my fact. I did it! I have to admit, I was very proud of good ‘ole 365scoops.

Does anyone want a half watermelon?

But there were 2 major hiccups that I couldn’t get over. First, the watermelon sorbet was slightly icy (as any high-water content fruit sorbet would be) and so the watermelon bombe didn’t cut into perfect slices; it crumbled a bit instead. [No one seemed to notice but me, of course.]  Second, the white part of the rind (is it the pith?) and the actual rind bled together, and while most people didn’t even notice, I did because I spent three days preparing this beast of a dish and wanted it to go smoothly. So, instead of perfect watermelon slices as depicted in dear Martha’s photos, mine was a little bit more blended and crumbly than I would have liked. (See photos for proof!)

I consider myself really good at following directions, and generally my recipe creations look quite similar to the photo, but this one strayed a bit. Shame. I’m going to blame the fact that Martha’s food photographers probably photoshopped the heck out of her watermelon bombe. That and the fact that Martha is the Queen of Crafts so hers probably just looked better than mine. Plain and simple.

I digress…

A big fat slice of "watermelon"

This watermelon bombe was truly a labor of love. Though it took a bit of time [read: 3 days*] to make, assemble, and serve, it was a really fun project. And though I was complaining a bit  incessantly, the finished product was actually beautiful. So there.

*This project took 3 days because I only have one bowl for my ice cream maker, and it takes 18-24 hours for the bowl to freeze, so I could only make 1 flavor a day for three days. Hence the long journey to a grand watermelon bombe.

The Watermelon Bombe

Sorbet and ice cream recipes adapted from David Lebovitz, The Vegan Scoop and Bruce Weinstein. 

Ingredients

Step 1: Fill with lime sorbet

1 quart lime sorbet

1 quart vegan vanilla bean ice cream

1 quart watermelon sorbetto

Method

Line a 7″ pyrex or metal mixing bowl with saran wrap.

Immediately after churning the lime sorbet, or after thawing store-bought sorbet (gasp!) for 10 mins, scoop and spread the lime sorbet into an even layer on the interior of the bowl to create the green watermelon rind.  You will use the entire quart of sorbet. Cover, move to the freezer and let harden for at least 1 hour.

Step 2: Fill with an even layer of vegan vanilla bean ice cream

Repeat the above with the vegan vanilla bean ice cream. Spread an even layer of the ice cream on top of the lime sorbet to create the watermelon pith (the white part!). There will be a few scoops of ice cream left over. Cover, move to the freezer and let harden for at least 1 hour or overnight.

To finish the watermelon, scoop the watermelon sorbetto into the bowl, making sure to pack it tightly and evenly. Flatten the top and return to the freezer to harden. There will be leftover watermelon sorbetto.

Before serving, soak the bowl in a large bowl of hot water for approximately 20 seconds. Remove the cover, place face down on a serving plate or cutting  board and tap the bowl so that the saran wrap releases. If it doesn’t work, you can flip the bowl over, and pull the saran wrap gently to release, and then flip the bowl over again onto the cutting board and the watermelon bombe will come right out.

Step 3: Add the watermelon sorbetto and smooth to make the final layer

Slice the watermelon bombe to look exactly like a watermelon, serve and enjoy!

The Verdict: A for effort. A for execution. B/C for presentation. Not my best showing, but a valiant effort at that. This was truly a beautiful creation, it just didn’t go as swimmingly as trusty Martha’s. But hey, this is the 365scoops version, and for that, I say dig in!

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

15 Aug

Did you know that the most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States is Vanilla? According to the NDP Group’s National Eating Trends In-Home Database, 27.8% of people favor vanilla ice cream above all other flavors!

Creamy vegan vanilla bean ice cream

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for vegan ice cream. I personally have a real affinity for all-things dairy, but sadly a bunch of my friends simply cannot eat it. So, I caved, and made vegan vanilla bean ice cream. The texture was perfect. The flavor was a little sweet, but I was so impressed at how beautifully it thickened (considering it was made with soy milk, which is essentially water-based) that it overshadowed the sweetness of this treat.

This vegan vanilla treat is the second layer in my upcoming Watermelon Bombe. You know, watermelon rind is green, then it has a white layer (name, anyone? is it pith? rind?) and then the actual watermelon fruit itself. So hold on to your hats folks because this means that the Watermelon Bombe is going to be revealed very soon!

A few months ago I made Soy Latte Ice Cream and while the flavor was terrific, the ice cream was a little icy and watery. I blamed the poor consistency on the fact that it was my first foray into vegan treats, and knew that I would have to try again. This vegan ice cream was my chance for redemption and ka-ching, I hit the jackpot. Had it not worked, I would have still blogged about it, but would have been a major whiny pants!

A little ice cream lesson if you will:

Fat does not freeze, fat is good (well, sort of…please don’t take that out of context!) and fat is smooth and creamy. This is why “full-fat” aka cream-based ice creams are, well, creamier. If you try substituting skim milk or other lower fat dairy products in place of half-and-half, whipping cream or even whole milk, you’ll notice that the next day, the ice cream is rock hard and you’ll actually need an ice pick to eat it.

Soy milk and arrow root flour...mixed together and heated they are a great thickening agent

Well, water based products (like soy milk) tend not to have as much fat, and therefore get icier and freeze harder. Egg yolks could be of assistance in the creaminess department due to their emulsifying properties, but then this recipe would not have been vegan.

So, the general consensus is to add 2 tbs of arrow root flour to the mixture. Let me tell you, it thickens beautifully and makes the ice cream ever so creamy. It was honestly like magic.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Adapted from The Vegan Scoop

Ingredients

2 cups soy milk*

1 cup soy creamer

1 tbs vanilla bean paste (I would suggest using 3/4 of a tbs next time)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tbs arrow root flour

*I used 1 cup of vanilla soy milk and 1 cup of regular soy milk. I would not recommend this as it was too sweet, but I had it in the house and didn’t want it to go to waste. Next time I’ll only use regular soy milk. You live and you learn.

Vegan vanilla bean ice cream churning...

Method

Mix 2tbs of arrow root flour with 1/2 cup of soy milk and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the soy creamer, remaining 1 1/2 cups of soy milk and sugar in a saucepan until small bubbles form around the edges. Do not let it boil. Once hot, remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the soy milk and arrow root flour mixture. You will notice that the mixture begins to thicken, almost like when adding milk to an instant pudding mixture. Continue stirring until the entire mixture is blended and then add in the tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.

Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating at least 2 hours. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll notice that this ice cream will churn faster than non-egg based recipes but on par with custards. Remove from the machine and eat or put in a freezer safe container to store.

The Verdict: Other than the fact that this recipe was too sweet (mea culpa…I should not have used vanilla soy milk) it was still pretty yummy. Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of dairy-free ice cream because that’s not really ice cream thankyouverymuch but all things considered this was really quite good! Being that this was made with soy milk (and not coconut milk or cashews) it had a slight soy aftertaste, but that’s to be expected. And like I said earlier, the texture was perfecto!

Stay tuned for the watermelon bombe extravaganza…

Lime Sorbet

8 Aug

“If life gives you limes, make a margarita.” ~ Jimmy Buffett

Loads of limes (how's that for alliteration?)

Mr. Buffett is a wise man. I probably should have listened to him and made margarita sorbet instead. Oh well, I’ll have to do that another time. Perhaps Cinco de Mayo.

Since I still only have one small ice cream maker, and therefore only one bowl for the machine (which, mind you, has to be frozen for 18-24 hours before use), I had to devote all of last week to making this ridiculous Watermelon Bombe. So, each day I came home from work, created another sorbet or ice cream, shaped it, froze it, and hoped for the best. In a few days I’ll reveal the actual Watermelon Bombe but for now, you’ll have to learn about the grueling process…

This lime sorbet started out all fine and dandy. I decided to try a new recipe from Bruce Weinstein, who wrote The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. Can’t be bad, right? Wrong!  Note to self: Don’t trust a recipe blindly again.

Here’s the scoop. I needed a green flavor for the watermelon “rind” in my watermelon bombe. I decided that lime sorbet would be best, and by adding green food coloring I got the perfect watermelon “rind” color. Not so fast.  I squeezed and zested limes until my fingers were sore, whisked an egg white until my weak little arm muscles were pissed, all in hopes of a limey treat. Ohy….not what I hoped for.

Squeezing those limes. A little trick to help get all the juice out, cut the limes in half and stab the cut side with a fork while squeezing. Trust me, it works!

I can’t quite figure out what made the sorbet so weird. First and foremost, it was way too sweet. I mean sickeningly sweet. And that means a lot coming from a self-proclaimed sweet-o-holic. I tried to offset the sweetness with lime zest – lots of it – even though the recipe didn’t call for any. Using my brand new citrus zester certainly made this much easier. But still, no good.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the freezer…by some miracle of miracles, I let the sorbet freeze overnight and you know what, it lost some of its sweetness. I’m not sure how it happened, but it transformed from a painfully sweet, questionable sorbet, to a little more of a refreshing ( and sweet) summer treat. Another possibility is that it grew on me.  Either way, next time I make lime sorbet I’m going to use a lot less sugar, and a lot more lime.

Lime Sorbet

Adapted from Bruce Weinstein’s recipe

Stirring the lime juice into the egg white and sugar syrup mixture

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups sugar**

2 cups water

1 large egg white

2/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 6-7 large limes)

zest from 2-3 limes, according to taste

Approximately 5 drops of green food coloring

**If you know anything about making sorbet, you’ll notice that the water to sugar ratio here is not accurate. For simple syrup you need 1 cup water for every 1 cup sugar. In Bruce’s recipe the ratio is 1 1/4 cups sugar for 2 cups water, or a little less than 2:1. That should be the first red flag! Anyhow…

Method

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Raise the heat and boil the syrup for one minute, and remove from the heat.

...And poof, it's green!

In a medium mixing bowl lightly beat the egg white with a whisk or an electric beater until foamy. Slowly beat in the hot sugar syrup and continue to beat until the meringue (aka egg white) cools down. Add in the lime juice and lime zest. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. You’ll notice that the mixture will have foam on top, don’t worry it will incorporate into the sorbet when it freezes.

Stir the chilled mixture and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft and ready to eat. If you’re just making this for a refreshing treat then I say eat it out of the machine. If you’re saving it for a watermelon bombe (which I was) you’ll have to mold it into the watermelon shape. I’ll tell you all about this in a few days, hold your horses!

Fully churned, that stuff looked beautiful...The taste, on the other hand...

The Verdict: Eh. Way way way too sweet. If the simple syrup proportion was correct, and we omitted the egg white, I have a feeling this would have been much better. But, the lime zest definitely saved the day, and when this was served in conjunction with vanilla ice cream and watermelon sorbet, the overly sweet lime flavor was definitely tempered. Phew.

Stay tuned for more on the Watermelon Bombe. Trust me, it was cool.

Watermelon Mint Granita

5 Aug

“Pick up a sesame seed but lose sight of a watermelon.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Fresh watermelon mint granita topped with a lime slice. Yum!

This proverb is very telling and it’s a reminder not to focus on all the minutia in life and instead direct your energy to more important, big picture things.

Today has been a particularly frustrating day. Nothing seemed to go my way – I was parched and reached for a cup of water and the office cooler was empty. I took one bite of my salad and spilled it – with balsamic vinegar – on my lap. I found myself getting very frustrated and worked up by minute details and annoyances at the office. And then. Pow! I stumbled across this proverb and I realized that I needed to get a grip, and quit sweating the small stuff. If I continue to allow all of these tiny annoyances to pile up and bother me, I’m going to be toast. I need to cool it…

…And so I did, with this terrific watermelon mint granita! I’ve been on a mint kick lately. It’s funny considering I had a mint tragedy a few months ago, but I’m recovering. Last week I made fresh mint lemonade when it was 104 degrees and it was so perfectly refreshing.  Today I used the rest of the mint  and the remaining 3.5 cups of watermelon puree from the watermelon sorbetto for this watermelon mint granita. [By the way, if I were getting paid for every time I’ve used the word watermelon in the past two posts I’d be rich!]

I saw that Martha Rose Shulman, the brains behind recipes for health in the NY Times had a recipe for watermelon mint smoothies. I figured heck, if she can pulse it into a smoothie, surely I can freeze it into a granita. I changed some of the ingredients and proportions, and I’m pretty certain that is an awesome summer treat!

What a beautiful watermelon!

A few words about granitas… The granita originated in Sicily, and it’s  a cousin of the Italian ice or sorbet. The granita texture varies in different parts of Italy; some of them are more creamy and smooth, others are icier and coarser. Either way, granitas can be eaten with a brioche for breakfast (um, yum), in coffee, on top of sorbet, or with a dollop of whipped cream. Bottom line, a granita is delicious and refreshing! I’m serving mine straight up with a slice of lime, though I was tempted to pour a little vodka or rum on top and enjoy it while watching the beautiful NYC sunset. There’s always tomorrow for that…

Watermelon Mint Granita

Adapted from recipes for health by Martha Rose Shulman

Fresh mint and watermelon puree

Ingredients

3.5 cups of pureed, seedless watermelon*

1/2 cup of sugar (you could use agave as well, just adjust proportions)

2 tbs of fresh mint

1 tbs of vodka (optional)

2 tbs of fresh lime juice

*To get 3.5 cups of watermelon puree, you’ll need approximately 3.5 lbs of watermelon. I bought a 5.5lb watermelon which yielded 6.5 cups of watermelon puree.

Method

Remove the watermelon rind and cut into small pieces. Puree the watermelon in the blender until smooth. There will be small white seeds, don’t worry about it.

Watermelon mint granita ready to be frozen...

Add in the fresh mint, lime juice, sugar and vodka and puree until smooth.

Pour into an 11×7 rectangular pan and freeze. After approximately 1.5 hours, check the granita. Once it has started to freeze run a fork through the entire pan and begin breaking up the ice to make little icicles. Return the dish to the freezer, then check the mixture every 30 minutes afterward, stirring each time and breaking up any large chunks into small pieces with a fork, until you have fine crystals of home made granita!

While this makes a quart of granita, it doesn’t actually serve as many people as a quart of ice cream. Expect to serve four people with this, especially because they’ll definitely come back for seconds!

Look at those beautiful watermelon mint crystals...

The Verdict: I loved it! This was so easy and so refreshing. The best part? No ice cream maker or tools required. This is a very simple crowd pleaser; everyone will think you went to lots of trouble but in reality you mixed and froze some fruit and sugar. Not too shabby! Granitas are a perfect treat for a hot summer night. Enjoy.