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Strawberry Ice Cream

23 Oct

“Let me take you down

‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields

Nothing is real

And nothing to get hung about

Strawberry Fields Forever” ~ The Beatles

Strawberries and sugar...what could be bad about that?

It’s been two months since I had my last eggless ice cream.

That sounds like some sort of AA confession.

Truth be told, it is.

When I first started 365scoops I was making loads of ice cream but was petrified of using eggs. What if I gave someone salmonella? What if I overcooked the eggs and made chocolate scrambled egg ice cream? Tempering eggs seemed way out of my league and Philadelphia-style ice cream suited me just fine. Then one day I decided to start using eggs and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I never thought I would say this but I absolutely prefer custard. It’s richer, creamier, and allows you to use whole milk/half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Bottom line: I’m addicted to ice creams and gelato made with eggs.

Enter Jeni. I’ve been following Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams since I started this blog and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for her highly-anticipated cookbook to hit the stores. Hearing that she uses cream cheese, corn starch and corn syrup instead of egg yolks, I was intrigued. So, when I saw her new cookbook in Williams Sonoma I knew I had to have it. The next thing I knew, I was at home reading each page of the cookbook, savoring the beautiful photos and drooling over her recipes. David Lebovitz raves about her, and so naturally she must be great.

I dove into her book head first and decided to make a good, old fashioned classic: Strawberry Ice Cream. If you like hard-packed ice cream, this is the recipe for you. If not, I say stick to the custards. But, roasting the strawberries, as described below, is a fabulous idea because it releases some of the extra juices and makes the flavor even more intense. Strawberry fields forever.

Washing the berries before use (always a good idea, even when they're organic!)

Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Ingredients (Roasted Strawberries)

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbs fresh lemon juice

Ingredients (Ice Cream Base)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tbs cornstarch

2 ounces (4tbs) cream cheese, softened

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/2 cups half-and-half (1/4 cup reserved until later)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbs light corn syrup

Corn starch and milk mixture

Method

First you’re going to roast the strawberries (note: I don’t have a roast function in my tiny NYC apartment kitchen, so I did bake, and it was just fine). Preheat oven the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in a glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Bake for 8 minutes or until just soft. Let cool slightly. Puree the berries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Set aside.

For the ice cream base: mix about 2 tbs of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Combine the remaining milk, half-and-half, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Adding the warm milk mixture to the bowl

In a separate heat-proof bowl gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the strawberry puree and the remaining 1/4 cup of half-and-half  and blend well. Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, pour the ice cream mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer into a freezer safe container and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, approximately 3-4 hours.

Enjoy!

Mixing the strawberry mixture into the ice cream base

The Verdict: Honestly I was not too impressed. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of pureed berries, and I used approximately 3 1/2 cups – which just goes to show that this original recipe lacked flavor. Once I added enough berries it was much tastier and when drizzled with hot fudge sauce it was simply delicious. But, being that this ice cream was not made with eggs, it got harder and icier in the freezer than a typical custard so I suggest eating it the same day. Try your hand at this flavor, but I would recommend using 3 egg yolks instead of the cornstarch, corn syrup and cream cheese (follow any of my other recipes with eggs to  learn how to temper), the same proportions of everything else, and it will provide a much yummier texture.

One tiny little apology – I forgot to photograph the final product. My bad. You’ll just have to imagine that it looked like this  because it did!

Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

19 Oct

“Mocha Choca latta ya ya (oh oh oohoh ) 
Creole Lady Marmalade”  ~ Lady Marmalade

Mocha Choca Latta

Top of the morning to ya.

As of late, that’s become my favorite greeting. It’s weird, it’s retro, it’s fun.

Last night was a big day for 365scoops – we debuted our flavors at the Real Bloggers of NYC. Not to toot my own horn (wow, another awkward expression) but it seemed that the ice cream went over swimmingly! We served over 100 cups of ice cream from 15 pints of freshly churned flavors including Tiramisu, Charleston Chew, Key Lime Pie, Peach Sorbetto, and Vanilla Bean.

This morning, however, I was zonked. So zonked, that I needed a cup of caffeine – stat. For those of you who know me, I cannot drink caffeine. I become crazy, nutty, loopy and shaky (not so different from the present, non-caffeinated me). Not good things when I’m trying to work at my day job. But, alas, I had to succumb to my urges and drink coffee. In so doing, I realized that caffeinated ice was in order. After work, I marched myself home to create this very flavor.

Fun fact:

Adding the coffee to the milk and cocoa mixture

Shakers banned the consumption of coffee because they felt it was a luxury, but shortly thereafter the older members of congregations complained, so the elderly were allowed to drink coffee in the morning.  Upon hearing this, the women in the community became very angry with the unfairness of the rule, so they lobbied and received the right to drink coffee the mornings of communal clothes-washing as well.  SO despite their reputations of being stringent and unyielding, Shakers did sometimes show some flexibility!

Mocha Choca Latta Gelato

Inspired by Ben and Jerry’s 

Whisking the eggs and sugar

Ice Cream Ingredients

2 1/4 cups half-and-half

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

3 tbs good quality instant coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Mocha Sauce 

Adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe here

Method

This happens to be a very simple (and wildly delicious recipe). I made the ice cream with caffeinated coffee (duh) but have also made versions with decaf and it tastes exactly the same and still delicious.

The mocha sauce comes to life

Make the mocha sauce here and set aside.

Warm the milk and half-and-half in a large pot until small bubbles form around the edges. Whisk in the cocoa and instant coffee and stir vigorously so that it dissolves. Set aside.

Whisk together (I used my new fun blue whisk!) the three egg yolks. Slowly add in the sugar until it is dissolved and the yolks are pale yellow.

Pour the hot coffee/chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (slowly so they don’t scramble!) and stir thoroughly. Pour the mixture back into the large pot and heat until the mixture either coats the back of a spoon, or it reaches 185 degrees.

And it reaches 185 degrees. Eggs are cooked, phew!

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

Once the mixture is cooled, pour into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes).

Scoop into a freezer safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Drizzle with the mocha sauce and enjoy!

The Verdict:  Hit the spot. I’m sick and tired of saying “yummy” so this time I’ll say, delectable! Really, this is good stuff. I even put a scoop of it in my coffee this morning, and let me tell you, I do not regret it. A perfect, creamy addition. Enjoy!

The Real Bloggers of New York City

17 Oct

Friends and fellow ice cream lovers:

The time has arrived. 365scoops is making it’s big debut on the UWS. I’ll be giving away free ice cream at Stand Up NY TODAY, Monday October 17th at 7pm.
I’ll be part of the Real Bloggers of NYC series, which includes a meet and greet (with yours truly!), a stand up comedy show (not by yours truly!), drinks, and 365scoops.
If you want to try some yummy creations, come on down!
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street
New York, NY 10024
SPOILER ALERT: I will be scooping 15 pints of ice cream and sorbet – and to entice you to come, here are two of the spectacular treats: Charleston Chew and Tiramisu. Some things need to be a surprise – so you’ll have to come to find out the other 3 flavors!
Anyone who comes will be entered to win their very own, custom-designed pint of ice cream. See you soon!

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!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

28 Aug

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” ~ Unknown

The ice cream cookie sandwich!

I learned my lesson the hard way.

If you recall last week I made The Mama Chipwhich, which the Silly Husband thought was for him. Womp Womp. Seeing him so disappointed was heartbreaking, and being the nice wife that I am, I decided to make him his own chocolate peanut butter ice cream sandwich. I know that chocolate and peanut butter are the way to his heart. Though he wasn’t blessed with my sweet tooth, he never refuses a cookie. They are, in fact, his weakness. So, what’s better than a gooey chocolate peanut butter cookie smothered in chocolate peanut butter ice cream? Nothing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Cookie only very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which was previous adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Ice Cream from Serendipity Sundaes (and created for my last post!)

Making the peanut butter mixture

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
3/4 cup sugar

Look at that dough smothered in chocolate and peanut butter chips

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips and milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Extra sugar for sprinkling

Method

A big ball of dough, getting ready to make the individual cookies

For the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate.

Rolling a little cookie ball into sugar

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.

Flattening the cookies with a fork and making small indents

Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

This recipe made approximately 35-40 cookies.

Look at those gorgeous cookies stacked and ready to go!

For the Ice Cream Sandwich:

Make the dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream (see here for a complete guide to making this delectable treat). As soon as the ice cream is done churning you’re going to want to start assembling.

Place one cookie face down on a plate. Place 2 scoops of ice cream on top of the first cookie, cover with the second cookie and “smush” the top cookie down a bit onto the bottom cookie so the ice cream oozes out a little on either side. Repeat until you have enough ice cream cookie sandwiches and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Dig in!

The Verdict: The cookies were outrageous bundles of butter, peanut butter and chocolate. The little sugar coating on the outside was a great way to start the bite. I brought the cookies to my office and they were devoured.  When filled with ice cream, these were just the bees knees.

The Husband was grateful for my peace offering, especially when I promised to only make ice cream cookie sandwiches for him…

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 Sorbetto

4 Aug

“When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” ~ Mark Twain

Look at that sorbetto!

Yesterday was a great day. Not only was it National Watermelon Day but I also met David Lebovitz. Yes, that’s right. I. Met. David. Lebovitz. It was epic.

So, in honor of this most auspicious day, I’ve decided to make David Lebovitz’s watermelon sorbetto. It just so happens that this is the first of  a few entries for my Watermelon Bombe, which will be debuted (hopefully!) later this week. It’s quite an undertaking, but if all goes as planned, I will be recreating a watermelon from lime sorbet, vegan vanilla ice cream and watermelon sorbetto. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…

I would be remiss if I forgot to mention Jerry Seinfeld’s hilarious stand-up bit about the seedless watermelon. I first heard this routine on a mixed tape – yes, a mixed tape – one summer at camp. Thankfully, technology has progressed since then and I found the youtube video.

It’s so funny, I know. I keep laughing, and replaying. Some things never change.

If you want to read the complete transcript from Seinfeld’s watermelon bit here you go…

I’ll leave you with one fun fact before the recipe. Did you know that watermelons are not actually a fruit? Contrary to popular belief, watermelons are vegetables and part of the cucumber and squash family. So, next time someone tells you to eat a vegetable, pick up a watermelon and you’ll show them who’s boss!

Watermelon from the trusty fruit vendor

Watermelon Sorbetto

From David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop

Ingredients

3 cups of seedless watermelon puree*

1/2 cup sugar

1-2 tbs lime juice

1 tbs vodka (optional)

pinch of salt

1-2tbs of mini chocolate chips (for seeds!)

*To get 3 cups of watermelon puree, you’ll need approximately 3lbs of watermelon. I bought a 5.5lb watermelon which yielded 6.5 cups of watermelon puree.

Watermelon puree. It just looks so refreshing.

Method

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

Pour 1/2 cup of the watermelon puree and 1/2 cup of sugar into a pot. Turn on the stovetop, heat, and stir until well-blended. Turn off the stove and pour the rest of the 2 1/2 cups of watermelon puree into the pot. Add 1-2tbs of fresh squeezed lime juice, and 1 tbs of vodka (I did!). Remember, using alcohol will affect the freezing temperature, so you may notice that the sorbetto is a little softer than usual when done churning, it will harden more in the freezer.

Refrigerate the mixture until chilled completely. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately 2-3 minutes before done churning add in the chocolate chips for “seeds”.  Scoop the mixture into a freezer safe container and freeze. Before eating make sure to defrost for 5-10 minutes first; watermelon has a high water content and so the sorbetto will be quite hard straight out of the freezer.

Watermelon sorbetto (check out those chocolate chip seeds!)

The Verdict:

Authentically watermelon! I like that this recipe was no frills – and really highlighted the true watermelon flavor. The lime juice is essential – it actually awakens the watermelon flavor. The vodka helped too as it kept the sorbetto a little softer. And of course, the chocolate chips were too cute to resist.

New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie

27 Jul

“I can’t wait to get back to New York  City where at least when I walk down the street, no one ever hesitates to tell me exactly what they think of me. ” ~ Ani Difranco

New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake. Enough said.

Cheesecake is to New York as tea is to London. There’s no two ways about it; cheesecake is quintessentially New York.

Or so you thought…

I hate to burst your bubble, New York, but cheesecake actually originates from Greece. Good thing Greece didn’t get the rights to the name because quite frankly “Greece Cake” sounds revolting!

The advent of cream cheese (like all good discoveries, a mistake at first!) truly shaped the taste of cheesecake today. In 1872, a fine dairy man by the name of William Lawrence from upstate NY, attempted to make a batch of Neufchatel (a soft, fresh, cow’s milk cheese from France) when lo and behold he added too much heavy cream and instead created a much silkier and richer cheese. This “mistake” came to be known as “cream cheese.”  Until the creation of cream cheese, cheesecakes were typically more coarse and heavy in texture. But, thanks to good ‘ole Will and the creative talents of Jewish New Yorkers (who began swapping this new schmear, aka cream cheese for other cheeses originally in the dessert) we have the famous New York Cheesecake!

Graham cracker crumbs, ready for the crust

So, I guess the New York Cheesecake is native to New York, circa 1900s,  but the idea of making cheese into a cake form is totally ripped off from Greece, circa 4th Century B.C.E.

I have to admit that I absolutely love cheesecake. As a kid, I would dream about going to the Cheesecake Factory just to get oreo cheesecake. Here in NY my favorite cheesecake comes from Cafe Edgar and is smothered in brownies and a fudge crust. It’s heavenly, sinful and indulgent. But that never stops me.

So, rather than going to a bakery to buy cheesecake I decided to recreate it at home. A very wise friend suggested that I put cheesecake ice cream into a graham cracker crust for “the total New York Cheesecake experience”. And voila, here you have it! I hope you’ll enjoy this authentic New York Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie.

Filling the graham cracker crust with cheesecake ice cream

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

Method

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a flouted tart pan (with a removable bottom, this part is key!). Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Zesting a lemon into the cheese mixture (yes, I am using a cheese grater to zest a lemon, it's brilliant, I know!)

Cheesecake Ice Cream

From David Lebovitz’s A Perfect Scoop

Ingredients

1 8oz. package of cream cheese, cut into small chunks*

1 cup sour cream

zest from one lemon

1/2 cup half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

approximately 10 strawberries (for garnish, not to be mixed in…)

*I used full fat cream cheese and sour cream because, well, why not?

Method

Zest the lemon directly into the blender and then pour in all the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and then chill in the refrigerator. Once cool, pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s

Thinly sliced berries for decoration

instructions. Since this only has a half cup of actual liquid, you may notice that it churns faster than other ice creams. Once finished, pour/scoop into the graham cracker crust and freeze immediately for 10 minutes.

While the “cheesecake” is freezing, thinly slice approximately 10 strawberries for decoration. Remove the “cheesecake” from the freezer and start moving quickly! Arrange the strawberry slices in a circular pattern, beginning with the outer-most edge. Continue arranging the strawberries in concentric circles until you’ve reached the center. Place a full strawberry in the center and return the dessert to the freezer.

Remove from the freezer approximately 5 minutes before you want to eat it. Before serving, lift the “cheesecake” out of the tart pan (the bottom should slide off easily) and slice like a cake. I’m telling you, this dessert is eye candy. And it tastes as good as it looks.

A close up...graham cracker crust, cheese cake ice cream, and fresh strawberries. Bottom line, it's delicious.

The Verdict:  Sinful. This dessert was a hit. If you’re like me and eat with your eyes, than this dessert is perfect. Because it’s so visually appealing, you have no other choice but to dig in. I should note, however, that if you’re looking to enjoy a nice big scoop of ice cream, than this dessert is not for you. Because the ice cream is molded into a tart pan, it’s much thinner than your average scoop. The good news is that the cake melts so perfectly, and is so utterly creamy, that each bite is more delicious than the next. Trust me.

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

14 Jul

The importance of ginger can be dated back to the writings of Confucius. In 9th century Europe, powdered ginger was placed on the table alongside salt and pepper.

The candied ginger heart. I did put my heart and soul into this!

Being from Boston I am a big fan of Emack and Bolio’s. In fact, they affectionately refer to themselves as “The Boston Ice Cream Experience” which I think is quite accurate. Though desserts were a rarity in our household growing up, I do remember occasional outings to Emack and Bolio’s. I always thought that their name was really funny. To be honest, I don’t think I ever started pronouncing it correctly until about last year. True story.

Recently a friend wrote to 365scoops in a moment of desperation, panicking because a super fabulous Emack and Bolio’s flavor had been discontinued. The original Emack and Bolio’s flavor, I’m told, was called “Triple Ginger Mama” and was some sort of vanilla base with ginger flavor and lots of texture. This flavor was affectionately referred to as “vanilla/ginger amazingness”. Trying to decode that description was a little hard, so I took some liberties and attempted to recreate this recipe with my own 365scoops flair.

It turns out that this friend was the first person to witness the birth of 365scoops because I actually ran into her on the fateful night that I purchased my ice cream maker . I suppose I owe it to her to create a flavor in her honor. I also owe it to her because she just got engaged and what a better pre-wedding treat than good (I hope!) ‘ole fashioned ice cream…

The beautiful candied ginger

So, since I’ve been wanting to make a white chocolate ice cream for a while, this just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I wanted to subtly introduce the ginger flavor, but not go overboard because I’m not such a fan of ginger in my ice creams (give it to me in Asian cuisine or salad dressings and I’m game though!). Additionally I thought that little chunks of caramelized ginger would give a nice added texture and treat without making the ice cream too “aggressively ginger.” So, that just leaves me with one thing…the recipe!

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe has two parts; the actual ice cream and the candied ginger. You should make the candied ginger first unless you have enough kitchen space/pots and pans to make it while the ginger is steeping in the milk. I, however, live in NYC, and therefore it was just too tight in the kitchen to make all this work at once !

Candied Ginger

Adapted from David Lebovitz (only slightly) 

It may be hard to tell, but that's a lot of ginger!

Ingredients

1/2 lb peeled fresh ginger

2 cups sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)

2 cups water

candy thermometer

Method

Don’t be scared but this recipe calls for a candy thermometer. Actually, you don’t really need one, but I can say unequivocally that I would have ruined this recipe if I did not use the thermometer. There. I said it! So, while I typically shy away from any recipe that requires a candy thermometer, they’re much easier to use then I thought, and way less intimidating!

Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife.

Put the ginger slices in a non-reactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time. After the second time boiling the ginger, do not drain the water; you’ll be adding to it for the rest of the recipe.

Success! 225 degrees F. Home-made candied ginger is on its way!

Mix the sugar and 2 cups water in the pot, along with the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225 degrees F. This is where the candy thermometer comes in handy. The temperature will rise rapidly to approximately 17o degrees F and will hover around there for approximately 10-15 minutes. It will then continue to slowly rise until it reaches 225, again hovering around 215 degrees F for a while. You’ll need to keep watching the mixture, and periodically check the thermometer to make sure. All in, this takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

Remove from heat , drain very well while the ginger is hot, and toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose. The ginger syrup can also be used for home-made ginger ale.

Heaps of candied ginger.

The candied ginger can be stored at room temperature for at least a month. This recipe will yield plenty for snacking or gifting.

White Chocolate and Candied Ginger Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 cup milk

2 cups half-and-half

2/3 cup sugar

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

8 ounces good quality white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger

Method

I did not have a ruler to measure out the ginger...so I fashioned one by folding a 4 inch envelope in half. Crafty, I know!

Peel and slice the ginger very thinly and cover it with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Drain away the water but return the blanched ginger to the pan.

Add the sugar, milk and 1 cup of the half-and-half. Rewarm the mixture, turn off the stovetop, cover the mixture and steep for at least an hour, or until you are satisfied with the ginger flavor. I steeped mine for 1 hour and it was a very mild flavor – which is what I wanted. (But if you really like ginger I suggest you use either 3 inches of ginger or let it steep more. Once you add the white chocolate mixture it will dilute the ginger flavor a lot).

Chop the white chocolate and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Melt on high for 30 seconds, stir and see whether you need to melt it again, if so, repeat. Whisk the white chocolate into the milk mixture. Add in the remaining one cup of half-and-half.

Mixing the melted white chocolate. I may have stolen a few licks (after I made the mixture, don't worry!)

Pour the mixture through a strainer and discard the ginger. Cool completely (at least 2 hours) and then pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Approximately five minutes before the ice cream is done churning, slowly pour in the candied ginger pieces.  When finished, scoop into a container and let freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

You’ll notice that I cut one piece of ginger into a heart, and placed it on top of the ice cream. Let’s just say it was a cute surprise when the newly engaged couple opened the container!

The Verdict: Folks, I think they liked it! One of the royal taste testers got down on one knee and asked me to marry her (I politely declined, though I was flattered. I just didn’t think The Husband would want to give me up that easily!) Another taste tester said “many things are frozen but not all things are chosen”. I liked that rhyme, and again, I was flattered. And of course, the dear friend who requested this flavor seemed really happy with it. I hope you’ll all try this flavor at home.