Cold Comfort Ice Cream: Creative Ice Cream Recipes from Snowy New England

Archive for the ‘Seasonal Flavors’ Category

Even better than Black Raspberry!

I decided to make this flavor after a bumper crop of fresh blackberries came into all of my local grocery stores, yielding pints and pints of fresh, juicy, inky black berries on sale for only 99 cents a pint. So what to do with them all? Make tasty homemade ice cream of course! Part of the many charms of DIY ice cream is that you can make flavors that are nearly impossible to find commercially. Blackberry ice cream is one such flavor. Sure black raspberry is readily available, but do you really think it’s made with real, wholesome, honest to goodness black raspberries? In most cases I highly doubt it. Not only does the homemade kind have real, natural ingredients but the taste is superior as well. A beauty both to look at and to eat.

Quick Skillet Jam

When I first started to make fruit ice creams, I followed certain recipes that instructed me to simply mix pureed fruit right into the ice cream base. In my opinion, I think this method yields an icy finished product. You see, water is the enemy of ice cream. Added water to your base will diminsh creaminess and produce an icy result every time. This is tricky when it comes to making fruit based ice creams because fruit inherently contains a lot of water. My solution? The quick skillet jam. By making a jam I boil the troublesome water out of the fruit while concentrating the flavors of it simultaneously. Then, right before you put it into the ice cream maker, I add a small amount of pureed fruit for freshness.

You've got to love lavendar ice cream!

Please don’t be afraid to make a skillet jam!  Trust me, it’s fall off a log simple. You just mash up the berries a bit, through em’ in a pan with some sugar and booze, and simmer over low heat until jam-like.  No scary canning, sealing or boiling required. The jam won’t keep as long as a properly canned preserves would, but it you really don’t need it to. This jam is made for a higher purpose- providing sweet, sweet flavor to your homemade ice cream!

A great way to kick off summer!

Blackberry Ice Cream is a perfect flavor for summer, and this recipe came out beautifully. The texture was actually velvety with a creamy, fruity flavor. Do think of this pretty little dessert next time berries are on sale at your local supermarket. Or whenever the mood strikes!

Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

12 oz. blackberries, divided

2 cups half and half

3/4 cup sugar, divided

3 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liquor, or other liquor compatible with blackberries

1.) To make the easy skillet jam, combine 9 oz of the blackberries, ½ cup of the sugar, and 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier in a medium pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced, with a jam-like consistency (about 30-40 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add in the remaining tablespoon of Grand Marnier and remove from heat. Spoon into a container; cool to room temperature.

2.) Place remaining fresh blackberries in food processor. Pulse until blended. Strain puree through a sieve to get rid of extraneous seeds.

3.) Combine half and half in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

4.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

5.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add the half and half and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6 minutes.

6.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, vanilla extract, blackberry puree and blackberry jam, whisking well to blend. Refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

While I think this ice cream is stand alone delicious, I think it would taste lovely with a white chocolate hot fudge sauce drizzled on top. Blackberries and white chocolate are a tried and true delicious flavor combo. Emeril Lagasse makes a tasty looking white chocolate sauce here:

http://www.emerils.com/recipe/1556/White-Chocolate-Sauce

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My whole family flipped for this!

Again, I took this recipe from David Lebovitz’s masterful cookbook on all things frozen, The Perfect Scoop. Even though it uses just a bit of whole milk and a smattering of butter, this ice cream came out remarkably creamy. In fact, I think the lack of fats really allowed the sumptuous flavors of oven roasted bananas and caramelized brown sugar to take center stage. The dot of butter actually went quite a long way, combining beautifully with the brown sugar to create a sweet-salty butterscotch flavor. The members of my family on diets went wild for this recipe, and we all polished it off in one sitting.

The three bananas left in the house...

I decided to make this when I wanted to make a new ice cream, but I didn’t have enough milk, cream or eggs to make the proper, custard style variety. Being too lazy to go out to the store, I decided to stick it out and scrounge around the house for ingredients to make some kind of frozen treat. When I saw the three bananas on sitting in a bowl on my kitchen table, I immediately remembered David Lebovitz’s Roasted Banana Ice Cream. I made it last year, and it was equally delicious then as it is now.

Getting ready for roasting.

This ice cream was pretty easy to make. Just chop up some bananas, add some brown sugar and melted butter and then pop the whole thing in the oven to roast. I would advise checking it frequently. David Lebovitz suggesting roasting the bananas for 40 minutes, but mine were done in 30. So check frequently and stir often to prevent a whole different kind of burnt caramel!

Fresh from the churn!

This ice cream was so awesome, one family member told me that I should package it and start a line of low-fat, insanely tasty banana based ice creams. I don’t know if I’m going to do that (I think David Lebovitz might have something to say about it!), but it was exceptionally good. Especially if you are on a diet and looking for a fairly healthy treat. This is honestly as good as it’s going to get and frankly, better than many full fat ice cream flavors I’ve made.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s cookbook, The Perfect Scoop, 2007.

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp. butter (salted or unsalted), cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups whole milk

 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp. coarse salt

1.) Preheat the oven to 400°.

 2.) Slice the bananas into ½ -inch pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart baking dish.  Bake for 40 minutes, stirring just once during baking, until the bananas are browned and cooked through.

 3.) Scrape the bananas and the thick syrup in the baking dish into a blender or food processor.  Add the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt, and puree until smooth. 

 4.) Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  If the chilled mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisking will thin it out.

Make it a Sundae!- This would be a great ice cream to use in a banana split! Use three scoops of this with chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce and marshmallow. Add a split banana, whipped cream, toasted walnuts for crunch and a maraschino cherry on top. An updated and great twist on classic!

The best rice pudding I've ever had!

I’ve been making David Lebovitz’s Rice Pudding Gelato ever since I purchased his wonderful book, The Perfect Scoop, a year ago. It immediately jumped out to me because I love gelato and I particularly love this type of rice pudding that Scandinavians call Riskrem. Riskrem is rice pudding as you’ve never had it before and one of my all time favorite desserts. Part of what makes it so special is that freshly whipped cream is folded into the rice pudding, making it both decadent and light as a cloud. Combining my two favorite desserts is brilliant and this recipe captures the very best qualities of rice pudding and ice cream.

This ice cream starts life in the oven.

Part of what makes this ice cream so great is the way it’s prepared and its delicious flavorings. You bake arborio rice with milk, a whole split vanilla bean and some orange rind for an hour and a half until the rice is tender and deeply flavored. The milk infuses with the orange and vanilla flavors creating a rich and complex base.

The best of both worlds, take that Hannah Montana!

Another genius aspect of this recipe is the fact that some of the rice gets put into a blender, creating little nubbly textured grains of rice. Texture is really important in almost all food and ice cream is no exception. With some grains of rice being left whole and some pureed fine, this ice cream has a delightful mouthfeel that’s a joy to eat.

A sprinkling of cinnamon makes it perfection!

Even if you’re not a rice pudding lover, do try this ice cream. I think it’s an improvement on the traditional rice pudding and the subtle nutmeg, vanilla and orange flavorings keep every bite delicious and intriguing. Another great ice cream from David Lebovitz! With him you just can’t go wrong.

Rice Gelato
Adapted from Perfect Scoop.

1/2 cup Italian Arborio rice
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lenghtwise
Two 1-inch-wide strips of orange zest
5 large egg yolks (save the whites for use later)
1 cup half-and-half or cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350. In a 1.75 to 2 quart baking dish, mix together the rice, milk 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt. Add the vanilla bean and strips of orange zest (I made the mistake of actually scraping out the vanilla, but it’s not really a mistake… it’s delicious.)

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the rice from the oven and remove the foil. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then continue to bake the rice, uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven a second time, remove the vanilla bean and orange zest and briskly whisk in the egg yolks at once. Then whisk in the half and half or cream and nutmeg.

Puree half of the rice mixture in a blender or food processor until chopped fine then stir it back into the cooked rice.

Chill the mixture in the fridge then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

A New England Classic!

I live in New England (hence the title of my blog) so I couldn’t get away with not including this timeless Vermont classic. Made from good, toasted walnuts and high quality maple syrup it’s just divine. Unfortunately, at most places you order Maple Walnut Ice Cream, the flavor is not so fabulous. To save money, most commercial versions of this flavor use the dreaded cloying and sicky-sweet imposter that is artificial maple flavoring. So even if you’ve tried Maple Walnut Ice Cream in the past and haven’t flipped for it, try this version at home. You’ll think you’ve been transported to a snow dusted Vermont sugar shack!

Toasting the walnuts.

 For this recipe I call for grade B maple syrup. This might be a little bit of a trick to find because most supermarket maple syrups are Grade A dark amber. What’s the difference you ask? Grade B has a darker flavor, with richer caramel notes. This intensified taste really helps in cutting through all of that cream and milk for a more pronounced maple flavor. I found my bottle at Trader Joe’s, but any other specialty food store or gourmet shop would probably carry it. It’s worth searching for, and also tastes great on pancakes, waffles and any other place you would typically pour on the maple syrup!

Just Churned Maple Ice Cream, yum!

I also call for maple sugar in this recipe, for another boost of maple flavor. I found mine at my local grocery store, but I do live in New England. If you live in a part of country or world that doesn’t carry it, again try a specialty food store such as Whole Foods or your local gourmet shop. If all else fails and you still want to make the recipe, maple sugar is also readily available through online vendors.

Maple-Walnut, the perfect winter flavor!

This flavor was very successful, with the maple flavor really shining through the ice cream. Add a substantial portion of toasted walnuts and get ready for a delicious ice cream straight from snowy New England!

Maple Walnut Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2/3 cup grade B maple syrup

¼ cup maple sugar

5  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon maple extract

¾ cups toasted walnuts

      1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.     Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the maple sugar and maple syrup. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turns a lighter yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-6 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and extracts and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.  When ice cream is ready, add toasted walnuts. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

Make a Brazilian Sundae!! So good and unusual, I don’t know how this sundae got its name, but if the Brazilians did invent it they really know what they are doing! Start with a scoop of Maple Walnut Ice Cream, then add a scoop of Coffee and a scoop of Butter Pecan Ice Cream (either homemade or store bought ice cream is fine). Drizzle some caramel sauce spiked with rum and some cold chocolate sauce over it and top with fresh whipped cream and more toasted walnuts. A decadent taste sensation, and not to be missed!

The lighter side– Feel free to reduce the cream to ¼ cup and substitute all whole milk for the rest of the cream in this recipe. If anything it will only make the flavors more intense, which is the reason gelati is often made this way in Italy.

Cinnamon Scoops!

I ended up making this ice cream the day I caught a flight to Orlando for Christmas vacation. I had intended to showcase it as a Christmas flavor, but didn’t have the time unfortunately. Not that Cinnamon Ice Cream is exclusively for the holidays, but this ice cream tastes great on top of all sorts of seasonal desserts! From chocolate cake to apple pie, Cinnamon Ice Cream is a genial sort of fellow who seems to be compatible with just about everyone. And even if you have nothing to accompany it, don’t write off Cinnamon Ice Cream as boring or bland. It is really, surprisingly delicious and satisfying. It is a classic and simple favorite!

Little sticks of flavor!

Part of the simple genius of this recipe lies in the use of real cinnamon sticks to flavor the base. You coarsely crush up about five 3 inch cinnamon sticks and add them to a warm milk/cream mixture. Then you just take the mixture off the heat, put the lid on, and let the whole thing sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to marry and ripen. The result is a cinnamon flavor thats sweet with just the mildest touch of heat.

Cinnamon au naturel.

I also add about a teaspoon of ground cinnamon after I finish cooking the ice cream base. It boosts the cinnamon flavor, and adds a nice speckly color not unlike the look of vanilla bean ice cream. I also think it gives the ice cream a slightly grainy “mouthfeel” that I enjoy. It’s not dissimilar to the textural feel that cocoa powder gives to ice cream, but if you prefer a smoother ice cream feel free to omit it. Just add more cinnamon sticks in the beginning half of the recipe.

Cinnamon swirly!

This ice cream is a no brainer because it tastes like the classic combination of cinnamon/sugar. I think that sometimes in our quest for new flavors we overlook how truly great time honored flavors can be. Cinnamon Ice Cream is one such flavor, and can be adapted in many different ways. So try it this winter, either alone or atop one of the season’s many pies, cakes or crisps. Either way it’s a foolproof winner, and a recipe I think you’ll find useful and versatile for years to come.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ingredients:

 1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

5 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

5 cinnamon sticks, coarsely crushed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1.)    Place milk, cream and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the barest simmer for a few minutes and then cover the mixture, take it off the heat, and let it steep for 1-3 hours.

 2.)    After steeping, strain out cinnamon sticks. Heat the cinnamon milk mixture in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

 3.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add both sugars. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

 4.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add cinnamon milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 6-7 minutes.

 5.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and ground cinnamon and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

With Cinnamon Ice Cream, the sky’s the limit on sundae combinations! One of my favorites would have to be Cinnamon Ice Cream, drizzled with a whisky caramel pecan sauce (Perfect Scoop author David Lebovitz has a great recipe!), caramelized apples and whipped cream. If you’re a fan of Mexican chocolate, try it with hot fudge or as a part of a brownie sundae!

Even better than the drink!

Eggnog is such a rich and uniquely Christmassy flavor that it really just begs to be turned into an ice cream flavor. Even as a drink, it’s practically an ice cream base already with its copious amounts of cream and egg yolks. And the flavors of nutmeg, rum, bourbon, and vanilla encased in a rich yellow custard were even more delicious in ice cream form. Try it alone or on top of a wide variety of holiday cakes and pies and you’ll be sure to impress guests with this twist on a classic!

You've got to break an egg to make some Eggnog Ice Cream!

I know that looks like a lot of egg yolks, but it is Eggnog Ice Cream right? You really need a few extra yolks to give it that unmistakable rich, custardy eggnog flavor. You’ll have quite a few egg whites left over, but I usually put them to good use and make an angel food cake. Which actually would taste great with a scoop of Eggnog Ice Cream on top!

Freshly ground nutmeg.

I’ve talked about this before, but whenever possible it always make a big difference to grind your own fresh spices. I think we all tend to think that spices can’t ever go bad, but they can. And if you’re spices have been there years, they are probably stale at best and rancid at worst. And with a spice grinder it’s just seconds to some amazing flavor! In regards to the liqueurs in this recipe, I used dark rum and bourbon, but feel free to switch them out if you’d like. I looked at many different recipes when I decided to make this flavor and every recipe was different. Some of the most common liqueur’s used were rum, bourbon, brandy, and even grand marnier and anisette.

A happy ending!

This was a really rich and complex Christmas treat that my whole family loved. It really did taste just like eggnog, except better. Pretty much anything turned into an ice cream is better, come to think of it! Merry Christmas!

Eggnog Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk

2/3 cup sugar

7  large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 tablespoons dark rum

      1.) Combine milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.     Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-6 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt, nutmeg, vanilla extract and liqueurs and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions.  

 Make it a sundae!

I think that this ice cream would taste fabulous with a bourbon-caramel sauce drizzled over the top. Add plenty of toasted pecans and whipped cream!

Another great Christmas flavor!

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….”

You can finish the rest, I’m sure! This ice cream might seem unconventional to anyone from America, but it’s a staple in France and all over Europe. Sweetened chestnuts in desserts in general are very common in the old country. And for good reason- they taste delicious! I wasn’t sure how this ice cream was going to taste but I ended up loving it. It ended up being an interesting, sweet and nutty flavored ice cream with great Chestnut flavor. Chestnuts are also so deeply evocative of the Christmas season. They spark warm memories of Christmas eves spent by the fireplace singing Christmas carols- even if those memories never happened! It’s just the perfect ice cream flavor for Christmas.

Nutty and sweet, just like me!

I recently found out a interesting piece of history on chestnuts in America. The reason why they are so ubiquitous in Europe and foreign here is that in the early 1900’s there was chestnut blight that effectively wiped out every American chestnut tree. The blight was accidentally introduced through imported chestnut lumber and by 1940 there were no surviving chestnut trees left. If the blight hadn’t happened, who knows, chestnuts might be as popular here as they are in England, Italy and France. In fact, when looking at recipes from before the blight, chestnuts were a commonplace ingredient.

My own personal bowl of ice cream!

This recipe calls for pureed, unsweetened chestnuts which can be a bit of a devil to locate. I found mine at a specialty food store. I’m pretty sure they carry them at Whole Foods, so you should check them out too. I’d used marrons glaces, or candied chestnuts, previously when making this recipe, but comparing the two I prefer the use of the unsweetened puree. I think it gave the ice cream a stronger and cleaner Chestnut flavor while allowing me to be in control of the sweetness levels.

Way better than roasted chestnuts.

This ice cream flavor surprised me by really standing out as one of my favorite flavors. I think I’m going to have to make it a new Christmas tradition, actually. I also think I might start cooking with chestnuts more in both sweet and savory applications. It’s flavor you just have to try for yourself, and what better time than Christmas!

Chestnut Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups whole milk

 1 ½ cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

¾ cup unsweetened chestnut puree

1 tablespoon rum

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1.) Combine heavy cream and milk in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat.    Heat until bubbles appear near the rim of the saucepan and steam begins to rinse, but do not let it boil.

2.)    Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and gradually add the sugar. Whisk the mixture until the yolks look fluffy and turn a pale yellow color.

3.)    All the while whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly and gradually add milk mixture and when fully emulsified, pour the mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over low heat constantly mix the base with a spatula or wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5-7 minutes.

4.)    Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the pinch of salt and chestnut puree and puree until smooth in blender, making sure lid is on very tight. Transfer to a bowl and add rum and vanilla extract, refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Enjoy!

Make it a sundae!

 If you’ve never tried chocolate and chestnuts together than you’re in for a great treat! It’s a classic combination that’s a Christmas tradition in many European countries. Try this ice cream with this delicious Salted Milk Chocolate Sauce from Food and Wine Magazine and Chef Matthew Rice:

MILK-CHOCOLATE SAUCE

  1. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  5. 1 cup high quality milk-chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli or Scharffen Berger
  6. 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, such as Maldon

 

1.) Make the milk-chocolate sauce: In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream and cocoa powder to a simmer. Cook over moderately high heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. Pour the sauce into a small pitcher and let stand until cooled slightly, about 30 minutes. Stir in the salt just before serving.

 Lighten up!– To lighten this recipe you could easily convert this recipe into a gelato by reducing the heavy cream to a ¼ cup and filling the rest in with whole milk.