It’s awfully hard to go wrong with a chocolate sauce. Anything that has chocolate and cream as the main ingredients are bound to be good. This is a pretty standard hot fudge sauce. You start by boiling cream, brown sugar, cocoa powder and corn syrup. Off heat, you add chopped bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract and a bit of butter. Stir until the sauce is smooth, then pour over ice cream. Eat. Lick bowl clean. Repeat.
It was too hot to bake banana bread, and my freezer was already full of ripe bananas awaiting their fate in smoothies. Yet, the three very ripe bananas sitting on my counter were begging to be used and not tossed. What to do? Why make roasted banana ice cream of course.
This ice cream begins by roasting a couple of ripe bananas in brown sugar and a bit of butter until the bananas are dark and soft, and the brown sugar has melted into a sticky syrup. The bananas and the liquid are processed in a food processor until smooth, along with milk, some sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract. The mixture is cooled, then churned until frozen.
With no cream, this is one of the lighter ice creams in the book. It is also a little icier because of the lack of cream. It is also very, very sweet. And banana-y. It actually tastes like there is some sort of banana booze in the ice cream. Can you tell I didn’t particularly care for it? It was too sweet and too much banana. I ended up making a chocolate sauce out of the book (I’ll review that recipe next) that helped cut the sweetness, but even then, I only ate a few bites. Fortunately, Bryan liked it enough to eat it all, thereby saving me from the calories.
Bryan called this his favorite ice cream so far. And considering that he doesn’t really like coconut, that’s pretty high praise.
This ice cream starts off by toasting unsweetened coconut and then steeping the coconut in hot milk. Once the milk is all coconutty, it is strained and cream and egg yolks are added to make the custard. Cool the custard, then churn it, and you are in business.
This ice cream was really creamy, but it didn’t feel as heavy as some of the other ice creams in the book have. The coconut flavor is light and not at all overwhelming. I really liked the ice cream as is, but adding chocolate in the form of a stracciatella or a fudge sauce would send it over the moon.
I love citrus flavors—lemon, line, orange, tangerine. Sometimes, however, I get lost in chocolate and forget about that fact. Then I make something, usually with lemon, and fall in love all over again. This time around, after the delicious but rather heavy gianduja ice cream, I went for a lighter lemon sherbet. It was a good choice.
Sherbet, for those of you who don’t know, is typically made with milk only, no eggs or cream. With less fat, the flavor of the sherbet really shines through, but it also makes a product that is somewhat icier than normal. The best way to deal with this is to let the sherbet sit out and soften before serving it.
This sherbet starts out by heating milk, lemon zest and sugar until the sugar dissolves. This mixture is then refrigerated until cold. Right before churning, lemon juice is stirred in the milk.
The dairy tames the sourness of the lemon juice and gives you a sherbet that is bright and tangy, but no overwhelmingly lemon. I actually like a big lemon punch, so I’ll add more lemon juice next time. While I didn’t mind the iciness of the sherbet (I’m usually too impatient to wait for it to soften), I didn’t like the bits of lemon zest in it. I kept thinking I was eating coconut shreds. I’m not sure how much lemon flavor the zest contributed, so I’d recommend either straining the cold milk before adding the lemon juice or leaving out the zest all together.
That ice cream up there? Heaven. Incredibly rich, incredibly tasty heaven.
Recently, Bryan and I spent a weekend in Portland, Ore. On our last day there, we wandered through the Portland Farmer’s Market where I stumbled on Freddy Guy’s hazelnuts. I bought a pound, planning to make ice cream and bake with them once I got home. Fast forward a week, and all the hazelnuts were gone. I didn’t bake a single thing with them. Instead, I ate them, one handful at a time. And they were gooooood.
But I still wanted to bake with them, and I darn sure wanted to make this ice cream. Fortunately, you can order Freddy Guys’ hazelnuts online. My plan was back on.
(By the way, gianduja is an Italian confection made of ground hazelnuts mixed into chocolate.)
This ice cream starts out by infusing chopped hazelnuts in milk, cream, sugar and salt until the liquid is almost as flavorful as the nuts. Once you’ve strained out the chopped nuts, you add egg yolks to the liquid and cook the it until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Finally, chopped milk chocolate is added to the hot custard and stirred until it melts and the custard is smooth. Once the custard has cooled in the fridge, you churn it in an ice cream maker.
I took Lebovitz’s suggestion to add stracciatella to the ice cream. The stracciatella is make by drizzling a very fine stream of melted bittersweet chocolate into the ice cream right at the end of churning. This gives you small, almost delicate ribbons of chocolate throughout the ice cream.
Yes, I made Nutella ice cream. And OMG! it was good.
But it wasn’t great. I found the ice cream a bit heavy and dense, thanks to the heavy cream. I plan on making this again, using more milk versus heavy cream to let the hazelnut flavor shine through a bit more. Also, make sure you use the best milk chocolate you can find. I used Hershey’s milk chocolate, and it was okay, but I think with a higher-end chocolate, it would be even better.
You know how you sometimes get an idea that you think is great, then you act on the idea and realize that it wasn’t so great? That’s what happened here. I thought it would be a good idea to add Oreo cookies to this frozen yogurt. I love frozen yogurt. I love Oreos. How could I not like it, except I really didn’t. Like it at all. I’ll eat it, because I love frozen yogurt and Oreos, but I won’t enjoy it.
This has got to be the easiest recipe in this book. You take plain whole-milk yogurt, stir in some vanilla and sugar and churn it. Tada! You now have frozen yogurt. But this isn’t anything like the frozen yogurt from the frozen yogurt store. This is tart and tangy. It tastes like yogurt, only colder.
Back to my add-in of choice. I’m not sure why I don’t like the Oreos here. I think it has to do with just how tart the yogurt is. In fact, I would stay away from all my usual vanilla ice cream add-ins, such as any candy, chocolate, caramel, etc. I’d stick with fruit, nuts or maybe granola sprinkled on the top. Or I’d just leave it plain.
I didn’t grow up in a household that drank coffee, and in fact, I was taught that it was wrong to drink it.
Mormons. A very confusing bunch.
Anyway, as an adult, I never developed a taste for drinking coffee without a whole lot of milk and chocolate stirred in. Chocolate, as you might know, makes anything taste good. Except for liver. And probably blue cheese. I didn’t know how well I’d like this ice cream, seeing as how there is no chocolate involved. I needn’t have worried; Lebovitz hasn’t steered me wrong yet, and it turns out that coffee without chocolate is pretty good.
Especially when sweetened condensed milk is the dairy of choice. If you aren’t familiar with the Vietnamese version of our favorite morning beverage, coffee is brewed into a glass of sweetened condensed milk and usually served over ice.
This ice cream starts off by stirring together strongly brewed coffee (or espresso), sweetened condensed milk and half-and-half. As usual, you need to chill this mixture thoroughly before churning it in an ice cream maker.
The resulting ice cream is smooth and quite sweet, with a nice coffee flavor. Because it uses more water instead of dairy, it is a little icier than some of the other ice creams I’ve made. Without all the dairy, though, the ice cream is lighter and seems to haver a brighter flavor. This just might be my favorite ice cream so far.
I can’t believe how easy this ice cream is. You don’t even have to turn on the stove.
Peanut butter, sugar, half-and-half, salt and vanilla get whizzed in the blender until smooth, and then frozen in an ice cream maker. The mixture freezes up into a smooth, intensely peanutty buttery ice cream. It’s so good, I had a hard time leaving any for Bryan.
Thanks to some of the cookbooks I’ve cooked out of recently (Baked Explorations I’m looking at you), I’ve developed a taste for malt, that nutty, toasty powder that does wonderful things to baked goods. Apparently I never had a malted milkshake growing up, because that flavor was new to me. So I was excited to give Lebovitz’s recipe for malted milk ice cream a try.
That’s when things went wrong. With me. Not Lebovitz’s recipe.
It started when I discovered that the malt powder I had was actually the Ovaltine malt drink powder, the stuff Lebovitz specifically says not to use here. Too bad. Worse case scenario, I’ll pick up the right stuff on my next trip and make the ice cream again.
Then, when I was making the custard, I managed to scramble the eggs by cooking the custard on too high of a heat. I know better.
<Head hanging in shame>
I managed to save the custard by straining all the cooked egg bits out.
And finally, I don’t really like malted milk ball candy (think Whoppers – it has to do with the crunchy, hard texture, not the flavor), so I decided not to fold chopped bits of the candy into the ice cream when it was done.
As a result, the finished ice cream was just okay. It has a good malt flavor despite using the wrong ingredient, but it is boring. I should have trusted Lebovitz. You really do need the chopped candy here. It livens up the ice cream and gives the flavor some dimension. I did grab some Whoppers while I was shopping for the other ingredients, so I plan to chop them up and sprinkle them over top of the ice cream when I eat it. Icky hard, crunchy texture not withstanding.
Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been meaning to feature an ice cream book during the summer, and every summer I forget that. Well, not this summer. This is going to be the summer of ice cream. Bryan is very happy.
So, David Lebovitz.Dessert God. Blogging God. Ice Cream God. If you aren’t familiar with this guy, head over to his blog and take some time to read up on him. He is darn funny and a great baking resource.
I’ve had The Perfect Scoop for a couple of years (it was published in 2007), but I’ve only made a handful of ice creams out of it. Many other bloggers have sampled the book over the years, and they’ve all raved about it. The book has your standard vanilla, chocolate, strawberry recipes, but it also has a nice selection of granitas and fresh fruit ice creams and sorbets. However, I thought I’d stay in familiar territory for my first try and stick with a basic chocolate ice cream.
This is a deep, dark chocolately recipe. It uses a custard base (cream and eggs), and flavors the base with bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. The result is a rich, dense, almost chewy ice cream with a serious hit of chocolate. Not a bad thing, in my book. This is an ice cream that stands on its own; you don’t need any sort of sauce to go with it.