amazing muffins and crazy ice cream part II

super muffins, DIY ice cream, and salted caramel sauce--it doesn't get any better than this

super muffins, DIY ice cream, and salted caramel sauce–it doesn’t get any better than this

Last week, food for fun featured a muffin recipe that had knocked my socks off. But the post was left only partially complete as there had also been mention of combining the much-loved muffins with vanilla ice cream. What with my fondness for homemade ice cream, this wasn’t a casual statement. I was going to make that ice cream. The tale picks up here…

bake sale goodies

bake sale goodies

A few weekends back, I worked at a culinary garage sale for Les Dames d’Escoffier. Money was raised for Urban Roots, an amazing local inner city youth gardening program, and it was a fun way to spend a Saturday. There were bake sale treats to be enjoyed as well as fun kitchen and garden items looking for new homes.

Though officially working  the sale, I managed to find a good number of items that needed their new home to be mine. One such purchase was Cooking Wizardry for KidsPublished in 1990, this old-school spiral-bound gem offers basic-but-fun recipes and sweet cartoon illustrations. The Make Your Own Favorite Restaurant Food chapter dates the book especially with recipes for exotica such as milkshakes, pizza, chicken nuggets, tacos, burgers, sub sandwiches, and salad bars. (Though the chicken stir-fry was probably quite progressive at the time.)

In that same chapter were two recipes for ice cream. One used only a blender, and I’ll be giving it a whirl eventually. But the other, subtitled “With a Microwave Oven and an Ice Cream Freezer,” intrigued me most. It cooks the custard base (which contains flour of all things) in the microwave, chills it, then churns in an ice cream maker. Turns out the method works well.

This ice cream easily accompanies Super Muffins and would pair well with cake or cookies, too. It would also be lovely topped sundae-style or served solo. However enjoyed, this ice cream wins Best Garage Sale Find Ever.

Make-Your-Own Ice Cream Project (With a Microwave Oven and Ice Cream Freezer)

I’ve topped it here with a recipe from Lilly Sue and her fab Bites and Brews–her chocolate beer sauce is a revelation. Lovely poured over ice cream, it’s also worth drinking by the cupful. This stuff made me swoon.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In 1-quart glass measure, mix sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in 1/4 cup milk until smooth. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup milk. Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes. Stir well. Microwave on HIGH 3 minutes longer; stir. (Mixture should be smooth and slightly thickened.)

In small bowl, beat egg lightly. Pour small amount of hot milk mixture into egg, stirring constantly. Whisk egg mixture into hot milk mixture until smooth. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds; stir. If mixture is not yet beginning to boil, return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Cover; refrigerate at least one hour, but preferably overnight. (Mixture must be thoroughly chilled before churning.)

Before churning custard, whisk in cream and vanilla. Process according to ice cream freezer manufacture’s instructions. Makes 2 cups.

there’s beer in my ice cream

You’ve read about Humphry Slocombe’s ice cream book here before. Foodforfun has also detailed the purchase of my new ice cream maker as well as the adventures that followed. Today I’ll further those adventures and offer up a tale of combining two rock-star consumables: beer and ice cream.

I’ve enjoyed mixing stout and other dark beers with vanilla ice cream as a float, both in restaurants and at home. The caramel, chocolate, and coffee notes in a dark beer play off the creamy, cold chill of vanilla ice cream to make a fantastically fun adult dessert. (Though don’t even think about combining ice cream with high-hop beers such as pale ales. This can only end with a “yuck” and subsequent dump down the drain.)

Always up for pushing the culinary envelope, I wondered what would happen if beer was an ice cream ingredient, rather than just a pour-over. HS came through for me with multiple beer-flavored ice creams in its above-mentioned cookbook. Butter Beer intrigued me most (though Guinness Gingerbread might be next on my list), so I gave it a whirl. Introducing it as “a simple flavor that combines two of our most popular flavors, Brown Butter and Stout,” HS offers this as one of many wildly amazing flavors sold in its San Francisco shop. And because I was obsessed smart enough to buy the book, I can enjoy it in my Minnesota kitchen as well.

The Butter Beer verdict? Still swooning as I write. Flavors of oatmeal stout, cream, and browned butter played off each other well, melding to make a rich and creamy and not-too-sweet batch of ice cream. While “yeasty” seems more of a thumbs-down sort of descriptor for ice cream, it was a plus in this case, as the slightly sour and yeasty notes balanced the deep earthy sweetness offered up by the molasses and brown sugar. (In the Did You Know category: brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses mixed in. Make your own by stirring together 2 tablespoons molasses for every cup of white sugar. After picking this tip up over two years ago, I’ve yet to buy packaged brown sugar.) But back to Butter Beer ice cream–amazing solo, it would also pair well with chocolate syrup or blend with malt powder for a killer malted milk.

While I’m nuts about this discovery and thrilled to have answered my question of how beer-flavored ice cream would taste, I’ll  note that my husband and parents–willing taste-testers, all–turned up their noses at it. Butter Beer is not a flavor for everyone. But anyone who loves a culinary adventure and loads of complex flavor will enjoy very much.

oatmeal stout-browned butter ice cream

oatmeal stout-browned butter ice cream

Butter Beer Ice Cream

from Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle oatmeal stout
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

In large heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, tilting pan back and forth to cook evenly, 5 minutes or until butter starts to brown lightly. (As the recipe wisely notes: “careful! brown is good, black is burnt”)

Immediately add stout and brown sugar to saucepan; stir to dissolve. Cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced by half and is slightly sticky to touch. Add molasses; stir until well blended. Add cream, milk, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling.

Fill large bowl or pan with ice and water. Place large, clean bowl in ice bath and fit bowl with fine-mesh strainer.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and granulated sugar until well blended. Remove cream mixture from heat. Slowly pour about half of hot cream mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer yolk mixture back to saucepan with remaining cream mixture; return to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with rubber spatula scraping bottom of saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, 2 to 3 minutes or until liquid begins to steam and you can feel spatula scrape against bottom of pan.

Remove custard from heat; immediately pour through strainer into clean bowl set up in ice bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally. When custard has cooled, cover bowl tightly. Refrigerate 1 hour or preferably overnight. When ready to freeze custard, transfer to ice cream maker; churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Can be stored frozen up to 1 week. Makes 1 quart.

wrapping up deLizious loose ends

This has been a week of some culinary success as I wrapped up loose ends on three projects. Because the projects were started here, with you, I wanted to report back on what went down.

First, the caramel sauce: In an earlier post, I’d learned how to avoid crystallization by covering the pot while the sauce boils down. Because the water is trapped in the pot, the evaporation and browning occur much more slowly than if the pot boiled uncovered. (But if it boiled uncovered, I’d have to wipe down the inside of the pot with a wet pastry brush, and that method rarely ends well for me.) The result of my four (yes, I made caramel sauce four times in a row) trials was light caramel, followed by just a wee bit darker caramel, bit darker yet, then my final batch of still blonde caramel.

four (very blonde) shades of caramel

four (very blonde) shades of caramel

The book I took my recipe from mentioned an ultra-dark, nearly burnt caramel sauce that sounded divine. This is what I wanted. I tried again this week and was thrilled with my final batch of deep, dark, caramelly caramel that was just this side of smoky in flavor. Sea Salt Caramel success could finally be checked off my list. The difference this time? A digital thermometer ensured the recommended end-point of 355°F. With my closed-pot method, this took over half-an-hour to achieve, but so worth it. The sauce was finger- and bowl- and spoon-licking good.

Salted Caramel Sauce (finally) done right

Salted Caramel Sauce (finally) done right

Since there’s finally an amazing caramel sauce in the house, I needed ice cream. After enjoying buttermilk ice cream from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones (this was quite an adventure–read about it here if you like tales of intrigue, loss, and ultimate triumph), I wanted a shot at the book’s crème fraîche flavor.

First step was making crème fraîche–already a favorite kitchen project of mine. Recipes are easy to find online, but my version whisks together 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup buttermilk, and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt and lets it sit overnight in a warm place before refrigerating for storage. Next, the ice cream: The recipe mirrors the one for the buttermilk version except for losing one egg yolk and replacing the buttermilk and vanilla (stirred in just before churning) with 1 cup crème fraîche and 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice. It’s a tart little number, slightly sour but still sweet. More decadent than the buttermilk, which had a simpler flavor, the crème fraîche was second on my list. That said, it’s a fun flavor and I’d make it again.

homemade crème fraîche ice cream

homemade crème fraîche ice cream

My final wrap-up was the launch of my new deLizious website. Fifteen years ago I started Food Communication Services; last year I decided it needed freshening up. This blog was a part of the re-launch, as was a new name, new logo, and facebook page (all fun food and drink all the time!). The biggest piece of the pie was a new website and I’m thrilled to finally see it live. Many thanks to all followers and readers and commenters and likers. deLizious wouldn’t be as much fun without you! With gratitude, I send you crème fraîche ice cream and caramel sauce wishes:-)

twice as good together

twice as good together

ice cream with attitude

A few years back, my husband and I were in San Fransisco for a wedding. Prior to the trip, I’d seen mention of a San Fransisco ice cream shop flavor called Secret Breakfast in Bon Appetit. SB boasted bourbon and crumbled cornflake cookies and was sold at Humphry Slocombe. Knowing I would soon be in San Fran, I promised myself a visit and taste of what sounded like an amazing flavor.

Of course I forgot the article with the shop’s name and address when we headed to California, but armed with phone book and GPS, my husband and I found Humphry Slocombe, home of Secret Breakfast. Parking not to be found, husband dropped me off and drove around the block until I returned from the funky little shop with what I had come for. Secret Breakfast was lovely indeed, one of my all-time favorite food memories.

Imagine my thrill when I saw that Humphry Slocombe now had a cookbook. And imagine this thrill multiplying when I saw it included the recipe for the bourbon-and-cornflake flavor I’d enjoyed at the shop. This discovery led to me eventually buying the book as well as an ice cream maker.

Yesterday, I churned my first batch from the book. With its 1/2 cup bourbon, Secret Breakfast remained relatively soft even after 20 minutes of churning. Following the recipe instructions exactly (so not my strong point) meant I strained the custard and aged it overnight before running it through the machine. The resulting flavor-packed, rich, sweet, creamy, and smooth ice cream made the extra steps and time well worth it.

Amazing ice cream recipes are easy to find these days. But if you like attitude with your food, I highly recommend hunting down the HS cookbook and reading it first page to last. Like its namesake retail shop, it’s full of sass, inspiration, and recipes that wow.

bourbon and cornflakes–a secret breakfast indeed

a new kitchen toy and a whole lotta links

I’ve written before about my love of kitchen toys. While I try not to overload my countertops with small appliances that are only occasionally used, I love machines that aid and abet kitchen fun. You’ve seen posts on my grain grinder, soda maker, cotton candy maker, food dehydrator, and immersion blender. This week I added to the fun with a new ice cream maker.

What’s that you say? Didn’t I brag up my “soccer ball ice cream maker” last spring, noting that kicking the ball around for a half-hour was a better way to make ice cream than using a machine? Um, yes, yes I did. But since writing that, I’ve been inundated with ice cream recipes that I really had to try: maple-bacon crunch ice cream, bourbon and cornflake ice cream (It’s called Secret Breakfast and I had it at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream. Since purchasing their book, this flavor could be mine for breakfast if I only had an ice cream maker.), chocolate sorbet, popcorn ice cream (already made it once, but had to do it soccer-ball style), everything I’ve found on Frozen Socialism, and then some. If I had to kick that soccer ball around for each amazing batch, making ice cream would become my full-time pursuit. As much fun as that sounds, my family might think differently. Hence, I needed a machine.

For a mere $60, I bought what seemed to be a popular choice among reviewers. The Accidental Locavore had also recommended this model, so I went to her for my first recipe. Her ricotta ice cream was easy to make and lovely to eat. A drizzle of buckwheat honey and splash of 2 Gingers Whiskey made it crazy good. Also purchased with my ice cream maker was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which I’d seen featured on food52. This pretty book has oodles of think-outside-the-carton ice cream recipes such as Gorgonzola Dolce with Candied Walnuts; Chamomile Chardonnay; and Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk. I see myself being plenty busy with ice-cream making for a long time to come. This kitchen toy is a hit.


ricotta ice cream à la Accidental Locavore–thanks!

drizzles of whiskey and honey

the bourbon chronicles: ice cream and cookies

My husband and I traveled to Kentucky last fall for a family wedding. The bride and groom had stars in their eyes for each other, but I fell in love with bourbon. The process by which this spirit is made fascinates me and I enjoy its distinctive flavor. I still can’t drink it straight, but a bourbon-and-soda rocks my world.

I also enjoy cooking and baking with this American spirit. For my last birthday, I made myself a chocolate bourbon layer cake (yum) and I’ve also made Ranting Chef’s bourbon chicken (again, yum). I made Angel’s Share biscuits for Thanksgiving and went through at least four batches of bourbon balls before deciding on the “perfect” recipe.

If you’ve been reading foodforfun, you know that I recently got my ice-cream “soccer ball” out to whip up some homemade ice cream for my daughter’s birthday party. After the first batch, I refilled the ball for another, but we never got around to making it. Too many party games to play. Never one to let food spoil (also never one to waste potential for homemade ice cream), I took it upon myself to chase the ball around the backyard the other day. Half-an-hour of kicking a bright blue, plastic ball around trees, a sandbox, and a swing set must have set our neighbors wondering. I stuck it out, though. I go to great lengths for good food.

While refreshing the ice and rock salt, I considered that this was my chance to make the ice cream mine. What could I add to make it worth my solo effort? If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I added bourbon (just 2 or so tablespoons) to the nearly frozen cream mixture. Why not? In the end, I had myself a boozy frozen treat. The alcohol lowers the freezing point of the mixture, so the final ice cream was softer than it would’ve been without the booze. No complaints from me, though. Once the ice cream was transferred to a storage container, I stirred in a bit of sea salt and a few clumps of brown sugar. It was extremely pretty and also plenty tasty. And because I can’t feed it to my kids (no chance for the alcohol to bake or cook out), I only have to share it with my husband!

bourbon brown sugar ice cream

A batch of homemade ice cream wasn’t enough to satisfy the sweets craving in our house, so last night found me making chocolate chip cookies. After baking up three pans worth (about 3/4 of the dough), I saw a bourbon bottle on the counter. Again, why not? I added 2 teaspoons bourbon to what was left of the dough, which made it just a bit moister. The cookies baked up slightly browner than the others and had a definite hint of bourbon. I’d definitely add bourbon (2 tablespoons or so to a batch) to cookie dough again.

If you have bourbon baking or cooking stories, please pass them on. I’d love more recipes that use this bold spirit.

the ice cream photos and a cotton candy teaser

We threw my daughter a 6th birthday party last Saturday, complete with cupcakes, cotton candy, and homemade ice cream. The weather cooperated, which meant the 16 guests (had a few last-minute invites) had the run of the backyard. The kids wiped us out of dollar-store prizes playing carnival games; they also ate heartily. I had high hopes that the baby carrots and red grapes would be popular, but they were merely nibbled on. When the cupcakes, ice cream, and cotton candy finally made their appearance, they were quickly gobbled.

I promised photos of the ice cream (which was indeed amazing), so here are two.

ice cream gets a kick

homemade vanilla ice cream on a dipped and sprinkled sugar cone--divine

We also made cotton candy for the kids, which was a huge hit. I love my cotton candy maker and was thrilled to have it on hand for this party. It makes reasonable-size cones, using only 1 tablespoon sugar (yes, cotton candy really is pure sugar) for each. But it’s still the light, fluffy cotton candy floss you find at carnivals, fairs, etc. I’ll leave a teaser photo here, then share my cotton candy maker story next post. (It involves bacon, so please come back for it!)

cotton candy magic

getting ready to party

Tomorrow we celebrate my youngest’s birthday with her friends. Ten 6-and-unders in our backyard (if it rains, we’re toast) playing circus. We’ll do games, cotton candy, cupcakes, and homemade ice cream. (Will also set out bowls of carrots and grapes to satisfy the Nutrition Police in me.)

My cotton candy maker gets mention in a previous post. I’ll put another kitchen toy to good use at the party: our “soccer ball” ice-cream maker. Anyone who has tried homemade ice cream knows how amazingly creamy and sweet and rich it is. There’s no comparing it to store-bought.

My parents introduced me to homemade ice cream early on. Back in the day, we’d take turns turning the handle on our hand-crank churner to make a batch of ultra creamy, pale yellow (used egg yolks freely in the pre-salmonella days), and heavenly vanilla ice cream. Fast forward to 2012 and it’s easy to find affordable electric ice-cream makers; they make amazing ice cream in under an hour with very little effort from the “cook.”

Why, then, do I make ice cream by running around kicking a ball for nearly 30 minutes? A lot of work, yes, but it’s a fun party activity for kids–they seem to have endless energy. It’s a good way for grown-up kids to make ice cream, too, as you work off some of the calories you’ll be inhaling when the ice cream is done.

Here’s how it works: Ice cream ingredients go in one end of the ball; ice and rock salt in the other. The lids are sealed, then the ball is kicked, tossed, and rolled for 10 minutes or so. Next, it’s break-time as the frozen cream mixture is stirred to mix and fresh ice and salt are added on the other end. The lids are resealed and it’s another 10 to 15 minutes of shaking, etc. before the ice cream is ready to enjoy.

Tonight I have ingredients, equipment, and a recipe, but the final product has yet to be made. I’ll post pictures of the ice cream and cotton candy in the near future. But now, I need to get some sleep. I’ll need to be well-rested when the circus-goers take over my backyard.

ice cream waiting to be made

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

No eggs in this recipe. Think of the fun you could have with stir-ins: cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, colored sprinkles, crumbled candy bars, crushed cookies, fresh fruit.

  • 2 cups heavy cream*
  • 1  cup whole milk
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

In bowl, combine all ingredients until blended. Transfer to ice-cream maker. Continue according to ice-cream maker instructions.

*The original recipe called for 1 quart cream, but this ice cream was way too rich. I played around with types and ratios of dairy and this is what I like best. Half-and-half (even fat-free) can also stand in for the whole milk.