Honey Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream

Today’s post will be short and sweet.  It might have something to with the fact that I only have two useable photos for this ice cream.  I know, what kind of food blogger am I?  Will you accept a gratuitous picture of a grooming bunny as recompense?

This is one flexible bunny

In my defense, shooting ice cream on the non-air conditioned porch has its limitations.  I had about 10 seconds to take as many photos as possible before everything turned into a puddle of liquid.

And only two came out.  But I think you get the idea of this ice cream.  You take a honey cinnamon custard base and stir in pieces of chopped up peaches.  We actually had to go out and buy alcohol for this recipe since you need to macerate the peaches in vodka before adding them to the ice cream so they don’t freeze solid in the freezer.

The end result is an amazingly refreshing summer treat that perfectly blends the flavors of peach, honey and cinnamon.  I loved the contrast of the smooth ice cream custard and the bright, sweet peach pieces.  This has definitely been my favorite ice cream this summer.

Honey Cinnamon Peach Ice Cream

Adapted from The Merry Gourmet

Makes about 1 quart

1 ½ cups 2% or whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
5 large egg yolks
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/2 pieces
2 Tbsp honey
1 ½ tsp vodka

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, ¼ cup sugar, salt and cinnamon stick, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until the temperature is 175 degrees.  Meanwhile, put cream in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over it.

In a separate bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sugar with the egg yolks. When the milk mixture is hot, slowly add about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly.  Then, slowly whisk the warmed egg yolks back into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon and reaches 180 to 185 degrees.

Strain the custard into the bowl of cream, stir to combine, and return the cinnamon stick to the custard.  Let the custard come to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.

Next, prepare the peaches.  Combine the chopped peaches with the honey and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until the peaches have released their juices. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

When the custard has chilled sufficiently, freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In the meantime, pour the peaches through a strainer set over a bowl to catch the juices. Reserve the juice for another time or discard it. In a small bowl, toss the peach solids with the vodka. About 5 minutes before the ice cream churning is complete, add the peaches to the ice cream maker.

Transfer the ice cream to another container and freeze until the ice cream is firm, about 3 hours, and enjoy!



Honey & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

The other day I was doing some dishes went I felt something hard poking against my foot.  I looked down hoping some sort of large insect wasn’t investigating my toes (I saw a HUGE beetle in the basement, like with pincers and everything, so I’m not crazy) but thankfully my surprise was pleasant, not horrifying.  It was my furry little friend Izzy keeping me company in the cutest way possible.

She has taken to sitting or lying by me nearly every time I do dishes and I think it’s because of the mirco fiber mat we got.  It’s quite soft, so she likes it a lot compared to the hard kitchen floor.

But oh my goodness.  How is it that August is almost upon us and I haven’t posted about ice cream in….quite a bit.  *cough cough* beginning of June.  My apologies.

So let me remedy the situation.  I originally made this ice cream so I could stir in chunks of chopped up peanut butter cups, but then it looked so pristine churning in the ice cream maker that I decided to enjoy it as it was.  Don’t worry, those peanut butter cups came in handy later.

This ice cream is amazing just the way it is.  We already know that I’m a big fan of the peanut butter and jelly combination, but I’d gladly substitute in honey any day.  The idea of a grape-flavored ice cream sounded weird to me.

So let’s stick to honey when dealing with ice cream.  It results in such a pleasingly mellow flavor, and the peanut butter swirl running throughout provides great contrast.  I used a natural chunky peanut butter for even more of a contrast, but you can use creamy if you’d like.  Either way, this is one great bowl of ice cream.

Honey & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Adapted from Love & Olive Oil

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp-1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl and place a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining cream, milk, sugar, honey, and salt. The amount of honey you use will depend on its color.  Use closer to 3 Tbsp if you have a darker honey, or closer to ¼ cup for a lighter honey.  Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly whisk in some of the warm cream mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time, until about half of the cream mixture has been incorporated.

Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165 to 170ºF. Do not allow it to boil. Pour mixture through sieve into cold cream, discarding any solids. Add vanilla extract and stir.  Let the mixture come to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap, carefully pressing wrap down onto the surface of the cream mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming on top of the custard. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 6 hours or overnight if possible.

Just prior to churning the ice cream, spoon peanut butter into a piping bag fitted with a medium size round tip or you can drizzle it in with a spoon.

Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, squeeze or drop in the peanut butter, swirling it evenly throughout the ice cream, then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours or overnight until firm.



S’mores Ice Cream

How did May slip by so quickly?  It always seemed like such a looong month while I was in school, but now that I now longer mark time by assignment due dates, paper deadlines and finals week, it somehow flew by.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I have many things to look forward to in June, like the GRE (not actually all that exciting) and our house closing.  Wait…that means loads of packing…let’s call that one bittersweet.

Ok, maybe it’s more positive than bittersweet, but I really hate packing, especially packing up one’s entire apartment.  Well, I still have a month to go, so in the meantime, I’ll keep myself occupied by making tasty treats.

The idea for this ice cream came from a need to use up a handful of mini marshmallows and two somewhat stale graham crackers.  Recently, the s’more has been manifested in so many different ways other than the traditional graham cracker sandwich, that I thought it was my turn to get in on the fun, and get a cool summer dessert out of it!

S’mores Ice Cream

Ice cream base adapted from The Little Red House

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup whole milk

½ cup sugar

pinch of salt

4 large egg yolks

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup mini marshmallows

½ cup crushed graham crackers

Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Warm 1 cup of the cream with cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and gently simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate, scraping the saucepan clean as much as possible. Let stand for about 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add in the remaining cup of cream and mix well. Place a mesh strainer atop the bowl and set aside.

Warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until they are a light yellow color. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking lightly but constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Switch to a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula and stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Stir until the mixture thickens and the custard can coat the back of the spoon, about 3-5 minutes.

Pour custard through the strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth, then add in the vanilla. Let the custard cool to room temperature, then cover and  refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufactures instructions.  When transferring the ice cream to its permanent storage container, stir in the marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Now that the temperature is consistently above 60 degrees, it feels like spring has finally arrived, and with it, the first batches of spring produce.

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a seasonal cook, nor am I striving to be one at this point in time.  Yes, I would like to have a CSA share someday and experience the onslaught of seasonal produce, but I’m just not there yet.  I also have to decide whether it’s even a worthwhile investment, since neither Luke nor myself are enthusiastic fans of vegetables.

A CSA share consisting of fruit, on the other hand, would be a dream come true for me.  I love fruit, and am trying to be conscious of buying it in season.  While strawberry season doesn’t really start in New England until June, I am already excited.

I remember picking them at the local orchard, shuffling about on my hands and knees looking for picturesque, plump, red berries.

To me, strawberry ice cream is one of those foods that represents the coming of springtime.  The key to this ice cream’s rich strawberry flavor is roasting the berries before mashing them.  The roasting process helps bring out more of the berries’ natural sweetness, adding an extra strawberry kick that takes this ice cream to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted from Zoe Bakes & Blissfully Delicious

Makes about 1 quart

For the strawberries:

3/4 pound fresh strawberries

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp corn syrup

For the ice cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 recipe of roasted strawberries

Toss the berries with the balsamic and sugar, lay them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure you use one with sides, because the juices will over run the pan. Place the pan in the oven and turn it on to 300°F and slowly roast them until they have given up their juices and are kind of mushy looking. Their color will also be darker. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the fruit.

Scoop the fruit and all of its sugars into a bowl. Add in the corn syrup and mash the berries with a fork or a potato masher.  You can also put them in a food processor, but I like to leave some larger chunks of berry.  Chill them until cold.

Meanwhile make the ice cream base.  In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl and set a fine strainer on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

In a steady stream, pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175° to 180°F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream.

Let the custard cool to room temperature, then stir in the strawberry puree.  Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 6 hours. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to an airtight container, and store in your freezer.

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

I received major kitchen-related good news this week.  As I announced last week, Luke and I are in the process of purchasing our first house.   So exciting!  It’s an adorable three bedroom, with a charming backyard and a great kitchen.  Duh.

We had it inspected over last weekend, and it passed with flying colors.  The only questions remaining were about certain furnishings in the house, especially in the kitchen.

The gas stove is staying, as is the nice stainless steel fridge.  But I wanted to know about the other pieces that make the kitchen awesome, namely the great island with wooden countertop, the overhead pot rack, and a long table with a shelf underneath for storage.  It turns out, the current owners are leaving all of them behind!!  Yes!!!! Score!!!!  Goallllllll!!!! (sorry, Luke was watching soccer yesterday).  It feels like Christmas has come super early this year.

As you can tell, I’m thrilled.  My current kitchen has one tiny strip of counter and limited cabinet space, so branching out into a bigger kitchen has always been a dream of mine.

Where else will I have space to put all my small appliances, like my ice cream maker.  I love that thing so much.  If you don’t have one, I highly recommend picking one up; they aren’t that expensive and making homemade ice cream feels so sophisticated.

Even if you’re making something as simple as cookies & cream ice cream.  It’s automatically better because you hand chopped and folded in those Oreos.  Don’t like/have Oreos?  Fold in whatever you want!  You can be the master of your ice cream destiny.

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Adapted from The Sweets Life

Makes about 1 ½ quarts

1 cup whole milk (you can use 2% too)

2 cups heavy cream, divided

4 egg yolks

½  cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

15 Oreos, roughly chopped

Put one cup of the cream in a large heatproof bowl.  In a medium saucepan, bring milk, other cup of cream and sugar to just under a boil (bubbles will begin to form around the edges).

Meanwhile, whisk up the egg yolks. Slowly add the milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously until well combined.

Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl containing the cream. Stir in the vanilla, and let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

Pour the liquid into the ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is finished, fold in chopped Oreos. Freeze ice cream 3-4 additional hours in a plastic container until hardened.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Semifreddo

No one wants to slave over a hot oven when the weather’s lovely and the birds are chirping.  I mean, sometimes it’s unavoidable and luckily for me our apartment doesn’t get much sunlight so it tends to be cooler than hotter.  Still, no bake desserts are great and can really come in handy.

This dessert is one hell of a doozy, and I don’t say that lightly.  I had never made a semifreddo before, which means “half frozen,” so the dessert is kind of like an ice cream cake.

An ice cream cake with a sweet oat crust and peanut crust, peanut butter cheesecake layer and swirled with hot fudge sauce.

Yeah.  You can wipe the drool off your keyboard now.  This is a pretty involved recipe, so make sure you have the time it requires, including time in the freezer to set.

But trust me, the result is incredibly worthwhile and will impress anyone you serve it to.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Semifreddo

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes one 8X8” pan

For the crust:

1 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)

¼ cup unsalted peanuts

2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter

For the filling:

2 large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar

8oz cream cheese, softened

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

¾ cup heavy cream

1 recipe Hot Fudge Sauce (recipe to follow)

To make the crust, spread oats in an even layer in a large deep frying pan over medium low heat and toast until very lightly golden and smells nutty, about 5 minutes.  Shake the pan frequently to prevent burning.  Transfer oats to the bowl of a food processor and set aside.

Place peanuts in the same frying pan and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, shaking the pan frequently, about 5 minutes.  Transfer peanuts to the bowl of the food processor with the oats and pulse several times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the brown sugar.  In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Pour this over the oat mixture and stir it in until evenly combined.  Use your fingertips to blend it together so that the oats are evenly coated with the butter mixture.  Pour it into an 8×8” glass baking dish and press it evenly into the bottom.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the filling.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together eggs and two-thirds of the sugar until blended.  Place the bowl over a pot with ½ inch of simmering water and whisk vigorously non-stop until thickened and frothy.  The mixture should register at least 162 degrees F on an instant read thermometer to safely cook the eggs.  Remove bowl from over the simmering water.  Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture until cool, thick and doubled in volume, about 6 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with remaining sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in peanut butter, vanilla, and salt until well incorporated.  Gradually add the chilled egg mixture in two parts until smooth.  Beat until light and fluffy.  It should resemble softly whipped cream.  Refrigerate this mixture for 20 minutes.

When ready, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks using a hand mixer on medium speed.  Add the cream all at once to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and fold it in very gently using a wide rubber spatula until evenly combined.  Pour it over the crust in the glass dish and spread it out evenly.  Spoon room temperature hot fudge sauce randomly over the surface (you will only need about half the recipe) and use a butter knife to swirl it in.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.  Transfer to the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving and cut with a hot dry knife.  Store leftovers in the freezer.

Hot Fudge Sauce

 Makes about 1 cup

 ½ cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp corn syrup

2 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1/8 tsp salt

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ tsp vanilla extract

In a 1-quart heavy bottomed saucepan, combine cream, water, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt over medium low heat.  Bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved.  Remove pan from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Let the mixture stand, undisturbed, for 2 minutes and then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Return pan to the stove and bring the chocolate sauce to a gentle boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly.  When it reduces to a boil, continue to cook for 3 minutes.  Make sure to stir constantly and get to the bottom edges of the pan as the chocolate can burn easily.  The mixture will be thick and luscious.

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Let cool about 15 minutes.  Store leftovers in a mason jar in the refrigerator.  Reheat gently in a hot water bath for reuse.  I stirred the leftover sauce into an ice cream recipe.

Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

We had another awesome Boston food experience last night.  I honor of KA’s visit we went to a Korean restaurant I’ve been dying to try every time we drive past it after leaving the Hong Kong supermarket in Allston.

Luke and I have a friend from college who we used to have dinner parties with; he’d make dinner, and I’d bring dessert.  One time, he and his Korean roommates made the most amazing bulgogi, the best I’ve ever had, despite efforts to recreate it.  By the way, bulgogi is a beef dish, characterized by thinly sliced pieces of meat marinated in a sweet, savory sauce.

It was great to get such good bulgogi again. Maybe I’ll attempt another recreation soon.We also ordered short ribs and dumplings.  It was quite the spectacular meat fest.

Yes, I know the amazing early spring weather has since vanished from the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ice cream.  I have enjoyed many a bowl while wrapped in a blanket, reading a great book, and totally ignoring how cold our apartment is.

The best part about this ice cream is the caramel swirl.  Its sweet creaminess is a great compliment to the soft ice cream, and if I ever get rich enough, I definitely intend to fill a swimming pool with it.  Or maybe just make it in industrial vats.  A girl can dream, right?

Caramel Swirl Ice Cream

Adapted from One Lovely Life

Makes about 1 quart

For ice cream base:
4 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 ½ cups half-and-half
2 tsp vanilla

For caramel sauce:
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup butter (half a stick), cut into small pieces
½ cup half-and-half
¼ tsp salt

To make the ice cream base: Beat together egg yolks and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer. Pour a small amount of the creamy mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Return mixture to saucepan and stir over low heat until it thickened. It should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl through a mesh strainer.  Stir in vanilla.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

While the ice cream is chilling, make caramel sauce.  Pour sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and let sugar melt to an amber-colored liquid. Stir in butter and half-and-half and continue to stir over medium heat until mixture comes together as a sauce. Stir in salt and remove from heat.  Let cool.

When ice cream base is sufficiently chilled, churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Stir in as much caramel sauce as you desire and transfer to a freezer container.