What’s Cooking in My Kitchen (cakes, cookies, cupcakes, mini pies, and ice cream)

With potlucks, work luncheons, and Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thought I had best get busy baking up some goodies ahead of time, most of them stocked in the freezer.

Sweet and Salty Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

Sweet and Salty Butterscotch Pecan Cookies

I have Sweet and Salty Butterscotch Pecan cookie dough in the freezer, ready for baking. These cookies receive the most rave reactions every time I share them.

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies (mini pecan pies)

Pecan Tassies, bite-sized pecan pies, will grace a potluck at the gym. These freeze well in an airtight container, but that means I can easily sneak a tassie or two each night. I hope they last until the potluck later this week!! By the way, this time I added about 5 chocolate chips to the bottom of each crust before adding the filling. Extra yum!

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pound Cake

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pound Cake with Caramel Icing

A scrumptious Pumpkin Buttermilk Pound Cake with Caramel Icing, sans icing but tightly enveloped in plastic wrap and housed in the freezer, awaits Thanksgiving festivities, returning for a repeat performance after its highly successful debut last year.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I baked Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes recently, falling in love with their espresso and pumpkin combo. Truth be told, it’s the frosting that stole my heart. I knew these would grace the table at the next salad club lunch at work, taking place this week.

Although these aren’t stocked in the freezer, I just have to share about these Apple Fritters I made recently for a book club meeting. Oh my goodness, this recipe makes the heavens sing. Check out Nicole’s post at Galley Gourmet for pics and recipe. I modified her recipe slightly, using grated apples rather than diced. I made it both ways, actually, and prefer the grated version. These are best eaten shortly after frying.

Finally, I tried my hand yet again at caramels, only to add another tale to my list of caramel woes. However, this time the caramels almost set properly. They are a bit too soft and every time I cut them, they morph back into one large blob after a few minutes. Sigh…

Since the Apple Cider Caramels still tasted yummy despite their blobby status, I decided to give the Browned Butter Caramel Stuffed Cookies a try and rescue the caramel. Failure. Sort of. I must have made the cookie balls too small and/or the caramel pieces too big; the caramel simply oozed out the bottoms of the cookies. Bummer because the browned butter cookies bake up outta-this-world-crazy-divinely-delicious and the apple cider caramel pairs perfectly with it.

As I held the tray of ruined cookies in my hand, about to toss them into the trash bin, I had a rescue idea flash into my brain: crumble the cookies and toss them into a batch of vanilla ice cream. So I did. Truthfully, I think it’s just a so-so combo, but my hubby loves it.

Vanilla Caramel Cookie Ice Cream

Vanilla Caramel Cookie Ice Cream

I tried another vanilla ice cream recipe for this, though, that hubby claims is better than his beloved Hagen Daaz. At Galley Gourmet, Nicole used the French Vanilla Ice Cream from David Liebovitz’s book The Perfect Scoop, but she modified it by adding some corn syrup and vodka. It certainly does create a soft, creamy, rich, and easy-to-scoop ice cream.

Oh, and if you ever have a ruined cake, you can try a trifle for a rescue mission. I had to do that with a burnt chocolate bundt cake a couple years ago, but I successfully turned that disaster into Chocolate Berry Trifles. I got the idea from Michelle at Brown-Eyed Baker and her carrot cake disaster rescue: Carrot Cake Trifle.

Chocolate Berry Trifle

Chocolate Berry Trifle

With all this baking, I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite of the holidays because it’s all about family, friends, and food. And I look forward to making Turkey Tetrazzini again from the broth I’ll make from the leftover carcass and all the meat I’ll get from those bones. It ranks as one of the most delicious savory recipes, I think, to come out of my oven.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini

What’s your favorite food at Thanksgiving? Try asking that at the dinner table. Not one person said turkey the year someone posed that question! My favorite: my mom’s sauerkraut. Or maybe Ladera’s stuffing.

Okay, only 11 more days until Turkey Day!! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday filled with gratitude.

Ice Cream Sunday: Malted Vanilla Peanut Brittle Milk Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

If you haven’t entered the Cupcake Goodies Giveaway, click the link and check it out! Giveaway ends August 25th.

 

Malted Vanilla Peanut Brittle Milk Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Yep, that’s a mouthful of a title for ice cream. I just couldn’t leave any of the goodies out of the title, though.

Vanilla Malt Brittle Choc Chunk

Vanilla, malt, peanut brittle, and chocolate chunks–a mouthful of flavor!

Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker’s description of this flavor intrigued me. For days and weeks it remained in my mind until I finally caved and ordered the malt powder from King Arthur Flour. By the way, if you read the reader’s comments on KA Flour, you’ll learn some other uses for the malt powder. However, after tasting this ice cream, I think I’ll save mine just for making malted frozen treats.

Anyhow, you’ll experience an extra deep vanilla-y flavor with the malt added, kind of like malt ball candies magnified but much richer and creamier. Then add peanut brittle and chocolate chunks for extra crunch and contrast and you have an absolutely divine homemade ice cream. By the way, the batch of brittle makes more than you need for the recipe, so freeze it (unless, of course, you eat it all up :  ) and use it to make more batches later.

Malted Vanilla Peanut Brittle Milk Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

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INGREDIENTS

Ice Cream

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanut brittle (recipe below)

Peanut Brittle

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Chocolate Chunks

  • 2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into chunks (or you can use 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips)

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make ice cream: Prepare by setting a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl, then set this bowl into a larger one filled with ice and some water. Set aside for now.
  2. In another bowl, briefly whisk egg yolks to break them up.
  3. Whisk in malted milk powder, which will create a thick paste; set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt; warm until just simmering, then reduce heat to medium.
  5. Take about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture and whisk it into the yolks followed by adding another 1/2 cup. Transfer this yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the milk.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon or spatula, about 1-2 minutes more, or until it reaches 170-175 degrees F.
  7. Pour this ice cream custard base through the fine-mesh sieve you set up earlier to remove any bits of egg that have begun to cook. Add vanilla. Stir the custard base occasionally until it completely cools, then cover and transfer to refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  8. To make peanut brittle: Prepare by lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt.  Cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 280 degrees F, 20-25 minutes.
  10. When the mixture reaches 280 degrees F, add peanuts and stir until the peanuts begin to smell toasted and the syrup turns a mahogany color, about 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda (which will cause the mixture to bubble) until thoroughly mixed in, then stir in butter.
  12. Working quickly before brittle hardens, pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it into a thin, even layer. Allow brittle to cool for about one hour.
  13. When cooled, chop brittle into chunks and store in an airtight container. You will need 1/2 cup for the recipe, and the remainder can be stored at room temperature for a few days or frozen for several weeks.
  14. Churning the ice cream: Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. In the last couple minutes of churning, slowly add 1/2 cup brittle and the 2 ounces of chopped chocolate chunks (I toss pieces in a couple at a time at this point).
  15. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least four hours, until hardened.

SOURCE: Brown Eyed Baker via the book Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Mango Popsicles

Mango Pops

Refreshing Mango Popsicles

Upon opening the refrigerator, I spotted two mangoes languishing away. Hmmm…what to do on a hot summer day?

Popsicles!

I turned to my favorite popsicle method: yogurt and fruit pops (and this version, too)

Refreshing. Tropical. Delightful.

By the way, if you haven’t tried homemade yogurt yet, check it out! Seriously easy. And velvety smooth. And tangy. And so nice to have on hand to make fruit pops.

Mango Pops

Mango Pops

Mango Popsicles

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped mango (from a couple of large mangoes)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. lime juice (or more to suit your taste)
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water (start with 1/4 cup and add more if necessary)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more water or lime juice if needed.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until firm, 4-5 hours.
  3. To release popsicles from molds, place in lukewarm water for a couple minutes then gently release.

SOURCE: Shutterbean

Ice Cream Sunday: Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream

Look at all that luscious blueberry swirl!

A couple years ago, I visited Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Ohio and sampled every flavor (many thanks to the young man behind the counter who so graciously tolerated me). I walked out of the shop with a triple scoop, one of them Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt. Oh-so-tart lemon with a pop of blueberry swirled throughout! Bestill my heart! Yep, I floated along in bliss.

Lemon Blueberry Ice Cream

Lovely layers of blueberry sauce

Well, now I can have that same blissful taste made in my own kitchen thanks to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, for she shares the recipe in her book. Yahoo! If you love lemon, you’ll love this frozen yogurt. You can skip the blueberries if you aren’t a fan of them, or you can swap them for another berry fruit. Next time I make this, I think I’ll puree the blueberries rather than leave them chunky as the recipe calls for. I love the blueberry taste but would prefer more puree than hunks of blueberries in my ice cream.

P.S. How do you like this new blog design? I was playing around on the computer and decided to try a new look. I’m also trying to figure out how to self-host the blog (headache for me who isn’t very apt with technology), so in the future, I’ll have more changes. Please let me know if I mess anything up and it isn’t working properly!

Lemon and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

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INGREDIENTS

Blueberry Swirl

  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Note: if using raspberries or blackberries, increase to 2 cups berries and 1 cup sugar

Lemon Syrup

  • 2-3 lemons
  • 3 tbsp. sugar

Frozen Yogurt Base

  • 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • zest from one lemon

DIRECTIONS

Blueberry Swirl

  1. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries and sugar; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring every so often. Simmer for about 8 minutes, until blueberries are tender and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, cool, then refrigerate until cold. The swirl can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  2. Note: If using raspberries or blackberries, after mix has cooled, strain through a sieve to remove seeds.

Lemon Syrup

  1. Remove zest from lemon first for use in the ice cream base. Do this by using a vegetable peeler, removing zest in large strips for ease of straining them out later.
  2. Remove juice from lemons, straining out pulp and seeds.
  3. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool. The syrup can be made a few days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Frozen Yogurt Base

  1. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth; set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest; bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually whisk in cornstarch slurry.
  4. Bring mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring until it thickens slightly, about 1 minute.
  5. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Add yogurt and lemon syrup; whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon resealable bag and submerge the bag in an ice bath (ice and water in a large bowl). Or, you can pour into any kind of container that can be submerged in an ice bath or surrounded by frozen blue ice packs. Allow ice cream mixture to turn cold, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the zest from the base (this proved to be a bit of a challenge to fish out all the peels and run them through my fingers to save as much base as possible. Next time, I might try to cut the peel in one long strip instead of several strips.) Pour base into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions for churning.
  8. Pack frozen yogurt into an airtight container, alternating layers of frozen yogurt with layers of blueberry sauce. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours minimum.

SOURCE: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book

Ice Cream Sunday: Pine Nut Praline & Ganache Chunk Ice Cream

PinenutPralineGanache3

A couple weeks ago I posted a basil ice cream studded with pine nut pralines, and I found myself with bunches of leftover pralines when I made it. Shortly after, I made a Kahlua Cheesecake, and I found myself with leftover ganache. I knew I would combine the two leftovers into a sweet ice cream base, but what I didn’t know is how awesomely outta-this-world fantastic it would taste.

Imagine each spoonful rocking the palate with the caramel flavor of the brown sugar coating the soft crunchy pine nuts in combination with the ultra-luscious  bittersweet chunks of ganache, all enveloped in a sweet cream ice cream base. Every bite will rocket you to a new world. It soared into my top five faves, and those guys already up there have been steady for decades now (espresso, chocolate peanut butter, and butter pecan).

I loved it so much that it vanished lickety split (well, sort of…it just reappeared on my thighs!). Guess that means I’ll just have to churn up another batch, and believe me, I did!

PineNutPralineGanache4

Pine Nut Praline & Ganache Chunk Ice Cream

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Yield: slightly over 1 quart

Note: make pralines and ganache ahead of time. Both need longer cooling periods than the ice cream base. You can even make the pralines and ganache a day or two ahead of the ice cream base.

INGREDIENTS

Pine Nut Pralines

Note: this will make more than the recipe needs. I haven’t tried halving the recipe; I just save the leftovers for another batch of ice cream.

  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

Ganache

  • 2 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (or use bittersweet chips)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • tiny pinch of salt

Sweet Cream Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp. (1 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Pine Nut Pralines

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toss all ingredients in a bowl until pine nuts are thoroughly coated.
  3. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove to stir. Bake for another 6 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Break into little chunks for adding to ice cream. Freeze leftovers in an airtight container.

Ganache

  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; add chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth.
  3. Spread onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, at least, before cutting, but keep chilled until ready to add to ice cream. (I find it easiest to place the solidified (but soft) ganache face down on a cutting board, remove the parchment paper, and use a pizza wheel to cut the ganache into strips then into small squares. Because it is soft, it gets a bit messy, but the outcome is worth the mess.)

Sweet Cream Ice Cream

  1. To make cornstarch slurry, take 2 tbsp. of the milk from the 2 cups and mix with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt until smooth
  3. Pour remaining milk into a medium saucepan along with heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Turn heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a rolling boil, allowing it to boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cornstarch slurry, whisking to mix.
  5. Return saucepan to medium-high heat and bring to a boil again, stirring. Allow mixture to boil for 1 minute, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
  6. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture into a large resealable bag and submerge into an ice bath (large bowl filled with ice and water), allowing ice cream base to chill for about 30 minutes (I put my ice bath in the refrigerator). Add more ice if needed during cooling-down time.
  8. Churn ice cream in the frozen canister of your machine until thick and creamy. During the last couple of minutes, toss in the pralines a couple at a time, followed by slowly tossing in the chunks of ganache. Pack ice cream into airtight containers and freeze for several hours (about 4) until firm.

SOURCE: adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Kahlua Cheesecake recipe

Ice Cream Sunday: Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

 

BasilPineNutPraline

Basil in my ice cream? Uhhh…are you nuts? That sounds freaky.

Yet, the idea drew me in.

Nearly a year after first saving the recipe for basil ice cream, I finally got around to trying it. However, I nixed the original recipe I had saved after I read about Basil Ice Cream with Pine Nut Pralines in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book. Pine nut pralines added an even more enticing element to the ice cream concoction.

Her base ice cream method uses some unique ingredients, at least in my churning encounters: cream cheese and cornstarch and corn syrup. Hmmmm…intriguing. I wanted to test it, though, so I scoured her book for a recipe that would scream, “Me! Me! Me!” And this one shouted loudest. (By the way, did you know that pine nuts are also called pignoli? and that it’s the seed of several species of pine tree?)

I wanted to experience the basil element in the ice cream, but the pine nut pralines sounded unusually yummy, especially after reading Jeni’s comment about how the brown sugar caramelization melts into little gooey pockets in the ice cream. I guess I was in a gooey mood.

So, the result? Honestly, the basil is a bit odd yet addictive at the same time. Loved, loved, loved the pine nut pralines. I would have never thought to make pralines out of those humble, neutral-colored nuts. By the way, I know pine nuts are outrageously priced at the markets; however, if you buy them in small amounts from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods or similar places, the cost is much more realistic. Anyway, the nuts are soft, so they don’t break the teeth when you bite one. And the praline part of it…let’s just say that caramel flavoring paired with the sweet base ice cream is heavenly.

Here’s a funny little error that turned out pretty good: Jeni calls for putting the custard base into a resealable bag and immersing it in ice cubes to cool down the custard. Well, I hadn’t strained out the basil before the cooling process. I thought if I snipped a tiny corner of the bag to release the custard into the ice cream bowl, it would automatically keep the basil in the bag.

Nope. Wrong.

The little leaves squished into flexible snippets and snuck through the hole! And yes, the hole was t.i.n.y. Since it was too much trouble to pick out the basil leaves, I just left them in there. And you know what? It actually tasted good. You get a chewy-little-green-squished-up basil leaf every so often that simply enhances the overall basil flavor and texture of the ice cream. So, that particular error led to a serendipitous surprise.

One final note: the pine nut praline portion of the recipe will make more than you need for this ice cream. I followed the recipe in Jeni’s book, which makes about 1 cup; however, this ice cream recipe only calls for 1/3 cup of the pralines. If you can resist eating the tasty little goodies, then place them in an airtight container and freeze them. I’ll be sharing another ice cream recipe next week in which I used those pralines and which shot up the ranks into my favorite handful of flavors, so definitely try to save them.

SweetBasilPinenutPraline2

Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

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INGREDIENTS

Sweet Cream Base

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • a large handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn into small pieces

Honey Pine Nut Pralines (yield: about 1 cup; need only 1/3 cup for recipe)

  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Honey Pine Nut Pralines

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to coat (you may need to microwave the honey for 15+ seconds to make it easier to stir). Spread nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat; bake for 8 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 6 minutes, stirring a couple times more during the 6 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool completely. While cooling, stir nuts every couple of minutes to break them up.

Sweet Cream Base

  1. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tbsp. of the milk with the cornstarch (you’ll need to mix it again before pouring it into the ice cream base).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese and salt until smooth; set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan; bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat; gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  4. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute, then remove from heat.
  5. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the basil.
  6. Pour the ice cream base into a large, resealable bag; submerge the bag into an ice bath (a large bowl filled with water and ice) or sandwich it between a couple of blue ice blocks. Allow base to cool for about 30 minutes, and if you are using an ice bath, add more ice as needed.
  7. Strain out the basil (or leave it in if you want basil bits in the ice cream). Pour the base into the frozen canister of your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drop 1/3 cup (or more) of the pralines in a bit at a time during the last couple minutes of churning.
  8. Pack frozen ice cream into an airtight container, seal, and freeze for several hours (at least four) until firm.

SOURCE: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home book

Ice Cream Sunday: Strawberry, Banana, & Orange Pops

StrwbrryOrngBnanaPops

Every work morning during the spring season, I cut up a banana, a juicy farmer’s market orange, and a handful of luscious strawberries also from the farmer’s market. This serves as my midmorning snack. I love and have come to crave the combo of flavors. When strawberries aren’t in season, though, just a banana and orange suffice.

Driving home one unusually hot spring day, I thought about making a popsicle with these flavors, so I set about trying to concoct something. I’m fairly happy with the results, but I would like to make the orange flavor even stronger. I’m not sure what will happen as I add more orange juice to the recipe, but I will continue to experiment. In the meantime, since both hubby and I enjoyed these popsicles, I’m excited to share them with you.

P.S. You might also like the Berry & Yogurt Pops I made last summer.

Strawberry, Banana, & Orange Pops

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Yield: about 1 3/4 cup of each mixture, which made 10 popsicles

INGREDIENTS

Strawberry

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • zest of 1 lime (optional, but it enhances the flavor)

Banana

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (see note below)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar

Orange

  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • zest of 1 orange

DIRECTIONS

  1. Strawberry mixture: Puree all strawberry ingredients in a food processor. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Banana mixture: In food processor, puree bananas until smooth. Add remaining ingredients; pulse to combine. Transfer to a small bowl.
  3. Orange mixture: In a small bowl, whisk ingredients until combined.
  4. To make pops: Alternate pouring the mixtures into ice pop molds. With a skewer or think-bladed knife, swirl the mixtures together in an up-and-down motion. Insert ice pop sticks and freeze until solid, 3-4 hours. Dip frozen molds in tepid water for a minute or two to easily remove from molds.

Yogurt note: First of all, I love making my own yogurt. The longer you strain it, the thicker it gets. But, if you don’t want to make your own and you also don’t want to spend a small fortune on Greek yogurt, simply take plain yogurt and strain it until it thickens.

SOURCES: inspired by and adapted from

The Slow Roasted Italian

The Cafe Sucre Farine

Martha Stewart

Ice Cream Sunday: Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

StrawberryIceCream

Here in Southern California, strawberry season is in full swing. The farmer’s market strawberries are especially succulent, and I buy a bunch every weekend to enjoy with my daily breakfast of yogurt and granola. However, I reluctantly parted with a pint of the sweet fruit to attempt, yet again, another strawberry ice cream recipe. I’ve tried several in the past few years, and although they have tasted okay, they weren’t stellar enough for me to scream their deliciousness from the rooftops.

I’m still not ready to scream from the rooftops, but this recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home is the best one I’ve found yet. I learned from her book that strawberry chunks tend to “freeze into rock-hard, flavorless chunks” due to the “high water content” of the berries. Yep, I’ve experienced that in some of my attempts. To remedy that problem, Jeni’s recipe calls for pureed berries. Although I’ve used pureed berries in other recipes, the final ice creams just haven’t wowed me enough to share them. This particular recipe, though, produced strawberry flavor with a creamy base that also has  tang from buttermilk and cream cheese, which complements the sweetness of the fruit. The strawberries, by the way, are roasted for a few minutes, which reduces their water content a bit as well as deepening their sweet flavor.

I keep trying strawberry ice cream recipes because hubby loves the flavor. Although it’s not one of my top choices and I never order it when I buy ice cream from shops, I find I like this homemade strawberry ice cream well enough to enjoy a scoop or two for dessert at night.

StrawberryIceCream2

Roasted Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

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INGREDIENTS

Roasted Strawberries

  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Ice Cream Base

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tbsp.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make roasted strawberries: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine sliced strawberries with 1/3 cup sugar in an 8-inch square dish; stir to mix. Roast for 8 minutes until strawberries just soften. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Puree berries in a food processor along with lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup berries for the ice cream; refrigerate remainder for other uses. (Why make so much when all you need is 1/2 cup? If not, the strawberries will scorch or dry out during roasting.)
  4. To make the ice cream base: In a small bowl, make cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with 2 tbsp. of milk. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk softened cream cheese and salt until smooth.
  6. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until it thickens slightly, about one minute.
  8. Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the strawberry purée and the buttermilk; blend well.
  9. Pour the mixture into a large Ziploc bag, seal, and either submerge into an ice bath or place between frozen blue ice bags. Allow to chill for 30 minutes (I also place the ice bath in the refrigerator for the 30 minute period).
  10. Churn ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store ice cream in an airtight container in freezer for several hours before serving.

SOURCE: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Ice Cream Sunday: Affogato with Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream

Affogatto2

Ever heard of the famed Pacific Coast Highway? Well, I live two blocks from a portion of it. However, it’s not the stunningly gorgeous rugged coastline part of it that you will encounter from central California and northwards. I live in sunny Southern California (with the very crowded freeways) near the very busy PCH that meanders southward toward the ritzy cities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Ritzy like millions of dollars for hilltop homes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Ritzy like homes I will only ever glimpse on my drives along PCH. Ritzy like pricey shops lining the roadway that I’ll never step into because there is no way I can ever afford anything from any of them.

Despite all that ritziness, though, it is fun to drive the highway sometimes and absorb the aura. For me, that aura is not so much the homes and shops but the beauty of the ocean that lies on the other side of the road. I’ve done this drive early early early in the morning to arrive at the beach in front of the Montage, a pricey resort, to practice my photography as the sun rises. And I’ve done this drive off season to explore the tidepools in front of the same hotel.

And I’ve also done this drive in the late afternoon heading toward glitzy Laguna Beach in the middle of summer to meet up with my husband’s sister and her hubby. You see, they live in the San Diego environs, so Laguna is a halfway point for them and us. We thought it a bright idea to meet there for dinner one night. Major mistake. MAJOR!

On a warm summer evening, apparently everyone else thinks a coastal drive is a great idea, too. We knew it would be crowded, so we left the house plenty early. Turns out the roads were much more crowded than we expected. It took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to arrive in Laguna with lots of nervewracking traffic to navigate as we scoured the streets for a parking spot. Times like that I wish I had packed a snack for the road, for adding hunger pains to annoying traffic and mega pedestrians makes for ultra grouchiness–on both my part and hubby’s.

Well, we finally arrived–late. As did the other pair (traffic is just as bad along PCH heading northward from the San Diego area). Once we situated ourselves in a cute little Italian restaurant and got some food to fill our bellies, everyone was in a much better mood.

On this night of PCH traffic frustration, my sister-in-law introduced me to the dessert Affogato. In Italian, this literally means “drowned.” You see, the dessert is simply composed of a scoop of ice cream, usually vanilla, topped with coffee, usually in the form of espresso. Hence, the ice cream is “drowned” in the coffee. And the dessert eater has the awesome job of saving the ice cream from drowning by scarfing it up!

Who knew something as simple as ice cream swimming in coffee could taste so yummy? Well, I guess if vanilla ice cream pairs so well with root beer, why not something else, too?

After making the Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream awhile back, I immediately knew I wanted to try it in affogato. I use Kahlua, afterall,  to enhance espresso ice cream, so I figured the Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream would complement espresso even more beautifully than vanilla ice cream in this dessert. And I was right. Scrumptious. I had a serving nightly until the ice cream was all gone. If you’ve never tried affogato, I recommend it. It’s fun. It’s yummy. It’s easy. Sprinkle some cocoa powder or chocolate sprinkles or even whipped cream on top for an additional pizzazz element and you’ll be sure to impress your guests.

Affogato with Kahlua-Amaretto Ice Cream

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 scoops of ice cream
  • 1/2 cup espresso or strongly-brewed coffee
  • optional: whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles for topping

DIRECTIONS

Scoop ice cream into a small bowl or dessert cup, then pour hot espresso over it. If desired, top with whipped cream, dust with cocoa powder, and/or scatter with chocolate sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Ice Cream Sunday: Kahlua & Amaretto Ice Cream

KahluaAmarettoIceCream

I usually don’t have tons of alcohol hanging around the house, but I do keep a bottle of Kahlua on hand for the espresso ice cream I love to make. And during the holidays, I had purchased a mini bottle of Amaretto for a cookie recipe which I never got around to making. Lo and behold, the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book contains a recipe using both types of alcohol, and boy is it delish! You get the coffee flavor from the Kahlua with a nutty kick from the amaretto. Yummy! If I can manage to not eat it all straight from the container, I have an idea or two for using this in other dessert recipes…

By the way, when I make Ben & Jerry’s recipes, the whipping of the eggs with the sugar makes for a very light and fluffy ice cream which is always super easy to scoop, even straight out of the freezer.

KahluaAmarettoIceCream2

Kahlua & Amaretto Ice Cream

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup amaretto liqueur

DIRECTIONS

  1. Using a hand mixer, mix the eggs in a large bowl at low-medium speed until light and fluffly, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Continuing mixing, adding sugar a little at a time, until completely blended, about 1 minute more.
  3. Pour in cream, milk, Kahula, and Amaretto; continue mixing until blended.
  4. Transfer ice cream base to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

SOURCE: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book