Thursday, February 24, 2011

#8 Imperial Red Hot Blast

Candy + Ice Cream = EPIC TREAT

Yes, I'm back on the cinnamon bandwagon...

I bought these Cinnamon Imperials at an awesome gourmet restaurant supply store called Surfas. They can help you fill your kitchen with neat culinary items. Or you can just go and buy things at random to assist in exploring various fancy food hobbies and cooking aspirations. There's something in there for everyone to buy! And if you're lucky you might see some Top Chef contestants shopping in there too! I bought my 2 quart tupperwares from Surfas. They make excellent storage containers for freshly made batches of ice cream. I also buy their cylindrical pint and quart containers to transfer the ice cream to when I give it away or when I only have a little bit left. There's a pint of Red Velvet Valentine Cheesecake ice cream in the fridge here at work. I'm going to tell my coworker to go finish it before the fridge goblins devour it first.

There's just something about cinnamon that is so delicious. You can't deny it. When I think of cinnamon it leads me to thinking of French Toast. (A French Toast ice cream perhaps... the perfect breakfast substitute.) Anyway, after the amazing success of the Vanilla Cinnamon Crumbled Crumb Donut ice cream I wanted to make another cinnamon ice cream and now it's finally here: Imperial Red Hot Blast!

I followed the cinnamon ice cream recipe I used previously, incorporating cinnamon extract and vanilla extract into the initial milk mixture, but I also used a half teaspoon of real ground cinnamon to give it an extra kick. Rather than 1 cup of regular sugar I used a 1/2 cup of sugar and a 1/2 cup of brown sugar because cinnamon + brown sugar = best friends.

While the ice cream was churning in the machine I attempted to grind up the red hots in my mini-food processor. This was completely ineffective as the blade just stripped the red hots of their vibrant red coating. Some of them got chopped up, but they weren't as finely chopped as I would have liked (although I still added them to the ice cream anyway). The cinnamon candies gave the ice cream a nice red/white/pinkish swirl which was similar to the color of the candy cane crunch ice cream I made last year.

Perhaps there was a little too much sugar because this ice cream is SWEET. A single scoop is the perfect serving. The red hots give the ice cream a nice crunch and blast you with spicy flavor after each bite. (Something else that blasted off today was the Space Shuttle Discovery. Good luck on your last mission, Discovery!) The hot and cold combination tingles the taste buds like that Katy Perry song might tingle your vestibulocochlear nerve. The best way to summarize this ice cream without being overly descriptive or using silly metaphors is: "creamy hot tomale" (quoted phrase courtesy of Certified Ice Cream Taster, Travis Cook).

Good noms for all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#7 Red Velvet Valentine Cheesecake

Wouldn't Valentine's Day be wonderful if you could enjoy it with a delicious helping of Cheesecake Ice Cream and Red Velvet Cake (COMBINED)? OH YEAH.

I used this recipe as a guide while making the ice cream this week, but I only used 9 egg yolks instead of 10 and then 16 ounces of cream cheese instead of 15 ounces, so it would be extra CHEESY, which is perfect for Valentine's Day because it's one of the cheesiest holidays of all!

You have to be careful when pouring scalded milk/cream into the egg/sugar mixture as the hot liquid can cook the eggs if it is poured in too quickly, so you must whisk and pour and whisk and pour until it's all mixed together. Then you have the beginnings of a custard base, which must be heated to thicken.

Making the custard base was a little nerve-racking as my eggs began to curdle from overheating BUT there is a solution in case this ever happens to you. The solution is: IMMERSION BLENDER! It will decurd those curdles and return them to a custard state of mind, err, being. Next I took the mixture off the heat and put the bowl into an ice bath to rapidly cool it down. I added about a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 4 drops of lemon juice to give the ice cream a little extra flavor, and then I blended in the softened cream cheese. And of course, because it's Valentine's Day, I added some red food coloring.

Tasha, the supreme baker of cupcakes which are also commonly known as Tashcakes, graciously provided the delicious red velvet cake for the mix-in. Thanks, Tasha! You can read about her foodie adventures over at The Nom Nom Blog.

The final product is beautiful and tasty, just like a Valentine's Day treat should be. It's super creamy and basically tastes like a very rich frozen cheesecake! The red velvet cake mix-in transforms it into a full and hearty ice cream.

Oops... made too much of a good thing!

So, what have we learned? Cheesecake Ice Cream + Red Velvet Cake = <3

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to Everyone!

I've made a special Valentine's Day ice cream featuring red velvet cake... details to come tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2011

#6 Root Beer

In 1876, Charles Hire invented ROOT BEER. THANK YOU, CHARLES HIRE! Your sweet fantastic beverage has become a special treat for children of all ages (adults included). It gets even sweeter when combined with ice cream to form the penultimate dessert: THE ROOT BEER FLOAT. (YEAH! I'm really excited about this ice cream.)

So, this week, I present to you the ultimate dessert: root beer ice cream. A&W, the number one selling root beer in the world, was selected as the provider of root beer for this experiment in ice cream making. I followed the basic ice cream recipe, but cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup and mixed in 1 cup of cream instead of whole milk. Once that was well heated I added 2 cups of A&W's Root Beer and let the carbonation cook off while constantly stirring and whisking with the immersion blender. Next I added 2.5 cups more cream to the mixture along with a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then whisked until it was all thoroughly blended.

I used a high volume of cream (and no milk) in this recipe to offset the wateriness of the root beer. I could have used root beer extract to flavor the cream, but why use an extract when you can use the real thing? (This does not apply to vanilla extract, or peppermint extract, or cinnamon extract, which definitely do wonders in ice creams!)

Initial tastings of the root beer ice cream were very intriguing. It tastes like root beer (as expected) but it doesn't have that strong kick at the finish like root beer soda. Somewhere along the way of the ice creamification process the root beer flavor was fundamentally altered, but this is definitely not a bad thing - at least it's not a bad thing in terms of flavor. It is a bad thing in terms of your brain expecting the kick of the root beer to, well, kick in, but it never happens SO YOU JUST KEEP EATING IT hoping that this will be the bite that has the bite!

The addition of vanilla and the icy-creamy texture make it seem like all the ice cream in a root beer float melted, got mixed in with the root beer, and then the entire concoction froze in a freak blizzard, which in a sense is exactly what happened. (The freak blizzard was the ice cream machine.)

Of course, all of this means that any soda could potentially be turned into ice cream. Dr. Pepper? Coca-Cola? Ginger Ale? The possibilities... are at the soda aisle of your local grocery store.

The final product, garnished with a root beer candy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

#5 Black Cherry

Wow! It's been over a week since my last ice cream post. Don't fret, I haven't gone anywhere. Your weekly ice creams are still on the way!

This week features a favorite flavor of mine: Black Cherry.

When I was growing up my dad and I would always get those tiny bottles of Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda whenever we went to Jerry's Deli. Good times. The only thing is that no other black cherry product ever seems to compare to that soda, except for my grandmother's black cherry jello mould which jiggles into existence every Thanksgiving. Mmm, jello mould! Grandma also makes a lime pineapple jello mould, but only my Aunt eats that one. The neon green color can be a bit off-putting.

Anyway, last year I made a Cherry Chocolate Chip with Rum-Soaked Cherries ice cream which featured fresh cherries reduced into a flavorful sauce and then incorporated into the ice cream base. I also rehydrated dried cherries in rum, because cherries + rum = AWESOME. They basically became a whole new rum delivery system. Captain Jack would be proud.

So, this was my second attempt at a cherry ice cream and this time I used black cherry preserves from France! C'est bon, non?! These preserves were all natural and only had concentrated grape fruit juice and lemon juice to keep them nice and tasty. Since the fruit has natural sugars I reduced the amount of sugar in the ice cream base from 1 cup to 1/2 cup. At first I intended this recipe to be more of a sherbet and I was going to use all whole milk rather than cream, but at the last minute I decided to go with 1 additional cup of milk and 1 additional cup of cream rather than the 3 cups of cream I typically add to base (which already has 1 cup of milk). If you followed that using the right side of your brain then you'll realize that I was a cup short on the milk/cream liquid. That's because I only had 10 oz. of black cherry preserves and I didn't want to dilute the flavor by making too much ice cream. So instead of 2 quarts this recipe produced about 1.5 quarts. /babble

Next there was heating, stirring, whipping, straining, chilling, churning, freezing... the usual stuff.

The final product has a nice purple hue similar to that of my grandmother's black cherry jello mould. Canned bing cherries would be a great mix-in for this ice cream. Unfortunately I didn't realize that until after the fact!

It tastes very sweet, but not necessarily overtly sugary; the sweetness is more reminiscent of the fruit in the preserves rather than the granulated sugar. This ice cream would be perfect on a hot summer day. If I were to put it into popsicle moulds then the end result would be deliciously fruity creamsicles!

These pictures aren't the greatest and I'm still experimenting with accentuating this ice cream... I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I plan to reduce some balsamic vinegar into a sweet sauce to serve as a topping. The balsamic, though sweetened from the reduction, will not be as sweet as the ice cream. The interaction of the two should hopefully result in a beneficial conflict of FLAVORS!