Monday, March 28, 2011

#12 Peppermint Thin Mint Cookie

Here's a belated post about a special St. Patrick's Day ice cream: Peppermint Thin Mint Cookie, made with real girl scout cookies!

When I told the girl scout I was buying cookies to turn them into ice cream she told me that I should use the cookie as a spoon to eat the ice cream. So brilliant. Hence forth ice cream shall only be eaten via cookies. Thanks, girl scout!

Dreyer's also makes this ice cream. You can probably buy it at your local grocery store, but what's the fun in that? Wouldn't you rather support the Girl Scouts AND make your own delicious ice cream?

To make this ice cream I followed the basic ice cream recipe and added a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract. Then, since this ice cream was for a St. Patrick's day celebration, I added numerous drops of green food coloring until the shade of green accentuated the inner mintiness of the ice cream mixture.

As the ice cream was churning away in the machine I crushed 2 cups of thin mint cookies, but you can use less or more (or even another type of cookie - perhaps mint milanos if thin mints aren't in season) depending upon your own desired cookie/ice cream ratio. A few minutes before the ice cream was done I added the mix-in and voila, peppermint thin mint cookie ice cream!

I also added a decorative, yet functional, layer of thin mint cookies on top before placing the ice cream into the freezer. These cookies can be scooped up or used as spoons. This is probably one of my favorite ice creams so far, primarily because it's mint and that's my favorite flavor OF ALL TIME. In a way it's very similar to Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip, but instead of chocolate chips, you have chocolaty cookies, which are way better. You really can't go wrong with mint ice cream and thin mint cookies. Delicious.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

#11 Jalapeno Cornbread Cinnamon

When you're making a new ice cream every week and you're invited to a potluck / dinner party / other social event, what would you bring? Ice cream. Obviously. Give me an excuse to make ice cream these days and I'll take it!

If the event is themed, say... a taco night, what ice cream would you make? Well, at first I decided to make jalapeno cornbread. AND THEN I turned it into ice cream. Jalapeno Cornbread Cinnamon ice cream!

Right now you may be having the following reactions: WHAT?! EWW?! HUH?! OMG?! WTF?! But hopefully, "Intriguing... I would be interested in trying that."

The thing is... IT'S TOTALLY AWESOME.

First I made a basic ice cream and flavored it with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. In my previous cinnamon ice creams I used cinnamon extract, but this one is cinnamon extract free. Using just pure ground cinnamon gives it a fresher cinnamon taste.

Next I crumbled up some freshly baked jalapeno cornbread (after it had cooled sufficiently) and mixed it into the ice cream near the end of the freezing/churning process. I probably used about a cup and a half of crumbled cornbread, but you could put in as much or as little as you want. The remaining cornbread bits were sprinkled on top of the ice cream before it was placed in the freezer.

This was definitely one of my more adventurous ice creams. It is very cool and refreshing, yet spicy and fun. You can taste the cinnamon, cornbread, and the occasional heat from a bit of jalapeno pepper. This combination is a fiesta for your mouth!

Jalapeno Cornbread Recipe

I obtained this recipe in 2008 while attending a team building event at work. My co-workers and I cooked together! The event was hosted by culinary coach and executive chef, Gregg Denter. This is his delicious jalapeno cornbread recipe.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2.5 eggs (not sure how to do half an egg... I just used the egg whites and it came out fine)
1/2 cup diced chili peppers (they come diced in a can to make it easier)
1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper
1/3 cup cream corn
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal
1 and 1/4 tablespoons of baking powder
1 and 1/8 teaspoons of salt


1. Cream butter and sugar together until lite and fluffy. Use a whisk attachment on an electric beater for best results.

2. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each.

3. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture, alternating with the creamed corn.

5. Fold in the cheeses and peppers.

Coat muffin pan or loaf pan with oil spray.

Bake at 325 for 20 minutes for muffins or 45 minutes for a loaf.

Life Cycle of Jalapeno Cornbread

Oh, and shortly you'll see how this is relevant to ice cream...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

#10 Vegan Coconut Soy

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes a coconut?

That's the flavor of this week's ice cream!

It's also my first VEGAN ice cream. This ice cream was created per the request of Kip over at Bierkast. He needed a dairy-free dessert for a co-worker's birthday party. They served it with banana splits!

Making this coconut ice cream was an interesting experience. This is the first time I've made something without any cream or milk. Here's the basic recipe: 4 cups unsweetened coconut milk, 2 cups unsweetened vanilla soy milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and shredded coconut flakes.

(Yes, I am going to be calling this an ice cream even though there's no cream or milk. It is more along the lines of a sorbet or shaved iced.)

I tasted both the coconut milk and soy milk after I opened the cartons. They didn't taste like anything, so I added the sugar, but then it just tasted like sweet water, which is a very lackluster taste for an ice cream. Next I added some vanilla extract, but still it was missing that coconut flavor. Luckily I had bought a bag of sweetened shredded coconut flakes for the mix in, so I decided to process them in the mini-food processor until they were finely chopped. Then I put the coconut/soy milk mixture on the stove and steeped the chopped coconut flakes in the mixture for a while. That did the trick. The mixture successfully extracted the coconut flavor! I let the mixture chill for about an hour in the refrigerator and then strained it into the ice cream machine. It began to churn... and churn... and churn... yet the mixture would not freeze! Something was wrong. What could it have been? Was the mixture not cold enough to begin with? Is it me? Is it my ice cream machine? I still don't know! After about 40-45 minutes the mixture was a slushy soup, so I added the rest of the shredded coconut flakes as a mix-in, and poured it into a two quart storage container. Then I added a layer of shredded coconut on top, which looked like Parmesan cheese, and put it in the freezer so that it would, finally, freeze.

Despite the technical mishap it was still delicious. Kip brought back the left overs after his office party so I eventually had the opportunity to taste this one as I had forgotten to set aside some of it for myself!

I read on the web that coconut milk freezes very hard. Well, it's true. This ice cream needs to thaw for at least 20 minutes before it becomes scoopable. The consistency and texture is very much like that of shaved ice. Kip said it reminded him of old fashioned ice cream that you make with a hand churn. The coconut flavor is pronounced and tasty... with the proper additional ingredients this ice cream could be the base of a fantastic pina colada-like treat!

See, coconut flakes look like Parmesan cheese!

Maybe one day it will really be Parmesan cheese...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#9 Orange Sherbet with Chocolate Chips

In Arcata, CA there's a 24 hour eatery / truck stop called Tony's where they make the most amazing milkshakes. And they make these milkshakes in almost every flavor you could ever want. My favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip (there is no other for me)! My good (totally awesome) friend Nikki's favorite flavor is chocolate orange. Sometimes, late at night, we would make Tony's runs for milkshakes and fries. Dipping fries into milkshakes was the thing to do back then. Maybe it still is! Give it a try sometime.

This week's ice cream experiment is a tribute to Nikki's favorite flavor. The result is a tasty and sharp orange sherbet accentuated with semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Let me first ask the question: what is a sherbet? Definitions differ but according to Princeton's WordNet a sherbet is "a frozen dessert made primarily of fruit juice and sugar, but also containing milk or egg-white or gelatin." So, is what I made really a sherbet? I have no idea. The FDA classifies ice creams, sherbets, and sorbets by a measurement of the amount of butterfat in the final product. I don't really have an easy way to measure that. This website defines different types of ice creams and ice cream like desserts. It states that a sherbet contains only 2% butterfat. Considering I put in a little bit of cream, my sherbet is probably over the 2%. But the taste and texture of this dessert make it seem more like a sherbet than an ice cream to me, so for my purposes today I declare this creation to be a sherbet!

I started off following my basic ice cream recipe, using 1 cup of sugar, etc. but then I decided to change up the milk / cream ratios. This time I added 2 cups of milk and a 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The mixture was scalded and whisked with the immersion blender as per usual. Then I added 2 cups of 100% pure orange juice. I had considered buying a bunch of oranges and juicing them myself, but buying a bottle of pure orange juice was quicker and easier. Only vitamins have been added to this orange juice, so in a sense it makes this sherbet healthy. (I kid...)

After some chilling and churning the final product was accentuated with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I decided to not mix them directly into the sherbet so that those who just want a pure scoop of orange sherbet will be able to have that option. My first scoop of this sherbet grabbed a few chocolate chips from the surface and mixed them into the scoop as intended.

If you've had orange sherbet before then you probably know what this tastes like. The acidity of the orange juice leaves your taste buds with a slight tingle, but overall the flavor is cool and refreshing. I wish it wasn't so cold out because this would be an excellent ice cream to offset warm days. I will have to make it again this summer. The chocolate chip surprise in the occasional bite completely diversifies the flavor. Chocolate orange is truly a winning combination and likely to put a smile on your face!

A before and after photo? (Sorry about the creepy orange!)