Ice Cream Sandwiches

I know it’s fall now and ice cream sandwiches seem like more of a summertime treat, but really I think they are a great anytime treat for the kid in all of us.  For me, ice cream sandwiches were the treat I would always seem to find buried in our freezer when there was nothing else around.  These are like the version we all remember, only much, much better.  I’ve made homemade ice cream sandwiches before but I think this shaping method is so genius.  Cutting the cookies and ice cream layer with the same cookie cutter – so easy and it makes for a gorgeous presentation.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it but I’m really glad someone did!

These were very easy to make, though it should be noted that the dough is fairly soft even after chilling.  I kept waiting and waiting for it to firm up more until I realized it was as chilled as it would get.  This is a good thing though, because it means these cookies are soft and easy to eat even when frozen, but don’t let it worry you when rolling and cutting the dough.  As long as you keep the work surface lightly floured, it shouldn’t be a problem.  I am looking forward to playing around with more flavor variations of ice cream sandwiches now that I have this awesome shaping method down.  Think of the possibilities!

Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Yield: about 1 dozen 3-inch square sandwich cookies

For the ice cream:
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
¾ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cookies:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

Combine the milk, sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture and add the husk of the bean as well.  Cover the saucepan, remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl with a fine mesh sieve set over the top.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour some of the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.  Continue until you have added all of the milk mixture.  Return the mixture to the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir.  Continue cooking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (about 170-175°F.)  Pour the custard through the mesh sieve and stir it into the cream.  Place the vanilla bean into the custard mixture, stir in the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Remove the vanilla bean from the ice cream batter, stir well, and freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Line a chilled 9 x 13″ pan with plastic wrap.  When the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, spread some of the ice cream into the pan in an even layer about 1 inch thick.  Freeze until firm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, vegetable oil and brown sugar.  Beat on medium speed until combined.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla extract until smooth.  In a separate bowl combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until incorporated and a soft dough forms.  Gather the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out as many pieces as you can, transferring the cut outs to the prepared baking sheet.  Gather and re-roll the dough scraps as needed.  If desired, use a wooden skewer to make a dotted pattern on the cookies.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the sandwiches, use the same cookie cutter that was used for the cookies to cut out pieces of ice cream.  Layer one piece of ice cream between two of the cookies and return to the freezer immediately.  Wrap the sandwiches individually as desired.  Keep frozen until ready to serve.

Source: cookies from Tartlette, ice cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Orange Ice Cream Popsicles

Orange ice cream popsicles are one of those treats that bring childhood memories flooding back, at least for me.  I’ve been wanting to try this ice cream for a while and our recent ice cream social gave me both the inspiration and motivation to give it a shot.  When I smelled the mixture in the blender, I’ll admit I was not optimistic.  You see, this is another ice cream that has sour cream in it, and though I learned with the strawberry ice cream that it actually makes for a fantastic end result, just after blending it completely turned my stomach.  But as I have also learned many times before, you must trust in David.  I let the mixture chill overnight and when I checked it the next day, it had an intoxicating orange-vanilla fragrance, like the popsicles but better.  And that is also how these tasted – like the popsicles, but way better.

All I did to make these into popsicles was pour the ice cream into small paper cups, place a popsicle stick in the center, and let them freeze firm.  Then before serving I peeled off the cups and voila, ice cream pops!  As I mentioned, I did make this in the blender but I think next time I will use the food processor in order to pulverize the orange zest more to make for a smoother texture.  A blender is fine if you have a great one, but I don’t.  These are a lovely refreshing frozen treat, and almost acted as a palate cleanser during our ice cream extravaganza.

Orange Popsicle Ice Cream
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2/3 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 oranges, preferably organic
1¼ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup sour cream
½ cup half-and-half
2 tsp. orange liqueur

In a blender or food processor, combine the sugar and orange zest; pulse the mixture is well blended and the zest is pulverized.  Add in the orange juice, sour cream, half-and-half, and orange liqueur.  Blend well until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  (Optional: Pour into small paper cups, stick popsicle sticks in the center, and freeze until firm.  Peel off the paper cups before serving.)

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Strawberry Milkshakes

This milkshake brings all the boys…and girls, and adults to the yard…  Sorry, you know it was impossible to resist that one 😉  When I was planning my ice cream social, I knew for certain that milkshakes needed to be part of the menu.  Strawberry milkshakes seem to be one of the most classic flavors out there, right along with vanilla and chocolate.  Since vanilla and chocolate were already represented on the menu, this was an easy decision.  After a fair amount of internet searching I found that most recipes called for vanilla ice cream with strawberries blended in.  Sounds delicious, but I wanted double strawberry flavor so I used this recipe with the oh-so-delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  It worked beautifully and I got just what I was hoping for – a very strawberry, super creamy milkshake.

Strawberry Milkshakes
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Yield: 4 servings

1 pint (2 cups) strawberry ice cream
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup milk

Combine the ice cream, frozen berries and milk in a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth and well blended.  Pour into chilled glasses and serve immediately.

Source: Martha Stewart

Tartufi (Ice Cream Truffles)

These just look like regular old truffles, right?  Trust me, these are unlike any truffles you’ve ever tried (unless of course you’ve had ice cream truffles before).  I’ve been itching to make chocolate ganache ice cream, and then I started thinking about making it into ice cream truffles since truffles are traditionally filled with ganache.  The only problem was I was slightly terrified of making truffles with ice cream centers.  I mean sure, I’ve made truffles plenty of times but the idea of dipping cold ice cream into warm melted chocolate and getting a presentable end result just seemed unlikely.  But as I’ve learned so many times, you must always trust in David Lebovitz.  It turns out ice cream truffles are actually even easier to dip than regular truffles.  Since the center is so cold, the chocolate hardens quickly and smoothly over the top.  I did end up with quite a bit of the melted chocolate mixture left over, but I think having a deep chocolate mixture makes for much easier dipping so it’s a fair trade.

Let me also just say a quick few words about the chocolate ganache ice cream.  Oh.My.Gosh.  So rich, smooth, chocolatey.  I’m sure these truffles would be wonderful with many flavors of ice cream but now that I’ve had these, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stray.  The ice cream will certainly have its very own post on the blog someday, but for now I’ll just link to the recipe via the Tuesdays with Dorie group.

Tartufi (Ice Cream Truffles)
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Yield: 8 tartufi
2 cups ice cream
6 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1½ tbsp. light corn syrup

Line a flat dinner plate or baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the freezer.  Once the plate is chilled, use a dough scoop or ice cream scoop to shape mounds of ice cream, making sure that the mounds are solid.  Brush any dangling bits of ice cream away so the surface is completely smooth.  Place each mound on the chilled plate or baking sheet.  Freeze the shaped mounds thoroughly before proceeding.

When you are ready to dip the truffles, combine the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Working quickly, dip one ice cream mound at a time into the chocolate mixture, moving between two spoons until the coating is smooth and the excess has dripped off.  Return to the parchment-lined chilled surface (replace the parchment if necessary), and return to the freezer.  Freeze until ready to serve.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Foodbuzz 24 x 24: Ice Cream Social

We may have felt the first few wisps of fall air but as much as I love it, I’m trying to enjoy summer while it lasts.  For me, a perfect way to spend part of my Labor Day weekend was hosting an ice cream social party for our friends.  Though I’m most definitely one to enjoy ice cream even in the dead of winter, this seemed the perfect end of summer gathering.  Lots of friends attended and I can say with confidence that this party was a huge hit with adults and kids alike!  Also, an awesome added bonus of this party was that in addition to receiving a stipend from Foodbuzz to make it all happen, Foodbuzz partnered with Electrolux made a $250 donation to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for mine and each of the other 24 x 24 parties that was hosted this weekend.  Not only that, but Electrolux has committed $750,000 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and Foodbuzz is getting involved not only by sponsoring all the 24 x 24 events, but also by donating a matching amount to the OCRF. Being a physician and seeing cases of ovarian cancer far too often, I was thrilled to be able to host a party and have it benefit a good cause as well.

When thinking about this party, I wanted it to be all about ice cream.  I thought for a while about serving some other foods to help balance the sweets, but I thought my friends would be able to handle the ice cream extravaganza so I just went with it.  I served each course one at a time so they could be savored individually, and also so we could pace ourselves – we’re talking seven courses of ice cream, after all!  I made sure to keep the serving sizes small so that everyone would have room for sampling all the treats.

Hosting an ice cream party with all homemade goodies definitely required planning and foresight, as the ice cream maker had to refreeze between each batch.  I basically made one batch of ice cream every day the week leading up to the party.  One of the best things about throwing an ice cream party was that because everything needed to be frozen, all the treats were finished well in advance of party time.  No real last minute prep was required here, which I loved.  My vision was to create a variety of homemade ice cream treats that are all variations on classic ice cream favorites.  I had so very many ideas that I could probably host four more ice cream social parties and not do the same thing twice.  Eventually, the menu was pared down to include:

Strawberry milkshakes
Tartufi (ice cream truffles)
Orange creamsicles
Brownie and coffee ice cream cupcakes
Blueberry pie a la mode cupcakes
Chocolate and vanilla ice cream sandwiches
Banana split sundae bar

Milkshakes are such a classic ice cream treat, I just had to include them in the menu.  These strawberry milkshakes greeted guests as they came in to the party.  I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to serve these in cute shot glasses, but apparently no store in my immediate area sold shot glasses – how weird!  Guess I’m just used to growing up in a college town.  Thankfully some fun straws and napkins helped with the presentation.

The next course was tartufi, or ice cream truffles.  Including chocolate ice cream as part of the menu was an absolute must, but I thought this was a fun and unique way to present it.  I used chocolate ganache ice cream as the center of these, since ganache is the traditional truffle filling.  Everyone at the party seemed to have different favorite treats, but I think I heard the most people say these claimed their top spot.

Most people remember the classic orange-vanilla ice cream pops as a childhood favorite.  These pops had a flavor reminiscent of the store bought variety, but these are much tastier.  The fresh orange zest and orange juice give these a really bright, refreshing flavor.  These were almost like a palate cleanser.

Oh, and they were a big hit with the kiddos, including my little cutie pie.

Next up were these brownie coffee ice cream cupcakes.  Cake and ice cream are always a winning combination, so ice cream cupcakes are a neat little package of deliciousness.  I’ve made ice cream cupcakes before, and it’s fun to play around with the flavor combinations.  Since coffee ice cream is my absolute favorite flavor and brownies are awesome (duh), these were a no brainer.  I topped each one with a chocolate covered espresso bean for a finishing touch.

Some of the kids weren’t excited about these because of the coffee, but Ethan sure seemed to enjoy his!

Certainly one of the most common ways to serve ice cream is alongside a slice of pie or a serving of crisp, cobbler, etc.  These blueberry pie a la mode cupcakes were my spin on the classic combo to make it mini and portable.  Blueberry is my favorite variety of fruit pie, so this was one of my favorite treats of the night.

I think Gavin liked it too.

Ice cream sandwiches are a quintessential ice cream treat, so I had to include them.  I was thrilled with how they turned out.  I’m sure any flavor combo would be great and I will definitely be playing around with many variations, but for this occasion I wanted to stick with the classic chocolate cookie-vanilla ice cream combo.

The sundae bar was the last treat of the night.  I used roasted banana ice cream as the base for the sundaes, as a fun twist on the usual banana splits.   I think this was actually my favorite of all the courses because make-your-own sundae bars are just so fun!  It makes me feel like a kid again to see how many toppings I can get on my sundae.

The sundae bar was a happenin’ place to be!

And of course, I had to send guests home with some additional sweetness.  I packaged up the leftover ice cream in these cute pint containers.  I was already planning on doing this, but now I’m really glad I did or I would have had ice cream in my freezer to last for a few months.  And we all know I need to be trying new flavors instead 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this peek into our party!  Recipes will be forthcoming for the strawberry milkshakes, tartufi, orange creamsicles, blueberry pie a la mode cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches.

Vendors and Resources:
Paper Source – ice cream cone stamp, pink and white polka dot paper
Garnish – pint containers
Bake It Pretty – gelato spoons, gray striped straws
Target – black and white damask napkins, green and white striped napkins
Ruffled – free printable alphabet bunting

Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream

Okay, it’s really strawberry sour cream ice cream.  But wait!  Don’t you dare go running away or turn up your nose in disgust at the inclusion of sour cream in this recipe.  Believe me, when I first read the recipe title I thought, “Ew, gross!” and moved right along.  But recently I have seen this mentioned a few times around the blogosphere with great reviews and so I gave it a second look.  I’ve already come to adore the use of sour cream in baking.  It makes the best blueberry scones ever, and makes an amazing chocolate cake (I need to share that one soon – it seems a crime not to!)  Why should it not be magnificent in ice cream?  I’ll admit I was still a bit skeptical while I was making the recipe but after taking that first small taste fresh out of the ice cream maker, all those thoughts fell away.  It is ripe with intense strawberry flavor and the sour cream makes it super creamy while keeping it from being overly sweet.  Truth be told, in a blind taste test I would never have even known sour cream was one of the ingredients.  What I do know is that this is for sure the best strawberry ice cream I have had.  Plus, I’m a sucker for anything this pretty shade of pink.

Thanks for celebrating National Ice Cream Month with me!  I’ve already got tons of fun ideas brewing for next year, though I probably won’t be able to wait that long to try most of them 🙂  In case you missed them, here is a recap of the other flavors I featured this month:

Pistachio Gelato
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream
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1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced*
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. vodka or kirsch (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl with the sugar and vodka.  Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a blender or food processor and add the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice.  Pulse briefly until almost smooth but still slightly chunky.  Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

*Note: I highly recommend using organic strawberries for this recipe.  The flavor is worlds better than their more artificial counterparts.

Source: barely adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream

What’s better than cookie dough?  Double cookie dough, of course.  I’ve always been pretty lukewarm to cookie dough ice cream in general because while the bites of cookie dough were delicious, the base ice cream was usually just a boring vanilla.  Don’t get me wrong, I love vanilla.  It just seems the vanilla used as a base for cookie dough is often sub-par.  Then I saw a recipe for ice cream that is cookie dough-flavored.  Immediately I thought the best thing to do would be combine the that ice cream as a base with chunks of cookie dough mixed in.  Now we’re talking.  Ooooh my, this stuff is pretty amazing.  In fact, it catapulted right up the ranks of ice cream flavors and is now vying with coffee ice cream for the number one spot in my heart.  Which will it be?  I think I’ll need to try a bit more of each before I decide.  Darn.

And of course, the best way to serve it?  Over a warm chocolate chip cookie….or with a warm cookie crumbled over the top…or maybe sandwiched between two cookies…basically anything that takes it to triple cookie dough – yeah, I went there.  These cupcakes made me do it.

PS – I think it is good sense to have frozen cookie dough in your freezer at all times for just this sort of emergency.

Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream
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For the cookie dough:
5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp. salt)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

For the ice cream:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
4 large egg yolks
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

To make the cookie dough, stir together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth.  Mix in the flour, then the vanilla and chocolate chips.  Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.

To make the ice cream, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Continue heating, stirring often, until the butter is a deep golden brown color, being careful not to burn it.  Whisk in the heavy cream and heat until simmering.  Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and the egg yolks until pale and fluffy.  Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount to the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk in the rest of the cream.  Mix in the salt.  Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan and heat until just slightly thickened, and the temperature reads 170-175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.  Stir in the vanilla extract and the whole milk.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Once the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Chop the disk of cookie dough into small chunks.  As soon as the mixture is done churning, transfer to a bowl or airtight container and stir in the chocolate chips and the chunks of cookie dough.  Store in the freezer until firm.

Source: cookie dough from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, ice cream adapted from Joy the Baker

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream

National Ice Cream Month is still rolling along, and I’m totally overwhelmed with all the potential flavor options I could share.  I decided to try this butterscotch pecan because it’s certainly not a typical flavor for me.  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you may remember that I used to declare hatred of almost all types of nuts.  Then one Thanksgiving I discovered pecan pie and slowly began to warm up to them (well, at least some of them).  I have been hearing good things about this particular recipe so I thought I would give it a try.  I figured even if I wasn’t crazy about it, Ben would surely love it and there would be lots of interested readers.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I would resort to eating butter pecan ice cream when there was no other sort of ice cream around and pick out all the nuts which left me with basically just vanilla ice cream.  Once I got around to actually making this recipe, I realized this was a whole different ballgame.  Butterscotch pecan ice cream – as in butterscotch, my dear sweet love.  Well, hello, we have a winner.  So rich, creamy and well, buttery!  I even enjoyed the pecans.  My biggest mistake?  Only making a half batch.

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream
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For the buttered pecans:
1½ tbsp. butter
1½ cups pecan halves
¼ tsp. coarse salt

For the ice cream:
5 tbsp. butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ tsp. coarse salt
2 cups heavy cream, divided
¾ cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. scotch whisky (I didn’t have scotch so I used Jack Daniels)

To make the buttered pecans, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Melt the butter in a skillet.  Remove from the heat and toss the pecans with butter until evenly coated.  Sprinkle with the salt.  Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-12 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  If desired, coarsely chop the pecans before adding them to the ice cream.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.  Once melted, whisk in the brown sugar and salt.  Stir in 1 cup of the heavy cream, and the whole milk.  Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream in a mixing bowl with a fine mesh sieve set over the top.

Place the egg yolks in a separate medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks.  Whisking constantly, slowly add the warm sugar-cream mixture to the egg yolks to temper.  Continue until all of the liquid has been incorporated.  Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches 170-175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer.  Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the sieve and into the bowl with the cream.  Stir in the vanilla and scotch.  Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.  (To speed chilling, stir over an ice bath.)

Once the mixture is completely chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container and gently fold in the buttered pecans until evenly incorporated.  Freeze until firm.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Celebrating National Ice Cream Month with a new flavor each week is one of the best chores I have ever created for myself.  I mean, does it even count as a chore if I enjoy it this much?  I asked Ben for input on the flavor for the week and it took him about 0.02 seconds to declare peanut butter as the winner.  I said sure, but let’s mix in some Reese’s cups and if I remember correctly, he kissed me right then and there 🙂  This recipe is great because if you are like us and consider peanut butter a pantry staple, chances are you have everything you need to make it on hand.  The only thing we needed to buy were the Reese’s cups.  (We don’t keep those around the house because let’s just say someone who shall remain nameless can’t stop popping them in her mouth.)  It seems a fact of nature that chocolate and peanut butter are a perfect pair, and this ice cream was certainly evidence of that.  I think the peanut butter base would also be fantastic with a fudge ripple – I may try that next time!

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for copies of The Perfect Scoop last week!  I had such fun reading everyone’s favorite flavors of ice cream, and it gave me lots of inspiration for new varieties to try.
Without further ado, here are our winners:
#191 – Lucy said, “I’m all for trying other flavors but I still go back to chocolate chip, my all time favorite! Love your blog!!!
#409 – Lydia said, “I studied abroad in Italy in the summer of 2004 and I absolutely know I can attribute the majority of my weight gain to Gelato!! I for some reason REALLY loved the vanilla.. I don’t know what it was about it but it was just beyond amazing! (of course I cant even remember its Italian name).”
#175 – Shannon said, “My favorite flavor is actually a creation I make a Coldstone. I take the banana ice cream and mix it up with oreos, cookie dough and chocolate fudge. Tastes like a frozen banana! I LOVE IT.”
#567 – Erin said, “Mackinac Island Fudge!”

(Take notice for the next giveaway, all the winners answered the question I asked by listing a single flavor of ice cream ;))

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
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¾ cup creamy peanut butter
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 2/3 cups half-and-half
Pinch of coarse salt
Dash of vanilla extract
1 heaping cup mini Reese’s cups, wrappers removed, frozen and chopped (optional)

Combine all of the ingredients (minus the candy) in a blender or food processor; and puree until completely smooth.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.  When the mixture is chilled through, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  To mix in the Reese’s, transfer the ice cream to a storage container and gently fold in the peanut butter cup pieces until evenly distributed.

Source: adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Pistachio Gelato (and a Giveaway!)

Did you know that July is national ice cream month?  I don’t know where or when these things get decided, but I’m pretty excited about it nonetheless.  Personally my love of ice cream, sorbet and other frozen treats knows no season.  I still make and eat ice cream in the dead of winter.  But if there is a month for celebrating ice cream then let’s celebrate it!  Just as I consider Helen of Tarlette the queen of macarons, I consider David Lebovitz the king (god?) of ice cream, etc.  I own a few ice cream cookbooks but The Perfect Scoop is without a doubt the bible of ice cream.

In honor of national ice cream month, I’ll be posting at least one ice cream-related treat each week.  The recipe for this pistachio gelato doesn’t actually come from The Perfect Scoop but rather from David’s fantastic blog.  Now I normally try to avoid recipes that call for specialty ingredients, but I also know that David only posts reliable recipes that will yield the best end result.  If he thinks pistachio cream is necessary for good homemade pistachio gelato, then I believe him.  You can read about his thoughts on creating this recipe here.  I didn’t really even try finding this locally as it surely would have been a fruitless search.  I ordered mine online.  The only thing to watch out for is that the size of jar I ordered was slightly less than the amount called for in the recipe.  It wasn’t a significant difference so I just made it with what I had and the result was wonderful, but next time I’ll order two jars at least.  Plus then I’ll have some left over for adding to buttercream and other things – this stuff is gooood.  (The differences between ice cream and gelato are best saved for another time and another post, but if you own The Perfect Scoop you can read David’s thoughts on the matter in the introduction.)

And the gelato?  Well, it’s good too.  Actually it’s much better than good.  I loved the thick, smooth texture and the pretty green color.  Even though it may seem to make a small quantity, it actually lasted about five or six nights of dessert in our house because a single scoop is so satisfying.  (I do not seem to have such restraint with coffee or chocolate ice cream.)

Now, on to the giveaway!  If by some sad turn of events you do not yet own a copy of this wonderful book, this could be your lucky day.  Four readers will win their own copy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me your absolute SINGLE favorite flavor of ice cream (homemade, store-bought, from an ice cream parlor, whatever!)

The Rules: One entry per person, U.S. residents only.  Commenting will close on Sunday, July 4 at 10:00 am, EST.  Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered.  Four winners will be chosen at random and announced next week.  Good luck!

Pistachio Gelato
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2 cups whole milk, divided
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
7 oz. pistachio paste (I used closer to 5.5 oz)
A few drops of lemon juice

Combine ¼ cup whole milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl; whisk together to form a slurry so all the cornstarch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.  Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is almost to a boil.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook at a gentle simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, preferably overnight.  Once the mixture is thoroughly chilled, whisk in the pistachio paste and a few drops of lemon juice.  Freeze the gelato in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Source: barely adapted from David Lebovitz