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  1. Thursday, June 14

    Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

    Apparently it’s ice cream week at the Maynards! I seriously wasn’t planning on making more ice cream…and then I did. My girls wanted strawberry ice cream. How could I say no?

    Since the first two Cook’s Illustrated ice cream recipes were such delicious successes, I went ahead and used their strawberry recipe as well. It’s a small labor of love, but it was worth it. And the girls helped me out with a bunch of the steps, which was really helpful and fun!

    The girls both declared without hesitation that this was their favorite homemade ice cream so far. I still think it’s a three-way tie between chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but the strawberry ice cream was pretty darn amazing and perfect for summertime!

    Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced thin (3¼ cups) (Jane note: I will slice AND chop the strawberries next time. Even with all our mashing there were still some pretty big strawberry chunks in the final product that I would have liked to be smaller)
    • 1¼ cups sugar
    • Pinch salt
    • ⅓ cups heavy cream
    • 1¼ cups whole milk
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 3 tablespoons vodka (Jane note: left this out because I didn't have it)
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Combine strawberries, ½ cup sugar and salt in bowl. Mash berries gently with potato masher until slightly broken down. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until berries have released their juice and sugar has dissolved, 40-45 minutes. (Jane note: like I said, we mashed a lot - I think smaller berry pieces are better - and I also think my berries only sat for about 30 minutes - I made sure the sugar was dissolved, but I don't think they sat as long as 40 minutes.)
    2. Place fine-mesh strainer over medium bowl and set over larger bowl of ice water. Combine cream, milk and ½ cup sugar in medium saucepan. (Jane note: I also added ¼ teaspoon of salt to the cream mixture at this point.) Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occaionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. (Jane note: as soon as we hit 175 I took it off - it wasn't steaming all that much)
    3. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk half of heated cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, ½ cup at a time. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7-14 minutes. (Jane note: I never hit 180...it got stuck around 177 and was taking forever, but figured we were good and everything seemed to work fine.) Immediately strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and let cool over bowl of ice water to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
    4. While custard is cooling, transfer berries to medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are softened and broken down, about 3 minutes. Strain berries, reserving juice. Transfer berries to small bowl, stir in vodka and lemon juice, then let cool to room temp, cover, and refrigerate until cool. Stir vanilla and reserved juice into cooled custard, cover and refrigerate until custard registeres 40 degrees, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. (Jane note: We were too impatient to wait for 40 degrees - we waited at least 3 hours and then went for it. The custard was definitely cool, so I figured it would be okay. And, it was.)
    5. Transfer custard to ice-cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream, 25-30 minutes. Add berries and continue to churcn until fully incoporated and berries are slightly broken down, about 1 minute. Transfer ice cream to a chilled airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. (Jane note: or just eat it right away because it's awesome ANY time!)

     


  2. Tuesday, June 12

    Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream…and a note about the freezing process

    It’s time, my friends. Time for homemade chocolate ice cream!

    I still can’t decide which I like better, the vanilla or the chocolate. They are seriously both amazing. I am a chocoholic, so that’s saying something about the vanilla. But, I don’t know, this chocolate ice cream is just soooo good. Creamy and chocolatey, it’s almost like eating chocolate mousse or pot de creme in frozen form. The ice cream is super rich and packs a chocolatey punch – don’t be fooled by that light brown color!

    When I wrote about the vanilla ice cream, I mentioned that I didn’t follow the Cook’s Illustrated instructions for freezing the ice cream after it’s churned and that everything still turned out fine. WELLL…when I made ice cream for a third time, I discovered why they have you do what they do and now I am going to do what they sway from now on! They have you freeze a metal pan and then pour the churned ice cream into the metal pan. You let it freeze in that pan for about an hour and then transfer to an air-tight container. Just seemed like extra steps to me…but…now I know better.

    The first time I made the ice cream, I put it directly into one of my glass bowls with a lid. Nothing went awry and I didn’t think much about the process. The second time I did in fact freeze a metal pan. I put the churned ice cream in that pan and then ended up just storing it in that pan with foil on top. We ate it so quickly we didn’t really need an air-tight container! 😉

    Well, the third time I made the ice cream, when the ice cream was done churning, I put it in one of my casserole dishes because all my glass containers with lids were dirty and I hadn’t frozen a metal pan. As soon as the ice cream hit the casserole dish, it started melting!!! Not good. I left the remainder of my ice cream in the ice cream maker and put the casserole dish in the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes, then transferred the remainder of the ice cream to the dish and that seemed to help. ANYWAY…I don’t know why I questioned their technique! It all makes sense to me now! I will never qustion Cook’s Illustrated again. 😉

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
     
    From the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semisweet the second time – it was still rich but a bit less rich, which some people might like. Cook’s Illustrated recommends using high-quality chocolate, which I also recommend. We used Scharffen Berger.)
    • 1½ cups whole milk
    • 1½ cups heavy cream
    • ¼ teaspoon salt (Jane addition, not part of original recipe)
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Place an 8 or 9 inch square metal pan in the freezer.
    2. Microwave chocolate at 50 percent power, stirring every minute, until melted completely. Set aside to cool.
    3. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl set over a larger bowl of ice water.
    4. Combine milk, cream, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that much, I just took it off when it hit 175 degrees)
    5. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add melted chocolate and whisk until fully incorporated.
    6. Slowly whisk half of heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture, ½ cup at a time. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 miutes. Immediately strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and let cool over bowl of ice water to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla, then cover and refrigerate until custard registers 40 degrees, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
    7. Transfer custard to ice cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick soft serve ice cream, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to frozen pan and press plastic wrap on surface. Return to freezer until firm around edges, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container, press firmly and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Can be frozen up to 2 days. (Jane note: is also delicious even before it’s totally frozen!)


  3. Wednesday, June 6

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    Back when I first got my ice cream maker, I was addicted to making frozen yogurt. It’s just so easy and fast to throw together…and it is sooooo yummy. But I wasn’t all that convinced that making homemade ice cream was worth the trouble. I made it a few times, but the recipe I was using (which came from a reputable ice cream source, by the way) left something to be desired…there was a bit of a greasy after-feel and, I don’t know, it was just good, not great.

    I decided last week to give homemade ice cream another try. I searched for recipes on the Internet, didn’t really find one that pulled me in, and then I remembered my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook sitting on the shelf. I felt confident that they would have a good ice cream recipe and decided I would use it, even before reviewing it.

    Up until the moment we ate the stuff I was still wondering if it was worth the work. Making the ice cream takes time and planning. As I stood at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring, I just wasn’t so sure it would be worth it.

    And then. THEN. We ate the ice cream. It was totally worth it. This recipe kicks you-know-what. Flavor? Fantastic. Texture? Creamy and dreamy. Even after sitting in the freezer a few days, the ice cream never got icy. It was miraculous. I’m making it again for sure…I even bought more cream and whole milk today to make more!

    Tomorrow I will share the chocolate ice cream recipe I tried, which was equally as delicious. Mmmmmmmmm…

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
     
    From the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s vanilla extract)
    • 1¾ cups heavy cream
    • 1¼ cups whole milk
    • ½ plus 2 tablespoons (4½ ounces) sugar
    • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 6 large egg yolks
    Instructions
    1. Place an 8 or 9 inch metal baking pan in the freezer.
    2. If using vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out vanilla seeds. Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that steadily, just a bit, but I took it off the heat once it hit 175 degrees. PS…if you don’t have an instant read electronic thermometer, you should get that along with your Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.)
    3. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. (Jane note: I think I only went to about 178 degrees…it seems like mine got stuck there, so I got impatient and called it a day at that point.) Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10-20 minutes. Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and let cool completely, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl of custard will freeze solid.) (Jane note: I don’t think my small bowl was frozen completely solid, but it was frozen for sure.)
    4. Remove custards from fridge and freezer. Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard. Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved. (Jane note: I just realized I didn’t even read this step…I just mixed them together until it was pretty evenly mixed, but not dissolved, and then tossed it in the ice cream machine…no waiting arround.) Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice cream machine. (Jane note: again, I totally didn’t read this part of the directions…didn’t do the strainer! Everything was fine, but it’s probably best to strain in case you get some lumps while cooking the custard.) Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15-25 minutes. Transfer to metal pan, and press plastic wrap on surface. Freeze for 1 hour until edges are firm, then pack into a storage container with tight fitting lid and store in freezer up to 5 days. (Jane note: Cook’s Illustrated recommends freezing an additional 2 hours at this point…of course it’s delicious when it’s totally frozen, but it is also delicious ever step of the way! We totally ate it right when it was done churning…and we also ate it later after freezing. It was awesome both ways!) Can be frozen up to 5 days.


  4. Tuesday, January 27

    She put the knife in the coconut and chopped it all up

    Now that I have successfully gotten an annoying song in your head…on to today’s business.  Fresh coconut ice cream!

    Last week we finally had a chance to eat at Burma Superstar in San Francisco. (Quick aside, it’s a GREAT restaurant…fantastic food, great service, loved it.) One of their desserts was a deep fried coconut custard served with the most amazing coconut ice cream. Now that I have an ice cream maker, you know I had to figure the recipe out!

    Burma Superstar’s ice cream definitely had fresh coconut in it, so I went out and bought my first coconut.  I purchased a sweet young coconut, where the husk is not fully matured.  I thought it might be easier to cut through. Um, it might be easier (I’m not sure, but that’s my guess)…but it still wasn’t easy.  I recommend using a giant serrated knife and exercising PATIENCE.  It was worth the hard work.  The fresh bits of coconut in the ice cream…YUM.

    Oh – and if you have any coconut recipes to share, I have a TON of coconut water and leftover coconut sitting in the fridge.  Savory or sweet, if you have any ideas for how to use it up, let me know!

    Fresh Coconut Ice Cream
     
    Adapted from Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 2 large eggs
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh coconut, cut up into small pieces
    Instructions
    1. Whisk eggs until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 min more. Pour in the cream and coconut milk and whisk to blend. Follow instructions for your ice cream maker (in my 1-1/2 QT Cuisinart, I ran it for 25 minutes). Add the coconut towards the end. Enjoy! Freezes well.