Honey-rosemary ice cream (dairy-free)

Remember my grain-free strawberry-rhubarb crisp from a couple weeks ago? The one that fooled people, in its grain-free-ness? Well, this is the ice cream that went on top. The ice cream that fooled people in its dairy-free-ness.

There was a lot of fooling going on that night.

I’m not just into culinary trickery for grits and shins — though it is all selfishly-motivated. I want to eat yummy desserts. And so I try my hardest to make them, using ingredients I can eat while on my wacky diet. Sometimes, it works out, and I actually make something amazingly delicious. Which of course I then want to hoard in a dark corner of my basement share.

I have no idea why this ice cream works so well — I’ve made other coconut-milk-based frozen concoctions that are good, but something about this one was simply near-perfect. Maybe it’s because the honey and rosemary don’t fight with the coconut, don’t try to overshadow it — they just dance with it. The texture is as creamy as you can get without including the milk from a cow.

It would go well over just about any fruit dessert — say, an Independence Day pie or fresh blueberry tart. Or, on its own, drizzled with a dark-chocolate sauce. How you eat it matters not — it only matters that you eat it.

Eat it, and tell me you are not fooled.

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Recipe: Honey-Rosemary Ice Cream (dairy-free, refined-sweetener-free))

: makes about 1 quart

If you don’t have coconut cream, you can use (1) 14-oz can plus one additional cup canned coconut milk. Use a full can in step 1, and the additional cup in step 4. If you use local, pastured eggs from a trusted source and prefer to use raw yolks, you can forgo heating the mixture to 165º in step 3 (simply heat the honey and milk until the honey dissolves, then whisk in your yolks).

Ingredients

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup (1 8-oz box) unsweetened coconut cream (see note for substitution)
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • pinch salt
  • 6″ sprig fresh rosemary
  • 5 egg yolks (see note)

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the can of coconut milk with the honey and salt. Bring just to a simmer (do not allow to come to a full boil). Turn off heat, submerge the rosemary sprig into the milk, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove rosemary sprig (discard). Return saucepan to medium heat, and warm the milk until hot to the touch.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly ladle the hot milk into the egg yolks while continuously whisking (a towel placed underneath the bowl helps keep it from moving). Pour egg yolks and milk back into the saucepan, whisking, until combined. If using grocery-store eggs, heat the mixture until it reaches 165º on an instant-read thermometer.
  4. In a large bowl, pour the cup of coconut cream (or more coconut milk). Set a strainer on top of the bowl, and pour the hot milk & egg mixture through the strainer into the cream.
  5. Stir the mixture over an ice bath to cool. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely before freezing according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2012.

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This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.

Avocado popsicles

I have a story coming out in this week’s NUVO, about a new food cart in town that sells handmade popsicles (I love this company, by the way — they are making really amazing popsicles, use recyclable materials and are conscientious about giving back to the community — if you live in Indy and run across their cute retro-styled bicycle cart, give your support!).

They have a list of interesting, not-your-run-of-the-mill flavors, and one of them was avocado. When I saw it, I was immediately reminded of the avocado ice cream from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop — I made it a couple years ago, and then turned it into an avocado licuado con leche (Español for avocado milkshake) — resulting in an amazingly creamy and delightful summer drink. I immediately had in mind to figure out my own honey-sweetened version of an avocado pop.

I had a few duds before I found a winner. The losers all included dairy — I started with David’s ice cream recipe, which includes sour cream, and replaced it with yogurt. But it was a bit muddy in flavor, so I ended up ditching the milk and keeping it simple — just the avocado, honey, water, and lime juice. I love the results — very creamy, not-too-sweet, and a perfect refreshing and healthy afternoon treat.

Full disclaimer: this flavor is unusual. The avocado is very present, and I can see how it could mess with your head a little, being cold and sweet. These are not a favorite for my kids, they eat them about half the time, and the other half turn up their noses — but that’s fine by me, since it means a four-pack of pops lasts me more than just one afternoon.

If you’re looking for more homemade popsicle recipes, check these out:
Raspberry Sherbet Popsicles
Mango Popsicles
Chocolate-Coconut Popsicles

 

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Recipe: Avocado Popsicles

: makes about 4 pops, depending on mold size

Ingredients

  • one ripe avocado, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup mild honey (can sub sugar)
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Scoop the flesh out of the avocado into a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth.
  2. Spoon thick puree into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm. Run molds under cool water to easily loosen pops from molds.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2012.

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This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.

First-week-of-kindergarten Chocolate Ice Cream

chocolat-ice-cream

My 5-year boy old loves chocolate. When he is offered ice cream, anywhere, he simply asks, “What flavor?” And if the answer is anything but the single word “chocolate,” he passes. Flavors that include chocolate do not make the cut — he’ll just skip the ice cream altogether.

We don’t always have ice cream in our house, but my thrift-store tabletop Cuisinart makes regular appearances throughout the summer. The ice-cream-making scenario goes something like this:

Hey, guess what I’m making today? (as I’m pulling the appliance out from the cabinet — we love the Answered Rhetorical Question game in our house.)

ICE CREAM!!! (three small voices exclaim in semi-unison; the 2-year old is still a bit slow on the visual cues, and so exclaims it only after she’s heard the other two, but the look on her face says she thinks she’s figured the whole thing out by her lonesome, which is somehow insanely adorable.)

Mom, what flavor? (says my son.)

(insert any flavor here that is not chocolate. which is what I end up saying about 80% of the time, because there are so many flavors to make, and who wants chocolate all the time?)

Mom!!! You NEVER make chocolate! (said in the most annoying, Chinese-water-torture-like whiny voice imaginable.)

That is NOT true. I make chocolate roughly 20% of the time, and that will have to do for you, my freak-of-nature middle child.

But this week, my sweet little freak-of-nature started kindergarten. The weight of this change on my day-to-day life is the subject of another blog, one about motherhood and how it is simultaneously exquisitely beautiful and life-draining; but I can summarize and say that it’s a big change. He has done marvelously so far, eager each day to go to school, happy when I pick him up. He seems older, more mature, already (though not too old yet to forgo crawling into our bed at 6:30 in the morning for a good pre-breakfast snuggle — and I’m holding on to that for as long as I can).

To celebrate this milestone, I pulled out the ice-cream maker and gave him the answer he so desires.

This is my go-to recipe for the all-time classic. While I love a good custard-based ice cream, they do require a little extra time and money — five farm-fresh egg yolks do not come cheaply. With some flavors, the Philly-style (i.e., egg-less) version is just as good if not better (I much prefer Philadelphia-style vanilla to French). With chocolate, this is also the case — while not as quick to whip up as mango sorbet, it’s low on the scale of frozen-treat difficulty.

I adapted this recipe from one in The Perfect Scoop — primarily, I reduced the amount of chocolate. The original recipe ends up a bit hard and chalky once frozen — and requires a bar and a half of baking chocolate and an odd amount of heavy cream. I reduced the amount so that one bar of chocolate and a pint of cream will do you — as a bonus, the texture is a little softer and the flavor still packs a chocolate punch.

Approved by the connoisseur — who is, as you might have noticed, not pictured above. His little sister, herself a lover of chocolate, stood in his stead for today’s shoot, as her brother was at school. So selfless of her.

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Recipe: Classic Chocolate Ice Cream (Philadelphia-style)

: makes about 1 quart
adapted from a recipe in
The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the cream, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Bring to a full, rolling boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly.
  2. Remove from heat, and whisk in the chocolate. Stir until completely melted, then whisk in the milk and vanilla until very smooth.
  3. Chill over an ice bath, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the instructions.

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Raspberry sherbet popsicles

I’m a little behind last year on my first summer popsicle post. Maybe it’s due to the unseasonably chilly and wet spring we had here in Indiana — it seems everything is a little behind. I was informed today that cherries won’t be ready for another week — and it was a year ago this week that I was ignoring my houseful of boxes in order to pick them before the worms had their way.

But summer has caught up to us all. It was 95º in Indianapolis today — hotter than on any single day of our first summer here. As our ironic river birch trees provided a welcome canopy from blistering rays, I sat somewhat comfortably (not profusely sweating, but not without my lounging limits) outside after lunch as the kids played and ate our first summer popsicles. It’s amazing what a good shade tree (and an ever-so-slightly tepid breeze) will do for my mood; I didn’t even mind as melting popsicle juice dribbled down chins, fingers, arms, and clothes. By the last licks, I had three kids on my hands so sticky that a quick bath was in order (and bathing, in our house, is reserved for emergencies).

Popsicles can be totally hit or miss. Sometimes what tastes lovely in a blender becomes somewhat bland in a frozen state; texture also plays a part — it’s not as satisfying to crunch on a rock-hard block of ice as it is for your teeth to sink into something more pillowy. But the beauty of homemade popsicles is their versatility and frugality — anything goes, with (usually) little investment — so you might as well give the blender a whirl and see what happens in the freezer.

These were deemed a keeper by everyone. I was at Kroger one day last week, and saw fresh raspberries on sale for $1/tub. I’m not a huge fan of raspberries — and maybe this is a case of my never having had a truly fresh/ripe one — but they have thus far not presented as a very satisfying berry to my palate. But at such a low price, I knew something must be done with them. We bought two packages, their future yet to be determined.

Fatefully, that very afternoon my kids began their customarily incessant requests for popsicles. I thumbed through The Perfect Scoop, found a raspberry sherbet recipe, and adjusted it for popsicle use (requiring less sugar than their sorbet/gelato/sherbet counterparts). We mixed, blended, poured, and froze, and next day enjoyed the bright fuschia fruits of our labor. The milk lends a creaminess to these flavorful, slightly tart, not-too-sweet treats.

One step that might seem excessive but I try to include is straining the puree before freezing. This rids the pops of those pesky raspberry seeds, which would change the texture and possibly require tooth-brushing (I’m already committed to a mid-day bath — tooth-brushing is out of the question). My favorite tool for this is a conical fine-mesh strainer, a tool that is irritatingly pricey and hard to find. If you get one, you will find it becomes your favorite strainer — all the more heartbreaking when your kids’ repetitive use of it as a hat causes the mesh to tear away from the frame (oh, the cost of coddled imaginations).

We’ll be whirling these up again, assuming I once again find raspberries on sale. As far as mid-day baths, well, let’s just say I’ve gotten that out of my system. While succumbing to summertime heat, I also let go my fears of sweaty, sticky children climbing into their beds at night. Such freedoms are what summer-times are made of (read: at least they’re not sleeping in my bed).

 

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Raspberry Sherbet Popsicles (adapted from a recipe in The Perfect Scoop)
makes about 8 popsicles

  • 3 cups fresh raspberries (about 2 6-oz containers)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Place berries, milk, and sugar in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, then stir in lemon juice. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

When ready to un-mold, run lukewarm water over molds until pops loosen.

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Homemade popsicles: Let’s move beyond freezing apple juice.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just gets a little old, even for an ice-pop-loving-four-year old (or 38-year old, for that matter).

That age-old bell for ringing in the summer is a mere days away (I refer to Memorial Day weekend — the very weekend we thought was a great time to move — anyone dying to unload a moving truck next Saturday?), so it’s time to bring out the frozen goodies, the ideal afternoon cool-me-down. We will eat untold numbers of these icy sweets over the next few months, so we need to make sure we have variety, and that delicate balance between something being not horrible for you and yet also desirable, in the “treat” sense of the word.

mango_popsicle

Yes, there are plenty of boxed options out there. But anything made with “real fruit” and not much else is gonna put you out around a dollar a pop. I’ve never been praised as a math whiz, but I can quickly calculate that for a family with 3 kids, that could end up pushing $90/month. On popsicles. But making your own ice pops isn’t just about saving money; it’s about experimenting with flavors, using up over-ripe fruit, and involving your kids in some of the process. Since you have all the control over what goes in, you can use a little less sugar than what’s utilized in a store-bought brand, introduce your family to new fruits, or cater to a food-allergic family member.

Continue reading “Homemade popsicles: Let’s move beyond freezing apple juice.”

Pumpkin Ice Cream: third time’s the charm

pumpkin_ice_cream

I am sometimes embarrassed to admit that I am “one of those pumpkin people.” I like it, this time of year, when everything becomes pumpkin-flavored (I winced a bit recently while reading an Anthony Bourdain tweet about people like me — as I’m sure you can imagine). In my defense, I think I am reasonable with the mild obsession: I am a sucker for a pumpkin latté (I tried and failed to make my own homemade version), and love my pumpkin bread. I will, however, pass on a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, since it looks too much like a piece of pumpkin pie and I get totally thrown-off by the cheesiness of the first bite — it’s just not right (see the restraint?).

Last year, I made my first go at pumpkin ice cream. You can read about my adventures here, but basically I wasn’t satisfied with the results. The first try tasted like cold, sweet, canned pumpkin. The second recipe was a French-style custard with all the spices, but was really just too rich, with a chalky aftertaste that I could only attribute to too much pumpkin. When I read David Lebovitz’s recent post about his new version, I decided that, after a year, the pain of failure had subsided enough to try again.

A quick read gave me hope from the beginning stages: his recipe used less pumpkin, and a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream (last year’s second version used all heavy cream). The spice list called for freshly-grated ginger and nutmeg, which is always a good sign. The only drawback was the overnight refrigeration of the spiced milk before adding the pumpkin and then churning away (a stabbing realization, when you’re expecting to chill over an ice bath and have soft-serve ice cream in about 45 minutes).

It just finished churning, and I am so happy with the results. Rich, creamy, smooth, and spicy. I think I finally managed to channel the good ice cream vibes from The Hop, and came close to a good cross-country, homemade version of their original.

If you’re interested, David’s recipe can be found here. I did use canned pumpkin (I had a frozen partial-can leftover from my adventures with the above-stated lattés). Per his suggestion, I whipped up some ginger cookie dough last night (I had to do something with all that pent-up energy after realizing I wasn’t going to be eating a late-night snack of pumpkin ice cream) and plan to serve them together. If it works, a ginger cookie post will follow.