Perfect Time for a Sweet Treat
July is National Ice Cream month which might seem like a funny month to have but with the summer heat coming in full force it's the perfect time for a sweet treat on a hot day. Here are some of our favorite ice cream locations in our area and for our out of town clients some of our favorite homemade recipes.
Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream:
The only thing better than a spoonful of warm blackberry cobbler or a wedge of chocolatey chocolate cake, is the aforementioned, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside. Warm berry tartness and dense chocolate-on-chocolate fudginess meet their sole match: only the creamy cooling, overwhelming magic of vanilla ice cream can break up fudginess, or enrobe and de-sting warm berry tartness.
This version here is not ice milk (no cream), Philadelphia-style (no eggs) nor gelato (lots of eggs), but somewhere in the middle. Milk and cream gets thickened with egg yolks and cornstarch over heat, chilled down quickly, and stirred while being frozen.
Egg yolks add richness and protect against iciness; the extra fat prevents the water in milk and cream from freezing into large, distinct shards. Too many egg yolks will make for a dense ice cream, one that’s closer to gelato (which isn’t a bad thing!)—and a distinctly yellow one at that. I split the difference here (gelati typically call for five or six yolks per pint, while Philadelphia-style ice creams, ice milks, sorbets, and sherbets call for none). Three yolks is enough to avoid an icy texture—which ice creams made in at-home machines are likely to have—but not so much that the custard looks like it’s mango-flavored.
Chilling the base (called “aging”) ensures that the custard is nice and cold before being churned and frozen, and encourages the binding of dairy and egg fat molecules (i.e. thicker-textured, creamier ice cream). The ice bath is a speedy option, but if you’re in no rush, let the custard rest in the fridge overnight (or up to 5 days) and churn later on. Keep ice cream from going icy by transferring the frozen base to a frozen container and pressing a parchment circle directly onto its surface.
If you happen to have a vanilla bean in your baking pantry, you will be rewarded with extra fragrant, sweetly speckled scoops. (Psst, don’t throw out the spent pod—I stick them in a mini-bar bottle of vodka that I top off occasionally for homemade vanilla extract.) But it’s really not necessary: Our test kitchen tested this recipe with vanilla extract, and that batch, stashed in a secret freezer with tasting spoons, was gone within two hours. Enjoy straight from the freezer like our team did, or spooned onto another sweet treat.
- 2 1/2 cups (591 grams) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 vanilla pod)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (165 grams) granulated sugar
- Stick an airtight freezer-safe quart container in the freezer. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until steamy, 5 to 7 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot regularly with a flexible spatula to prevent any sticking or burning.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a medium heat-proof mixing bowl until smooth.
- When the cream mixture is steaming, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture. (Pour too quickly, and you’ll get scrambled eggs.) Add the combined custard back to the pan (reserving the bowl), and set over medium-low heat. Cook to 180°F, again scraping the bottom regularly to prevent any sticking or burning. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip a spoon in, and draw a line through the custard with your finger. If the custard is thick enough to hold that line cleanly, it is ready.
- When the custard is ready, pour it back into the mixing bowl, and set into a larger bowl or sink filled with ice water. Stir occasionally until chilled to room temperature, about 20 minutes, then stick in the fridge for another hour. (The colder it is going into the ice cream machine, the better-textured!) Alternatively, skip the ice bath and let custard rest, covered, in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
- When ready to churn, fine-strain the custard into an ice cream machine. Churn until frozen, about 20 minutes, or as instructed by the manufacturer. Transfer the ice cream to your chilled container, and cover surface with a parchment circle. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours, and keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream:
You know that moment when you are craving some ice cream, you pull it out of the freezer, and it’s hard as a rock? You decide to microwave it, but it ends up completely melting. Well guess what? This no fuss, no churn recipe will deliver a rich, decadent ice cream that’s scoopable the minute you take it out of the freezer.
The presence of liqueur in this dessert prevents it from fully solidifying, leaving us with a delightful soft serve. You will be able to taste the liqueur you are using, so feel free to play around—you could use Cointreau, sambuca, pistachio liqueur, coffee liqueur, raspberry liqueur, and the list goes on and on. If you want to skip the alcohol in this, the recipe will work without it as well, the ice cream will be firmer when pulled out of the freezer, so give it a few minutes at room temperature before scooping.
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup liqueur of choice (see author notes)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream, super cold
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup chopped (75 grams) dark chocolate
- Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, liqueur, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold all the whipped cream in the cocoa mixture. Pour the mixture in a container and let it freeze overnight. Serve it as soon as you pull it out of the freezer—it will be nice and scoopable. Bonus points if you serve it in a frozen bowl. Don’t let it sit at room temperature for too long, it will start melting fast.
- For the chocolate shell sauce, simply melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a bowl, in the microwave or over a bain marie. Whisk to combine, then pour it over the ice cream and watch it harden.
Our Favorite Ice Cream Locations:
Dawn: Ferris Acres Creamery
Greg: Rich Farm Ice Cream
Chrissy: Holy Cow Ice Cream
Chocolate- Carolina Gelen
Vanilla- Coral Lee
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