Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blast from the past

It's pretty obvious to anyone that I have a sugar problem. You've been spared the gory details lately (aside from yesterday's slip up) as I've been posting so much baby food, but don't let that fool you. I've just had a freezer stocked with Klondike bars and Ben and Jerry's, not to mention the constant stream of Nutella flowing out of my cupboard. I know that passing this sweet tooth on to Jude is highly likely. I know that isn't good. I'll do my best to keep him from becoming a sugar addict, which is easy right now. As long as he prefers savory to sweet foods, I'm happy to oblige. But mama has to make a treat sometime! Since it's summertime, it had better be ice cream.

Last summer I made ice cream constantly. The summer before that I made a lot of ice cream, too. This year I've been seriously slacking in the frozen treats department. I do believe that this ice cream makes up for it. I wanted to try two new things this time. 1. Make an ice cream without any sugar. You know, so I won't feel so guilty feeding it to the boy. And 2. Make a fruity flavor I've never made before.

The latter part was easy, since all I've been craving lately is Chelo's Banana Berry Pie. I worked there for an embarrassingly long part of my youth, and that pie basically fueled my double shifts. It's the stuff summertime dreams are made of. I figured since I can't have a slice or six when I need a fix nowadays, I can make it into ice cream.

Making sugar free ice cream was another issue. I refuse to use sugar substitutes, so I had to try out a juice concentrate. Cascadian Farms makes an organic grape juice concentrate without any added sugar (it's what I use for my Baby Cakes) so I started there. Subbing juice concentrate for sugar isn't such a big deal, really. You just use about 3/4 of a cup in place of every 1 cup of sugar. I was just concerned that the water in the concentrate would make for icy ice cream when what I want creamy ice cream. I figured that little trick out. The other thing about fruit ice creams is that I hate chunks of frozen fruit. It's like chomping on rocks. Hence the pureeing steps below. If you like chunky fruit in your ice cream, by all means, fork mash it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Banana Berry Ice Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup half and half
1 can of organic grape juice concentrate, thawed and divided (see below)
1 ripe banana
1 cup mixed berries (I used blueberries, strawberries, and cherries)

Take your can of grape juice out of the freezer and stand it up on one end in the fridge overnight to thaw. This will give you a layer of juice at the top and a layer of thick concentrated grape sludge (for lack of a better word) at the bottom. When you are ready to make your ice cream, pour off the juice and reserve for another use. Measure out 1/2 c. of the sludge into a large bowl. Whisk in cream and half and half until well blended and place bowl in the fridge.

Set up your ice cream maker. If using the KA attachment, make sure it is locked closed and set to the lowest speed. Otherwise, follow your ice cream maker instructions:) Pour in the cream mixture slowly and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Puree banana and set aside. Puree berries and set aside. Once ice cream has mixed for about 20 minutes, it should be reaching a soft set. Pour in the banana puree and half of the berry puree. Continue mixing the ice cream for another 5-10 minutes until it begins to firm up. Turn off machine and fold in the remaining berry puree. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container to freeze, or serve immediately.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gimme some

Because as my friend Andrew pointed out, "How can I have s'more when I haven't had any?" 

Yes, yesterday was National S'mores Day. If you read food blogs, I'll bet you were smacked in the mouth with all manner of fabulous takes on the classic summer sweet treat. S'mores brownies, s'mores cookies, s'mores cupcakes. The best thing to serve with all of those choices? S'mores ice cream, of course.

I'm a fan of Ben and Jerry's S'mores ice cream, but as much as I love it, it just doesn't taste like s'mores. Not really. To me the star of s'mores is not the chocolate (which is the dominant flavor of their chocolate based version), but the roasty, toasty marshmallow. In order to pay true homage, you just have to have toasted marshmallow ice cream. Don't worry, the chocolate and graham is there in force, but they are second and third fiddle, as they should be:) This ice cream is so good, you may have a problem getting it from the bowl into the freezer.

S'mores Ice Cream 
Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream with Graham Cracker and Chocolate Fudge Swirls

For the chocolate fudge:
1 c. sugar
2 Tbls. all purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. milk
For the base:
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 c. half and half
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 10 oz bag of marshmallows
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter it well. Spread marshmallows in a single layer on the pan. Slide pan under the broiler and toast for about 2-3 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from the broiler and flip marshmallows with a buttered spatula. Return to the broiler for another minute to brown the other sides. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Transfer marshmallows to a blender. Add cream, half and half, and sugar. Blend on high speed until smooth. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Set up your ice cream maker. Remove ice cream base from the fridge and whisk it until smooth (it may seize up a bit as it chills). Pour into the machine and process according to your instructions. (If you have a KA ice cream maker, it will take 15 minutes on the lowest setting.)

While the ice cream blends, make the chocolate fudge. Mix ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Once the ice cream has finished processing, spread 1/4 cup of chocolate fudge in the bottom of a 1 quart container. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the graham crackers. Spread 1 third of the ice cream on top. Repeat layers, ending with ice cream on the top. Freeze for an hour or two to set before serving.