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Monday, June 22, 2015

No Churn Vanilla-Limoncello Ice Cream


As I write this there is an expected heat index of 105ยบ today in The Lou ... and for those of you who don't know what a heat index is, it's actual heat + humidity = perceived heat. So: HOT, HOT, HOT. What's the cure for hot summer days? Well, if you've been following along on Instagram lately you know the answer: ICE CREAM.

Now, generally, when my family gets together in the summertime we make custard-based ice cream. You know with ice and salt, and the churning. All I can say is thank goodness we graduated to having an ice cream maker than churns for us ... cause you've not had any fun in life until you're cranking ice cream by hand. Ooooh-boy, can you say: PAR-TAY.

All you need to make this ice cream is a mixer and a tub to freeze it in (I'm partial to this one by Tovolo -  it's served me well). No fancy gizmos or trying to figure out the proper salt to ice ratio; just ice cream.


Vanilla-Limoncello might seem like an odd sort of combination, I mean: one or the other right? But both? I have this thing about lemon ice cream, and it took me awhile to actually figure out that I don't like lemon ice cream. Don't get me wrong, I freaking LOVE lemon ice cream, but it never tasted right. Here I am closing in on my 31st year of life and it finally dawned on me why. I always expected lemon ice cream to taste like Edna Mae's lemon ice cream, which was really vanilla ice cream with lemon added into it; it wasn't an either or ice cream, it was both.

This boozy adaptation of my grandmother's custard-style ice cream is a down and dirty way for me to get my fill of the familiar vanilla-lemon ice cream, because it's a flavor that isn't readily available in the freezer section of the local supermarket. Some things just scream summer and home to us, and this is one of mine.

A word about limoncello - make sure you get a bottle from Italy (specifically the Amalfi region), or if you're the adventurous type you could make your own (report back if you do). And if you want the limoncello flavor to shine through for this recipe you can reduce or omit the vanilla (don't increase the amount of limoncello - the ice cream won't freeze correctly, because: SCIENCE), but I urge you to make this ice cream the way it's supposed to be made at least once.


Vanilla-Limoncello No Churn Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP limoncello

Directions:

Mix the heavy cream, condensed milk, vanilla and limoncello in a mixer until soft peaks form.

Spoon into container and let freeze for at least 8 hours.

*Note: the ice cream should be good in the freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Biscotti Newtons

First and foremost: I'M BACK! *clings* Let's not ever separate for this long again, okay campers? Yes, I know it's my fault ... a broken camera tends to grind things to a halt. However, I have a new precious picture taker and all is glorious with the world.

Secondly: biscotti newtons ... no, really: BISCOTTI NEWTONS. 

This adventure down the rabbit hole started with a simple conversation about me eating too many Fig Newtons on Twitter (seriously, I was in full Cookie Monster mode) and I needed someone to come and stop me. From there the conversation spiraled, as Twitter conversations are wont to do, and then the ever lovely, editor extraordinaire, Blake Leyers said something about storing her fig newtons on top of the biscotti I sent her and my brain kind of stuttered to a stop. Biscotti. Fig Newtons. A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN, NO?

Thus began the tinkering. And the plotting. And the testing. I'm willing to admit I kind of spiraled there for a bit; I was in a figgy vortex of goodness. Which, admittedly, I didn't mind in the least. 

Now normally I say that making biscotti isn't an overly messy adventure ... but ... the figgy filling. If you don't like getting your hands a bit gloopy (read: a lot) when baking, this recipe isn't for you (but if you love figs then I really urge you to put aside your gloopy hand fears and jump into the recipe).

*I made my fig filling the day before and let it set in the fridge over night. In one testing attempt I used still warm filling ... the biscotti didn't set or bake correctly. So - make your filling at least on day in advance.

**Also - I found refrigerating the biscotti for at least an hour (but up to 12) before baking helped.


Biscotti Newtons

Ingredients:

Fig Filling:
8 ounces dried black figs, stems removed and quartered
2 cups 100% apple juice

Biscotti:
1 stick butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
salt
baking powder

Topping:
handful of old fashioned oats, blitzed in food processor
cinnamon
sugar


Directions:

Fig Filling:

Add the dried black figs (stems removed and quartered) into a small sauce pan with 2 cups 100% apple juice. Over medium heat bring to a boil. Cover and reduce and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot).

Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve to let any remaining juice drain from fig mixture (I let my mixture cool completely while resting in the sieve). Once cool put mixture in covered dish and refrigerate.

For Biscotti:

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Add vanilla, mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Continue to mix until a dough has formed.

Fold in prepared (and refrigerated - I really cannot stress this enough) fig filling with a spatula. You don't want to stir this in, you won't get the nice swirls throughout. Make sure do pull the dough up from the bottom when folding.

Scoop dough out onto a Silpat covered baking sheet and form into a roughly 15x4 inch block (this is where things get MESSY).  Take your topping (a handful of old fashioned oats, cinnamon, and sugar that have been blitzed through a food processor) and sprinkle over the top of the biscotti - this helps with the "sticky" part of the biscotti once baked.

Refrigerate biscotti for at least one hour, but up to twelve (overnight).

Preheat oven to 350.

Bake until a light golden color (approx. 30 minutes). Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes.

Carefully remove log from baking sheet to cutting board. Using a long knife (serrated if you prefer) slice log into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Return pieces to baking sheets, and return to oven. Bake for additional 15 to 20 minutes (I think I might have baked them for  22 minutes the second time, the fig filling creates a lot of extra moisture that is tricky to bake out - you want the biscotti to feel crisp to the touch, not soft ... do not bake any longer than 25 minutes).

Remove biscotti from oven, and place on a cooling rack to completely cool. Store in a dry place in a sealed container.