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Saturday, August 9, 2014

No Churn Dark Chocolate Chunk Espresso Ice Cream


Making ice cream can be one of the most frustratingly awesome cooking experiences of your life. It all boils down the chemistry. I can hear you all now - but Carin, all cooking is chemistry. Eh. Not sure I agree. Cooking is all about gestures; some are dramatic, some are delicate. Baking, however, is ALL about the chemistry. Everything has to be measured and weighed. Baking is precise. You can't just through a bunch of stuff in a pot and expect it to bake properly (and if you can ... cool superpower).

I've always viewed making ice cream (and by ice cream I mean custard ice cream) as an extension of baking; it's a science. There's no way to wing your way through a custard recipe. You have to follow it. It has to be exact. Then there's the whole "how long should it churn" and finding the perfect ice to salt ratio to ensure the correct amount of melt. I mean ... making ice cream is a PAIN. There is a reason high school chemistry classes make ice cream: it's SCIENCE!

Until now. If you've got a mixer and ten minutes, you can make ice cream; you can throw the long division, and formula writing out the window. Unless you're still in school ... then please keep the formula writing (but long division is still rubbish).


This no churn ice cream gets it's light and fluffy ice cream quality because you whip it (whip it good ... *giggle*) in the mixer. I think the best part about this whole dessert is you can mix it together before you go to work in the morning and then that night dish out some of the most delicious ice cream ever. 

Isn't there something utterly decadent about dark chocolate and espresso mixed together? And when the two are combined into an ice cream something luscious happens. Odd fact about yours truly: for the most part I eat coffee ice cream in the middle of winter (but obviously not all the time); there's something magical about being wrapped up in a blanket, cuddled on the couch with a fire going while eating something that is so wonderfully chilly. 


No Churn Dark Chocolate Chunk Espresso Ice Cream
Modified from Nigella

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups heavy cream
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons Kahlua (or espresso liqueur)
2 - 3 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped

Directions:

Whisk the heavy cream, condensed milk, espresso powder and Kahlua together in a mixer until soft peaks form.

Spoon into your container of choice (I used a Tovolo Glide-A-Scoop container) - you'll need to make sure it can hold a pint - and using a rubber spatula fold in 3/4 of the chocolate chunks. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 over the top of the ice cream.

Freeze for at least 6 hours (or over night). Serve straight from the freezer. *Note: the ice cream should be okay in the freezer for up to two weeks.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Marie's Strawberry Preserves


It's a rare thing if you find a jar of store-bought jam/jelly/marmalade/preserves in my pantry. And if there is a jar from the store it's usually some kind of boutique-small-batch-hard-to-find jar of goodness. Case and point: when I was in college I hauled home two jars of jelly (along with copious pieces of chocolate) from Patisseries Christian in Strasbourg, France. I mean. Ugh. Everything that Christian makes is like tasting a bit of nirvana. I mean any man (woman, or child) that can make PEA ice cream (yes, pea) taste delicate and fresh ... well, you can imagine what their jelly must be like.

I don't actually recall my father's mother (aka Mema) making preserves. I don't recall her really cooking much outside of spaghetti, and I'm not sure that involved anything other than boiling pasta and dumping a can of crushed tomatoes over it. Mema wasn't much into cooking by the time I came along. She was, however, very into letting me eat all the Fig Newtons, Pringles, and ice cream bon-bons I could manage all while watching more episodes of Gilligan's Island and The World of David the Gnome than any sane adult really should allow. In short: she was everything a five year old could possibly want in a grandmother; SHE ROCKED!


Every summer, for as long as he can get local strawberries and until he runs out of jelly jars, my father makes strawberry preserves. If you've never been a house where someone is willfully (and gleefully) boiling sugar and strawberries together ... well, you couldn't possibly imagine the sweet and intense strawberry smell that very quickly overwhelms the kitchen (and house). You can't walk into a house where this is happening and not smile. You just can't. 

Making preserves is a simple and straightforward process, and I'm not sure why more people don't make their own ... if for no other reason than to hand out as gifts (because people will look at you all starry eyed and reverently whisper "you made this" like making preserves is a long lost skill, which maybe it is).

Sticky. Sweet. Strawberry-ie goodness. Best on toast, served alongside a proper Sunday morning breakfast of beacon and eggs.


Marie's Strawberry Preserves


Ingredients:


4 cups whole, hulled strawberries
4 cups granulated sugar

Directions:

Cook strawberries and sugar over medium heat, until you achieve a slow rolling boil.

Let boil until mixture thickens.

When you dip a spoon into the mixture (turn it so you're looking at the bottom of the spoon) you know it's done when the mixture runs to the center and drips as one.

Remove mixture from the pot and place into another bowl, cover with a plate (you don't want anything tight fitting because that would cause the preserves to sweat) and let rest for 24 hours on the counter - not in the fridge (again, it would sweat and that would be bad).

Separate into sterilized, hot jelly jars and cover with paraffin. Let cool and apply seal and lid.