Doctor Up Your Ice Cream

Sunday August 3, 2014

I love ice cream. And considering the rash of ice cream books, mom and pop style ice cream shops, and even the RETURN OF THE ICE CREAM SNACK TRUCK (memories of the Good Humor man driving around the neighborhood making us kids crazy) showing up at farmers’ markets these days, everyone else feels the same way I do. You can play ice cream on any level–your favorite flavor at the supermarket or make your own. It really doesn’t matter. If you love the creamy cold flavor, you are satisfied.

Sometimes you want just a little something to serve with cookies, one of those miraculous desserts that takes about 10 minutes, yet tastes and looks extravagant and fabulous. Here are your own doctored ice creams–you take a plain ice cream and add another ingredient or two to it. I discovered this technique while catering.

Once I was catering a party and had a lovely upside down apple tart for dessert. I wanted somethingother than whipped cream to serve with it. I checked around the local ice cream shops for a cinnamon ice cream. No one had such a thing. Voila. I had to create my own. I added plenty of ground cinnamon to softened vanilla ice cream, refroze it, and it was a killer side scooped onto the warm apple tart. Today it is still one of my most favorite ice creams. This started a whole wave of doctoring up vanilla ice cream. I even found a recipe that Maida Heatter made the same way. It was like the guru giving a blessing.

Use a quality ice cream like Double Rainbow, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyer’s, or Hagen Das. There are now goat milk ice creams, coconut milk ice creams, soy milk ice cream, rice milk ice cream, and even almond milk ice creams from which to choose. Remember that 1 quart is 2 pint containers. If you splurge on a hand-packed quart of ice cream, be sure to check the weight; prepackaged commercial ice cream from the supermarket usually weighs about half, so you will have to double the additional ingredients.

Make these embellished ice creams in advance to meld the flavors properly and let it wait in the freezer as long as you would store ice cream; let come to room temperature about 20 minutes if it is rock hard out of the freezer (or a quick turn in the microwave-see below) so you can get a nice rounded scoop. Cookware stores carry a variety of good-quality oval and round metal scoops in different sizes to vary your presentation;  I use round sizes #20 (the size for an ice cream cone), #50 (lovely perfect small scoops which I use a lot for the presentation of 2 or 3 little scoops), and #100 (that mini-meatball size you can pile in a sundae dish) the most.

The presentation secret here is the dish. Use a lovely glass footed dessert bowl, or margarita wine glass on a dessert plate, with a dolie to keep it from slipping. Oval scoops are best served on dessert plates.

sundae glass just like in a shop/from Crate and Barrel

The flavor variations are really endless. It can depend on what you have in the pantry, or you can head out and get a can of candied chestnuts. Here are a few of my all time favorite combinations, each one easier than the next and a way to serve a dessert that impresses with almost no time involved. Always use your favorite vanilla ice cream. The better the quality, as usual, the better the flavor.

Beth Recommends: How To Soften Ice Cream in the Microwave

photo thomas tukker

Remove top and liner (if any) of carton. Microwave on HIGH (power level 10) in 10-second intervals, checking in between, until ice cream reaches desired consistency.

Candied Chestnut Chocolate Ice Cream

Canned candied chestnuts are easily available in a well-stocked supermarket.   Store the can in the refrigerator until using so it will be well chilled before folding into the ice cream. Serve with pound cake or plain butter cookies.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 quart plain chocolate ice cream
  • 1 5-ounce chilled can candied chestnuts (marons glacés), chopped to make about 1 cup

Instructions

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy. Add the chopped chestnuts and mix until just evenly distributed. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Candy Crunch Ice Cream

Armed with a tin of homemade Almond Roca, I stored it in the refrigerator, then chopped some up to add to vanilla ice cream. Good with plain chocolate cake or cookies.

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 4- to 6-ounces chilled chocolate-covered candy bar such as Kit Kat, Snickers, or Almond Roca, or praline, coarsely chopped to make about 1 cup

Instructions

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy. Add the chopped candy and mix until just evenly distributed. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Persimmon Swirl Ice Cream

This is a unique and delicious way to use ripe, goopy Hachiya persimmons. Since the season for persimmons is short, let the persimmons ripen at room temperature and then freeze them whole for later use. From food writer extraordinaire Foodie Peg, Peggy Fallon.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup persimmon pulp (1 to 2 ripe Hachiya persimmons)
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier orange liqueur
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream

Instructions

In a food processor, puree the persimmon pulp and liqueur until just smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and stir with a spoon until the persimmon swirls through; do not over mix. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

In A Pinch Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Chocolate and cherries are one of the most fabulous flavor combinations. Here is a personalized version of one of the great commercial ice creams.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1 heaping cup frozen unsweetened Bing cherries, partially thawed and still very chilled
  • 3 ounces well chilled bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy. Add the cold cherries and chopped chocolate and mix just until evenly distributed; do not over mix. It is okay if the cherries break up. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Cinnamon Ice Cream

I use nice strong cinnamon from Penzys’s Spice House from China or Vietnam. This is a fabulous tasting ice cream and oh so simple to make. It is good with gingerbread, apple pie, or upside down cake.

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

Let the vanilla ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  With an electric mixer or by hand, beat the ice cream until just creamy.  Add the cinnamon and blend until evenly distributed.  Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula.  Refreeze at least 6 hours.

Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

First you make up a very small batch of homemade chocolate truffles, miniature in size, then you fold them into ice cream. Voila! If you happen to have truffles around the house, just cut into pieces with a sharp paring knife. Good with just biscotti or butter cookies for entertaining.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Few drops of vanilla extract, peppermint extract, coconut extract, or orange oil
  • About 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 quart vanilla, chocolate, or coffee ice cream

Instructions

Place the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler over low heat until the chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk to combine and stir in the flavoring.  Cover and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

Place the cocoa on a shallow plate or in a shallow plastic container. Using a melon baller, espresso spoon, or a teaspoon, scoop the mixture to make a rough ball 1/2 inch in diameter; it is okay that there are slightly different sizes. Working quickly, drop into the cocoa and roll to coat and form a small ball with your fingers. You will make about 15 truffles. Leave the truffles in the cocoa. Cover and refrigerate until very cold and firm, at least 2 hours to 1 day.

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy. Lift the truffles out of the cocoa and tap to dust off excess. With a spatula, fold in the truffles and mix until just evenly distributed. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream

Prunes are far more popular as a dessert offering in France than they are here in the continental U.S. Here is my version of a legendary sophisticated adult ice cream flavor that you can serve to the  most discriminating of guests after a fancy meal or even after a BBQ. Serve with a few cookies on the side and you have a spectacular dessert.

Makes a generous 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup finely chopped pitted prunes
  • 1 cup strong hot black tea (such as Lipton’s)
  • 2 tablespoons Armagnac
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream

Instructions

Place the prunes in a small bowl with the tea; let stand at room temperature until cool, about 1 hour.  Drain well and discard the liquid, then toss the prunes with the Armagnac.  Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy. Add the cold prunes and Armagnac and mix just until evenly distributed; do not over mix. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips and Cognac

This is really FAN-TAS-TIC!! . Oh is is incredibly simple and really delicious. Good with just biscotti or butter cookies, also a bit of whipped cream. Coffee ice cream is my favorite flavor since I was a kid. Williams-Sonoma now carries their own little jar of espresso powder, which can sometimes be hard to find as it is an Italian touch. Definitely use Cognac, not brandy, for that unique flavor.

Makes 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 quart coffee ice cream
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup Cognac

Instructions

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy (do not let melt). Add the chocolate chips, espresso, and Cognac; mix on low speed until just evenly distributed. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

my scoops/Stainless Steel Spring-Loaded Scoopers/from sur la table

Crystallized Ginger Ice Cream

You will not believe how luscious this simple ice cream is. Just like in a Japanese restaurant. The crystallized ginger, also known as candied ginger, gives a spicy sweet-hot sensation in the mouth and tastes just incredible with the vanilla ice cream. Serve with a Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce; sliced ripe stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, or nectarines; or some sugared, crushed berries like strawberries or blueberries. Most sweet things seem to perfectly go with ginger.

Makes 1 quart.

Ingredients

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Instructions

Let the ice cream soften slightly at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until just creamy (do not let melt). Add the chopped ginger and mix on low speed until just evenly distributed. Working quickly, scrape the ice cream back into the carton with a large spatula. Refreeze for at least 6 hours.

Pizzelle Ice Cream Cones

Embossed patterned thin wafer cookies made in an electric pizzelle maker can be shaped into sturdy, yet buttery crisp, edible containers for your ice cream.  The counter top appliance looks like a small waffle iron and was quite the rage when it first came out. The flat cookie can be shaped by rolling to make a cone, folded to make a taco shape, or draped over the bottom of a custard cup to make a nice edible ice cream cup container. This is an incredibly easy way to make your own cones. I think this original recipe came from Martha Stewart magazine years ago. Don’t you love the photo?

Makes 25 cones.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk or hand held electric mixer. Add the sugar in a steady stream and beat until pale colored. Add the cooled butter, vanilla, and lemon juice, then add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until smooth to make the batter.

Ladle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the batter onto the center of the design of the hot pizzelle maker.  Set a timer for 50 seconds, then lift the edge off the hot pizzelle and peel it up off the surface, using a knife or thin metal spatula. Immediately shape while hot: by hand, lay the cookies in the palm of your hand and roll the edge to the center to form a cone that is tight at one end and open at the other, lifting first one side and then folding up the other (alternately, roll around a metal cone shape while hot); if you let it cool at all, it will crack. Place in a cone cooler rack, or on their sides on a wire rack. Cool completely. Before scooping, tuck a marshmallow into the bottom to prevent drips.


Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2014

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.


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