Lemon Ice Cream

I’ve been in a citrus kind of mood these days, it seems. It’s hard to escape in the summer through–tart can be so refreshing in this heat. This recipe definitely delivers on tart and refreshing. It’s probably the most sour thing I enjoy.

As far as ice cream recipes go, this one is a bit different from what I’m used to. What first struck me was that it is an ice cream–so there’s dairy in it–as opposed to a lemon sorbet. Seemed like it’d be an interesting texture to try out, and I wasn’t disappointed. With the cooking and the chilling, this ends up being a two day recipe, but it’s worth the wait.

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Start by mixing the heavy cream, milk, sugar, and lemon zest. Fancy zesters make this a lot prettier than cutting flakes off with your knife, but the most important thing is to make sure they’re sizes that you don’t mind eating. Once the sugar has melted and the mixture has had a chance to steep off the heat, put it back on the heat and bring to a simmer. While that’s going, separate the eggs and beat the yolks in a separate bowl. To help temper the process, don’t add the eggs to the mix, instead, slowly incorporate some of the hot mixture into the yolks, tablespoons at a time. Once it’s to temperature, add the egg mix back into the pot and let it all cook for about 10 more minutes. Now comes the patience: cool, cover and chill overnight.

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On the morrow, add the lemon juice to the mix. Once it’s ready, behold the wonder of an ice cream machine at work while you anticipate the creamy tang of the ice cream you wish you were already eating.

It came out of my machine too soft, so I had to freeze it for a few hours before I could really enjoy it, but that extra wait was worth it. If you’re interested in exploring toppings or mix-ins, I highly recommend considering crumbled madeleines.

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Lemon Ice Cream (this is for a 2 quart ice cream maker)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup and 1 tbs sugar

1 – 3 lemons’ worth of zest

2 1/2 egg yolks (you can do it!)

1/4 cup and 2 tbs lemon juice

  1. In a saucepan, combine cream, milk, sugar, and zest, let simmer over low heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove lid and bring mixture to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, separate the eggs and whisk the yolks in a separate bowl.
  4. Very slowly, ie tablespoons at a time, add some of the warm mixture to the eggs. This is to temper the eggs while avoiding cooking them.
  5. Once tempered, add egg mix into saucepan. Stir and cook over low heat until mixture thickens, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate overnight in a covered container.
  7. THE NEXT DAY: add the lemon juice to the mixture and stir, then pour into ice cream maker as per it’s instructions.
  8. Either eat and enjoy right away, or freeze for a little to enjoy slightly later.

 

Avocado Ice Cream

I’d been wanting to make this for so long, and one glorious day, avocados were on sale.

 

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And with Texas summer, ice cream couldn’t be denied. So I finally tried it out. There are a couple variations out there, so it took me a while to decide how to go for it. In the end, something close to plain avocado won out. I figured, it’d be the best way to help me experiment more, since that way, I’d end up leaving an open door for more ice cream. There should definitely be more ice cream this summer. I need to make that ice cream maker sing!

The ingredients were pretty basic:

3 large Avocados
1.5 cup Milk
.5 cup Sugar
1 cup Cream
1-2 Juiced Limes

Since I don’t have a blender or food processor, I relied on a potato masher to “purée” the avocados. Despite a few small chunks, I was happy with the results.

 

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I was a little nervous about mixing the lime and the dairy, but incorporating the lime in thoroughly before adding the milk avoided any issues. A pretty heavy duty whisk will help with the mixing, if you get tired of using the potato masher. Stir it all up, chill according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (about 4 hours), then mix!

 

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This one’s pretty basic, in that you can swap things our pretty easily from this recipe and make something very different. I’ve got a couple more ideas this summer that’ll be even more interesting.

 

Avocado Ice Cream:

1. Mush avocados in a big enough bowl to hold all the ingredients.

2. Squeeze 2lbs lime juice into the avocados.

3.  Mix thoroughly!

4. Add milk, sugar and cream.

5. Mix even more!

6. Chill for 4 hours

7. Make with your ice cream maker.

Spanish Vanilla Marshmallows

Last Friday we had a marshmallow party. It was fluffy and delicious, thanks for asking. And after the festivities I shared my favorite flavor with my coworkers, some of whom asked for the recipe, so here it is!

I call these “Spanish Vanilla” because it makes sense; there’s honey, vanilla, and almond–just like in Spanish nougat. The name is kind of a contrast with French vanilla, which is vanilla and hazelnut.

We originally got the proportions and the how-to from Cooking for Engineers’ post on marshmallows, but I did tweak some things.

Hardware you’ll need:
Stand mixer (or hand mixer and tall bowl if you’re not afraid of boiling hot sugar)
9 X 13 cake pan–glass or metal
two quart pan (or taller)
candy thermometer
Rubber spatula

Ingredients:
Butter
Powdered sugar

1/2 cup water
3 sachets gelatin (aka 3 tablespoons)

1/4 cup water
2/3 cup honey
2 cups sugar

~1 tbs vanilla extract
~1 tbs almond extract

Making marshmallows involves a lot of anticipation; there’s not much to do but wait for things to happen, and when the moment’s right, there’s a flurry of activity then you wait again.

To start, butter the pan to make sure the fluff doesn’t stick, then generously sift on powdered sugar. Now set the pan aside.

Next, prep the gelatin. That involves pouring the first 1/2 cup of water and the gelatin into the bowl you plan to mix in. If you have the option, use a taller bowl. Not only will that help protect you from fast-moving molten sugar, it will also make fluffier marshmallows. My awesome Kitchenaid works really well for this.

While the gelatin is blooming (absorbing the water), combine the sugar, water, and honey in the pan and heat on the stove just under medium. A problem you’ll face when making candy with honey is that it will puff up. When using corn syrup, I can set it to full-blast medium and walk away, but that’s not something you can do with honey. If it starts to puff up on you, lower the heat and start stirring. If it’s happening very fast, pick it up and move it away from the heat–that should deflate it pretty quickly. This needs to heat until it has reached 250 degrees. Once that’s happened…

Turn the mixer on low, then pour in the sugar-lava slowly, in order to avoid a fiery and painful demise. It will be hot and sloshy for a while, but increase the speed to high as quickly as you safely can. A tall bowl helps with this, but either way you should be there after a minute or two. Oh and be warned, it smells kind of horrible. Gelatin is made of ground up bones, and heating that up isn’t pleasant. But don’t worry–you don’t taste it at all in the final product and the smell goes away after a minute of mixing.

It will start to lighten and fluff up. That’s a good thing. Keep mixing for five minutes or so, and when it seems like it’s not going to get any bigger, add the extracts, then mix a little more and turn it off.

Now quickly pour the liquid marshmallow into the prepared pan. The faster the better, because it starts to set and get really thick and unmanageable. Then sift on some more powdered sugar and let sit for 24 hours. You will then have a slab of marshmallow. Cut it if you want, but the temptation to just bite in will be strong.

Hazelnut oil and lemon cake

So I’ve been in a super cake mood since the other day when Mom told me it was National Chocolate Cake Day. I haven’t checked to see if that’s a real thing, but it did prompt me to make this cake and it was bitchin’ sweet, so last night we made another. Last night’s was totally different though–it was lemon and hazelnut and very fluffy instead of chocolate.

Last night’s cake was super good. Normally when I make cake, I end up giving all but three bites of it away because it’s huge and I’m done with it. But I’m totally hoarding this one. None for you! So now you have to make one and here’s the recipe.

3/4 cup hazelnut oil
1 lemon (for zest and juice)
1 cup cake flour (it totally makes a difference–I used to be a nonbeliever, so believe me now)
5 eggs, separated into 5 yolks and 4 whites
3/4 cup sugar, divided1/2 tsp salt

I baked this in a 9 x 13 pan but I bet it would work in a 9 or 10 inch circular one if you prefer.

The oven needs to preheat to 350, do this when you like.

Hazelnut oil is really cool. It’s got this smoky flavor that probably came from roasting the nuts and is really nice. We’ve used it in salad dressings a couple of times, but this is the first thing we’ve done which requires a lot of it.

Whisk together the 1 cup flour and 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest in a bowl you can easily pour from, then set aside.

In another bowl, beat together the 5 yolks and 1/2 cup sugar on high for about three minutes, until the texture is totally different–thick and pale.

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After that, lower the speed to medium and add the hazlenut oil. Mmm hazlenut oil. As well as 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice. Mix enough to combine. Then add in the flour/lemon zest and mix in gently (ie, not with the mixer, use a wooden spoon or spatula).

In an entirely new bowl, combine the 4 egg whites and 1/2 tsp salt then beat at med or med-high until foamy. Once you’ve achieved this, start adding 1/4 cup sugar a little bit at a time, while still mixing. Once all the sugar is in, continue until you are able to form soft peaks.

Now comes the delicate part. The foamy egg whites will help lighten the cake. Sounds awesome, yeah?! Well the yolks and flour are going to do their best to eff you over, so what you’ve got to do is fold them together. First, take about 1/3 of the egg whites and put them in the same bowl as the yolks and, using a spatula, fold them together. This is different from normal mixing in that you’re trying to maintain the airiness of the whites so you literally fold layers of pre-cake on top of each other until the batter seems homogenous. After the first third is combined, go ahead and fold the rest in.

Once this has been completed, pour the batter into your baking pan of choice and tap it against the counter to remove obstinate, excessive bubbles. This will ensure a uniformly delicious cake, with no dissapointing holey pieces.

Then bake this glory for 30-45 minutes, depending on your pan, until the poke test is successful.

Once this cools, I’m sure you will find yourself in a paradise of refreshing smokey, nutty, lemon and fluff, just like I did. It was quite disorienting. So much so, in fact, that I found myself unable to take a picture of the completed cake without at least a few pieces missing.

A Tale of Two Icings

I’ve made butter cream multiple times in the past, but I’ve never been quite satisfied. (Except when I make it at work, which is extremely rare and lucky…) So I hesitated to use it on my precious, precious Halloween cupcakes. Consequently I decided to try to make two types and see which one I liked.

I made a small batch of royal icing, at the recommendation of a coworker, and it turned out amazing. And this time my butter cream came out really well too, so I feel I know what I’m doing now.

But since these are for a special occasion, I didn’t think any normal tasting icing would do, so I made them cinnamon flavored with the addition of a few drops of cinnamon oil.

For the Royal Icing I used:
1 large egg white
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
~2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
4 drops cinnamon oil

I had trouble using my stand mixer for this because it was such a small amount, so you may have to either do this by hand or use a hand mixer. Start by beating the egg white and lemon juice until combined.

Add the cinnamon oil then the sugar one half cup at a time and mix. How much sugar you ultimately use depends on how thick or runny you want it, so make sure you have a test surface. Wax paper works well, or even spare cupcakes. I had plenty of those since this whole endeavor was an experiment. Originally I was only going to use a total of 1 1/2 cups of sugar, but that was way too runny for what I wanted. I was looking for something thick that wouldn’t run off the edges too much and got pretty much what I wanted.

One thing that’s nice about royal icing is how pretty it looks. It stays very smooth and as it is exposed to air, it hardens slightly and makes a sort of glossy shell. It is perfect for pouring over something to make an immaculate cover, or for creating a clean look (as long as it’s not too runny). One danger though is that what you don’t use must be handled carefully if you don’t want it to try up and become useless. I put my extra in a bowl in the fridge with cling wrap directly on top, eliminating any air from touching the surface. That’s how you store it, but ideally you’d use all of it instantly.

Next was the batch of butter cream. For this I only used:
1/2 stick of butter (room temperature, or close to it)
quite a bit of POWDERED sugar
7 drops cinnamon oil

I put the emphasis there because I think that is where I went wrong in so many of my previously failed attempts. Also, I guess because of butters overwhelmingly delicious taste, more cinnamon oil was necessary for this icing, which was a bit disappointing.

I started by whisking the butter to a creamy consistency, dropped in the cinnamon oil, then added the sugar little by little (about 1-2 tbs at a time) until I had achieved optimal consistency and taste. It is integral to perform the finger-lick test periodically to ensure maximum scrumptious-ness.

What’s nice about when you have the right ingredients, there isn’t an exact stopping point; there is a wide range of how thick it can be and all of which work for cupcakes. Butter cream’s also pretty easy to spread, but it comes off looking a lot more informal, unless you take a lot of time making it look nice.

After tasting both of the end results, multiple times, I decided that for this event royal icing would suit the cupcakes best, with the butter cream saved for writing and decorating.

Honey Cupcakes

So this year some friends and I are throwing an awesome Halloween party and we kind of want to go over the top. We’re going to decorate her backyard with all sorts of props, have neat little party favors, and of course, incredible cupcakes. The party’s Alice in Wonderland themed, so a lot of the decorations and of course, food, are ridiculous and non-nonsensical. So I tried to come up with flavors that not everyone would have tried before.

The first batch of cupcakes I made were honey flavored. The cake came out very moist and fluffy, but not overly sweet. And super amazing.

What I used is:
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup cake flour (sifted)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk (I used whole)

Depending on how fast you work, you may want to preheat the oven to 350 now.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Creaming the butter calls for the beater attachment to your mixer and mixing on the lowest speed until no clumps remain. Once that’s done, mix on medium for about ten minutes, while scraping the sides for batter periodically to ensure it blends well. Blend until fluffy, then add the honey.

Then beat until light and fluffy. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.

Next add the vanilla and eggs, then beat well to combine. After that, pour in half the flour as well as the baking soda and salt, then mix. You should be careful not to over-mix here, because overworking the flour can make cakes, breads, and biscuits (i.e. anything with flour) come out tough.

Add the milk, mix it in, then add the rest of the flour and mix until smooth. For this batch I tried to fill the cupcake containers to about 1/2 or 3/4 full, but some of them overflowed, so I’m going to try 1/2 full next time.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes then check on them. The toothpick test is one of my favorite done-ness indicators.

As for icing, I tried out two different types, butter cream and royal. But not just your ordinary icing–recipes coming soon!

How to Fill Hard Candy

You can’t make the “remember those strawberry candies that are hard on the outside then have that awesome strawberry stuff in the middle” without filling some hard candy. Over all it’s not too hard, but it does take a while. Luckily it’s really passive, though.

For this specific example, I used our honey hard candy and http://imakefood.net/2010/10/candided-jalapenos-and-strawberries/.

And to fill hard candy, you pretty much just need to make your first batch the same way as in the honey hard candy article and fill the molds halfway.

We had the mold sitting in ice so that it would cool faster, but that’s optional. If there’s any candy leftover in the pan, try to keep it warm (on 1 or 2) until you’re ready to bring it to temp again.

When the candy’s hard, fill it with whatever you want. In our case, candied strawberries. It was kind of tough, so what we ended up doing was gathering an amount of strawberry then plopping it in the candy shell. Sometimes it was too big, but most of the time it wasn’t. But since this was a first-time experience, we didn’t fret.

Once that was settled, we reheated the leftover candy (which then burned, so we made another, smaller batch) and poured on the bottoms.

It was so incredibly tasty. You have no idea.

Honey Hard Candy

This is part two of the making of “remember those strawberry candies that are hard on the outside then have that awesome strawberry stuff in the middle:” the hard candy shell. Part one was the filling. It’s got a slightly different taste from normal hard candy because instead of corn syrup, we used honey, plus there was a little left-over heat in the pan from the jalapenos. And even on it’s own this candy has such a good flavor, I have to say I like it a lot more than the other ones we’ve made.

For this you’ll need:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/s cup water

Keep in mind that it’s the proportions that matter, not the amount. So if you don’t want to make that much, you don’t have to.

Start by combining the ingredients in a saucepan, warm it over medium heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Next stick in the thermometer and wait.

While that’s going, bring a small pan of water to simmer on an extra burner. When the water’s warm, use a pastry brush dipped in the warm water to clean the sides of the pan with the soon-to-be candy in it. Here, and for the mold, silicon works best.

This stops the undissolved sugars from interfering with the crystallization process in the soon-to-be candy.

Because we want to make hard candy, we’ll have to let it warm all the way up to 300 degrees. It’s best to do this kind of slowly, so I’d recommend lowering the heat to a 3 and setting short timers to go and look at the candy. That way you don’t have to just stand there waiting. Also, when it’s on a lower heat, there’s less chance that it will try to overflow, which is a good thing because you’re not supposed to stir it while it’s warming up.

If you have molds, now would be the time to prep them. For mine, I put a thin layer of some as-close-to-tasteless-as-I-could-find oil on the mold to stop the candy from sticking.

You may recognize the mold as the one I used for madeleines. It’s made of a silicon that can withstand high heat, so it’s perfect for things like this. I wouldn’t dare use my metal one, though. I don’t think I’d be able to get the candy out.

When the candy’s reached temperature, turn off the heat, get the mold as close to the pot as possible, and using the same pastry brush from earlier, start filling.

If you don’t have a mold, no worries. Another thing you can do is prepare a baking sheet in a similar matter (with the non-stick oil) and drop dollops of candy on, or make designs with a fork. I made a sort of cotton candy with some of the leftovers by getting a string of candy on two forks then rotating them around each other. Molds are probably the easiest thing do to, but they are by no means the only thing you can use. When we made nougat, we used the leftover candy to make candy thread and small beads. At that point we were just playing around, but it tasted really good.

Birthday Tarts

I’ve never really liked birthday cake. It’s sacrilege, I know, but there’s something so sickly sweet and terrible about the birthday cake and all that icing on top of it that just really turns me away from it. Don’t get me wrong; there’s always a time and a place for cake, just not on my birthday.

Because of this, at the joint birthday parties my sister and I would have, there’d sometimes be some alternative like a gigantic cookie cake or ice cream cake, but sometimes it was just so easy to go the the grocery store bakery and pick something up.

But a few years ago I moved in with my mom and for my 15th birthday we made this.

It was awesome. And ever since I haven’t been content with just any cake. It may seem silly, but at the same time I don’t care what you think! Hahaha. And for the most part I’ve been making my own birthday desserts, so it all works out.

One thing that’s hit me and really stuck was the tart.

For the longest time I’ve been making these with my mom and sister. We always followed the Martha Stewart recipes for the crust and the filling, but this time I wanted to try to make my own recipe. (Part was due to the desire to create from absolutely nothing, not even a recipe, part was due to the laziness encountered when faced with the task of looking up the recipe.)

I started off by selecting and preparing some fruit that I thought would go well together and look nice.

I chose blackberries, strawberries, kiwis, dragon fruit, raspberries and blueberries. Good stuff.

And for the crust, I used:
1/4 cup sugar (you can use less or none at all, as you wish)
2 cups flour
8 oz cream cheese
1 tbs water

This makes enough for one 9inch round plus a little extra. I used my handy-dandy stand mixer (thanks mom!)

to mix the dough but any sort of mixer (or even your hands) would work fine. You want it to have the consistency of a crumbly cookie dough.

I just put it in the pan and flattened it out with my hands, but it would also work if you rolled it out first. That’d probably look really nice, but at the same time, it’s about to be covered with cream so it doesn’t matter.

I didn’t bake it, I wanted to see how it would come out as is. So I just set it in the fridge to get harder and cold while I did the next parts. (I think I’m going to try baking it later, maybe into a pear-tart, mmm.)

***UPDATE***
So I tried baking them this time. They came out kind of crunchy and nice, so I definitely recommend it. If you want it to be flakier and lighter, try adding a little butter. Maybe even replacing some of the cream cheese for butter.
I preheated and baked at 360-375 (my oven’s not super accurate) for about 25 minutes. I checked on them every 5, so that may have let out a bunch of heat, thereby making it take a bit longer than it should have. They brown a little, but not very much; you don’t want them to be golden all over, just some on the edges. (If they cook too long they get kind of too hard.)
***

Next I made the filling. It was very simple and light because it doesn’t use cream cheese like a lot of other fillings I’m used to making.

It calls for:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (powdered would be best, but in all honesty I used granulated)
16 oz cottage cheese (small curd)
1 tbs vanilla

Similarly, just whip until it’s whip-creamy. I think I got up to the 6th speed setting, and maybe let it sit there a few minutes. But you can play around with it some, like stop it for a “quality control taste test,” if needed.

Then when that’s done, just plop the whipped cream onto the tart shell, flatten it out with a spatula, and start decorating.

I had a couple of friends help me decorate, which explains the variety of designs. This is really one of those tangible manifestations of food-ing as a social thing. It’s nice when people can get together over something playful and delicious like this.

Grandma’s Peach Cobbler

Now this one’s kind of a family recipe, but I’ll tell you about it just because it’s so tasty. I’m pretty sure Grandma won’t mind. Most of the time when we make this, we use blueberries and garnish it with globes of vanilla ice cream, but with the over abundance of peaches, it seemed natural to try it out with those.

We used:
1 stick butter
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
3 cups mashed peaches
3/4-1 cup water
About 1 tbs lemon juice

It’s a pretty simple recipe to throw together and make. Plus it’s so tasty, everyone will be happy to eat it. And because it doesn’t take too long to put together, preheat the oven to 350.

Once you chop up the peaches, sprinkle on the lemon juice.

That helps the peaches preserve their color and the acidity breaks them down so they’re sweeter, juicer, and just overall more delicious.

Then combine all the dry ingredients (the flour and sugar) while melting the butter in the baking pan.

Then pour the dry mix and milk into the buttered pan and add the peaches on top.

Before it goes in the oven, pour some water on over the top. When that’s done, let it bake for about 45 minutes, until it browns on top, then serve as soon as you can with scoops of ice cream.

Be careful not to have too many people over when you make this–some people might be left wanting.