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Six fun homemade ice cream flavors for Labor Day

Strawberries & Cream

Last summer I had plans to finally buy an ice cream maker. But summer came to an end and my cabinet stayed empty. My in-laws remedied that under the Christmas tree. Finally, I thought, as I unwrapped my white, 2-quart Cuisinart ice cream maker.

First up, something with strawberries.

What a bust. One lacked flavor, one crystallized the strawberry bits, another had good flavor but was offset by too much cream cheese in the base.

Then I discovered Ellen Brown's new book Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries. Brown, the founding food editor for USA Today, has nurtured a lifelong passion for artisanal ice cream for 40 years since she first discovered Graeter's ice cream parlor in Cincinnati. The book's recipes are from 20 specialty creameries nationwide and adapted for the home cook.

Being a native Ohioan, I couldn't resist trying out her Strawberry Ice Cream recipe, which was adopted from Graeter's.

Would the fourth time be the charm? Yes. And I give most of the credit to the strawberry preserves combined with fruit in the puree. It seemed like that was the extra burst of berry missing from the previous recipes that I tried. This one is a keeper.

Jennifer DeCamp, Times staff writer

Minty Dreams

Before I met my husband, chocolate chip cookies were something I baked when I didn't feel like using a cookbook, and a dessert that combined mint and chocolate came in a box with the Girl Scout logo. We lived in Jacksonville and could walk to our favorite dessert place, Biscottis. His eyes were never bigger than his stomach when a slice of Andes Mint cake was in front of him. We did walk, right?

Since then, I have worked at replicating that decadent flavor profile in different ways: cake, cupcakes, cookies and now ice cream . . . Grasshopper Pie Ice Cream. It's a perfect match. Even though no eggs are used, the recipe has the creaminess of a thick custard combined with the richness of seriously melt-in-your-mouth brownies. You can save time by picking up store-bought brownies bites, but the accompanying recipe is a chocoholic's delight. The ice cream recipe says it makes 1 quart, but I ended up with less. My 2-quart ice cream maker easily would have handled a double batch. Next time.

Jennifer DeCamp, Times staff writer

Toasted Almond Gelato

Toasted almond is a flavor synonymous with ice cream bars. The sweet nuttiness under that dust of more sugar and more almonds is a certified taste memory, one that is nearly relegated to that status by virtue of the fact that they're hard to find anymore.

I ran across this recipe in a pamphlet put out by the kitchen store Williams-Sonoma years ago. All that was missing was the annoying faux-piped music from the ice cream truck that sort of seems like it should be the soundtrack when eating this ice cream. The last time I made it, I thought it was a little too sweet — a frightening revelation coming from me — so I've scaled back the sugar in this recipe. But I add some of it back in the dust that approximates the Good Humor bar.

Jim Webster, Times staff writer

Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Technically, it isn't ice cream. But with frozen yogurt places popping up on every corner, wouldn't it be nice to be able to churn your own for a group?

This recipe for Lemon-Blueberry Frozen Yogurt comes from the book Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Jeni Britton Bauer is the It Girl for ice cream among the nation's food obsessed. Celebrity chefs tweet from her ice cream shops in Columbus, Ohio, about which flavor they're having, and it is on the itinerary of every food-travel show.

But if your travel plans don't include Columbus, the book translates her techniques and recipes for home use. Lemon makes a great flavor for froyo, adding its own layer of tartness on top of that inherent in the yogurt. The blueberry is one of several mix-in options that Bauer suggests, and is the perfect sweet counterpoint to the lemon and yogurt.

Jim Webster, Times staff writer

Two Brews Ice Cream

Break this one out after the kids are asleep.

One of the more intriguing flavors in Bauer's book is Kona-stout, a celebration of a local brewery and local coffee roaster. Beer and coffee ice cream. It's a combination that requires exploration.

In keeping with the spirit of Bauer's recipe, this recipe calls for Maduro Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing in Ybor City, and the Sirrocco medium-dark roast coffee from Kahwa in St. Petersburg. But use any dark beer you like, and any coffee you have.

For a recipe that includes only a half-cup of beer in a quart of ice cream, the maltiness is intense, and the aroma is unmistakable. It's a fantastic ice cream.

But to take it just a little further over the top, try it between a couple of chocolate chip-pretzel cookies. There's a reason that bars put pretzels out. They go with beer. And make you want more.

Jim Webster, Times staff writer

Chocolate With . . . Anything

Really, why isn't there chocolate butter pecan ice cream?

Since I can't find that in the store, I set out to make it on my own. First, I'd need a good chocolate ice cream. I wanted it rich, so I thought, use more cream. Butterfat is what makes ice cream rich and creamy, and the more the better . . . to a point.

A premium ice cream is about 16 percent butterfat. Heavy cream is about 36 percent. But ice cream made with straight cream is grainy and hard. Paradoxically, not creamy at all. I learned this the hard way.

Once a decadent chocolate ice cream is attained, mix in anything you like to make it your favorite. Chocolate chips, cherry preserves, toffee chips, even booze. A couple of tablespoons of bourbon or a nice cabernet.

Me? I'm adding buttered pecans.

Karen Pryslopski, Times staff writer

MORE INFORMATION

Ice cream making tips

• Ice cream machines vary, and you should follow instructions provided with yours. Most require the bases to be spun for about 20 minutes.

• If adding alcohol to an ice cream, keep it conservative. The alcohol will inhibit freezing. And a little goes a long way.

• If you're tempted to use lower fat milk or cut back on cream, know that it will dramatically alter the texture of the ice cream.

• Don't use artificial sweeteners in place of the sugar. Your ice cream will freeze solid as a rock and thaw straight to liquid.

>>moderate

Strawberry Ice Cream

1 ½ cups firmly packed sliced fresh or frozen strawberries

½ cup strawberry preserves

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

¾ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the strawberries and preserves in a saucepan with ¼ cup water. Stir. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring frequently. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened.

Puree berries in a food processor or blender. Return puree to saucepan.

Add cream, milk, milk powder and salt. Stir to dissolve milk powder. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Beat eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl with a whisk until thick and light yellow. Beat about ⅓ of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, then add the egg mixture to the pan, stirring constantly. Place pan over medium-low heat and continue stirring until the mixture reaches about 170 degrees, about 3 to 6 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil.

Transfer hot liquid to storage container and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled.

Make ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions.

Makes 1 quart.

Source: Ellen Brown, Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries (Running Press, $19.95)

>>MODERATE

Grasshopper Pie Ice Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¾ cup whole milk, divided use

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ to 1 teaspoon pure mint extract or mint oil

3 to 5 drops green food coloring (optional)

¾ cup chopped Fudge Brownies (see recipe)

½ cup chocolate chips

Combine cream, ½ cup milk, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture begins to steam, but don't allow to boil.

Combine ¼ cup milk, cornstarch, milk powder, vanilla extract, mint extract and food coloring in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.

Add cornstarch mixture to pan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Whisk until smooth, and simmer for 2 minutes or until thickened. If mixture is lumpy, strain through sieve.

Transfer hot liquid to storage container and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.

Refrigerate until mixture is chilled.

Make ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions.

Stir in Fudge Brownies and chocolate chips.

Makes a little less than 1 quart.

Source: Ellen Brown, Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries (Running Press, $19.95)

>>EASY

Fudge Brownies

4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

⅔ cup granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs

½ cup flour, plus extra for dusting the baking pan

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour an 8- by 8-inch baking pan.

Combine bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool for 15 minutes, or until mixture is room temperature.

Whisk eggs into chocolate mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in flour and chocolate chips until just blended.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake in center of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with crumbs but not wet batter.

Cool pan completely on wire rack before cutting and removing brownies.

Makes about 1 dozen.

Source: Ellen Brown, Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams from the Nation's Best Creameries (Running Press, $19.95)

>>MODERATE

Toasted Almond Gelato

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream

2 cups slivered almonds, toasted

5 egg yolks

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup firmly packed light

brown sugar

Almond powder:

¼ cup slivered almonds,

toasted

¼ cup granulated sugar

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, cream and almonds until a few bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 15 minutes. Pour through a sieve to remove almonds. Discard almonds.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugars until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. While whisking constantly, pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Return the mixture to the pan, set over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens slightly and reaches 170 degrees, about 5 minutes. Do not let the custard boil. Pour the custard into a bowl, straining again if there are lumps. Cover and refrigerate until very cold.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the gelato to an airtight container, press a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the powder, grind ¼ cup toasted almonds in a food processor, then stir in sugar.

Let the gelato soften slightly before serving. Sprinkle powder over scoops.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

>>MODERATE

Two Brews Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk, divided use

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons softened cream cheese

teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons dark-roast coffee beans, coarsely ground

½ cup Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale, or other very dark beer

Mix about 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add the coffee and let steep for 5 minutes.

Strain the milk mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze the coffee in the cheesecloth to extract liquid, then discard the grounds.

Return the cream mixture to the saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the beer and blend well. Refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled.

Pour the ice cream base into the freezer canister and spin according to manufacturer's directions. Pack the ice cream into a container and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

>>EASY

Chocolate-Pretzel Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups dark chocolate chips

2 cups pretzel sticks, slightly crushed

Coarse salt for sprinkling

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. In electric mixer, beat butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture. Add chocolate chips. Add 2 cups of the slightly crushed pretzels. Cover dough and refrigerate at least one hour, up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Scoop dough into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Press down slightly so cookies are flat and uniform in size. Bake for about 7 minutes, then sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of coarse salt. Bake for an additional 3 to 7 minutes, depending on how done you like them.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Source: Jim Webster, St. Petersburg Times

>>MODERATE

Rich Chocolate Ice Cream

2 ½ cups half-and-half

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer half-and-half, sugar and salt, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add espresso powder and stir until it dissolves.

Transfer to a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until it is cold.

Pour mixture into ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer's directions. If adding mix-ins, do so for last minute or so of churning. Transfer to a container and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Karen Pryslopski and Jim Webster,

St. Petersburg Times

>>EASY

Buttered Pecans

6 ounces pecans, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in oven for about 6 minutes. While still hot, transfer to bowl and toss with butter until butter melts. Sprinkle with salt.

Source: Jim Webster, St. Petersburg Times

>>MODERATE

Lemon-Blueberry

Frozen Yogurt

1 quart plain low-fat yogurt

2 to 3 lemons, zest removed from 1 and reserved

⅔ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided use

1 ½ cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup light corn syrup

4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

Blueberry sauce:

1 ½ cups blueberries

¾ cup sugar

Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 ¼ cups of thick yogurt; set aside.

To make blueberry sauce, mix the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until cold.

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve. Juice enough of the lemons to make ½ cup. Combine the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl, then set aside. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.

Whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved 1 ¼ cups yogurt and the lemon syrup and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled.

Pour the base into the freezer canister and spin according to manufacturer's directions. When transferring yogurt into storage container, alternate spoons of blueberry sauce and yogurt to create layers. Seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart.

Source: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer

Six fun homemade ice cream flavors for Labor Day 08/30/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:30am]

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