Friday, February 18, 2011

Ice Cream in February

Last summer, I discovered this phenomenal ice cream recipe from the Fine Cooking magazine, issue 99.  I've made it multiple times and the family usually gobbles it down by the end of the day.  I liked this recipe because it's flexible and no two ice creams are the same. 

This Monday, I made a Nutella-inspired ice cream for myself and the sibs since the weather's been warmer.  I added melted chocolate to the custard-base then mixed in ~1/3 cup roasted/chopped hazelnuts and ~1/3 cup Nutella.

I have made a few modifications to the custard-base recipe.  The original recipe calls for 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup of whole milk, but I discovered this gave the end result a rather unpleasant and odd, waxy texture.  So instead I've been using 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1 cup of 1% milk (which is what's normally on hand anyways), for a total of 3 cups of liquid. 

Adding chocolate to the custard is also tricky.  I've only made chocolate ice cream 2 times and the melted chocolate always seized up when I added it to the custard.  The recipe--in very small print--says to add it to the custard BEFORE cooling.  Well, I missed that the first time I made it, so of course it seized up and gave the ice cream a grainy texture.  The second time, I added melted chocolate to the custard base right before the cooling process, but it still yielded a grainy texture.  Next time, I've decided that I need to add the chocolate at the beginning of the custard cooking process to ensure it melts evenly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baking for fun...

First blog posts always seem awkward.  *sigh*  So I'll just skip the introductions and jump right in.

Last week I had the rare opportunity to make cookies just for the fun of it.  They're the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from the Fine Cooking magazine (issue 89, p. 77).  I wanted to make something a little different from my family's favorites and plus it's hard to go wrong with Abigail Johnson Dodge's recipes. 

I thought it was interesting the recipe didn't have any flour in it but that it still had the same texture and look as "normal" cookie dough.  The chocolate filling was very easy, too--I think the hardest part was waiting for both the cookies and chocolate to cool so they could be eaten!