Is there anyone that doesn’t love ice cream? I don’t think so. I can’t imagine anyone turning down something so creamy, cold and satisfying. In my opinion, there are three camps when it comes to ice creams. We have the simple, yet somehow perfect ones that rely on just the pure flavor of the few ingredients to shine, like vanilla or pistachio. Next, the ones that have just a whisper of an extra—a ripple of chocolate sauce, or a few stray pieces of a special add in. Then there are the ones that are jam-packed with extras. Those can be anything your heart desires—fruit, nuts, chocolate, cookies, cake, even pie! I crave all three, depending on my mood at the time.
I’ve always loved using my ice cream maker, but I didn’t really start putting it to the test until a few years ago. My friend Heather and I were chatting about making ice cream and hitting the farmers market when we were both struck with an idea. What if we take the freshest local ingredients we can find, and turn them into amazing ice cream? Scoopaplooza was born. We’re ice cream lovers, and we’re on a mission. Our goal is a summer of fresh, local scoops—and pushing our imaginations to come up with new ideas. I have a lot of interesting flavors that I want to try, so be on the lookout.
I come up with my ideas for flavors in two ways. One—I look at what’s fresh at the moment. Two -Is there anything I can pair it with?
Pistachio Praline Cherry Ice Cream
While thinking about what kind of ice cream to make next for Scoopapalooza, I had pistachio in mind. Since cherries are in season, it was a natural progression to add those in, too. Though I love the the pure flavor of pistachio ice cream–so light and fresh, and pretty much perfect–I wanted to do a twist on the classic.
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half and half
- Generous 1/2 cup of Pistachio Praline Paste (Recipe below)
- Generous 1/2 cup of pistachios
- Approx 1/2 cup fresh, pitted cherries–diced (optional)
1. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking after each addition, then continue to whisk for about a minute more.
3. Pour in the cream and half & half, whisk to blend.
4. Pour about 1 cup of the cream mixture into a separate bowl and add the pistachio paste. Carefully whisk until it’s all incorporated, then add this back to the rest and mix to combine. Keep this mixture cold until you’re ready to use it.
5. Freeze according to manufacturers guidelines. In the last few minutes of freezing, add the nuts and cherries.
6. Mine took a little longer to freeze up in the machine, but it was a very warm day, and the paste is stirred in at room temp. So chilling before freezing may be a good idea in this case.
7. Transfer to an airtight container and let the ice cream freeze for at least a few more hours, but overnight is best.
PISTACHIO PRALINE PASTE
- 1 cup pistachios (I used dry roasted and unsalted-cheap at Trader Joe’s if you’ve got one nearby!
- 2/3 cup Sugar
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly butter the parchment.
2. Pour the sugar in a heavy 10-12 inch skillet, and heat it over low heat for about 20 minutes.
3. The sugar should start melting around this time. If you’re impatient like me, you can turn the heat up a little, but watch it carefully.
4. Swirl the pan around if the sugar seems to be getting too dark.
5. If the sugar isn’t melting in the center, stir it just a bit with a wooden spoon. Whatever you do, don’t use plastic spoons!
6. When the sugar is all melted and caramel colored, remove from heat and stir in the nuts, again–using a wooden spoon.
7. Return the pan to low heat and stir to coat the nuts.
8. Heat until the caramel starts to bubble.
9. PLEASE remember that this is extremely hot, so be careful.
10. Pour it out on to the parchment, and separate the big clumps. Let it cool completely.
11. When it’s cooled, break the brittle into pieces and add it to your food processor. (Of course, you should reserve a few pieces just to eat!)
12. Pulse the brittle until it’s a fine powder. Continue processing until the powder starts to come together in a smooth paste. This will take a few minutes.
13. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
The flavor of this one is like a cross between your favorite pistachio ice cream, and a deep caramel. Sweet, but not too sweet. It’s truly creamy–no grit from ground nuts! This has the mouth feel of a premium ice cream. You don’t even need to soften it to scoop it. It scoops like a dream! I only had a small amount of cherries, so I took about 2 cups of the just frozen ice cream, and added the cherries and some nuts to that. I love that version, but the one without them is equally as wonderful -so don’t sweat it if you don’t have cherries!While the directions seem wordy and long, this is really a very simple ice cream to make. Don’t be scared off, because you will be rewarded with a truly heavenly ice cream. The most time you’ll spend on this is waiting for the sugar to melt, and the ice cream to freeze. That’s not hands on work.
Mocha Toffee Brownie Chunk Ice Cream
Makes roughly one quart
This ice cream is a flavor packed mocha with extra dark cocoa and deep, rich coffee. I then added in brownie chunks and large pieces of English toffee that’s enrobed with milk chocolate and chopped pecans.
- 2 cups heavy cream (or whipping cream)
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark was used here)
- 3 tbsp very good quality instant coffee, DIVIDED (mine is from Trader Joe’s)
- 2 eggs (See note below)
- 1 1/4 cups brownie chunks (about 1/2 – 1 inch cubes) Ultimate Brownie Recipe click here
- 1 1/4 cups toffee chunks (don’t break them up too small!)
1. Start by cutting the brownies into chunks. Set aside, and then put the toffee in a quart sized Ziploc bag. Smash it up, but don’t make the chunks too small. You want to have nice large pieces to make this a truly chunky ice cream. Place the toffee and brownie chunks in the freezer to chill while you work on the ice cream. (I won’t hold it against you if you swipe a few of the chunks for yourself. Because you *know* I did.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa and 2 tbsp of the coffee. Make sure all of the sugar is dissolved before you proceed. Whisk the eggs in a smaller bowl until light yellow in color. Pour the eggs into the cream mixture and blend well.
3. Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions for freezing. Just as the ice cream is finishing up it’s freezing thing, add the remaining 1 tbsp of coffee, and the brownie and toffee chunks. Let those mix in, and then transfer the ice cream to a container to finish freezing. In the freezer, of course. After you’ve had a few bites. Because it’s the law–you have to.
4. This ice cream is everything you want in a chunky ice cream. It’s creamy and velvety, and absolutely loaded with chunks of brownies and toffee. For those times when you want serious chunks in every single bite.
I recently had a comment calling me out for using raw eggs in ice cream. I have been using the same method that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book does, and that’s to use raw eggs. I use fresh eggs and don’t worry about it. Salmonella is found on the outside of the eggs, so wash them gently first if you like. I wouldn’t serve it to someone who was pregnant or had a compromised immune system. My kids eat these ice creams–and we’ve had no issues. If you’re worried about it, use an Egg Beater type product or pasteurized eggs. Or use a cooked base that you feel comfortable with.
I hope you’ll give ice cream making a try this summer. It’s amazing, the difference in taste when you make it fresh at home. You’re only limited by your imagination! If you’ve got kids, they love it when you pull the ice cream maker out—they all seem to congregate in the kitchen. Go ahead and make some, and have some fun toppings on hand. Let your kids make their own cones or sundaes, or even try coming up with their own flavor ideas! It’ll make for a fun summer, I guarantee it.
1. If your homemade ice cream seems to “greasy” (leaves your mouth feeling kind of waxy) after you take a bite, it’s most likely that the heavy cream has been over churned and has begun to turn to butter. Try a combination of Half and Half and Heavy Cream, using more of the half and half and less of the cream. I just made an ice cream that had three cups half and half and only one and a half cups of heavy cream. It’s still rich and creamy, but not greasy or waxy feeling.
2. Don’t feel limited to fruit, nuts or chocolate when coming up with ice cream flavors to try. I was brainstorming some new flavors and realized that I love sugar cones–so why not add those to my ice cream? I made a peanut and sugar cone brittle that I then processed into a paste (think nut butters), and not only mixed it right into the ice cream base, but also swirled some in after churning it. It adds a totally unexpected twist to your ice creams!
Visit Elle over on her site: Elle’s New England Kitchen. She has tons of fantastic recipes and tips to help keep you in Ice Cream heaven all summer long!
What’s our favorite ice cream maker? The Cuisinart – it whips up a quart of ice cream in a half hour! Click here to buy it 45% off of the original price!