• December 20, 2014

Here’s the scoop on ice cream

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 9:46 am, Thu Jul 11, 2013.

If you’re an ice cream novice, if you’re in need of a refresher course or if you like to freestyle in the recipe department, this might be the help you’ve been waiting for: base recipes, current standards for various frozen desserts and tips for serving and storing. You may never dip into a store-bought container again.

ICE CREAM BASE WITH EGGS

Makes enough for 1½ quarts of ice cream

Combine 1 cup whole milk, ¼ cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat just until thoroughly warmed through. Whisk 5 large, room-temperature egg yolks in a mixing bowl until lemony in color and slightly foamy. While whisking, gradually pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks; once incorporated, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, whisking constantly, to form a custard thick enough to coat a spatula. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding any solids. Cover and chill thoroughly before processing in an ice cream maker.

NO-COOK, EGG-FREE ICE CREAM BASE

Makes ½ gallon (enough for about 3 quarts of ice cream)

Pour 3½ cups whole milk into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1½ cups full-fat sweetened condensed milk, then ½ cup sugar, stirring until the latter has completely dissolved. Stir in 2 2/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla extract; refrigerate to 40 degrees before processing in an ice cream maker.

DAIRY-FREE, NO-COOK ICE CREAM BASE

Makes enough for a 3-cup yield

13½ ounces chilled full-fat coconut milk

¾ cup chilled unsweetened almond or hemp milk

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender; puree for at least 30 seconds or until smooth and thoroughly blended. The base can be used right away (add ½ cup fruit puree of your choice) or refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Sorbet recipe (per 1 to 1½ quarts)

Pour 3 cups chilled juice or a juice/water blend into a container. Submerge a whole, uncracked egg in the liquid. As you stir in 2 cups of chilled simple syrup and the mixture becomes saturated with sugar, the egg will bob to the surface. Remove the egg. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liqueur (to taste) and transfer to the ice cream machine; proceed with the manufacturer’s directions.

Honey Sunflower Ice Cream

Makes about 1½ quarts (12 servings)

This could one-up any salted caramel rendition. Serve soft, straight from the ice cream maker, over fresh summer fruit such as sliced nectarines.

MAKE AHEAD: The ice cream mixture needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour. The ice cream should be frozen for no more than 2 weeks (for maximum flavor).

From Susan Soorenko of Moorenko’s Ice Cream in Silver Spring, Md., inspired by cookbook author and chef David Lebovitz.

Ingredients

For the sunflower seeds

  • 1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
  • ¾ cup raw (shelled) sunflower seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt

For the honey cream

  • ½ cup wildflower honey (or dark honey of choice)
  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
  • For the custard
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature

Steps

  1. For the sunflower seeds: Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with the oil, discarding any excess. Add the sunflower seeds and stir to lightly coat. Sprinkle the salt over the seeds. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the seeds start to brown and become fragrant. Turn off the heat; leave them in the skillet for a few minutes, then transfer to a plate and refrigerate while you are making the ice cream.
  2. For the honey cream: Warm the honey slightly, either in the microwave (on LOW) or in a bowl placed over a pan of hot water. Stir in the cream until well incorporated.
  3. For the custard: Combine the milk, sugar and salt in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm through, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a mixing bowl until they are lemony yellow (lighter in color). Whisk in the warm milk mixture gradually, so the egg yolks do not curdle, then pour the combined mixture back into the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to form a custard and is thick enough to coat a flexible spatula.
  5. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into the honey cream mixture, stirring to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until well chilled, then pour/spoon into your ice cream maker. Process according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  6. Remove the dasher attachment and gently fold in the toasted, chilled sunflower seeds. The ice cream can be served right away, or transfer it to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

NUTRITION Per half-cup serving: 290 calories, 5 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 22 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 145 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar

Ice cream
Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwich The Washington Post/Deb Lindsey

Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes about 12 ice cream sandwiches

The chocolate dip takes this playful riff on a classic Italian dessert to the next level. For even more texture, roll the edge of the ice cream sandwich that hasn’t been dipped in chocolate in chopped pistachios.

MAKE AHEAD: The ice cream base needs to be refrigerated until thoroughly chilled. The ice cream needs to be frozen for at least 4 hours before it is used to make the sandwiches. The cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for several hours or up to overnight.

The baked cookies need to be frozen for at least 1 hour before they are used to make the sandwiches, or they can be frozen for up to 1 month. The ice cream sandwiches need to be frozen for at least 2 hours before the chocolate dip is applied. The dipped sandwiches need to be frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 4 days before serving. The dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature before using.

Adapted from “Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich,” by Tessa Arias (Running Press, 2013).

Ingredients

For the ice cream

  • One 15-ounce container high-quality whole-milk ricotta
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

For the cookies

  • 1½ cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Steps

  1. For the ice cream: Combine the ricotta, milk, heavy cream, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
  2. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and press parchment paper against the surface of the ice cream; freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. The yield is about 1 quart.
  3. For the cookies: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to form a very soft dough. Shape it into a 6-inch-long log. Wrap in parchment paper and freeze until firm.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  7. Use a small, sharp knife to cut about twenty-four ¼-inch-thick rounds of dough from the log. Space them at least an inch apart on the baking sheets.
  8. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Freeze the cookies for at least 1 hour before using them to make sandwiches.
  9. When ready to assemble, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place it in the freezer. Have ready 12 squares of parchment paper or plastic wrap that are big enough to wrap each ice cream sandwich.
  10. Invert half of the cookies on a clean work surface; top each of them with a small scoop of the ricotta ice cream, then top with another cookie (bottom sides down), gently pressing to form a sandwich and making sure the ice cream filling goes all the way to the edges. Place the sandwiches on the baking sheet in the freezer; freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
  11. Combine the chocolate and oil in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on LOW in 20-second increments, stirring between each one, until melted and smooth. Cool until just warm.
  12. Working with one frozen sandwich at a time, dip half of the sandwich into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl. Return to the same baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches and chocolate. Return the sheet of ice cream sandwiches to the freezer and chill until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour.
  13. Serve, or wrap the sandwiches individually and return to the freezer.

NUTRITION Per sandwich: 490 calories, 8 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 28 g fat, 16 g saturated fat, 80 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 39 g sugar

Ice cream
Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwich. The Washington Post/Deb Lindsey

Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 11 to 13 ice cream sandwiches

These party-size sandwiches do not rely merely on the add-in of baked carrot cake. Instead, caramelized carrots provide a subtle sweetness in the ice cream filling, and the cream cheese cookies bake up crisp.

Because of the various chilling times, it’s a good idea to make this a two-part project: Make the ice cream one day and the cookies the next. You’ll have ice cream left over after filling the sandwiches; if you have frozen it divided between two containers, there won’t be any loss of quality in the portion you didn’t use for the filling.

You’ll need a 2 ½-inch round cookie cutter.

MAKE AHEAD: The carrots can be cooked and refrigerated a day in advance; if so, the custard cooling time may be shortened. The custard (ice cream base) needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. The ice cream needs to be frozen for at least 2 hours before serving. The cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours; the baked cookies need to be frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 1 month. The assembled ice cream sandwiches must be frozen for at least 1 hour and up to 1 month before serving.

Adapted from “Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich,” by Tessa Arias (Running Press, 2013).

Ingredients:

For the ice cream

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1½ cups finely grated carrots (from about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies

  • 1¾ cups flour, plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (half of a 1-block package) regular or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use nonfat)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

For assembly

  • About 1 cup finely chopped pecans, for garnish

Directions:

  1. For the ice cream: Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the carrots and cook for 6 or 7 minutes, until the mixture is thick and the carrots are soft. Remove from the heat.
  2. Fill a large bowl halfway with cool water and ice cubes. Seat a medium bowl with a fine-mesh strainer over it inside the ice-water bath to chill.
  3. Combine the milk, cream, salt and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth and pale in color. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, one ladleful at a time, until the egg mixture is warmed. Pour the egg yolk-milk mixture back into the saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to form a custard that’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers about 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the custard, or the egg yolks will curdle.
  5. Immediately pour the custard through the fine-mesh strainer into the bowl sitting in the prepared ice bath; use a flexible spatula to push it through, discarding any solids left in the strainer. Stir in the vanilla extract and cinnamon, then add the carrot mixture. Cool the custard until it reaches room temperature, stirring often. Press parchment paper against the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  6. Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker. Process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Divide the ice cream evenly between two airtight containers, pressing parchment paper against the ice cream’s surface before sealing with a lid. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. The yield is about 5 cups.
  7. For the cookies: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  8. Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until smooth. Stop to scrape down the bowl; on low speed, beat in the egg, lemon zest and the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour mixture (on low speed) and beat to form a soft dough. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
  10. Cut the dough in half, returning one portion to the refrigerator.
  11. Because the dough is soft and slightly sticky, you’ll need to roll it out between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Lightly dust the bottom sheet with flour, then place the dough on it and lightly flour the top of the dough. Top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the dough into a ¼-inch thickness. Carefully remove the top parchment. Cut out 22 to 26 rounds with the 2 ½-inch cookie cutter, flouring it between each cut and spacing the rounds of cookie dough on the lined baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate one of the filled baking sheets.
  12. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 14 minutes or until the cookie bottoms and some edges are lightly golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, then seal in a plastic zip-top bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Freeze for at least 1 hour and up to 1 month.
  13. When ready to assemble, have ready 11 to 13 squares of parchment paper or plastic wrap that are big enough to wrap each ice cream sandwich. Spread the pecans on a plate. Take out one of the ice cream containers.
  14. Working with a few at a time, invert the frozen cookies on individual pieces of the parchment or plastic wrap. Top each of them with a small scoop of the carrot cake ice cream, then top with another cookie (bottom sides down), gently pressing to form a sandwich, making sure the ice cream filling goes all the way to the edges. (If you run out of ice cream, open the second container.) Roll the ice cream edges in the pecans. Wrap the cookies and place in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

NUTRITION per serving: 330 calories, 20 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates, 0 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugar, 5 g protein.

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