Monday, March 19, 2012

Week Eleven - Chocolate Stout

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day! What did everyone do to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland? I had some coworkers over to play some cards (not really an Irish activity), eat some Cheddar and Guinness Fondue (not really an Irish food), and drink some Smithwick's (Win!). It was quite a tasty little get-together. And at the end of the day we all tasted, what I believe to be, a quite delicious Chocolate Stout ice cream! I'm excited about this one, though it's pretty much the exact recipe used for Chocolate and Wine...but it's damn good!

This is how gross I look while I'm making ice cream. Blame it on the beer.

When I was trying to decide which beer to use for the ice cream, Guinness was the obvious choice. A bit too obvious, if you ask me. Plus I have one too many bad memories of Guinness. Well, really just one bad memory...but one is enough. Here is my tale of woe:

When my younger sister was in her senior year of college, she studied abroad for a semester in Dublin. I was super jealous, since I missed the boat on the study-abroad experience (changing your major four times makes it difficult to do cool stuff in college - let that be a lesson to you young ones!) but luckily I had a sweetheart of a boyfriend (now-husband!) who could sense my longing for The Emerald Isle; as an early Christmas present that year, he bought me a ticket to Ireland for a 10-day visit. Naturally, I was super excited about the trip, as was my sister. She began planning things for us to see and do during her final days there (he coincided my trip with the end of hers so we could fly home together for the holidays...sweet AND smart!), including a trip to Belfast. To make a long and heartwrenching story short, I was deviously infected (I knew that hacking old man was not to be trusted!) on the flight over with the flu and was terribly sick for the first five or six days of the trip. I ruined most of her plans, including Belfast, but eventually decided I needed to suck it up and get out there. I mean, how many times in my life will I get a free trip to Ireland?

Our first attempt at tourism was a hop on/hop off bus tour of the city, visiting sites like Trinity College, St. Stephen's Green, Temple Bar, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. I was a bit woozy the day of the tour but packed a bottle of water and some crackers and merrily boarded the double-decker bus. Our final stop on the tour was - you guessed it - the Guinness Storehouse. It was super cool; we took a guided tour, learning all about Arthur Guinness and his tasty brew. The tour concluded at the top of the Storehouse in the Gravity Bar: a glass-enclosed bar providing panoramic views of Dublin. Along with the price of admission, guests receive a pint of Guinness to enjoy while taking in the grey (but lovely) scenery. My sad not-so-short story ends here when I took two sips of my sister's pint and vomited. Not in front of anyone. But come on!

All that was to say that I opted for Murphy's Stout instead of its pretty big sister (here's looking at you, Coll) Guinness. And as far as I could tell Saturday night, nobody got sick from my ice cream. Sláinte to that!

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream


1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Murphy's Stout (or Guinness, if you must)
1 1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 tbs plus 1 tsp corn starch
2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup
1/8 tsp sea salt

1. In a saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar and the beer. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about three minutes.

2. Chop the chocolate and put in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the wine mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth.

3. Add the cream cheese to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.

4. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and a little milk. Set aside.

5. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, and the corn syrup and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches a boil, allowing it to boil for a minute or so, stirring all the while. Remove from heat.

6. Add cornstarch mixture to the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return to heat, stirring with a spoon or spatula, and cook until mixture thickens, about three or four minutes. Remove from heat.

7. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the milk mixture until completely smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

8. Transfer cooled mixture into bowl of ice cream maker and churn. Upon completion, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze.

9. Eat it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Week Ten - Hibiscus and Meyer Lemon Sorbet

Okay, I know. I'm the worst! I didn't get around to making last week's flavor until today but I promise I have a slightly decent excuse! Along with work on the weekdays and a pseudo-job interview, I spent Friday and Saturday eating at super amazing restaurants: Friday, with my husband at Dirty Candy, and Saturday, with my best friend at Per Se. Needless to say, I spent most of my weekend in a very tasty food coma, completely neglecting this little blog of mine.

But enough with the excuses! Let's get on with the deliciousness. Waiting until today to make this flavor actually worked out quite well, what with this lovely weather we're enjoying. When the warmer weather sets in (even if only for a week...) I find few things as refreshing as a cold glass of iced tea. The idea of sitting outside with a good book (today, it was The Hunger Games) and a glass of iced tea (today, it was hibiscus tea...because I happened to have an abundance) and enjoying life just makes me smile. So I took that idea, added some refreshing zing with the Meyer lemon, and created, what I believe to be, quite the delightful dessert. Upon finishing the batch, I actually immediately made a second batch so I could take some to a friend's house this weekend. Hopefully, they share in my delight!

And hopefully, you do, too! Here you have it:

Hibiscus and Meyer Lemon Sorbet


2 cups water
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice

1. Add the water and hibiscus flowers to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let the tea steep for fifteen minutes.

2. Strain the flowers out of the tea and return it to the stove. Add the sugar and heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate until cool

4. Once completely cooled, add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

5. Pour cooled mixture into bowl of ice cream maker and churn. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze.

6. Enjoy on a warm evening on a porch swing with someone you love! (Or on a cold afternoon, huddled on the couch while watching Judge Mathis. Which is how I plan to eat the leftovers when this weather leaves us next week.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week Nine - Dairy Free Salted Caramel

Greetings, friends! Sorry for being a day late, yet again. I spent the day yesterday with my in-laws, checking out the van Gogh exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I highly recommend it for anyone able to check it out! But I'm home now and ready to regale you with this week's ice cream adventures. Here we go!

When I decided to create this blog earlier this year, the very first request I received was for a dairy free flavor. I have since had a couple other people ask for one so I figured I'd give it a shot. Originally, I was going to attempt some sort of chocolate and coconut concoction but at the last minute I decided to try to make it vegan, instead of just dairy free. I have some vegan sugar in the house so I thought a salted caramel would be perfect. (I should warn you at this point that I was taking photos at night with a crappy camera so my pictures are not very good this week. Sorry!)

The first step was to make the caramel, so I started with the white sugar:

This sugar immediately turned a strange color, almost as if I had added cream to the sugar. Except I hadn't. I drizzled a little onto a paper towel to taste it and it immediately hardened. Boo. So I poured it into a paper bowl (where it completely hardened, forming a pretty cool weapon, within minutes) and started from scratch with the dark brown sugar:

This time around, the sugar sat on the heat for about five minutes refusing to melt so I added a little water to help things along. The caramel quickly began to form, bringing with it a terribly gross odor. Garbage. And on to sugar number 3! Unfortunately, those are the only two vegan sugars I have in my house so the recipe at this point became dairy free instead of vegan. Boo. But for those who still wish to read on, I present to you this week's flavor...

Dairy Free Salted Caramel


1 cup soy milk
2 cups soy creamer
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs corn starch (Is corn starch vegan? I wasn't sure about that so I may have failed with the vegan one after all.)

1. Pour the sugar into a large sauté or sauce pan, spreading evenly, and cook over medium heat. Do not stir until the sugar at the edge of the pan starts to melt.

2. At this point, begin to push the sugar toward the center with a heat-proof spatula. It's okay if lumps form, they'll melt later.

3. Once the sugar is completely melted, allow to cook for another minute or two until it turns a deep (but not too dark) copper color. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt.

4. Slowly add the soy milk, whisking vigorously as you pour to keep caramel from seizing. Once the milk is added, return to medium heat and add the soy milk. Continue to cook, stirring all the while, for a few more minutes.

5. Pour through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down directly on top of the mixture. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

6. Transfer cooled mixture into bowl of ice cream maker and churn. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze.

7. Enjoy!