Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (#12)

31 05 2012

My dear family friend Grace is getting married this weekend!  In her honour, Week #12 will be her favourite ice cream flavour: chocolate chip mint.  But wait!  There’s a healthy twist: sub out the chocolate chips, sub in cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are made by roasting, hulling, and gently crushing cacao beans.  They are, essentially, the natural source of all chocolate products.  Cacao nibs have a strong, dark, bitter chocolate flavour, delightfully crunchy texture, and are one of the hottest superfoods on the market.  They’re packed with vitamins and minerals including beta carotene, zinc, and a whack load of magnesium.  They also contain more antioxidants than blueberries, red wine, and green tea.

cocoa nibs

Cocoa nibs – crunchy little nuggets of chocolatey goodness packed with antioxidants!

Grace introduced me to cacao nibs earlier this month and I have to say I’m hooked.  How can something that is so good for you taste SO AMAZING?  I’m sprinkling cacao nibs over oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt, whirling them up in smoothies, and eating them by the handful.  And now, cacao nibs are working their way into my ice cream recipes.

The cacao nibs add an amazing crunch to the ice cream, and the mint ice cream itself has just enough sweetness that you don’t need to use a sweetened (and processed!) chocolate chip.  Enjoy, and eat often!

Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
1.25 to 1.5 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 to 7 drops green food colouring (optional)
3/4 cup raw unsweetened cacao nibs (or substitute with high quality miniature chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate)

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Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream a Candidate on CEK’s 2012 Home Grown Chef Contest!

29 05 2012

My recipe for Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream — an innovative original inspired by my Dad’s love for hot cross buns — is a candidate on Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s 2012 Home Grown Chef Contest!

The Top 5 most popular recipes, determined by the number of page views, will advance to the finals and be added to a poll for everyone to vote on.  Have a peek at my contest entry page.  And if you haven’t tried this recipe yet, what are you waiting for?

Hot cross buns ice cream

Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream – fruit, spice, and all things nice!

Thank you for continuing to support 52 Scoops!

Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt a Community Pick on Food 52!

24 05 2012

What a day!  My Maple Bacon Chocolate Ice Cream is receiving fantastic reviews from a number of Unofficial Tasters, and I just found out on Twitter that my recipe for Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt was awarded with a “Community Pick” on Food 52!

Mango ice cream with chili sea salt

Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt: A “Community Pick” on Food 52!

Many thanks to the Food 52 Head Recipe Tester for choosing this recipe and for calling 52 Scoops “a little crazy”.  I will continue to strive to create both classic and crazily unusual ice cream recipes!

Maple Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream (#11)

24 05 2012

Bacon has made quite the appearance on the culinary scene lately.  Bacon topped doughnuts.  Bacon tacos.  Bacon banana breadBacon ale.  Bacon chocolate chip cookies.  Edible Canada, one of my  favourite restaurants in Vancouver, has even launched an entire bacon themed menu.  Every dish on the menu, savoury and sweet, incorporates bacon as an ingredient.   Heaven!  I can’t wait to eat my way through the menu.  In the meantime, I’m jumping on the bacon bandwagon and cranking a batch of maple chocolate bacon ice cream.

slices of bacon on butcher paper

Bacon, baby!

Quality ingredients are key for this recipe (well, for any recipe, really).  Be sure to use REAL maple syrup (not Aunt Jemina’s), a couple of thick slices of bacon from your local deli counter (stay away from the packaged, pre-sliced stuff), and premium dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa content (any less means it’s full of hydrogenated vegetable oil and sugar).

Result?  The perfect marriage of salty and sweet.  Trust me, this ice cream won’t last long in the freezer!

Maple Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Maple Ice Cream:

3/4 cup Grade B maple syrup (Grade B syrup has a darker, richer maple taste compared to Grade A varieties)
3 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
Pinch of sea salt

For the Chocolate Covered Bacon Bits:

150 g bacon
70 g of premium dark chocolate Read the rest of this entry »

Ginger Ice Cream (#10)

17 05 2012

This recipe is inspired by a trip to Hawaii that Tavis and I were on five years ago this week.  Having both been Geography majors, when we were choosing which Hawaiian island to visit, we figured we must choose the one with the most to offer in terms of natural geography — active volcanoes, massive mountains, and the best representation of the world’s climate zones and flora.  Big Island!  The plan was to circumnavigate the island, spending a few nights in Kona, on the western side of the island, and a few nights in Hilo, on the eastern side.

Lava flow on road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Lava on the road in Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

We flew into Kona on Air Canada’s last direct flight of the season, which meant there were less than twenty of us on board (nice!)  Kona itself was all right, nothing special I would say — a typical, touristy surf town.  Hilo, in spite of its rain (it’s the third rainiest city in the US, and yes, we did get caught in a couple of afternoon rain storms), we loved.  There was a great authenticity to this little town.  Unlike Kona, Hilo felt like it had real people, with no resort development and hoards of tourists — old Hawaii, if you will.  It was great chatting with local people.  One woman we spoke with said we absolutely must try the ginger ice cream at Hilo Homemade Ice Cream, a local ice cream parlour.  We did and, indeed, it was amazing, amazing, amazing!  It was the perfect combination of sweet and tangy, with a little kick of heat.

Make sure to use fresh ginger for this recipe.  Don’t think about using the powdered stuff!

Fresh ginger from Granville Island

Ginger Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

Adapted from Gourmet, November 1998

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla

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Tawari Honey Ice Cream (#9)

10 05 2012

The other morning I came to work to find on my desk a paper bag with a sticky note: Enjoy!  Leah.  Ooooh, a surprise on a Monday morning!  My week is off to a great start already.

Monday morning surprise on my desk!

Inside the bag was a beautiful jar of Tawari honey.

Jar of honey, Tawari honey, New Zealand honey

What a gorgeous colour!

Leah (my co-worker) and I had gone for lunch on Friday.  That day, I learned that she is quite the honey connoisseur.  She typically has at least six different varieties of honey at home, each with a unique taste (e.g. floral, fruity, herbal, spicy, or earthy) and each intended for specific pairings or culinary uses.  Over the weekend, she had stopped at the Honeybee Centre, a honey farm in Surrey BC, to restock her pantry and she was nice enough to pick up a jar for me to enjoy.

Tawari honey is produced from the beautiful white flowers of the Tawari tree, which grows only in New Zealand.  It has a mild, sweet, butterscotch taste and is often used as a topping for ice cream.  But rather than using the honey as just a drizzle on ice cream, I figured it should work its way into the ice cream.

As noted in my earlier post on Calamondin and Honey Ice Cream, using honey as a sweetener results in an extremely scoopable, malleable, almost chewy ice cream.  With summer farmer’s markets now in full swing, why not pick up a few different varieties of honey and experiment?

Tawari Honey Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
2/3 cup Tawari honey, plus some extra for drizzling (or substitute any other honey of your choice)
A pinch of sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream

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Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt (#8)

4 05 2012

Update – May 24, 2012: This recipe has been awarded a “Community Pick” on Food 52!

Last week, I posted a recipe for Matcha Ice Cream, and the week before that, Black Sesame Ice Cream.  It would only make sense that I complete the trilogy of common Japanese ice cream flavours with Mango Ice Cream.  I will throw in a Southeast Asian twist though: chili sea salt.

In Southeast Asia, it is quite common to eat tropical fruit such as mango, papaya, guava, pomelo, and pineapple dipped in chili salt as a snack.  This may sound rather bizarre, but it’s tasty, refreshing, and rather addictive.  When I was travelling in Vietnam last year, mango and chili salt quickly emerged as my favourite combination, and I would seek out a mango vendor every day.  Women would expertly peel and cut mangoes, tuck the slices into a plastic bag, and toss in a tiny bag of chili salt for my dipping pleasure.

Use Ataulfo mangoes for this recipe to yield the most lusciously smooth mango ice cream you’ll ever taste.  With a gentle sprinkling of chili sea salt — absolutely divine!!!

Silky and sweet ataulfo mangoes

Mango Ice Cream with Chili Sea Salt  (Makes about 1 L)

Ice Cream:

3 to 4 ripe Ataulfo mangoes (enough to yield 2 cups of puree)
Juice of one lime
2 eggs
1/2  cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 cups half-and-half cream

Chili Sea Salt:

3 tablespoons sea salt
2 Thai red chilis

(Note: You will have leftovers.  Store in a small jar and use for dipping fruit or for cooking.)

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