Tim Tam Ice Cream Sandwiches (Chocolate Malt Ice Cream #51)

28 02 2013

My friends Pete and Bec are heading back home to Australia!  Pete and I first met in 2005 when he was in Vancouver for a year on a work visa.  He was one of my rock climbing BFFs that summer and I was sad to see him go at the end of the year.  Luckily, our paths crossed again in 2008 in Paris, where we had a fantastic day exploring the city and drinking cheap wine on the banks of the Seine.  Last year, when I heard that he and his new wife were planning a five-month visit to Vancouver, I was absolutely thrilled.  Those months have flown by, and yesterday, we had a celebratory goodbye-for-now dinner.  And what better way to end a dinner with the Aussies than with a dessert inspired by Tim Tams.

For the uninitiated, Tim Tams are an extremely popular brand of biscuits that originated in Australia in the 1960s.  A Tim Tam is a sandwich cookie comprised of two chocolate and malt flavoured biscuits, a light chocolate cream filling, and a textured chocolate coating.  They are considered an Australian cultural icon.  The hit the West Coast market in Canada about 10 to 15 years ago.

Tim Tams

Tim Tam biscuits — an Australian cultural icon!

Tim Tam biscuit

The inside of a Tim Tam biscuit: a light chocolate cream filling sandwiched between two chocolate malt biscuits, all dipped in chocolate.

Since this was a celebratory dinner, I thought a bit of extra effort was in order.  Vanilla ice cream topped with a couple of Tim Tams wasn’t going to cut it.  But homemade Tim Tam Ice Cream sandwiches — two homemade chocolate malt biscuits with a chocolate malt ice cream filling — now we’re talking!  (I decided against the dipped chocolate coating – I figured the ice cream sandwiches would be sweet and rich enough as is.)

If the idea of making ice cream sandwiches sounds like a bit too much effort, I can assure you, it’s not.  One little trick I’ve learned is to use a cookie cutter to cut out perfect rounds of ice cream to sandwich between two cookies (rather than scooping ice cream, squishing it between two cookies, and risking cookie breakage).

Still not convinced?  You have a few other options to achieve chocolate-malt Tim Tam goodness:

  • Option B: Crumble your homemade chocolate malt cookies and churn them into your chocolate-malt ice cream (a deconstructed Tim Tam Ice Cream sandwich!)
  • Option C: Feeling cookie lazy?  Chop up some store-bought Tim Tams and churn them into your chocolate malt ice cream.
  • Option D: Just make the chocolate malt ice cream!

Which malted milk powder to use, you ask?  You will probably have three options: Horlicks, Ovaltine, and Milo.  Horlicks has the most malty and least chocolatey taste, while Milo has the least malty and most chocolatey taste.  Ovaltine is somewhere in between.  Since I was already adding cocoa powder to both the cookie dough and the ice cream, I opted for Horlicks to maximize the malt flavour.  Horlicks also has the fewest weird ingredients (e.g. modified palm oil, oligofructose)

I used half of the ice cream for ice cream sandwiches, and churned cookie bits into the other half.  Results?  Both were incredible!  The ice cream has a toasty chocolately flavour, and the ice cream sandwiches — individually wrapped in parchment paper– were super cute and fun to serve for dessert.

If you are freezing the ice cream sandwiches overnight or longer, I would suggest taking them out of the freezer for 5 minutes prior to serving.  That way, the cookies will have a chance to soften up every so slightly.

Tim Tam Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the Chocolate Malt Cookies – slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Malt Sandwiches recipe

(Makes about 40 single cookies.  If you are making sandwiches, you will have some leftover cookies)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup malted milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons hot water

For the Chocolate Malt Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt Read the rest of this entry »





Nutella Ice Cream (#50)

21 02 2013

There were signs:

  1. When I stopped at my sister’s last weekend, she was toasting hazelnuts.
  2. When we stopped at La Grotta del Formaggio on Commercial Drive later that afternoon to pick up a few cheeses, I came across bags and bags of hazelnuts.
  3. When we popped across the street to Triple A Market for some produce, there was a huge display of Nutella.

Week #50 clearly had to be Nutella Ice Cream.

For those unfamiliar with Nutella, it’s a creamy hazelnut-chocolate spread that was created by Pietro Ferrero in the 1940s in Italy.  But while Nutella is (still being) marketed as a nutritious food (50 hazelnuts in every jar!  Full of skim milk!), it’s actually not that great for you.  In fact, in 2012, the makers of Nutella had to pay $3 million in a class action lawsuit over false nutritional claims.  The top two ingredients in Nutella?  Sugar and oil.  Yikes.  This meant having to make my own healthier version of Nutella to use in my Nutella Ice Cream recipe.

It turns out that 50 hazelnuts is not all that many.  I figured to yield 1 cup of Nutella, I would need at least 1.5 cups of hazelnuts — which turned out to be 125 hazelnuts.

toasted hazelnuts

125 toasted hazelnuts went into my homemade version of Nutella.

I tipped the hazelnuts into my Vitamix along with some cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and a dash of cream and gave it all a whirl.  At first, the mixture was incredibly thick, not at all like store-bought Nutella.  But after adding a tablespoon of coconut oil and blending further, things started looking good!  I combined the Nutella with a slightly modified custard recipe… but not before sneaking a couple of spoonfuls into my mouth!

Final results?  Ultra rich and creamy.  Nutty.  Chocolately.  AMAZING.  I think I could have eaten the entire batch of ice cream in one sitting!  Garnish the ice cream with a few toasted, salted hazelnuts.  The salty-sweet contrast is absolutely delicious.

Nutella Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

For the Nutella (makes about 1 cup)

1 .5 cups shelled hazelnuts
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 c half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon coconut oil or canola oil (Note: If you are making Nutella to spread on toast, crepes, etc., you might want to add an extra spoonful or two of oil for a thinner, more spreadable consistency.)

For the Ice Cream

2 3/4 cups half-and-half cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
Pinch of sea salt Read the rest of this entry »





Valentine’s Day Ice Cream Ideas

14 02 2013

All righty — the Official Taster and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I know many of you do and LOVE every minute of it!  So I’ve put together a collection of pink and red ice cream recipes I’ve developed over the past 49 weeks.  Click on each photo for a link to the recipe.  If you and your special someone don’t have any plans this evening, why not have a date in the kitchen and whip up a batch of Valentine’s ice cream?  Don’t have an ice cream maker?  Click here for some tips on how to make ice cream without one!

strawberry rhubarb ice cream

Week #14: Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream

bowl of raspberry cheesecake ice cream

Week #19: Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (egg-free)

blackberry ice cream

Week #25: Wild Blackberry Ice Cream

Hungarian plum dumpling ice cream

Week #26: Hungarian Plum Dumpling Ice Cream

cranberry orange ginger ice cream

Week #31: Cranberry Orange Ginger

Beet orange ice cream

Week #39: Beet and Orange Ice Cream

pomegranate ice cream

Week #46: Pomegranate Ice Cream (egg-free)

Red Velvet Ice Cream, Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream

Week #49: Red Velvet Ice Cream





Red Velvet Ice Cream (#49)

13 02 2013

Red.  This week is all about red.  First off, we rang in the Year of the Snake for Chinese New Year on Sunday.  In Chinese culture, the colour red symbolizes good fortune and joy.  During the 15 days Chinese New Year is celebrated, red envelopes, red lanterns, red paper-cuts, and other red decor abound.

And then there’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  Definitely not a day I’m rah rah rah about, but an occasion that many enjoy.  Red hearts, red roses, red, red, red all around.  A red ice cream is befitting for this week.

Back in Week #39, I made the most gorgeous red ice cream: Beet and Orange Ice Cream.  I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to figure out what other intensely red ice cream recipe I can develop.  I was inspired by the idea of Red Velvet Cake — layers of red-tinged chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting — but after poking around online, I realized that Red Velvet Cake recipes typically call for a ridiculous amount of red food colouring to tint the cake red.  Some recipes call for a WHOLE BOTTLE of colouring!  Adding chemicals to my ice cream recipes is the last thing I want to do!  Fortunately, I came across Bake Cakery’s post on Red Velvet Cake made with beets.  This was the perfect inspiration to use beets in another ice cream recipe and in a way that will lead to a completely different taste.  Beets + cocoa + cream cheese = all natural Red Velvet Ice Cream bliss!

I used 1.5 cup of grated beets in this recipe (compared to the 2 cups used in my Beet and Orange Ice Cream recipe) to make sure the taste of beets would not be overwhelming.  A 1/4 cup of natural cocoa powder introduces just enough of a chocolatey taste to the ice cream, and half a brick of cream cheese pays tribute to the cream cheese frosting traditionally used to frost a Red Velvet Cake while adding a subtle tang.

grated beets

Instead of using red food colouring to tint the ice cream red, this recipe uses grated beets!

The ice cream turned out reddish-brown — definitely not the same luscious red as my Beet and Orange Ice Cream or the deep garnet colour of a traditional Red Velvet Cake made with food colouring.  I was a little disappointed in the colour, but it was a small price to pay to not add any food colouring to the recipe.  If you want your Red Velvet Ice Cream to have a more brilliant red colour, go ahead, add a few drops.  Your secret is safe with me!

Red Velvet Ice Cream (makes about 1.5 L)

1.5 cups grated beets
1/2 cup water
125 g cream cheese
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
Juice of half a lemon
3 cups half-and-half cream, divided
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
Pinch of salt Read the rest of this entry »





Date Orange Almond Ice Cream (#48)

9 02 2013

This week’s flavour features a sticky favourite: dates.  Dates are the fruit of date palm trees.  They are commonly used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking and often paired with orange, almond, and honey flavours.  How about rolling all of these flavours into one ice cream?  I figured an orange-honey base with chopped dates and toasted sliced almonds would be a fantastic combination.

dried dates, Medjool dates

Sweet sticky dates

Dates are a bit sticky to work with, so here are few tips:

1) To prevent the dates from sticking to your knife while chopping, lightly coat your knife with some oil or cooking spray.

2) To prevent the chopped dates from sticking together in one big clump when you’re churning them into the ice cream, soak them overnight in a bit of hot water and Grand Marnier.  (The Grand Marnier optional, but it will infuse the dates with a subtle orange flavour.)

Results?  Yum!  The soft, sticky dates contrasted really well with the crunch of the flaky almonds, and the orange-honey flavours were perfectly balanced.  Using honey as a sweetener also made the ice cream super scoopable.  Bookmark this recipe — it’s the perfect dessert to finish a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean-themed dinner!

Date Orange Almond Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

3/4 cup chopped dried dates
2 tablespoons of hot water
1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier (or substitute an extra tablespoon of hot water)
2 eggs
2/3 cup honey
A pinch of sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
Juice and finely chopped zest of one large orange
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Read the rest of this entry »





Avocado Ice Cream (#47-E)

2 02 2013

Organic avocados were on sale this week for $1 each.  While I typically pounce on sales, I’ve always been a bit cautious with sale avocados.  Will they be a perfect creamy green inside or a brown icky mess?  It’s always been a bit of a gamble for me… until I recently stumbled upon this neat little tip from The Kitchn on how to tell if an avocado is perfectly ripe inside.  Pop off the dry button on the stem end of the fruit.  If it’s green underneath, the avocado is ripe.  If it’s brown, it’s past its prime and most likely brown and stringy inside.

Avocado

Score.  That little trick from The Kitchn worked!  Perfectly ripe inside!

So, what to do with three perfectly ripe avocados?  Ice cream of course!

Avocado Ice Cream might sound rather bizarre, but in Southeast Asia, avocados are typically used for sweet rather than savoury dishes.  When I was travelling in Vietnam, when I wasn’t sipping an iced Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá), I had an avocado milkshake (sinh tố bơ) in hand.  Avocado milkshakes are rich and buttery in taste and ultra smooth in texture.  Surely avocados would work well in ice cream.

This egg-free ice cream recipe is super simple: blitz four ingredients in a blender, chill, churn, done.  I would suggest that you churn the avocado mixture as soon as it is thoroughly chilled (about four hours), otherwise the mixture will start to discolour and darken from contact with air.

Results?  An amazingly smooth, creamy, and pillowy soft ice cream with the rich taste of avocado and just a hint of caramel from the condensed milk.  Be careful with this one, it might be hard to stop yourself from eating the whole batch in one sitting!!

Avocado Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

2.5 cups half-and-half cream
3 avocados
Juice of half a lemon
225 mL (3/4 can) sweetened condensed milk (save the rest for cà phê sữa đá)
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)

Read the rest of this entry »








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