White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Ice Cream (#63)

5 01 2014

I was tidying the pantry cupboard the other day and came across a secret stash of macadamia nuts from our November getaway to Maui.  November has always been the prime time for the Official Taster and I to sneak away — it’s the greyest, wettest, and absolutely most dreary month in Vancouver.  Ordinarily, we’re the type to throw on our backpacks and head off to explore unfamiliar places.  But the past Fall had been such a whirlwind of activity for both of us that, this time around, we needed a wheely-suitcase holiday.  Maui it was then.

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, sunset

A recursive sunset from our hotel in Lahaina, Maui.

Of course, any trip to Hawaii requires loading up on macadamia nuts.  (Travel tip: forego the overpriced gift shops!  Your best bet is to buy your mac nuts at Costco or Walmart.)  These rich, buttery nuts are a bit of an indulgence.  They’re loaded with fat and calories, but they’re oh so tasty when whirled into white chocolate ice cream.

Mauna Loa, macadamia nuts, macadamiass

Load up on these bad boys when you’re in Hawaii!

roasted macadamia nuts, macadamias, mac nuts

Yum!

Toss your New Year’s resolution out the window and whirl up a batch of ice cream!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Ice Cream (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
Pinch of sea salt
8 ounces quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I used lightly roasted and salted ones)

Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »





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

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Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream (Gesztenye Fagylait) (#36)

15 11 2012

The other day, my co-worker Lisa was telling me about a classic and extremely popular Hungarian dessert.  Gesztenyepüré – sweetened chestnut puree – is mixed with rum and passed through a potato ricer, then topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  Lisa thought this would make for a fantastic ice cream flavour.  But making chestnut puree sounds incredibly… involved.  Scoring, roasting, and peeling chestnuts is not how I want to spend an evening!  Luckily, you can buy frozen chestnut puree — which Lisa did and kindly passed along.  Thanks!

Gesztenyepüré

Hungarian sweetened chestnut puree (Gesztenyepüré)

I must admit that I haven’t had had much exposure to chestnuts.  My experience is mostly limited to the chestnut-filled sponge cakes from Chinese bakeries, and I can’t say I’m enamoured by the taste and texture.  But chestnut puree + rum + whipped cream + chocolate?  You have my attention.

I thought this classic Hungarian dessert would be best represented in ice cream format by layering rum-spiked chestnut puree and shaved chocolate with a rum ice cream.  You can buy chestnut puree at most fine food stores and at European bakeries and delis.  If you can’t find it or if you are feeling particularly ambitious and want to make your own from scratch, you might want to try this recipe.  Though I do love Kraken spiced rum, I thought I ought to use plain rum for this recipe, so not to detract from the flavour of the chestnuts.  This was also an excuse to open a bottle of Venezuelan rum that was gifted to us by our friends Roman and Nathalie (thanks!).  For the chocolate shavings, I opted for Lindt 70%.

Overall, the ice cream was pretty tasty.  I loved the rum and chocolate, but I still can’t say I’m a fan of chestnuts.  It’s the mealy texture I don’t enjoy.  But, if you’re chestnut lover, give this recipe a try.  If you’re planning on storing this ice cream for more than a few hours, give it a chance to warm up before you scoop and enjoy — this will give the chestnut puree a chance to soften and for its nutty flavour to be more pronounced.

Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons rum, divided
250 g sweetened chestnut puree
2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of rum.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  6. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Set aside.
  7. Thoroughly mix the chestnut puree with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum and the 2 tablespoons of cream.
  8. Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish.  Using a potato ricer, press about 1/3 of the chestnut puree over the ice cream.  Try to spread the strands of chestnut puree thinly and evenly over the ice cream and avoid any big clumps.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shaved chocolate.  Repeat another two times.  Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.  In total, you will have three layers of chestnut/chocolate between four layers of ice cream.  Draw a metal spatula or knife through the different layers a few times to marble.  (If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can spread thin layers of chestnut puree between the layers of ice cream.)
  9. Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.
chestnut ice cream, Gesztenye Fagylait

The Official Taster says: “Perfect for the season.”





Maple Whisky Walnut Ice Cream (#34)

1 11 2012

I’m hardly a whisky connoisseur, but over the past two years, I’ve made an attempt to learn a little.  Top lessons learned to date?

  1. Buy your whisky at the duty free shops at the airport — you can save upwards of 50%
  2. If you like your whisky on the rocks, considering buying an ice ball mold.  A giant ice ball keeps your drink from getting watered down too quickly.
  3. The taste of whisky is enhanced when served in a Riedel whisky glass.
  4. Notwithstanding #3, no glass could ever make me enjoy whisky that tastes like diesel.
  5. Whisky is an awesome ingredient for ice cream!
bottles of whisky, whiskey

Whisky – a perfect warming drink in the fall and a great ingredient for ice cream!

Fall is the definitely the time to introduce the taste of spirits and liqueurs into ice cream.  Maple Walnut Ice Cream is a classic flavour that I thought could be made just a bit more sophisticated by adding a few shots of whisky.  Indeed!  Sweet maple syrup, toasted walnuts, and smooth Scotch whisky make for a fantastic combination.  I used the Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or for this recipe, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.  And if you like, top off your bowl of ice cream with an extra shot of whisky and drizzle of maple syrup!

Maple Whiskey Walnut Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

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
4 tablespoons whiskey
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Ice Cream (#33-E)

25 10 2012

Recently, a 52 Scoops reader requested some ideas for kid-friendly ice cream recipes.  For a moment, I thought: All ice cream is kid friendly!  But then, after scanning my Recipes page, I realized that unusual ice cream flavours like Mint and Peas, Maple Chocolate Bacon, and Black Sesame probably wouldn’t rank very highly in many kids’ books.

Kids like simple, basic flavours, so I figured peanut butter + banana + chocolate would be a pretty safe bet (except for those with nut allergies — sorry!!!).

This recipe involves churning chocolate covered banana pieces into an egg-free peanut butter ice cream.  (Since peanut butter is already quite rich, I thought I could easily eliminate eggs from the recipe without compromising the creaminess of the ice cream.)

chocolate covered banana

Chocolate covered banana pieces, ready to be churned into peanut butter ice cream.

For the best tasting ice cream, choose an all-natural peanut butter for this recipe, one that doesn’t contain any extra ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.  Smooth or crunchy?  That is a topic of great debate, and I will leave that up to you.  If you have a peanut allergy, substituting another nut butter for this recipe would work just fine.

Results?  A delectable treat that can be enjoyed by little kids and big kids alike.  The ice cream looked and smelled so enticing that the Official Taster, who was banned from tasting this week due to a mild peanut allergy, decided to taste anyway!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Peanut Butter Ice Cream:

1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (or substitute your favourite nut butter)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Covered Bananas:

1 cup of diced, ripe banana (about one large banana)
70 g of premium dark chocolate Read the rest of this entry »








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