Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt (#59-Y)

11 06 2013

There are a lot of people out there who don’t like yogurt.  For many, it’s the characteristic tang of yogurt that’s the deal breaker.  The solution?  Chocolate.  And lots of it.

This frozen yogurt recipe calls for a whopping 3/4 cup of Dutch cocoa powder — the same amount as in my recipe for Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream, which I made waaaay back in Week #5.  I assure you that the deep, chocolatey taste of cocoa powder will mask any hint of tang in the yogurt.  Even if you have the most discerning palette, hyper-sensitive sour taste buds, and can pick out even the slightest whisper of tang in your food, you will likely attribute that taste to the sweet-tart macerated raspberries that are churned throughout the frozen yogurt.

Rather than using 2% plain Greek yogurt (Oikos brand – 130 calories, 3.5 g fat, 17 g protein per 1/2 cup) as I did with my last two frozen yogurt recipes, I gave 3% plain regular yogurt (Astro brand – 80 calories, 4 g fat, 5 g protein per 1/2 cup) a try this week to see if there’d be any difference in using a thinner yogurt, albeit one with a slightly higher fat content.

Astro 3% plain yogurt

3% plain regular yogurt has fewer calories and is cheaper than 2% plain Greek yogurt, but doesn’t compromise on taste and texture in frozen yogurt recipes.

Results?  Taste: AWESOME.  Texture: AWESOME.  Granted, I ought to test this recipe using both 2% Greek yogurt and 3% regular yogurt and do a side-by-side comparison, but based on this recipe alone, I’m convinced I could use either variety in my frozen yogurt recipes and have fantastic results.  Bonus: regular yogurt is usually cheaper than Greek yogurt!

(Readers: please let me know if you try this recipe using fat-free, 1%, or full-fat varieties of yogurt.  I’d be very interested in hearing about your results!)

Chocolate Raspberry Frozen Yogurt  (Makes about 1 L)

For the Chocolate Frozen Yogurt:

3/4 c Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
3 cups of plain yogurt

For the Macerated Raspberries:

1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vodka

Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »





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 »





Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream (#32)

18 10 2012

After a glorious extended summer with warm days and sunshine through to early October, the rains have hit.  Raincouver is back and with a vengeance — I think it’ll probably be raining through to April.

Vancouver weather forecast

Environment Canada reports of rain, rain, rain for the entire week to come…

It’s time to hunker down.  A cozy dinner with friends is a great start… especially when my dad is cooking!

My dad is an amazing cook, and he’s always eager to host new guests who love food as much as he does.  Last Sunday, five friends joined the Official Taster, my family, and I for an amazing dinner.  We ate our little hearts out while it poured rain outside:

Home Smoked Salmon Crostini | Pulled Pork Crostini

Grilled Salmon | Grilled Romaine | Potato & Avocado Salad

Prosciutto Wrapped Salmon

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Dried Apples, Apricot & Plums

Grilled Pork Ribs

Blueberry Lemon Cake

Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream

dinner with friends

Gathered around the table for one of many courses!

The ice cream was, of course, my contribution for the evening.  The recipe is based on Week #5’s Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream recipe, with the addition of some cinnamon, vanilla, and warming cayenne.  I’ve made this super simple recipe about a dozen times now and it’s definitely one of my favourites.  The cayenne gives the ice cream just that little bit of kick to warm you up when there’s a damp chill in the air.   Enjoy, and stay dry out there!!

Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream (makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the cocoa powder and sugar.
  2. Whisk in the eggs.
  3. Very slowly, whisk in 2 cups of the half-and-half, about half a cup at a time.  It should start off like a chocolate paste, then end up like to thick chocolate syrup.
  4. Add the cayenne, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Cool and chill overnight in the fridge.
  8. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
spicy mexican chocolate ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Make it again, Sam!”





Black Forest Ice Cream (#22)

9 08 2012

There was a news story that broke a few days ago that made me a bit sad.  Apparently, excess cherries from the US are being shipped to Canada, flooding the local market and causing prices to drop.  Cherry farmers in the Okanagan are receiving just half as much for their fruit compared to previous seasons.  With prices so low, farmers cannot afford to harvest the fruit.  Cherry pickers in the Okanagan have been laid off… leaving tens of thousands of pounds of beautiful, crispy, sweet cherries unpicked on the trees.  Sad faces all around.  Support our local farmers!  If you are able, pick up some local Okanagan cherries (and other local fruits and veggies) the next time you’re at the market!

Okanagan cherries

Okanagan cherries

I picked up a couple of pounds last weekend with a specific purpose in mind: BLACK FOREST.  I love chocolate and cherries!

Black forest cake itself is rather… involved.  Last year for my birthday, I was set on making a black forest cake from scratch.  Chocolate shortcrust pastry.  Chocolate sponge cake.  Cherry filling.  Freshly whipped cream.  Shaved chocolate curls.  Project Black Forest was accomplished over two days, the help of my dad (who just happened to have a homemade cake turntable on standby for my use), and caused quite the chocolately mess in the kitchen.

homemade black forest cake

Project Black Forest

But black forest ice cream is a cinch.  Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream + kirsch + boozy cherry compote = THE MOST AMAZING BLACK FOREST ICE CREAM EVER.  And it takes about 20 minutes of prep time!  (Hint: use a cherry pitter)  If you love chocolate and cherries as much as I do, you must try this recipe!

Black Forest Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.5 L)

Ice Cream

3 eggs
1 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
3 3/4 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons kirsch

Boozy Cherry Compote (makes about 2 cups)

3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons kirsch
1 tablespoon cornstarch

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Egg-Free Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream (#5-E)

1 08 2012

My Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream recipe from Week #5 is one of my favourites, and I’ve discovered a super simple way to make the recipe egg-free: mashed banana.  The addition of gooey, ripe banana adds that little extra depth and scoopability to the ice cream, compared to some other egg-free chocolate ice cream recipes that use only chocolate, sugar, and milk or cream.  And since this recipe uses a relatively large amount of cocoa, you don’t even notice the taste of the banana!

Use ripe and speckly bananas for this recipe (ones that look like this).  Be sure the bananas aren’t over-ripe (i.e. very high percentage of brown patches), as this will introduce a slightly boozy overtone to the ice cream.  But hey, you might enjoy that too!

Egg -Free Ultra Decadent Chocolate Ice Cream (makes about 0.75 L)

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups half-and-half cream

Read the rest of this entry »








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