Holiday Spiced Clove Ice Cream – Dairy-free

I’ve been sitting here this Sunday morning with dozens of blogs open on my screen, trying to think about my 2nd ever Thanksgiving menu. But the problem is, it’s 65 degrees and sunny out, I’ve got the windows wide open and it’s an unseasonally beautiful day. The kind of day that makes it very difficult to think about warm, comforting holiday foods.

One thing I never have trouble thinking about is the next ice cream recipe, and this one came to me on a wet, chilly evening as I was walking home from the train. It’s similar to my horchata ice cream, but warmed up for the holidays with ground cloves, candied ginger and some toasted almonds – this would be perfect alongside the pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust that I’m planning for Turkey day. Stay tuned for more turkey menu planning fun!

Spiced Clove Ice Cream
Makes about a quart

1 stick of canela (mexican cinnamon), crumbled
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2, 13.5oz cans of coconut milk (chaokoh is my brand of choice)
2/3 cups white sugar
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 T whiskey

Mix-ins: 1/2 cup thinly sliced crystallized ginger, 1/2 cup toasted, chopped almonds

  1. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into a small saucepan, along with the sugar, pinch of salt and the crumbled canela and ground cloves. Stir, and heat the mixture until quite hot, but not boiling. Then, cover the pot, turn off the heat, and allow the spiced milk to steep for an hour.
  2. While the canela steeps, pour the other can of coconut milk into a medium sized bowl.
  3. When an hour has passed, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the milk into a clean bowl. Then pour the canela milk back into the small saucepan and re-heat until warm.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a cereal bowl, then temper the yolks by SLOWLY pouring the heated spiced milk into the yolks, whisking the entire time. Once you’ve poured most of the milk into the yolks, then pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and use a spatula to stir constantly over med-low heat as you create the custard. After about 10 minutes, the custard will get steamy and magically thicken and nicely coat the back of a spoon without dripping.
  5. Set your fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the second can of coconut milk in it and then pour the custard into the bowl. Stir the mixture together, then add the vanilla and whiskey. Chill overnight before turning in your ice cream maker. During the last 5 minutes of churning, pour the ginger and almonds into the ice cream maker.

250 cal per 1/2c serving, 130 cal from fat, 14.6g fat, 105mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 60mg potassium, 25g carbs, 22g sugar

Horchata Ice Cream – dairy free

Last night we had a gathering of food bloggers at our house, including 3 gluten-free bloggers! Emily and I talk food all the time at work, specifically Rick Bayless’ Mexican food. Rick is our go-to man, and there’s nothing that we’ve cooked from his books that we didn’t love. So one day while chatting, we came up with the idea of having a Rick Bayless Fest, and then we decided to invite some other local bloggers whose blogs we enjoy reading.

So with that plan, we had 5 food bloggers in our home last night, and WOW – did we eat well! And I have to apologize, as we were so busy talking shop and eating, that we did not pause for one photo – of us, or our food! Bad bloggers! Lisa brought some spicy chicken tostadas and homeade salsa, Emily brought salsa verde and ceviche, Stacey and Jon brought black beans with mango and quinoa, Betsy brought some amazing margarita cupcakes. I made an achiote braised pork shoulder with homeade tortillas for tacos, and horchata ice cream.

I was thinking ahead in the afternoon when I made the ice cream, and snapped a few pictures when the ice cream was done churning. This ice cream is light, airy, dairy-free, and has a lovely cinnamon flavor. I made the ice cream using cannella, also know as Mexican cinnamon. Cannella is softer than Chinese cinnamon, so it’s easy to crumble up to steep for the ice cream, but the scent of cannella has me hooked. Cannella has a very floral aroma, that almost reminds me of my favorite Market Spice tea, with the almost orange blossom-like note to the fragrance. Give this ice cream a try if you’re a fan of horchata or cinnamon.

Horchata Ice Cream
Makes about a quart
1/2 cup serving: 333 calories (190 from fat), 22.6g fat, 120mg cholesterol, 25g carbs, 22g sugar, 2g protein

3, 5″ sticks of canela (mexican cinnamon), crumbled
2, 13.5oz cans of coconut milk (chaokoh is my brand of choice)
3/4 cups white sugar
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 T vodka

  1. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into a small saucepan, along with the sugar, pinch of salt and the crumbled canela. Stir, and heat the mixture until quite hot, but not boiling. Then, cover the pot, turn off the heat, and allow the canela and milk steep for an hour.
  2. While the canela steeps, pour the other can of coconut milk into a medium sized bowl.
  3. When an hour has passed, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the milk into a clean bowl. The pour the canela milk back into the small saucepan and re-heat until warm.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a cereal bowl, then temper the yolks by SLOWLY pouring the heated milk into the yolks, whisking the entire time. Once you’ve poured most of the milk into the yolks, then pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and use a spatula to stir constantly over med-low heat as you create the custard. After about 10 minutes, the custard will get steamy and magically thicken and nicely coat the back of a spoon without dripping.
  5. Set your fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the second can of coconut milk in it and then pour the custard into the bowl. Stir the mixture together, then add the vanilla and vodka. Chill overnight before turning in your ice cream maker.

Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream

I’m convinced that David Lebovitz is an evil genius. His latest Caramelized White Chocolate ice cream recipe is a testament to his desire to see my waistline increase so that I need to unbutton my pants after dinner as I spoon his delectable creations into my mouth.

When I saw this recipe, I simply could not resist. And the occasion of my parents coming out for a weekend visit seemed celebratory enough to indulge in such a frivolous indulgence of delicious calories. This is probable the most decadent ice cream I’ve ever made, and will definitely give you a sugar buzz. But because it’s so rich, you really don’t need to eat much of it to be satisfied. This will likely be my go-to dessert for awhile for celebrations. It’s rich, creamy, and I love the toasty, caramelized flavor of the roasted white chocolate.

I wanted to follow David’s advice about using a higher quality white chocolate for this recipe and I knew that I could get blocks of Callebeaut White Chocolate at Whole Foods, so I called up Callebeaut USA, to ask if their chocolates were gluten-free. I was in luck – I talked to a very helpful customer service rep who verified that their chocolates would be safe for me – hooray! I did make a couple of alterations to David’s recipe since I’m trying to stay away from dairy, so I just used coconut milk in the custard base. And I added 1 T of vanilla, because white chocolate and vanilla are beautiful together.

Because this ice cream is so rich, I’ve been serving it up with just one scoop, with another scoop of the ginger-peach ice cream on the side, and a few fresh raspberries thrown in, just because they’re so perfect this time of year.

Caramelized White Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
adapted from David Lebovitz

Serving size: 1 small scoop, about 1/4 cup

160 calories, 11g fat, 16g carbs, 1.5g protein

8 ounces caramelized white chocolate
2 13.5oz cans coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 large egg yolks
2 T vodka

  1. Mix the warm caramelized white chocolate in a large bowl with 1 can of the coconut milk, and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the 2nd can of coconut milk, sugar, vanilla and salt.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in half of the warm milk, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof utensil, until the mixture thickens and coats the utensil.
  5. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer into the white chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Put the bowl in an ice bath, and stir until cool. Stir in the vodka.
  6. Chill thoroughly in the fridge, then churn in your ice cream maker.

Irish Cream Ice Cream

I guess I’m out to prove that I’ll try anything in the ice cream maker. We were out of ice cream, out of sugar, dairy, and I wanted to make some ice cream for Friday night. Rummaging around the pantry, I found a can of sweetened condensed milk, which I usually use to make the homeade irish cream…which led me right to making – irish cream ice cream! It turned out perfect – tasted just like the cocktail, without the alcohol. I flavored it with chocolate and coffee extracts from the Spice House, and swirled in a mocha ripple as I scooped the freshly churned ice cream into the storage container. And best of all, preparing the base is as simple as dumping it all in the blender, whiz it up for a few seconds and then you’re done!

Irish cream ice cream
Makes 1 quart

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 13.5oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 T chocolate extract
1 1/2 T coffee extract
a few drops of almond extract

Pour all ingredients into a blender. Blend for a few seconds until it gets a little frothy. Pour into a storage container and chill overnight. Turn in your ice cream maker and enjoy!

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

In the first two weeks of our summer farm share, we’ve received a bunch of mint in each box. Normally, I might use some of it in a chopped veggie salad, or to marinate some lamb for kabobs, but this time…ice cream was at the top of my list. Oh, and here’s one more plug for farmers that I adore – if you live in Chicago and have not yet tried products from the Blue Marble Dairy, then get up early on Saturday morning to venture out to the Green City, Evanston or Oak Park farmer’s market to pick up some of their amazing, non-homogenized dairy. Their dairy has a freshness that is missing in the factory farmed stuff you get at the grocery, and it comes in those cute old-old fashioned glass bottles (which also make good vases).

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is probably Mark’s favorite flavor. Anytime we go out for ice cream, there’s a good chance that a scoop of the oddly green ice cream is in his cup. I like mint ice cream just fine, but I think it took this batch of fresh mint ice cream to put me over-the-top into the LOVE column. There is just no comparison between store-bought ice cream, and the zingy intensity of ice cream made from real, fresh mint. Add some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate, and you have the perfect summer ice cream. I bought more mint at the farmer’s market this morning so I could whip up another batch of custard this morning.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

2 cups lightly packed mint leaves, washed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cans coconut milk (about 2 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup half & half
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup half & half
2 T vodka
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped

  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside the yolks in a bowl, and save the whites for later use.
  2. Warm the coconut milk, mint leaves, sugar and salt in a small saucepan gently. Turn off the heat, cover and let the mint leaves steep for an hour. After an hour, strain the milk into a medium sized bowl and discard the mint leaves. Pour the minty milk back into the saucepan and re-warm over low heat.
  3. When the milks are warm, but not yet hot, whisk the yolks in their bowl, and then sloooowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. The goal is to keep the eggs from scrambling. When the milk and yolks have been combined, pour the mixture back into your saucepan, and gently heat while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure you scrape the edges and bottoms.
  4. Heat the custard until it gets steamy and thickens so that it will coat the back of a spoon. It will be about 170 degrees when the custard is done.
  5. Now, pour the chilled half & half into the empty bowl, and set a strainer over the top, then pour the custard through the strainer to catch any bits of scrambled egg. Chill the custard in the fridge overnight, and then when you’re ready to make the ice cream, stir in the vodka. When the ice cream is just about done turning in the machine, pour in the chopped chocolate chips.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Okay, okay, I know I’m out of control with all the blog posts about ice cream, but I can’t help it – ice cream is what’s inspiring me right now! After 6 months of blog posts, I feel like I’m floundering around a bit for new recipes to post here. Most of the time we eat variations on a theme of stuff I’ve already talked about here, and no one likes blog re-runs, so it’s been a little quiet on the blog lately.

But not to worry, our summer veggie farm share is about to start, so every week we’ll be getting a giant box of produce and eggs, and I love the creative challenge of coming up with new dishes based on the very seasonal produce we receive – so expect a summer of veggie-love ahead!

In the meantime, enjoy this nearly dairy-free ice cream. I was reading David Lebovitz’ Perfect Scoop again, and he had a recipe for roasted banana ice cream, and I loved the idea of it, as it reminded me of my favorite dessert at Cafe Iberico – bananas with homeade caramel. I love anything with caramel! I wanted to make a mostly dairy-free ice cream, and add a little spice to it with some ground cloves, and a bit of crunch with pecans. This ice cream is simple to make, and chock-full of banana flavor – use your super-ripe-on-the-edge-of-spoiling bananas for this recipe. The addition of the maple pecans and topping it with some homeade hot fudge truly made this one a de-constructed banana split.

Roasted Banana Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T butter
2 cups of coconut milk
1 T vanilla
1 pinch of ground cloves
1 pinch of salt
2 T rum

Maple pecan mix-in:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 T maple syrup
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice the bananas into 1/2″ slices ans place in an oven-proof pyrex and toss with the brown sugar. Dot the top of the bananas with small pieces of butter. Bake for 40 minutes, sitrring once halfway through.
  2. While the bananas are roasting, make the maple pecans. Toast the chopped pecans in a pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan often so that they don’t burn. When the pecans are fragrant, pour in the maple syrup and stir quickly to coat the pecans, adding a pinch of salt as you stir. Turn the pecans out onto a piece of parchment, and pop them in the freezer.
  3. When the bananas are done, scoop them into a blender quickly, before the caramel hardens up. Pour in the coconut milk, salt, vanilla and allspice. Puree the mixture, being careful to vent the top of the blender while covering with a towel so that the hot bananas don’t explode. Pour the smooth mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the rum, and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to turn the ice cream.
  4. Turn the ice cream in your ice cream maker for about 30 minutes. When the ice cream is just about done, carefully pour in the maple pecans, breaking them up as you go. Spoon the finished ice cream into a freezer container, and store for a couple of hours before you serve. If you care to, top the ice cream with some homeade chocolate sauce or hot fudge.

Brown Sugar Kahlua Ice Cream

I had a pretty rough week at work last week. Come Friday afternoon, after a few days of sustained programming time, my brain had been converted to a throbbing blob of jello, and I needed a break and some creative time in the kitchen. So, I took Turbo (the resident greyhound) for a long walk by the lake, and let the soft sounds of the waves drain the stress out of my body. By the time we turned around to head home, my thoughts began to wander back to the cooking plan for the evening.

I knew that we’d toss a couple of steaks on the grill and make a big, green salad for dinner, but that would not fulfill the need for creative time, so my thoughts turned to ice cream. Of course. And what’s more fun than coming home and looking through the cupboards to see what might make a nice custard ice cream base?!

I really loved the tiramisu ice cream I made last week (I’ll have to talk about that recipe some other time, as that quart of ice cream disappeared in record time), but what I loved most was the coffee flavor of the ice cream base. I still had the bottle of Kahlua and some espresso powder, so I made up a plain vanilla custard, and then added the Kahlua after the base had cooled a bit. After the ice cream had been turned, I added a homeade fudge ripple as I spooned the frozen custard into the storage container.

Brown Sugar Kahlua Ice Cream
makes about a quart

2 cups whole milk
1 cup half & half
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 T dutched cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 cup kahlua
1 T espresso powder

  1. Separate the yolks from the egg whites, and place the yolks in cereal bowl, and stir the yolks together. Store the whites in the fridge for later use.
  2. Place 1 cup of the milk in a small saucepan with the sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk the cocoa powder in, and warm the milk – it doesn’t need to get too hot, just enough to incorporate the cocoa and melt the sugar. Pour the warmed milk into a medium sized bowl, stir in the vanilla, and set aside.
  3. Return the saucepan to the heat, and pour in the remaining cup of milk and the cup of half & half. Gently warm for a couple of minutes. When the milk is warm, ever so slowly pour the warm milk/cream into the yolks, whisking the entire time. You want to temper the yolks, and avoid scrambling them. When you’ve filled the cereal bowl with the milk, then pour the eggs and milk back into the saucepan and return to the burner over low heat.
  4. Now you must stir the custard constantly and heat the custard gently. When the custard is just about done, it will thicken all of a sudden and get steamy. When it’s done (at about 170 degrees if you’re using a thermometer), the custard will coat the back of a spoon, and if you wipe your finger through the custard on the spoon, it should stay clean where your finger swiped.
  5. Cover the large bowl containing the milk with a fine gauge strainer. Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the milk and stir together. Let the mixture cool for a couple minutes, then pour in the kahlua and the espresso powder. Stir until the espresso powder dissolves, then stash in the fridge and chill completely before turning in your ice cream machine.

Spiced Sweet Potato Ice Cream

Your mom always told you to eat your vegetables, so why not eat them for dessert?! The inspiration for this one came from David Lebovitz, but I wanted a bit more spice in my recipe, and to give it a shot as a dairy-free ice cream. Sweet potatoes and coconut milk are fabulous together, so I guessed that it would work well here, too, and I was right! The best part of this ice cream is that it’s so simple – baking the sweet potato is about as difficult as it gets – after that, you just peel the potato and chuck everything in the blender to puree, and then you’re done!

The finished ice cream was subtly spiced, not too sweet, and full of fresh sweet potato flavor – it tastes very much like pumpkin pie. The candied pecans added some nice crunch, and a touch of extra sweetness. I really enjoyed this ice cream, and will definitely make it again, though I’m considering a curried sweet potato ice cream next. I’m always thinking of the next batch of ice cream.

Spiced Sweet Potato Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb
1 14oz can coconut milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp dried ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T rum
freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice, less than a teaspoon.

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 T maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Poke a few holes in the sweet potato with a knife or fork, and bake the potato on an oven-safe plate for about an hour, until the potato is tender all the way through when you prod it with a knife.
  2. While the sweet potato is baking, toast a half-cup of chopped pecans in a pan on the stovetop for a few moments. When the nuts are fragrant and toasty, pour in the maple syrup and stir around for a minute or so – the maple syrup should be bubbling. Then, turn the candied pecans out onto a bit of parchment and chill.
  3. Peel the potato and cut into a few large chunks. Put the sweet potato and all other ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Chill, and turn in the ice cream maker. In the last minute of turning, pour in most of the pecans, separating them as you pour them in. Reserve a few pecans to garnish your scoop of ice cream.

Other People’s Blogs: Agave Sweetened Chocolate Ice Cream

What’s a girl to do with a few lonely egg yolks leftover after making a batch of macaroons? Lemon curd or ice cream? I only had one lemon on hand, so poor me, I had to resort to ice cream. And I felt like making something a little more decadent, so there was only one man to turn to – Mr. Ice Cream himself, David Lebovitz. Not only has he written a cookbook about ice cream, he writes a truly sweet blog about dessert and his life in Paris.

I found a recipe for an Agave-sweetened chocolate ice cream on David’s blog, and I had all of the ingredients, so I made up the base. I did use half coconut milk, half dairy, as usual, and I only used the three egg-yolks I had leftover from the macaroons. I haven’t made a true custard-based ice cream in a long time, and while it takes a little more effort than my usual ice creams and sorbets, it is SO worth the extra effort.

The finished ice cream has a velvety creaminess that is only achieved with the addition of egg yolks. And this ice cream packs some serious chocolate power – this is a very rich, adult ice cream, to be savored in small bowls, preferably shared with friends.

Strawberry Ice Cream

I know, I’m beginning to get a little obsessed with making ice cream. I can’t help it, though – I need a little something sweet to perk up these fledgling days of early spring, when nothing green has yet come into our world.

All summer long during the luscious berry season, I buy up as many berries as my freezer can hold, then flash freeze them on a sheet tray and pour the frozen berries into gallon-size freezer bags, to hoard for the long winter ahead. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and peaches all find space in my freezer so that they make their way to the table when they will be most appreciated.

I can’t decide if this recipe is an ice cream or a yogurt, since I put coconut milk, cream and Greek yogurt in it, but I can tell you that it was very good. I love the tang that the Greek yogurt added to the dessert, and the thickness of the yogurt adds extra creaminess. The finished ice cream perfectly highlights the beauty of perfectly ripe strawberries. I’ll be counting down the days until mid-June when the berries will come again.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Serves 8, makes 1 quart

1 (14oz) can coconut milk
2/3 cup agave nectar (or white sugar)
3 cups frozen strawberries
1 T vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 T rum*
squeeze of lemon juice

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If using frozen berries, pour directly into the frozen bowl of your ice cream maker and churn. If your strawberries are fresh or thawed, chill the mixture thoroughly before churning.

*Rum is optional, but it helps keep crystals from forming in the finished ice cream.