Monday, August 24, 2015

Late-Summer Ice Cream Recipes

Paul and I have spent a lot of the summer away from home, whether we were staying overnight at sleep-away camps or sleeping at home but being gone for most of the daylight hours.  That meant we had to settle for a lot less time in the kitchen!  Cooking together has always been something we've enjoyed, but in the last three months, about 95% of our meals have been away from home!  However, in the last two weeks, we decided that even if we don't have the time or opportunity to make a hearty home-cooked meal together every day, at least we can try to make a few treats here and there!

The temperatures have been in the mid-90s, and our fourth-floor corner apartment doesn't have an A/C, so when it's hot outside AND inside, who really wants to fire up their gas-heated oven?  Not us! Instead, we dusted off our ice cream maker and put it to work!  Below you'll find the two delicious ice cream recipes we've been enjoying lately.  They're both extremely easy and the ingredients are simple and inexpensive.  If you ever wonder what we eat here in Romania... here's your chance to find out :)

Fresh Mint Ice Cream (Recipe from Joe and Cindy Crook)

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups of whipping cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (we usually half this, and we've even omitted it with good results!)
1 1/2 cup chopped peppermint patties or chocolate-mint candy (like Andes or After-Eight)

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, bring the milk just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the mint leaves.  Let steep for 20-30 minutes. Strain and discard the mint leaves after steeping.

2. Add the sugar and salt to the steeped milk/mint mixture.  Use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the whipping cream and vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight.

3. Turn on the ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl.  Let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes or according to manufacturer's instructions.  Five minutes before the mixing is complete, add the chopped candy. The ice cream will have a soft creamy texture.  If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.  Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

We have doubled and tripled this recipe with great success!  You just have to re-freeze the ice cream machine's freezer bowl between batches.  This recipe is hugely popular among our friends here!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks and Biscoff Bits (adapted from this recipe)

We might have gone a little overboard with this one, but talk about delicious!!!

For raspberry swirl:

12 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries

1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)

For cheesecake ice cream:

8 oz. cream cheese

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups half and half
 (I can't buy this here, so I used 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 1/2 cup whipping cream)
Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

About 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
About 1/2 cup crushed Biscoff cookies (or graham crackers)

1. Place the raspberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Let sit until the raspberries release some of their juices. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Let cream cheese soften slightly and beat with an electric mixer. Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk, while beating on low speed. Add the half and half, beating on lowest speed. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Cover the bowl and chill for about an hour, or until very cold.

3. Turn on the ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl.  Let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes or according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-proof container. Fold in the chocolate pieces and Biscoff crumbs.  Remove the raspberries from the fridge. Pour the raspberries and any juice over the ice cream. Use the back of a wooden spoon or a blunt knife to swirl the raspberries throughout the ice cream. Cover tightly and freeze for 2-3 hours until firm.

The original recipe was for raspberry cheesecake ice cream, but who doesn't love a little touch of chocolate, too?  And if we're going to add chocolate, why not throw in some Biscoff cookies to remind us of the crunch of a graham cracker crust?  The result is decadent, for sure!  Enjoy!!

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