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Spring Cleaning, Blue Plate Style

At our house, spring means that it’s time to clean out the freezer. I don’t mean “clean” in the “get a bucket of soapy water and a scrub brush” sense, but in the “eat up last year’s produce to make room for this summer’s bounty” sense. When I first fill the freezer with garden-fresh goodness, I tend to be a little stingy overprotective cautious about using my frozen fruits and veggies. After all, it’s a lot of work to process / put up produce! I don’t want an empty freezer by Christmas. (Andy does not understand my logic.”Didn’t we pick this stuff so we could eat it?” Yes, of course. But not all at once!)

By the time March and April roll around though, I am all about the frozen fruit. Strawberries in my lunch? Every day! Blueberries in my oatmeal? Yes please, and can you drizzle some maple syrup on top? Cherry pie with crumb topping? Don’t mind if I do! (Of course, this all backfiring, as Andy just informed me that we’re down to two packages of cherries and one package of strawberries. And June is still a long ways away. Eeek!) 

Back when I was planning my Easter dinner, I knew I wanted an easy dessert. I figured I’d have my hands full enough with the main course. A quick survey of the freezer, fridge and pantry confirmed that I had everything on hand for this cake. Plus, it’s made in a bundt pan, which gives you maximum impact for minimum effort. Win-win!

I realize that cranberries are technically a fall crop, but fresh, tart flavor says spring to me, especially when it’s paired with lemon. So, if you had the foresight to throw fresh cranberries in your freezer last fall, then you’re set. And then you’ll have some room for the rhubarb that’s coming soon.:-)

CranberryLemonCake

Cranberry Lemon Cake

For the cake:
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks or 6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons, divided
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (reserved from above lemons)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Generously butter a bundt pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar in an even layer over the bottom of the bundt pan and then spread the cranberries in an even layer on top of the sugar. Set aside.

In  medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Next, combine the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and zest together until the sugar is fragrant. Add the 12 tablespoons of butter to the lemon sugar and beat on medium-high until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl in between.

Pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Turn the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until the flour is incorporated into the batter.

Spread the batter in an even layer on top of the cranberries. Bake until the cake tests done with a toothpick and is golden brown on top and just set, about 50-55 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Place a serving plate over the cake pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Allow it to cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and 1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow the glaze to set before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature, with the cut ends covered in plastic wrap. (Ours was gone in under 48 hours, so I am not sure how long it keeps!)

As seen on Annie’s Eats, originally from Williams Sonoma

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Cakes & Frostings, Dessert

 

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My Showstopper

So, this is it. My new, “impress the company” meal. The reason we don’t need to go out for fancy dinners. I mean, why should I pay someone to make dinner when things this good can come out of my oven?

Because then someone else does the dishes? Oh, OK, fine.😉

Kitchen clean-up aside, this is one of those dishes you want to have in your back pocket, just in case someone important is coming for dinner. Like the president. Or the boss. (Do people really invite their bosses over for dinner anymore? Or is that an only-in-the-50s-on-TV thing?) Or your favorite friends. (Let’s face it; those are the people that I REALLY want to impress.)

Like most rolled items, it’s visually stunning (although my picture isn’t the greatest), and with pancetta, garlic, rosemary and lemon, it’s off the charts, flavor-wise. The pan sauce (made with the lemon-infused olive oil and juice of a caramelized lemon) is so good, I could drink it by itself.

The first time I made this, it literally took me all afternoon. Granted, I also made lemon pudding cakes, salad and garlic mashed potatoes to serve WITH the roast, but still. We loved it, but I figured that I’d only make it once a year (at the most). Who wants to spend ALL DAY fussing with dinner? (OK, I do, but let’s be realistic here. I also have to go to work, clean the house and have a life. Ha.) 

When I realized that we were flying solo for Easter, I decided to give the roast another try. Andy was a little worried about us eating Easter dinner at 7 p.m., but I thought it might be possible to “pause” the recipe and chill the roast after rolling and tying the meat. That way, I could assemble the roast on Saturday, then put the roast in the oven Sunday before church and use the delayed start to ensure that it was ready when we came home.

And you know what? It worked! I was a little concerned that the overnight rest would make the roast too salty, or draw out too much moisture, but I didn’t notice any issues with the final result! It also didn’t take me nearly as long to make the roast the second time around, so either making it over two days REALLY helps or I just had to get over the learning curve.

Now that I am over the curve, I will definitely make this more than once or twice a year, even if the president isn’t coming for dinner.😉

TuscanPorkRoast

Tuscan-Style Roast Pork with Garlic and Rosemary 

1 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 2-1/2 lb. boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
kosher salt

Grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and set it aside.

In a large skillet (nonstick if you have it, but it’s not a deal-breaker if you don’t), combine the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the garlic is sizzling. This should take about 3 minutes. Add the rosemary and cook for about 30 seconds.

Remove the pan from heat. Set a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl and pour the olive oil mixture through the strainer. Press on the mixture with a spatula to extract as much oil as possible. Set the bowl and strainer aside and allow the mixture to cool. Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet.

Process the pancetta in the food processor until it becomes a smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Add the cooled garlic / rosemary mixture and to the food processor and continue to process until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous, about another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Next, double-butterfly the pork roast. Position the roast on a large cutting board with the fat side up. Insert a knife one-third of the way up from the bottom of the roast along the long side of the roast and cut horizontally. Stop cutting 1/2″ before the edge. Open up the flap. Keep the knife parallel to the cutting board and cut through the thicker portion of the roast, about 1/2″ from the bottom of the roast. Keep the knife level with the first cut and stop about 1/2″ before the edge. Open up the second flap. If the meat is uneven, cover it with plastic wrap and use a rolling pin (or meat pounder, if you have one of those) to even it out.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt over each side of the roast, pressing it into the meat so that it adheres. Spread the inside of the roast with the pancetta paste, stopping about 1/4″ from the edges of the roast. Start on a short side of the roast and roll it up, keeping the fat on the outside of the roast. Tie with twine at 1″ intervals.

Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and spray the rack with cooking spray. Place the roast, fat side up, on the wire rack and set in the refrigerator for one hour. (This is where I left it overnight, and we couldn’t tell the difference.) 

Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 275°. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and cook until the meat registers 135°, somewhere between 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the roast from the oven, tent with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes .

While the roast is resting, heat 1 teaspoon of the reserved olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Add the reserved lemon halves cut-side down and cook until softened and cut surfaces are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the lemons to a small plate.

Remove the foil from the roast and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in the now-empty skillet over high heat until the oil starts smoking. Brown the roast on the top (fat side) and on the sides of the roast, about 4-6 minutes. Do not brown the bottom of the roast.

Take the roast out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Remove the twine and slice the roast into 1/4″ thick slices. Place the slices on a serving platter.

Take the lemon halves and squeeze them over a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Press on all of the solids with a spatula, making sure to extract all of the pulp. Whisk 2 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil into the lemon juice. Pour the vinaigrette into a serving dish and serve alongside the roast.

From Cook’s Illustrated, January / February 2016

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Main Dishes

 

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My Kind of Cake

I know I said I’d try to keep things balanced around here, but it’s birthday month, which means that it’s all about the chocolate. Being the birthday girl AND the baker means that you get what you want for a birthday treat.😀

For as long as I can remember, chocolate (cake or pie) has been my birthday go-to. So, when this recipe popped up in my Facebook feed, I knew that I had to try it. I’m sure glad I did!

I was surprised to discover that this recipe is very similar to my standard chocolate cake recipe. It uses buttermilk and coffee instead of regular milk and hot water. I also really liked the fact that Sally provided the weights for the ingredients, so I’m including them as well. It’s SO much easier to weigh out ingredients than it is to scoop with a measuring cup. And it’s more accurate. And there’s fewer dishes to wash. I did use the volume measurements for the liquid ingredients, since I figure there’s less room for error there. Plus, my scale only goes from ounces to grams, not milliliters. (Don’t worry, I’m including the volume measurements too, but seriously. Go buy a scale.)

The cake was fudgy and super-chocolately. It had a great texture (not too dense, but not so delicate that it would fall apart), and it stayed nice and moist from the day that I baked it (Thursday morning) until the last crumb was gone (Monday night). Hmm. Guess that means we need another cake around here. After all, there’s still a couple weeks left in birthday month!

ChocolateChocolateCake

It’s birthday season around here. Sprinkles are mandatory.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting 

For the cake:
220 grams (1-3/4 cup) AP flour
350 grams (1-3/4 cup) sugar
65 grams (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
240 milliliters (1 cup) buttermilk
120 milliliters (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240 milliliters (1 cup) hot coffee

For the frosting:
290 grams (or 1 1/4 cups or 2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
360 –  480 grams (3-4 cups) powdered sugar
65 grams (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
45-75 milliliters (3-5 tablespoons) heavy cream or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Sprinkles, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans and then line the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla until well-combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Mix in the coffee. The batter will be very thin.

Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake until cakes test done with a toothpick, between 25-30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Flip the cakes out of the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Turn the mixer off and add the cocoa powder and 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to the bowl. Turn the mixer on to low and mix until the cocoa powder and sugar are absorbed by the butter. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the vanilla, half-and-half and salt. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting for another 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar if you’d like a stiffer frosting.

To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on a cake stand (or serving plate, or cardboard cake round). Spread a layer of frosting on top of the cake, then place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. For a smooth finish, cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and then place the cake in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes, remove the cake from the refrigerator and frost with the rest of the frosting. Garnish with sprinkles as desired.

Store cake covered, at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

From Sally’s Baking Addiction, originally adapted from Ina Garten

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Cakes & Frostings, Dessert

 

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Sweet Potatoes and Bacon!

So, things have been a little dessert-heavy around here lately. I feel like that always seems to happen this time of year. Our CSA is still a few months away, and it’s not light enough in the evenings to get any decent pictures of dinner. And, let’s be honest, I’ve kind of been on a dessert kick, and I don’t see that ending any time soon. In an attempt to keep things balanced, I figured I’d talk about the sweet potatoes that I made for our Easter dinner.😉

I actually first made these for Friendsgiving. I spent a lot of time flipping through cookbooks and magazines, searching for the perfect dishes to round out the menu. Sweet potatoes aren’t usually my first choice when it comes to sides (mostly because I like white potatoes better), but when I saw the picture in the Thanksgiving issue of Southern Living, I was immediately interested. And with good reason, too. I mean, there’s bacon, after all. Do I really need to say more?

Fine. It’s also super easy, AND it cooks in the crock pot. This means that you can get the potatoes going before church and come home to a great lunch, or free up stove / oven space during a big meal. Of course, it’s one of those crock pot recipes that only cooks for 4 hours, so unless you have one of those fancy crock pots with a timer, it’s not ideal for a workday meal.

Frozen concentrate isn’t an ingredient that I typically have on hand, but since the unused portion keeps well in the freezer (obviously), I figured  I could just use keep the extra for another batch. As long as we liked them, anyway. Which we did. So much so, in fact, that I made the full batch for Easter, even though it was just the two of us.

CrockpotSweetPotatoes

The picture won’t win any food blogger photo awards, but you can only take pictures for so long before you give in and eat the food.:)

 

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ thick slices
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled

Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a 5-6 quart crock pot.

Mix the concentrate, butter, brown sugar and salt together and pour the mixture over the potatoes. Stir the potatoes until they are well-coated with the butter/sugar/concentrate mixture.

Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for about 4 hours, or until potatoes are tender. (The original recipe says to cook for 5-6 hours, but I found that the longer time turned the potatoes into mush. Maybe my crock pot runs hot?) 

When the potatoes are tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving dish. Whisk the cornstarch and water together, and then whisk it into the juice in the bottom of the crock pot. Turn the crock pot temperature to high and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the potatoes.

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, orange zest and garlic. Sprinkle the parsley mixture over the potatoes and top with the crumbled bacon. Serve warm.

From Southern Living, November 2015

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Side Dishes

 

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Aiming to Please

As someone who shows love through food, I do my best to keep track of people’s likes and dislikes. If I’m making food for you, I want you to love it. (No pressure, Andy.) I know not everything can be a home run, and sometimes, I make things that I know only I’ll enjoy, but those times are few and far between.

Of course, making something that pleases everyone is harder than it should be. Especially when it comes to dessert. In my group of friends, we have a chocoholic who dislikes caramel and coffee, a custards-and-creme-brulee fan, two coffee-and-vanilla-bean addicts, and me, the equal-opportunity-dessert lover (as long as you don’t muck things up with coconut). You can’t even create a Venn diagram of desserts that will please us all. (Or, maybe you can, but you’ll end up with three separate circles.) 

So, when I invited a relatively new friend over for dinner, I immediately started thinking about what I should make for dessert. Not dinner, dessert. (I have a go-to dinner option for first-time guests. Unless you tell me that you don’t eat chicken, cheese, or tomatoes. But then we might have a hard time being friends. Kidding. Mostly.) Dessert though, that’s another story. There are just so many options!

I decided that I couldn’t lose with a chocolate-cheesecake combination, even if our dinner guests weren’t hardcore chocoholics. As my friend Jackie (the creme brulee fan) likes to say, “Chocolate dessert is better than no dessert.” I thought about making black-bottom cupcakes, but the idea of scooping out individual cupcakes just didn’t appeal to me that night. So, I turned to one of my favorite recipe sources, and lo and behold, Deb came through for me. Again. (No one’s surprised by this anymore, right?) 

These were super easy, although I definitely recommend using a hand or stand mixer for the cheesecake filling, rather than a whisk. Or maybe my arms just aren’t strong enough to whisk cream cheese into a smooth batter. (That probably means I should keep practicing, right?) I don’t think my cheesecake swirled quite as nicely as Deb’s, but no one complained.😉

These were really, really good. We served them straight from the fridge, and I would say that they’re definitely best cold. The brownie layer is thick and fudge-like, and the cheesecake layer is the perfect contrast to the rich brownies. My only complaint? It only makes a 8″ pan, so we ran out of brownies way too soon.

cheesecake swirl brownies

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies

For the brownie batter:
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2/3 cup AP flour

For the cheesecake swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° and make sure the rack is in the middle position. Butter a 8″ square baking pan. If you’d like to be able to lift your brownies out of the pan (for easy / pretty cutting / serving), I’d recommend lining the baking pan with parchment paper to create a “sling.” (I didn’t do this, but probably will next time.)

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat, whisking often, until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt until everything is well-combined. Stir in the flour until just combined and spread it in the prepared baking pan.

Next, make the cheesecake swirl. In a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla, until smooth. Spread / dollop the cheesecake mixture over the brownie base and use a butter knife to marble / swirl the batters together. Sprinkle the top of the brownies with chocolate chips.

Bake the brownies until the center is set and the edges are slightly puffed, between 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely for easiest cutting / serving.

From Smitten Kitchen, originally adapted from Gourmet

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Dessert

 

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Cast Iron Love

Two weeks!! 14 measly days! That’s how long the library let me have a copy of Cook It In Cast Iron from Cook’s Country. You can usually check out books for four weeks, but new books are only available for a “short loan,” especially when there are 10+ people behind you waiting to get their hands on the book.

Ugh. Sharing is not always my strongest point.

In true dorky fashion, I literally read through the entire book before I made anything out of it. (It helped that I picked it up from the library the night before a weekend road trip.) I thought all of the tips and techniques were helpful, and I can definitely see why you’d want a 12″ skillet for several of the recipes. I managed with my 10″ skillet, but the pan was just about overflowing with some things.

I did my best to make the most of the time that I had the book, and I think I did all right. We tried (in this order):

  • Chipotle chicken tacos (4 stars!) 
  • Skillet mac and cheese (3 stars from both of us; this is still my favorite mac and cheese recipe. It’s also a lot simpler!) 
  • Blackened chicken with pineapple salsa (5 stars from me; 3-4 from Andy, who may have met the only fruit salsa he’s hated in this dish. Lesson learned: Serrano peppers are too much for him. Whoops!) 
  • Hot fudge pudding cake (4 stars. It goes great with beer ice cream!) 
  • Sausage lasagna (5+ stars. We were so sad when the leftovers were gone… I almost licked my lunch dish clean at work the next day.) 
  • Baked brie with apricots and honey (5 stars, but I made the mistake of only making 1/3 of a batch…) 
  • Skillet chocolate chip cookie (5 stars. I mean, there was browned butter. Need I say more?) 
  • Mexican layer dip (2-5 stars, depending on who you ask. As written, it’s kind of spicy, thanks to the 1 1/2 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder, which means it’s hotter than Andy likes. However, it was well-received by half of the adults at taco night, and Andy said that if I scaled the heat back a bit, he would really enjoy it.) 
BakedBrie&Apriocts

Since I made a small batch of baked brie, I thought it’d be perfect in my mini-skillets.

I snapped a picture of a couple of the appetizer recipes, so I’m hoping to make those sometime in the not-too-distant future. Of course, there are recipes in there that I’ll probably never make (Meatloaf with mushroom gravy? Umm, no thanks. Paella? Not until I can get over the cost of saffron, thank you very much.), but overall, most of the recipes sounded like things we’d enjoy.

I did feel like some of the recipes could be streamlined to use fewer dishes, but when you consider the source, that really shouldn’t surprise you. I also wish the book had more of the science behind some of the recipe steps. I’m sure there’s a reason why I had to whisk the cookie dough for 30 seconds and then let it rest for 2 minutes before repeating the step two more times. I’d just love to know what that reason is!

If we rated cookbooks on the Andy scale, I’d give it a solid 4, which means that it might be worth getting a copy of my own someday. What I loved most though, was rediscovering how many things I can do with my cast iron skillet. It hasn’t gone back in the cupboard in two weeks.

Off-topic, have you seen the Apple commercial with Cookie Monster? THIS IS SO ME!! (Except for the iPhone part. I’m an Android girl.) My friends make fun of me for watching cookies bake through the oven door! I laughed so hard when this came on TV the other day.

Full disclosure: Cook’s Country / America’s Test Kitchen has NO idea that I’m writing about their latest cookbook. I’m fairly certain that no one there even knows that this little blog exists. I wasn’t compensated in any way for my thoughts; I just happened to really enjoy the cookbook. 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Your Average Ice Cream

Are you ready for this? I went from being the girl who wasn’t into beer at all to being the girl who puts stout in her ice cream. And you thought beer cookies were weird…😉

On one hand, I figured this was going to be good. After all, we’re talking about ice cream here. On the other hand, however, I was a little skeptical, especially since the recipe only had two cups of cream and 12 ounces of beer. Most of my other ice cream recipes have milk or half and half in addition to the cream, so I was afraid that I would end up with a tiny amount of ice cream. The beer must make up for the missing milk, since the final product filled my standard “ice cream” Pyrex container.

I loved the fact that, in spite of using six egg yolks, this recipe didn’t make you temper the eggs. Instead, you whisk the eggs, sugar and salt together and then cook them with the cream until thick and custard-like. Then, you simply pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any egg pieces. Talk about a time-saver!

The recipe suggested two beers, neither of which matched up with what was in my fridge, but after consulting  Arron (the beer expert in my group of friends), I decided to use my last bottle of Stone Arch Vanilla Stout. (Of course, now that I’m looking it up online, I see that it’s only 4.7% ABV, and the recipe called for something between 8 and 11 percent. Whoops. It worked anyway.) The original recipe and article from America’s Test Kitchen has some good information about what beers to use, in case you can’t find Stone Arch vanilla stout. Most importantly, it said not to use anything too hoppy, as they will make the ice cream bitter.

Seriously, though, this was some good ice cream. It was smooth and creamy, and it didn’t melt nearly as fast as Andy’s favorite vanilla bean ice cream. The beer flavor wasn’t overpowering, and its coffee, vanilla and caramel undertones came through nicely. It went really well with a serving of hot fudge pudding cake (from Cook It In Cast Iron), and I really want to make another batch, just so I can sandwich it between some cookies.

BeerIceCream

Beer Ice Cream

12 ounces 8-11% ABV beer (not an IPA!) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream

In a large saucepan, bring 5 ounces of the beer to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the beer is reduced to about half its original volume, lowering the heat as necessary to keep the foam level to a minimum.

Remove the beer from the heat and add the remaining 7 ounces of beer and vanilla to the mixture. Pour the beer-vanilla mixture into a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup and set aside.

In the now-empty saucepan, whisk together the sugar, salt and egg yolks. Whisk in the cream and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon (about 180° on an instant-read thermometer). Immediately remove it from the heat.

Place a fine-mesh strainer over an empty bowl (or a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup) and pour the custard through the strainer. Whisk the beer mixture into the custard. Cover the ice cream base and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. (Both ATK and Bridget said to place the bowl full of custard over an ice water bath to cool the mixture before placing it in the fridge. I skipped this step, mostly because I’m lazy like that.)

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm, at least 8 hours.

Rumor has it that this keeps in the freezer for 5 days. I couldn’t tell you, since we finished ours in one evening.

From The Way the Cookie Crumbles, who adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen

Click here for a printable version.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Dessert, Ice Cream

 

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