Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: Scooped

So you buy those heavenly smelling, ripe, juicy strawberries and just for fun you pick up two packs, because well they smell so heavenly and you just know that the taste will more than compare, because after all a good smelling strawberry is a good tasting strawberry! You eat some fresh, you might throw some into some yogurt, cereal or a smoothie, you can use them to make various salads or there is always cobbler or shortcake and of course strawberry ice cream, but what if you want to take the ice cream and switch it up a bit? What if you want to make it a little different? Why not throw in a little chocolate mint?

I have been looking for chocolate mint for years and when we went to South Mountain Creamery’s festival a week ago the grower that had a booth there actually had it! Some say it’s doesn’t taste or smell like chocolate, but I disagree. It does have a hint of chocolate there. Others say it was named that because of the sensation it brings to your tongue when you bite into much like an Andes Mint. Regardless the chocolate mint gives the ice cream a cool, fresh burst and it really compliments the strawberries. The mint doesn’t over power the overall taste, it simply adds to flavor with a hint of freshness and mint.

Note: This recipe is designed to fit in this ice cream maker. You can double or triple the recipe or whatever you need to do to fit in a larger model.

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: The Strawberries!

What You’ll Need:
2-4 cups of ripe strawberries, capped and chopped into pieces (Note: I like little bits of frozen strawberries throughout the my ice cream, but if you prefer it to be smooth then process in a food processor until smooth. I also like a lot of strawberry taste so use more strawberries or less depending on what you like.)
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1-2 tablespoon of fresh chocolate mint, chopped fine
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 – quart of heavy cream

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: Strawberries with Sugar and Chocolate Mint

In a large bowl add strawberries, mint and sugar and toss to coat. Let sit for at least 1 hour to let the strawberries and mint form a syrup with the sugar. You can leave it to sit overnight in the fridge if you like.

Stir in sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream and pour the mixture into your ice cream freezer.

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: Ready to Freeze

Freeze ice cream according to your machine’s directions until it is thick. It will be the consistency of soft serve ice cream:

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: Freezing

For a hard set place in a container in the freezer until completely set. You can serve it in the soft serve state or frozen completely depending on your tastes. Either way you’re left with a lovely ice cream with tiny bits of mint and lovely chunks of strawberry throughout.

Strawberry Chocolate Mint Ice Cream: A Bite

And that my friends is a very, very good thing.

Notes: If you can’t find chocolate mint then spearmint or peppermint will work fine as long as it’s fresh and not dried. Also if you don’t like mint you can leave it out for a basic strawberry ice cream.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Jamison and Alexis are both avid peanut butter people.  I mean seriously, if peanut butter ceased to exist the world might just cease to exist for the two of them, as far as they are concerned.  I too enjoy peanut butter, but truth be told almond butter, or more importantly cashew butter, are more up my alley.  Overall though, if you’re not allergic to peanuts, which we aren’t, then what’s not to like?

The other day my little sous chef asked me if anyone made peanut butter ice cream.  I told her that I’m sure someone out there did, but right off the top of my head I couldn’t think of anyone.  We got busy with other things and I forgot to do a little research to see what I could find.  The next day she asked me if we could make some peanut butter ice cream and since we hadn’t made any ice cream in a while we gave it a whirl.

Now let me tell you, if you like peanut butter, even the tiniest little bit, you will LOVE this ice cream!  It’s rich and creamy and there are little bits of peanut butter throughout the whole peanut buttery flavored ice cream itself that just burst in your mouth.  The ice cream itself would be superb topped with some hot fudge sauce, but even alone this is the very epitome of the peanut butter lovers dream!

P.S. Speaking of chocolate…If you haven’t gone over to Culinate yet to vote in their Death By Chocolate contest then you should!  You could win a trip for two to Napa’s Chocolate Festival!  My entry was Hot Fudge Cake.

What You’ll Need for the Peanut Butter Ice Cream:
1 – 18 ounce jar of peanut butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 pint half and half
1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla

In a large stock pot add all ingredients and cook until sugar and peanut butter are melted.  Remove from heat and let sit until the mixture cools to room temperature.  (Note: As the mixture cools the peanut butter may separate from the milk a bit, but you can easily stir it back into the mixture.  I stirred it several times as it was cooling and once before putting it in the ice cream maker.  Once in the ice cream maker the machine does the stirring for you!)  Once the mixture is cooled add to your ice cream maker and freeze according to your models operating instructions.  When it is finished you will have your basic soft serve ice cream and can serve it immediately.  Place the mixture into the freezer in a covered container to let harden fully if you prefer a more firm ice cream.  Thaw for a few minutes before serving.

Notes: Alexis wanted to add chocolate chips to the ice cream itself, but we couldn’t find mini-chocolate chips, as they work best in ice cream mixtures due to their small size.  (Do they make those anymore?  I haven’t looked for them in years!)  This ice cream is not low-fat or anything of that nature.  While I normally try to look at making things healthier, in this case this is an indulgence and as such should be enjoyed once in a while in moderation, but you know that drill! 😉  That being said if you wanted to lighten it up a bit you could use light cream, fat-free half and half and light peanut butter and it should all work fine, though it might freeze harder once you put it in the deep freeze.   Also this recipe is designed to be made in this ice cream freezer, but you could double it to go in a larger model.  In reality I ended up with a bit more (about a cup or so) than what my freezer would hold, but you could freeze that and use it later if you needed.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Blueberry Ice Cream

My Mom and Daddy were visiting this week from Tennessee and my father is a big snacker. He’s also a big ice cream eater, so I thought it would be nice to whip up a batch. I had a bunch of blueberries in the freezer that I had frozen over the past few months and thought it would be fun to put them to use in Blueberry Ice Cream! I had never had this before, but what I came up with was really wonderful! Alexis really loved it and my Mom and Daddy seemed to like it too. I certainly loved it! It has a wonderful blueberry flavor that is a refreshing change from standard ice cream. Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up!

What You’ll Need:
4 cups of blueberries (Note: I had frozen the blueberries, but fresh blueberries will work just as well. You’re looking for big, normal sized blueberries, not those tiny frozen ones that you find in the freezer section.)
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
1 pint of half and half
1 quart of heaving cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of organic cane sugar

In a medium sized pan cook blueberries, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water until sauce forms. (Note: You can cook it further until the blueberries break down or let them retain their shape. I chose to let them retain their shape so that there were lovely bits of frozen blueberries that popped in your mouth when you ate the ice cream. It’s a matter of personal choice.) Remove from heat and let cool completely before using in ice cream mixture. The easiest way to accomplish this is to put them in the fridge.

Mix cooled blueberry mixture, half and half, heavy cream, condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar and stir to mix. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s directions. Serve immediately for soft serve ice cream or place in the freezer to let it set up to a harder state.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Note: I really loved the color this ice cream turned out to be! I used a large ice cream maker for this recipe. You can substitute any fruit you like for the blueberries. Strawberries are a personal favorite and peaches as well. You could even do a mix and make things really interesting!

In Honor of Harry Potter…Pumpkin Ice Cream!

In Honor of Harry Potter...Pumpkin Ice Cream

OK…I’ll admit it…I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan! Before Alexis arrived I would go stand in line at the store at midnight to get my book! Now I do overnight delivery, but I still devour them the first day! I’ve already read it in fact and I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t finished yet, but I will say for the most part I was pleased.

So in honor of Harry I thought I’d make something pumpkin themed, even though it’s not really pumpkin season! I thought about a pumpkin smoothie or pumpkin muffins, but decided since it was the middle of summer and has been hot as Hades lately (though today and the next few days are looking heavenly!), I decided creamy ice cream was the way to go! It tastes a lot like pumpkin pie and Alexis and I both loved it!

So grab a spoon, have some Pumpkin Ice Cream while you’re reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and here’s to you Harry!

What You’ll Need:
1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1 pint of half and half
1 pint of heavy cream
1 – 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

In the bowl of a mixer cream pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. With the mixer on low add half and half, heavy cream, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk until well mixed. Cover mixer with a towel to prevent splattering and mix on medium for 5-8 minutes until airy. Pour mixture into a large bowl, cover and place in the freezer. Remove every 45 minutes to an hour and stir with a whisk until ice cream is set.

Notes: You could also do this in an ice cream maker and just pour the mix right in. I however wanted to try this non-ice-cream maker/whisk method I had read about and I was very pleased with the outcome.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ice cream and cookies…What’s not to like? You could easily do this recipe with bake off cookies and store bought ice cream, but why not make it a very special treat and go all out? Any kind of cookie you like would work, as well as any kind of ice cream. It’s the ultimate do it yourself dessert!

What You’ll Need For The Cowboy Cookies:
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of natural brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 cups of rolled oats
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 package of chocolate chips
1 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream together sugars and butter until smooth. Add eggs and mix until incorporated. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to sugar/egg mixture until smooth. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto a baking sheet that is lined with a silicone baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minute until slightly browned.

What You’ll Need For The Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:
1/2 a quart of half and half
1 small carton of heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
2 vanilla beans, cut and scraped, pods reserved
1-3 teaspoons of vanilla (More if you like it really vanilla, less if you don’t)

Mix ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan, along with the actual vanilla bean pods, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Remove from heat and strain to remove pods and any large chunks that might have separated from the pod. The easiest way to do this is by straining the mixture. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Once cooled pour mixture into ice cream freezer and freeze according to your model’s directions. For harder ice cream, like you will need for the ice cream sandwiches, put the softly frozen ice cream in an air tight container and store in the freezer until completely firm.

Note: This recipe is designed to fill this ice cream maker, but you could easily double or triple it to fill a larger model.

Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita

Strawberry Granita Sometimes it’s nice to have a cool treat that is light and fruity, without the dairy and big calorie content. Coming in at about 65 calories a servings, granita is just the thing! It’s a basic, easy, relatively healthy little dessert. I made up a strawberry batch since we’ve got tons of them right now in the garden. It’s cold, fruity and delicious!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
3 cups of strawberries

In a medium sized pot cook water and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove simple syrup from heat and let cool to room temperature. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add simple syrup and process or blend until mixed. Pour mixture into an 8 X 8 glass dish and place in the freezer.

Check every 20-30 minutes and scrape with a fork. The sides tend to freeze first so scrape them toward the center. Repeat this step until completely frozen (1-4 hours depending on your freezer).

This can be made several days in advance of when you want to use it or the same day. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 8 servings.

Notes: You could use pretty much any fruit you like. Orange juice would work, so would pineapple, or blueberry, or well you get the point. This mixture would also make excellent popsicles. Just pour the liquid into the popsicle mold and freeze. For an adult treat stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of light or coconut rum.

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcake

Every year for Easter I make a bunny cake. This tradition has become even more fun now that Alexis is here and can help out. This year I decided to make bunny cupcakes after seeing the idea on the Betty Crocker website instead of a big cake. I however made cupcakes from scratch and also my own icing and tweaked their idea more than a little. The resulting creation turned out to be adorable and delicious! What more can you ask for?

Bunny Cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Measure oil in to a large bowl. Dump the yogurt/sour cream, sugar, vanilla, eggs and buttermilk in to the bowl and mix well. Stir in baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. Pour batter into a muffin pan that has been lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cupcakes stick done.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes depending on how big you like your cupcakes

What You’ll Need For The Icing:
(This is my variation of Wilton’s classic decorating icing.)
2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Buy a variety that is trans-fat free such as Spectrum.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of pure almond extract
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
2-4 tablespoons water (Optional)
Food coloring for tinting (Optional)

Cream together shortening, vanilla and almond. Slowly add sugar and beat until smooth. If needed add water to smooth out the icing. To tint icing add food coloring one drop at a time and mix thoroughly until desired color is reached. For this recipe remove some white icing before you tint the remaining batch so you will have it for your bunny faces.

What You’ll Need For Decorations:
Chocolate chips
Licorice
Candy dots
Chocolate jimmies
Colored jimmies
Marshmallows
Sugar sprinkles
Etc.

Bunny Cupcake

After the cupcakes have cooled coat each cake with a base coat of icing in the color of your choice. Alexis wanted to do purple, and it was purple when we tinted it, but it turned blue as the icing set. After you have each cupcake covered then using a large decorating tip pipe a white area of icing to be the bunnies face. Take large marshmallows and cut into three circles with a pair of scissors. Cut each circle into half and then press into the colored sugar of your choice and affix into the white icing at the top to make ears. Use two chocolate chips for eyes, a candy dot for a nose, jimmies or licorice for whiskers and colored jimmies for the mouth. Voila! Easter bunny cupcakes!