Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream

[Welcome to July AKA National Ice Cream Month! To celebrate, each Friday I will be posting a new delicious ice cream flavor alongside my regularly scheduled posts. Hope you enjoy the series!]

Each summer in Bozeman there is a weeknight Farmers’ Market just a few blocks from my work. If I remember, I love cruising through to see the array of fresh produce, baked goods, artisan jewelry, and local craftsmen from the area. One of my favorite things is the abundance of jam flavors, everything from the standard mixed berries to the more unusual sweet and spicy concoctions.

Last summer I discovered a delightful blueberry lavender jam that I just fell in love with. Bursting with blueberry and complimented by the lightness of lavender, it’s a flavor profile that is excellent on toast or a scone, but also escalates your standard PB&J into something a bit more exciting. Given its huge success in jam form, I decided it’d be an excellent combination as one of this year’s ice cream flavors.

I combined the ideas from my favorite blueberry sauce and my lavender ice cream from two years ago into one glorious experience. The syrup is excellent on its own and in a thickened form2 would be delicious for pancakes or waffles. Mixed into the ice cream it’s lighter in taste than some of your more traditional flavors (although the nutritional information looks no different.)

This is a fantastic summer flavor and works well with both fresh or frozen blueberries, whichever you have on hand. It’s also a great way to use up last year’s berries to make room for the new crop. Summery blueberry and fragrant lavender is a combination of which I will never tire,  and I encourage you to give it a try. As an added bonus, the ice cream is a beautiful swirled reddish-purple and adds lovely color to your dessert table. If you’re a cake and ice cream person, I’d recommend a light vanilla bean cake to pair it with.

Give this one a try and be sure to come back next week!

Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream 

Makes 6-7 cups

Ingredients

Blueberry Lavender Syrup
2 cups blueberries (if frozen, thaw and drain before using)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp culinary lavender

Ice cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, water, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a light boil and heat for an addition 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing blueberries to release more flavor.
  2. Meanwhile, gently crush the lavender buds with a spoon (or a mortar and pestle, if you’re fancier than I am).
  3. Remove blueberry sauce from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the berries. Stir lavender into the syrup and allow to steep for about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain syrup through the sieve again, then store in the fridge until chilled or ready to use.2
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together cream, half and half, egg substitute, and 1/2 cup sugar.
  6. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator until completely chilled, or overnight.
  7. Reserve 1/2 cup of blueberry lavender syrup, and whisk 1 – 1.5 cups into the ice cream mixture.
  8. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions. During the last minutes of churn time, stream in the reserved syrup for a marbled effect.
  9. Transfer ice cream to a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.
  10. Excellent solo or with extra syrup.

Notes

You can discard the berries or store in the fridge to use as an ice cream topping. I also used some in oatmeal and smoothies which were both excellent.

If you are making the syrup specifically as a topping, you could stir in some cornstarch (mixed with water). Return to a boil for a few minutes to thicken the consistency of the syrup. Add the berries back in for a chunkier sauce if you like.

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Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

 [Welcome to Frozen Friday! In honor of National Ice Cream Month, I am sharing a new ice cream recipe each Friday morning. In case you missed them, be sure to check out the previous recipes, s’mores and mimosa!]
 
Is it just me, or is July flying by? I feel like May was only a few weeks ago and here it is with August right around the corner. Insane. At least until I take the weather into account. Montana has been met with somewhat of a heatwave this week, and I’m super grateful we don’t get much humidity along with it.
 

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

With hot weather comes extra cravings for cold treats, so hopefully you’re ready for a new flavor. The world is full of cheesecake ice creams, usually strawberry, and today we’ll had one more to the mix. I chose blueberry due to the abundance in my freezer, but you could definitely substitute blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, or whatever your favorite is.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

The ice cream itself is a mild cheesecake flavor made more interesting with the addition of cardamom. Although I actually really love the flavor of cardamom, it rarely occurs to me to use it outside of my Christmas krumkake-making sessions with my family. It’s a wonderful spice with a bit more intrigue than cinnamon, and is ready to up the ante in your baking adventures. A few years ago I discovered cardamom cream cheese frosting, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a pleasantly spiced and cream cheesy ice cream to add to your repertoire, and is excellent on its own. The blueberry sauce swirl not only adds wonderful flavor, but a gorgeous color as well. You can stir it in as much or as little as you like, depending on whether you prefer it streaky or entirely purple.

Although cheesecake ice cream often contains a Graham cracker crust component, I opted not to add one. Personally it adds a level of sweetness I am not looking for, and it alters the texture as well. If you’re missing it, however, you can certainly crumble your favorite Graham cracker crust into the ice cream, or use it as a topping.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve included recipes for both cardamom cheesecake ice cream and a blueberry sauce below. If you’re in a bind, you can substitute canned blueberry pie filling, but I promise this sauce is quite simple to make, just remember to allow for chilling time. You likely will not have any leftover sauce, so make an extra batch (with extra cornstarch! see note) if that saddens you. Not a fan of cardamom? Substitute cinnamon or nutmeg, or leave it out entirely. If you’re looking to pump up the cream cheese flavor, you can try adding extra cream cheese to the base, or you can add a tablespoon or two of dry Cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix.

Blueberry Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a lovely recipe for these hot summer days, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Cardamom Cheesecake Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute

1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp ground cardamom1

1-2 Tbsp dry Cheesecake-flavored instant pudding mix (optional)2

Directions

  1. Warm cream cheese in the microwave until easily stirred (if it isn’t already), about 30 seconds.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until mixture is smooth.
  3. (If you don’t have a blender, use a hand mixer. Alternatively, mix cream cheese and sugar first, then slowly whisk in liquids until completely combined and smooth. Whisk in vanilla and cardamom.)
  4. Cover bowl (or keep it lidded in the blender container) and store in the refrigerator until completely chilled, or overnight.
  5. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight. Or, follow Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe below.
  6. Top with crushed Graham crackers or Graham cracker crust for extra flair and crunch.

Notes

1 I used 1.5 tsp, but I think I’ll use 2 next time because I like a pretty strong flavor. If you don’t like cardamom, you can leave it out or substitute cinnamon or nutmeg, adjusting quantities to your preference.

I did not add this, but if you want it super cream cheese tasting, this is the easiest way to pump up the flavor.

Blueberry Sauce3

Borrowed from My Baking Addiction
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine blueberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a low boil.
  2. Mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp cold water until completely combined. Slowly stream into the blueberries, stirring constantly but gently, and simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and zest, mashing blueberries a little.
  4. Serve on your favorite French toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or mix in to Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (below).
  5. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat slightly as necessary.

Notes

This is the same recipe I use for topping waffles and Overnight French Toast, but with less cornstarch for a thinner sauce, which keeps it smoother when frozen in the ice cream. If you want to make it as a topping, use 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water.

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 recipe cheesecake ice cream, chilled but not churned (or *just* churned)
1 recipe of thin blueberry sauce, chilled

Directions

  1. If you haven’t churned the ice cream already, place a freezer-safe bowl in the freezer.
  2. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  3. Remove bowl from freezer, and drizzle some blueberry sauce on the bottom.
  4. Gently spread about one cup of ice cream into the bowl, and top with another drizzle of blueberry sauce. Avoid stirring if you don’t want your ice cream to be completely blue/purple. Repeat with remaining ice cream and sauce. If desired, gently swirl with a table knife.
  5. Return bowl to freezer for about 3 hours, or until ice cream is firm.
  6. Serve solo or topped with extra sauce and crushed Graham crackers (or crust.)

Blueberry Boy Bait (two ways)

Spring has definitely sprung over here with a high of 72 yesterday (followed by a couple inches of snow this morning), and the warm weather has gotten me thinking about the berry pies and lemony goodness that become more popular in the coming season. I decided something blueberry was definitely in order and perused my bookmarks and Pinterest boards in hopes of seeing something that piqued my interest.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

It didn’t work (ha) but I did ultimately remember a fabulous blueberry dish I made at home several years ago called Blueberry Boy Bait. The name has always made me giggle and the dish is amazing. A quick Google search brought me right to the lovely post from Smitten Kitchen I so fondly recalled.

Before we get much further, please bear in mind there is absolutely nothing healthy about this. It’s cake. I know there’s no frosting, but it’s like 90% butter (slight exaggeration) and 100% delicious and you should definitely make some. Just know that this is not a health food, and if you’re looking for one of those you should bake some Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins instead.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

Still here? Excellent. Rich and buttery, fluffy and moist, brimming with blueberries, and topped with a cinnamon & sugar coating I always adore, it’s hard to have just one piece. After making it again, I’m honestly not sure why I waited so long and it will definitely be put in a more regular baking rotation. It pairs equally well with a cup of coffee for breakfast or snack, and a glass of milk for dessert. Or a handful straight from the cooling rack to your mouth because you “accidentally” didn’t grease the pan well enough and had to hide the evidence.

Blueberry Boy Bait {{Baking Bytes}}

The blueberries do always sink to the bottom for me, but I consider this a feature rather than a problem, as it results in a perfectly proportioned cake-to-blueberry ratio with every bite. The cake is somewhat fragile, so be careful removing it from the pan. If you’re concerned about presentation, you could bake them in a muffin tin with paper liners instead, but I have not personally tried this.

Blueberry Boy Bait - Lemon {{Baking Bytes}}

Since spring was in the air, I tried a lemony version as well. I definitely prefer the original, but this is a nice alternative if you’re in the mood for it.

Blueberry Boy Bait

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 8×8″ dish

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup whole milk (2% worked great)

1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1 Tbsp flour

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×8″ baking dish and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the paper too.
  2. Add butter and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for about two minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Add eggs to butter mixture one at a time, mixing until just incorporated and scraping the bowl between each one.
  5. Alternate adding flour (1/3 at a time) and milk, starting and ending with flour.
  6. Toss 1/4 cup blueberries with remaining one tablespoon flour and fold into batter. (It won’t look like enough, but I promise it doesn’t need more.)
  7. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle additional 1/4 cup blueberries onto the batter. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle about half over the top.
  8. Bake about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top doesn’t look super wet.
  9. Immediately sprinkle with additional cinnamon & sugar topping (optional but recommended). Cool at least 20 minutes in the pan before serving.
  10. Attempt to not eat the entire pan in one sitting, but fail deliciously.

Blueberry Boy Bait - Lemon {{Baking Bytes}}

Lemon Blueberry Boy Bait

Make as above except substitute 3 tablespoons of milk with lemon juice. Omit cinnamon sugar topping. Whisk 3/4 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice and use to lightly glaze cooled cake.

Overnight Baked French Toast & Blueberry Sauce

Hello hello! It’s 2015! Fun fact, the year 2030 is now closer than the year 1999. Crazy.

I was originally intending to start off the year with a savory dish to contrast the sugar overload that is December, but I changed my mind. If you want savory, I suggest you look at last year’s post.

Overnight Baked French Toast & Blueberry Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

I was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off work over the holidays, so I spent Christmas at home in Alaska. Unfortunately, Alaska forgot it was winter and didn’t have any snow, so no skiing for me, but I did run over 20 miles that week, my highest mileage week of the year. And I’ve got lots of skiing in since returning to Montana.

Prior to this trip, I’d been eyeing this recipe for well over a month but never had a good reason to make it. I sneakily offered to make breakfast for Christmas Day, and I don’t think anyone minded. I made a substantially less sweet version than the original and I thought it was the perfect amount of sweetness, especially if you’re planning to serve it with regular pancake syrup. I made a quick blueberry sauce as a topping and I’m pretty sure I’ll never eat it any other way. Well, maybe a different fruit. I bet blackberry would be awesome too.

Overnight Baked French Toast & Blueberry Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, this is a great meal for the holidays as it doesn’t require much time in the morning, but it would be equally great any time of the year. Just make sure you leave enough time in the morning for it to bake to your desired consistency. and you’re good to go. (You can always put it in the oven and go back to bed for an hour, I won’t judge.) We had it with a side of scrambled eggs and bacon for a well-rounded meal.

Oh yeah: Blueberry sauce. This stuff is super easy and super delicious, so you should definitely make a batch while the French toast is baking.

Overnight Baked French Toast & Blueberry Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Also: The French toast reheats decently well, but if you don’t have enough people to eat a 9×13 baking dish you can certainly halve the recipe. Or you can split the full recipe between two 8×8 pans and put one of them in the freezer after they’ve refrigerated overnight. Just let it thaw in the fridge the night before and bake as normal (although perhaps a little bit longer depending on how cold your fridge is.) The 8×8 pans bake for roughly the same amount of time as the 9×13 pans.

If you’re looking to please a crowd with very minimal effort, this is definitely the recipe for you! Or if you’re just looking to please yourself, even better. Just try not to eat the whole pan at once.

Overnight Baked French Toast

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Serves 8-12

Ingredients

1.5 lbs sourdough bread
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Tear or cut bread into bite-sized pieces and spread evenly into the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk remaining ingredients until completely combined. Pour liquid gently and evenly over the bread.
  4. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Retrieve dish from the fridge and use a large spoon to gently stir the mixture, so as to put the wetter pieces on top and the drier ones toward the bottom.2
  7. Bake 45-75 minutes (shorter time for closer to the texture of bread pudding, longer for a crispier texture.)3
  8. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.

Notes

You must use sourdough or some other kind of very dense bread.
This is not strictly necessary, but I found the texture to be more even throughout the dish after stirring.
I baked mine for just over an hour to avoid it being wet in the middle, although it was still quite soft. I will likely plan for 70 minutes in the future. If you think it’s getting too crispy on top, you can cover the pan with tinfoil for the last 20 minutes or so, but I haven’t found this necessary.

Blueberry Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Blueberry Sauce

Borrowed from My Baking Addiction
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water

1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Combine blueberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a low boil.
  2. Mix cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water until completely combined. Slowly stream into the blueberries, stirring constantly but gently, and simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. (Cook less if you prefer a thinner sauce).
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and zest.
  4. Serve on your favorite French toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, or whatever needs some blueberry-fication.
  5. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat leftovers as necessary.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

What? Two healthy recipes in a row? The end is near! Just kidding. I’ve had this one in the backlog awhile but never got around to writing the post. I promise to bring you a proper amount of sugar next week. (Possibly too much, but that’s up to you.)

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

These muffins make an amazing breakfast or snack, and are awesome for pre- or post-run energy. Nice and filling but very flavorful, these are a slightly  healthier alternative to a prepackaged granola bar. They are dense, packed with blueberries, and stick with you. A subtle oatmeal flavor steps them up a notch from your usual blueberry muffin recipe and Greek yogurt adds a little extra protein.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

My new go-to recipe for blueberry muffins has been changed to this one for their amazing flavor, texture, and fillingness. (That’s a technical term.) Warmed and spread with butter, these are delicious all week long (if you haven’t eaten them all before then) any time of the day. Round them out with some scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee and you have an easy breakfast for any day of the week.

Energizing Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins {{Baking Bytes}}

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Finger Prickin’ Good
Makes about 15 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose (can substitute up to 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour)
1 cup oats
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups honey nonfat Greek yogurt (I like Greek Gods)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, run under hot water to thaw)
1 Tbsp flour

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a muffin tin.
  2. If desired, use a blender or food processor to reduce the size of the oats.
  3. Whisk together flour(s), oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until completely combined.
  4. In another bowl, lightly beat eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla.
  5. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Toss blueberries with remaining flour, then gently fold into the muffin batter.
  7. Fill each muffin well with 4-5 Tbsp batter, and bake 20-25 minutes. Tops should be lightly browned and a toothpick should come out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (or serve them still warm!)