London Fog 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!]

Ten years ago (wow time flies) whilst gallivanting around London with a few high school friends, one of them introduced me to what has remained a favorite of mine ever since. Called a London Fog, it’s comprised of steamed milk, vanilla, and Earl Gray tea. Warm and caffeinated without being overly sweet, it’s one of my go-to treat beverages during the winter months.

It’s not even vaguely chilly outside, but I bribed a friend into watering my garden during a recent vacation with promises of homemade ice cream and she requested I attempt an Earl Gray version (as well as maple chipotle). Given my love of the London Fog I had no qualms about doing so and set off to make it happen. After a stop at our local Townshend’s Tea House for some loose leaf tea, I was pretty much set to give it a whirl. I chose to use loose leaf tea because it is not only typically much better quality, but it infuses into thicker liquids (i.e. milk) much better than bags do. You can certainly try a bagged tea if you really want, but I highly recommend splurging here if you can.

This is one of those flavors that worked beautifully the first time I tried, basically following my usual method for infused ice creams, like the coffee and lavender from years past. The wonderful and cozy flavor of Earl Gray works just as well in chilled dessert as it does in a warm beverage, and makes it much easier to enjoy during this 90*F nonsense we’ve been having. A dash of vanilla adds a mellow touch and, in my opinion, balances the tea nicely with the cream.

 

I like my flavors quite strong so I used a full half-cup of tea and let it infuse in the fridge overnight. It is critical to heat the milk before adding the tea, as the cold-brew method doesn’t quite work here, but it doesn’t take too long to heat some milk on the stove. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can use less tea or steep it for less time (or both). However, keep in mind it will be a bit more mild after churning than straight out of the fridge, since the volume of the ice cream is much larger.

This ice cream is a perfect way to bring a favorite cold-weather beverage into a warm-weather dessert. I enjoyed it plain, but for a little flair it’d be delightful with a shortbread cookie topping.

 

London Fog Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cups egg substitute (optional)
3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/3 – 1/2 cup loose-leaf Earl Grey tea

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, egg substitute (if using) and sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium until it just starts to simmer, then remove from heat. Add tea to the milk and allow it to steep for about 30 minutes.
  3. Slowly stream into cream mixture, whisking constantly (leave the tea in!)
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator completely, or overnight.
  5. Whisk in vanilla, then strain mixture with a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the tea to extract as much milk as possible.
  6. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions
  7. Place in a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze until firm, or overnight.
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Chocolate Merlot 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!]

Despite not regularly imbibing in day-to-day life, alcoholic ice creams are typically some of my favorite concoctions. Having experimented with Baileys, Kahlúa, beer, and champagne, this year seemed like a red wine was in order. Although for drinking purposes I don’t stray far from the sweet white delight of a Riesling or Pinot Grigio, I enjoy reds for adding complexity to desserts and entrées alike.

Several years ago I tasted a dark chocolate red wine fudge that was just fantastic. Rich and chocolatey with just the right balance of red wine flavor, it didn’t slam you in the face with the alcohol, but just enhanced the whole chocolate experience. I kept this in mind as my flavor goal and set off to create the chocolate wine dessert of my dreams.

For Christmas my mom gave me Molly Moon’s ice cream recipe book, with the idea that even if I didn’t use exact recipes it would likely spark ideas and give guidance to my own creations. It is a delightful book even just to read, equally filled with traditional flavors as it is more exotic combinations. Their melted chocolate ice cream seemed like the perfect starting point for my newest creation, and it does not disappoint.

High quality dark chocolate bars melted into a pretty standard cream base results in a velvety smooth and rich chocolate experience. It’s worth it to splurge for the fancy chocolate bars instead of the standard Hershey’s. The chocolate will not only have a more decadent flavor, but it will be easier to find a truly dark chocolate with 70-75% cacao. Quality chocolate also has fewer additives and will melt much more smoothly, for a creamier texture in the final product. As an added bonus, you’ll likely be supporting a smaller Fair Trade farm which is always a good idea in my book.

To supplement the chocolate, I chose a Barefoot Merlot. Since I know approximately nothing about red wine, and don’t care for it in its standalone form, it can be challenging to choose a product. If you have a favorite red, go with that. If, like me, you’re not a red wine aficionado, go with one that describes a chocolate note or pairing on the back. After being reduced on the stove and mixed in with a quality chocolate, even a fairly inexpensive red wine will do just fine here.

Velvety smooth and with a light alcoholic bite, this flavor is sure to please any chocolate or wine lover. The wine flavor is not overpowering, and doesn’t slam you in the taste buds, but somewhat slowly grows with each bite. A small serving would be the perfect end to a dinner party, be it anywhere from casual to cocktail.

Chocolate Merlot Ice Cream 

Adapted from Molly Moon
Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 bottle (3-4 cups) dry red wine (I used a Merlot)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3/4 cup sugar

6 oz dark (~70%) chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, gently heat wine at a light simmer until reduced to 1/4 the original amount (3/4 – 1 cup). Let cool on the counter or chill in the fridge at least 10 minutes or until ready to use. (This is a slow process; set aside at least 30 minutes and feel free to do it ahead of time.)
  3. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, heat half and half, whipping cream, and sugar until sugar is dissolved and mixture is just coming to a simmer.
  4. Pour over chocolate and whisk vigorously until smooth.
  5. Slowly stream in wine reduction (especially if it’s still a bit warm), whisking constantly.
  6. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator completely, or overnight.
  7. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a cold freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight.
  8. Enjoy solo or with a fudgy dark chocolate brownie for an extra decadent dessert.

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.

Maple Chipotle 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’moresmimosablueberry cardamom cheesecake, and matcha!]
 

My final Frozen Friday flavor is inspired by Biga Pizza in Missoula, MT. Last April I spent a Saturday with a couple coworkers and a bunch of middle school girls doing a STEM workshop. Since we are software engineers, we had the girls write down a “program” telling us how to build s’mores, and then we acted as computers and ran the program. The results were quite delightful and it was a lot of fun, despite being a long day.

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, we arrived the night before (it’s a 3-hour drive) in time for dinner, and opted to get pizza at a popular local spot. The one we chose was sweet potato, bacon, hazelnut, something else I’m forgetting, and topped with a maple chipotle drizzle. The sweet potato + maple + chipotle combo really stuck with me and I’ve been using the trifecta quite a lot recently. (Related post pending…still practicing to make it pretty enough for pictures.)

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Although I have a very low spice tolerance, it turns out that maple and chipotle are a beautiful, delicious combination and I am super glad I was introduced to it. During one of my practice rounds at the aforementioned post-in-the-making, I had the idea that it might work well as an ice cream flavor, and promptly did a bit of research on how to make it work. Last May my mom randomly gifted me an awesome book of ice cream recipes and though I’ve still yet to specifically make any of them, I recalled maple being a flavor in there. That recipe calls for maple extract, so I immediately ordered some off Amazon and impatiently waited for it to arrive.

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Fantastically, my first attempt turned out perfect for me. Smooth and creamy, full of maple flavor and with an unexpected chipotle kick, this ice cream is unusual without being too crazy (like matcha). It reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate, in that it’s a fun twist on an otherwise standard treat.

I used a half teaspoon of ground chipotle which was perfect for me, but it is easily tailored to your personal spice preferences. The maple extract is optional, but it does really boost the maple flavor and I highly recommend using it. I always use pure extracts, but I’ll only judge you a little if you go the imitation route. (They are admittedly much less expensive.)

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

As a bonus, this ice cream is less sugary than other flavors, being purely sweetened by the maple syrup. If you’d prefer a sweeter experience, feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to the mix, although I think it’s perfect as is.

Kick your summer up a notch and make a batch of this spicy ice cream for your next Taco Tuesday!

Maple Chipotle Ice Cream 

Inspired by Molly Moon
Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 tsp maple extract (optional but highly recommended)
1/4 – 1 tsp ground chipotle

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients, starting with 1/4 tsp chipotle. Taste and add additional spice to your preference. (I used 1/2 teaspoon and I thought it was perfect, but I also have a pretty low spice tolerance.)
  2. Transfer container to the fridge until completely chilled, or overnight.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve plain or topped with a sprinkle of extra chipotle powder.

Matcha 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’moresmimosa, and blueberry cardamom cheesecake!]

Okay so it’s not Friday, but since I missed the first Friday of July, here is my make up post. Hopefully you’ll forgive me.

Five years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long) I went on a 6-week trip to Japan through my university. It was a fantastic experience and I would love to go back someday. The beautiful shrines, friendly people, amazing food, and historic sites make it a wonderful country to visit.

Shrine in Japan {{Baking Bytes}}

The things I most wish America (that includes you, Canada) would adopt from Japan are the vending machines full of coffee instead of soda, and the rice bowl fast food you order by pressing a button and then wait for them to bring you freshly made food. Amazingly delicious, super cheap, and perfect for those annoying tourists (me) that don’t speak more than about 8 words of Japanese.

I was there during the spring and early summer, and when I wasn’t wandering around the shops and festivals, I was probably eating something. The food scene there is, obviously, substantially different from the United States and it was super fun to try things. Often I had no idea what I was eating but it was almost always super delicious. As the weeks passed and the summer grew hotter, one of the things I enjoyed the most was the abundance of soft-serve ice cream stands. Giant sugar cones heaping with glorious flavors you never see here like white peach, black sesame, and flavors that to this day I still have not identified. I rarely chose a “normal” flavor like chocolate or vanilla, opting instead to try all the exotic flavors you don’t see around here.

Ice Cream in Japan {{Baking Bytes}}

One of my favorites, and one I ordered several times, was matcha ice cream. Admittedly, it sounds pretty terrible. Matcha in tea form is incredibly bitter and definitely an acquired taste that I am still not convinced even the Japanese have mastered. Seriously terrible stuff. However, mixed with cream and sugar and frozen, it becomes a surprisingly amazing dessert.

Matcha Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

With its distinctive green color, this ice cream won’t be mistaken for anything else. It reminds me of the spinach smoothies I often make for breakfast, except obviously it doesn’t have quite the health factor. Smooth and creamy texture punctuated by matcha green tea, it’s unlike quite any other ice cream flavor I’ve tried. It is almost savory instead of the overwhelming sweetness often associated with frozen desserts.

Matcha Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Mine is fairly strong (and ergo quite green), but you can easily tailor it to your preferences. Start with a teaspoon, and just blend in a little bit more at a time. It does strengthen as it chills in the fridge and so the flavor will be decently stronger once it’s in ice cream form. It is probably better to error on the side of subtlety if you’re new to the flavor, and make a note to yourself to add a little more next time.

Matcha Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I hope you give this unusual flavor a try, and definitely let me know what you think!

Matcha Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute
1-3 tsp culinary grade matcha powder

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer blender container to the fridge until completely chilled, or overnight.
  3. (If you don’t have a blender, use a hand mixer or KitchenAid; whisking by hand will not properly integrate the matcha powder.)
  4. 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.
  5. Serve in small portions for a sweet treat.

Notes

1 I used 3 tsp the first time, and 2 tsp the second time. I enjoyed both versions but the latter is definitely more subtle and probably a good place to start.