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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Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Welcome! In case you missed it, July is National Ice Cream month. Each Wednesday in July I have shared a new ice cream recipe. If you missed the other recipes, they can be found hereherehere, and here.]

Several years ago, at a local restaurant called Over the Tapas, I tried a lovely dessert: lavender crème brûlée. Before this I’d never had lavender as a flavor, only a scent, but I was immediately a big fan. After debating attempting to copy the dessert, I decided I should probably start with standard crème brûlée before moving on to something that seemed a bit more complex.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Four years later I still haven’t made any sort of crème brûlée, but it still remains on the to do list. I’ll get to it some day. Maybe. In any case, I still love the idea of lavender in baked goods, so when Kristin from Pastry Affair posted her Lavender Vanilla Bean Cake, I knew I needed to try it.

However, it turns out I’m incredibly lazy about making cakes so I still haven’t done that either. It did, however, inspire a new ice cream flavor for me to work out. Surprisingly, it only took me one try to find a recipe I am perfectly happy with, so I’m sharing it with you all today.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Delicate (but not subtle) lavender combined with the familiar flavor of vanilla bean, this ice cream is the usual smooth and creamy concoction with the somewhat unusual twist of lavender. As mentioned, it is not a subtle lavender but it’s not overwhelmingly strong either. I even got several opinions on this just to make sure I didn’t need to tone it down. It pairs beautifully with vanilla bean, as expected, and the black specs add a little bit of interest.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

I strained the buds from the ice cream but a few sprinkled atop each serving is pretty without making the texture strange.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

This lovely addition to my repertoire finishes up National Ice Cream Month. I hope you found a new favorite, or at least some ideas to think about. Thanks for joining me and I’m sure it’ll be back next year with a brand new round of flavors.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

(And if you’re overwhelmed with all the sugar this month, check back in a couple of weeks for a healthy entrée.)

Lavender Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk (not half and half; 2% is okay if you must)
4 tsp culinary lavender

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

Directions

  1. Gently crush the lavender buds with a spoon (or a mortar and pestle, if you’re fancier than I am).
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk on medium until it just starts to boil, then remove from heat. Add lavender to the milk and allow it to steep for about 30 minutes. Pour milk through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lavender buds, pressing gently on the buds to release the most flavorful milk.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients with lavender milk until completely combined.
  4. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  5. 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.
  6. A sprinkling of lavender buds makes a beautiful topping.

Notes

1 I found that with the reduced fat from my usual recipe the ice cream froze a lot harder. I attempted adding a little vodka to rectify this, but I didn’t care for the added flavor. Instead, just let the ice cream rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes before you intend to eat it to make it easier to dish.

Fresh Peach Crisp & Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

As the days start to get shorter, my thoughts turn to those of fall and how I’m probably not quite ready for that. Fortunately the produce section at Costco is still full of summer flavors. I had a flat of peaches to use up and not enough energy for a pie, so a peach crisp seemed in order.

Peach Crisp & Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Peaches and cinnamon are one of my favorite flavor combinations and this crisp is no exception. Fresh peaches complimented by ground cinnamon is difficult to beat and nixing the pie crust makes it easier than pie. With the crispy topping it’s great on its own but being as I’m an a la mode kind of girl, I made a batch of ice cream to go with.

Obviously vanilla is the traditional choice, but on a whim I kicked it up a notch with a teaspoon of cinnamon. Best idea ever! It’s pairs beautifully with the crisp, and I’m sure it would go great with peach pie, rhubarb pie, or any number of other fruit desserts. It’s also delicious by itself for us cinnamon fanatics. I suggest you make a batch to go with your peach crisp – you’ll be glad you did!

Peach Crisp & Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Full disclosure: I thought this crisp turned out a little runny, so if I make it again I’ll probably add another 1/2-1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the peaches before baking. If you try it that way, let me know what you think.

PS – If you’re cringing at the idea of peeling 6 peaches, check out my peach pie post for an easy and fast way to get it done!

Peach Crisp

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 8″x8″ dish

Ingredients

6 peaches (peeled, pitted and sliced)
1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 salt

1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Place peaches in a large bowl and gently fold in the sugar. Let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, make the topping: in a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until well mixed. Add the butter and mix until completely combined and crumbly. You may want to use your hands. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Whisk together lemon juice, corn starch, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
  5. Drain peaches (for at least ten minutes), return to bowl, and stir in lemon juice mixture.
  6. Pour peaches into 8″x8″ glass baking dish, crumble topping over the peaches (pressing lightly to make sure it sticks) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and topping is crisp.
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes, or until ready to eat. Serve warm with a scoop of cinnamon vanilla ice cream (below).

Peach Crisp & Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon1

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined.
  2. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an extra three hours, or overnight.

Notes

1 I love cinnamon so I used the full teaspoon. If you’re not as big of a fan, you’d probably prefer a half teaspoon (or somewhere in between).

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Welcome! In case you missed it, this month is National Ice Cream month. Each Tuesday I’ll be sharing a new ice cream recipe for the entire month of July. If you want to see the rest of month’s recipes, they can be found at the following links: orange creamsicle Dixie cups, Baileys, peanut butter fudge ripple,  Kahlúa chocolate.]

And just like that, July is nearly over, making this our last week of National Ice Cream Month; I hope you enjoyed it! Did it go by crazy fast for you, too? I thought the month just flew by. On Saturday I completed my third half marathon for the year, making me halfway through my goal of six. It was a very small race (fewer than 20 for the half distance) but the course was well supported and beautiful. It was not a PR, but I finished about 10 minutes faster than I thought I was going, and given the hellacious side cramp I had for about 6 miles, I’m pleased with my ~2:19 finish. The only way to make my side cramp bearable was to run with my hand on my side and apply constant pressure, and I kept thinking to myself “I’m a little teapot…” Fortunately my fourth thirteener is not until September so I am hoping to get this side cramp nonsense figured out before then. I’m also planning to squeeze in a 5k or two because I figure compared to a half marathon it will be over before I realize I’ve starting running. Haven’t run a proper 5k in over a year, so I’m curious if I’ve improved my time. We shall see!

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

We’re going to round out the month with a classic American flavor: cookies & cream. A staple at ice cream shops and grocery store aisles, this flavor remains one of the best-selling flavors in America since it gained popularity in the ’80s. Personally, I’m a big fan as well. The lightness of vanilla with the added bonus flavor and texture of chocolate wafer cookies.

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Nowadays Oreos (or a similar style) are often used, and I’m not one to argue with the pros. However, given I’m a DIY kinda girl, I opted to make a homemade version of the cookies. You can obviously substitute a store-bought variety if you don’t want to make your own, but this is a quick and easy recipe you can whip up while you’re waiting for the ice cream to chill in the fridge. I used most of the recipe in my ice cream because I like a lot of cookie. If you like less, you may just need half of the cookie recipe. I prefer a coarse grind for even distribution plus some bigger chunks of cookie, but feel free to customize these steps to your own preferences. You could use all coarse powder, or all big chunks, or whatever combination you like best.

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

One of the best parts of cookies and cream is how versatile it’s gotten over the years. Traditionally it uses a base of vanilla ice cream, but these days you can find tons of variations with chocolate, mint, and multitudes of other flavors. If you’re not feeling vanilla today, try it with chocolate or one of the flavors from this month’s lineup. This week I didn’t feel the need to mess with a classic, so below find instructions for homemade Oreo cookies as well as vanilla cookies and cream ice cream. A crowd-pleaser for kids and adults alike, this is sure to become a staple in the house of Baking Bytes.

Homemade Oreos (Cookie only)1

Adapted from Cupcake Project
Makes ~5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup butter, room temp
1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line two cookie sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together by hand the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt).
  3. And butter and egg, and beat on medium speed until well combined and dough comes together.
  4. Use a 1 tsp cookie scoop and place dough 2″ apart on a lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 9 minutes2, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

I only include the recipe for the cookie part of the Oreos since that’s all I needed for the ice cream. If you want the filling also, head on over to the Cupcake Project for full instructions. The only thing I changed was the amount of butter, mainly because I’m lazy about measuring. They seemed to work great with 2/3 cup instead of the original, but it’s totally up to you. I also did not bother flattening my cookies and they seemed to get plenty thin enough, and were perhaps a bit larger than traditional Oreos. Bake a test cookie or two to see what works best for you.

If you are using a dark pan and/or parchment paper instead of mats, you may need to bake them less. Start with 7 minutes and taste one after it’s cooled a few minutes: it should be crunchy but not taste burned.

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

1 recipe chocolate wafer cookies (above) OR 2-3 dozen Oreos

1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Crush about half to three-fourths of the cookies into a very course powder1, and chop the remainder into desired chunky size (optional). Set aside.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except cookies until completely combined.
  3. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions
  5. During the last few minutes of churning, add crushed cookies (you may not want all of them. I added about 1/3 cup at a time.)
  6. Stop churning, and fold in chopped cookies, if desired.
  7. Place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an extra three hours, or overnight. Cookies will soften and meld a little with the ice cream overnight so I like to give it lots of time for that.

Notes

1 For crushing cookies, place them in a Ziploc and use a rolling pin or a mason jar. Or use a food processor if you have one. I crushed about 2/3 the recipe, then chopped (I just broke them into 4-8 pieces with my hands) about half of the remainder and added that in. Add as many or as few as suits you.

Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream (& DIY Dixie Cups) {National Ice Cream Month}

Welcome to July! We are halfway through the year, can you believe it? June went by crazy fast; probably because I spent a third of it at home in Alaska, but I digress. We bring in the second half of the year with National Ice Cream Month. Didn’t know that’s a thing? That’s okay, I forgive you. You have all month to make up for it.

To celebrate I’m going to do something a little different with the blog. In addition to the regular bi-weekly Monday posts, I will be posting a weekly ice cream recipe. We’ll have something for everyone with both classic flavors and some less traditional ones. These posts will go live on Tuesday mornings, giving you plenty of time to make a batch for your weekend barbecues.

DIY Orange Vanilla Dixie Cups {{Baking Bytes}}

For this first week, I’m introducing orange creamsicle ice cream. Remember those tiny Dixie cups of half vanilla, half orange deliciousness that came with the silly wooden spoon? Here is a DIY version just for you. It’s a little bit more time-consuming than just making one flavor, of course, but they are super cute, super delicious, and super easy.

If you’re not interested in the combo, this orange ice cream can certainly hold its own. Reminiscent of a creamier Orange Julius, it bursts with orange flavor and a hint of vanilla. It’s very easy to adjust to how “orange-y” you want yours to be. The citrus flavor is delightfully summery, making it a wonderful treat on a hot day. Despite the extra water from the orange juice, it stayed scoopably (that’s a word, I promise) soft in my freezer, but if it freezes too hard in yours just let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before dishing.

DIY Orange Vanilla Dixie Cups {{Baking Bytes}}

Below find my recipes for orange creamsicle and vanilla ice cream, as well as instructions for making your own Dixie cups. They would be a great addition to a 4th of July barbecue, sure to impress the whole crowd, adults and children alike. I did add food coloring to this batch of orange so it would stand out next to the vanilla, but you certainly don’t have to. The orange juice is a key flavor, so make sure you buy a quality brand of 100% juice (or juice your own oranges). I like to get the Simply Orange brand.

I used these Snapware, 1-cup glass containers, but anything of similar size should do. Small canning jars, waxed paper cups, whatever you can find. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find actual disposable ice cream cups to use, if you’re worried about glass breaking. It’s best to use a lidded container, but you can always cover the tops with parchment paper (so they’re stackable) if you’re not planning to keep them in the freezer more than a few days.

DIY Orange Vanilla Dixie Cups {{Baking Bytes}}

Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

Makes 4-5 cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 – 1 cup pulp-free orange juice (I used 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup egg substitute
3/4 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

yellow and red food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined.
  2. If desired, add food coloring. I used 6 drops yellow and 2 drops red, but add more or less to suit your preferences. It does lighten fairly considerably after it’s frozen.
  3. Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an extra three hours, or overnight.

Notes

1 If you have pulpy juice on hand, just use a mesh strainer to remove the pulp. For a subtler orange flavor, use 1/2 cup. For a strong flavor, use 1 cup. The larger end of the range will result in a more grainy texture, but it’s still creamy.

Vanilla Ice Cream 

Makes approx. 3.5 cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup egg substitute
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients until completely combined.
  2. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions, then place in a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an extra three hours, or overnight.

Notes

1 This is the same recipe as my previously posted vanilla ice cream recipe, just halved and with less vanilla so as to not compete so strongly with the orange.

DIY Dixie Cups 

Serves 8-10 (6-8oz each)

Ingredients

1 recipe orange creamsicle ice cream (above)
1 recipe vanilla ice cream (above)

Directions

  1. Make and freeze vanilla ice cream.
  2. Make orange ice cream, but stop once you’ve placed the mixture into the fridge. If using glass jars for your servings, place those in the freezer at this time. Chill everything for at least 4 hours.
  3. Scoop vanilla ice cream into your jars, using a spatula (or something else sturdy and flat) to hold the ice cream into half the container while you press it to fill the space. Smooth the tops and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until your orange ice cream is done.
  4. Freeze orange ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  5. Retrieve the cups from the freezer, and fill the remaining half with orange ice cream. Smooth the tops, and return to the freeze for at least 2 hours, or until ready to eat.
  6. Serve directly from the freezer to adoring fans.

These sound a lot more complicated than they actually are. There is a lot of down time waiting for things to freeze/chill, but it’s not a difficult recipe. The most time-efficient method would be like this:

  • Day 1 pm: Mix vanilla and put in the fridge. Mix the orange and put it in the fridge also. If you’re using glass containers, put them in the freezer now because it won’t hurt them to be in there a long time.
  • Day 2 am (e.g. before work): Churn the vanilla and put it in the freezer. Wash and dry the ice cream maker bowl, and return it to the freezer. (This should take about half an hour total.)
  • Day 2 pm (e.g. after work): Portion the vanilla to fill half of each cup, and put them back in the freezer. Churn the orange ice cream. Retrieve the half-filled cups, fill with orange, smooth the tops, and return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Obviously, depending on how much time you have you can spread this out a lot more, but this timeline will give you ready-to-eat desserts for Day 3, meaning you still have time to make them for the 4th of July, and actually enjoy the barbecue, even if you don’t start until Wednesday. If you are making these for more than 10 people, double the vanilla recipe, and make 1.5 of the orange (I don’t think double will fit in a standard ice cream maker.) You should have enough for closer to 20, or more if you make them smaller, of course.