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Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’

I mentioned we’re working on emptying our pantry, and the result is big baking extravaganzas every so often when the weather cools off enough to justify heating up the oven.

Ice cream sandwiches have been a favourite easy dessert of mine for a long time now. They can easily be made according to your schedule: you can make the cookies or buy the cookies; you can make the ice cream or buy the ice cream, or use any permutation in between. Just as long as you have a bit of time to soften the ice cream and then give it a good freeze again, you’re in for a treat!

Ingredients – 8 ice cream sandwiches

16 cookies (plus a few more for snacking on during prep if you’re that type of cook)

1 batch ice cream or one tub (maple-walnut or your favourite flavour from the store)

Directions

Let ice cream soften a bit (leave it out for 10-15 minutes depending on how cold your freezer is). Place cookies in the freezer in the meantime.

When cookies are frozen and ice cream is softened, use a spoon to scoop some ice cream onto one cookie, and slap another cookie onto the other end! It’s that easy. Place in a tupperware container and re-freeze for another hour or so, so they don’t squish everywhere when you serve them to your guests/friends/children!

Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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I have long-held a love/hate relationship with this dessert.  When ripe strawberries are abundant in early summer, our family takes full advantage of dessert possibilities.  Between strawberry shortcake and tarts, pies and jam, cooked desserts often preside.

A frosty strawberry treat then is a delicious variant.  This cool strawberry topping is reminiscent of home-made strawberry ice cream, bursting with flavour and perfectly smooth.  The crumble adds complexity to the dish, with a subtle walnut crunch.  As my grandfather declared upon finishing his piece, “Well, that certainly slips down quite nicely!”

On the other hand, this dessert is incredibly labour intensive. It is technically easy to assemble, but requires large amounts strawberry hulling and beating of egg whites and creams. At the best of times, you hold the beater for five, six, seven minutes before suddenly  the two egg whites somehow defy belief, when they nearly quintuple in volume to form the base of the tasty strawberry topping.  Our cottage’s electric hand-held beaters may even pre-date the birth of my parents, easily doubling the time required to whip the egg whites into shape.  It’s definitely worth every second to make, although I am now lobbying for new electric beaters (or dare I say a KitchenAid?) at my cottage!

Frosty Strawberry Squares

(Makes one 9 by 13 inch pan, or 12 generous servings)

Ingredients:

CRUMBLE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup melted butter

3/8 cup brown sugar (6 tablespoons)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

STRAWBERRY TOPPING

2 egg whites

1 cup white sugar

Generous 2 cups sliced strawberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream

Directions:

Combine crumble ingredients until mixed thoroughly.  Sprinkle evenly over a cookie sheet to form coarse crumbs. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crumbs are lightly toasted.  Allow to cool slightly.

Beat the egg whites, sugar, strawberries and lemon juice until soft peaks form, about 10 to 12 minutes.  (Use an electric hand-held beater, or even better, a KitchenAid). Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold it into the strawberry mixtures.

Layer two-thirds of the crumbs at the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch dish.  Pour the strawberry topping overtop.  Decorate with remaining one-third of the crumbs and extra strawberries.  Freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.  Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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For me, maple syrup production really symbolizes the arrival of spring. The sap begins to run, and the trees start to come back to life after their wintery rest.

When I was little, every spring my mother, brother, and I would walk over to the near-by conservation area with little tiny cups from my dinette (mini kitchen set for my dolls). We’d stand on tip-toes, lift the lid off the sap collection pails, dip our cups into the sap, and drink. It was such a treat, although I’m not sure how the conservation authority felt about it. I wish I had photos to share with you here, but alas, my childhood albums are far away at my mother’s house.

On a recent walk in the ravine beside my house, I was delighted to find evidence of Not Far From the Tree’s Syrup In the City program. There were tapped sugar maples and large sap collection jugs. What a great idea to begin to tap trees in an urban setting. Now if only every person with a sugar-maple tapped it or let Not Far From the Tree do it, I’m quite certain a lot of maple syrup could be produced.

I guess the next best thing I can do is share a lovely recipe that uses maple syrup – maple walnut ice cream – which I made as part of the Canadian meal with our friend from Denmark who wanted to taste “Canadian Food.”  Home-made ice cream is such a treat, and this one is especially delicious. Once again, this recipe was adapted from a recipe in Canadian Living.

Ingredients – 8 servings

-1 cup roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (at 300F for 20 minutes)
-1 1/4 cups maple syrup
-2 cups milk (I use 2%)
-1 cup 35% whipping cream
-5 large egg yolks
-1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Roast the walnuts on a baking sheet, and let cool.  In a saucepan (preferably with a heavy bottom and tall walls), bring the maple syrup to a gentle boil and boil down for about 6-7 minutes, until it is reduced to about 2/3 cups volume.  Be careful and turn down the heat if the bubbles rise fast.

Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes while you separate the egg yolks into a bowl.  Reserve the egg whites in a mason jar in the freezer, a trick I learned from a lovely professor at university.  Soon I will post a recipe to use those with, or you could make Mocha Chip Meringue Cake.

Quickly stir the cream and milk into the maple syrup.  Return this to medium-low heat, until nearly boiling (small bubbles should form at edges of pan).  Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks together well, and then slowly with vigorous whisking incorporate the yolks into the syrup-cream mixture.  Return the pan to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  This should take between 6-10 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla extract.  Now place a sieve over a large enough bowl to hold the mixture, and pass the cream mixture through the sieve to remove any unwanted stringy and grainy bits.  Discard what’s left of solids after you’ve helped all the liquid through the sieve with the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours, until fully cold.  I like to make that mixture the night before.

Once it has rested and cooled off, put ice cream mix into your prepared ice-cream machine (if you do not have one, place it in a cake dish in the freezer and stir it occasionally until 1/2 frozen), and follow the ice-cream maker’s instructions.  Add the chopped nuts after the ice-cream has mostly frozen (just before putting the ice cream into the freezer if you have a machine, and 1/2 way into the freezing process if you are using a cake pan).  Mix well, and freeze the ice cream in an airtight container.

You’ll need to freeze the ice cream at least 3-4 hours before serving if you want it to be firm.

I guarantee you’ll wish your ice-cream maker is larger than it is!

-Sitelle

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I crave colour.  These days, colour is just as important as taste.  Aroma and scent is clearly the most important sense when it comes to food enjoyment, according to the nutritional neuroscience course I took last semester.   And I think visual pleasure comes in a second-place tie with taste.

It’s also probably pretty clear what time of the year it is, because I’ve been cooking up even more of a storm than usual.  Exams.  Essays.  Why can’t it all just end?  My friends always say the good news is this time of year always coincides with my greatest creativity in procrastination, and I come up with really useful ideas like making edible china.  Why not?

These little bowls are really fun to make, and they make a run-of-the-mill treat like ice cream into something out of this world.  Sometimes with food, it’s the little things that count.  I say little because this is really no different from adding some chocolate and raspberries to your bowl of ice cream, aside from the presentation.  But it really makes a difference in the end, for whatever reason.  I love those kinds of tricks!

Ingredients – 4 regular muffin-sized bowls

-4 squares semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
-1 tsp whipping cream
-1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts or pecans
-your favorite ice-cream or a selection of complementary ice-cream flavours
-1/2 cup frozen raspberries
-2 tsp sugar
-2 Tbsp water

Directions

Place the chocolate in a microwavable bowl.  Heat in the microwave for 20 second intervals at power 8, stirring in between (once it has melted enough), until it has completely melted.  Add the cream, and stir well.

Get 4 muffin liners ready in a muffin tin.  Spoon about 1.5 Tbsp of the melted chocolate into the muffin liner, and gently pull the melted chocolate up the sides of the liner, all the way to the top.  The chocolate will start to harden after a few minutes, and make sure to reinforce the edges near the top.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Repeat with the remaining muffin liners.

Place the prepared ‘bowls’ of chocolate in the fridge.  Place the raspberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat with a lid on.  Allow the mixture to melt, and then crush it all.  You can pass it through a sieve if you’re going for a smooth coulis, but it’s also fine to leave it as is.

When you are ready for dessert, make nice round scoops of ice-cream, place them in the bowls, and drizzle with coulis.  If you’re looking for something a little fancier, just make some bowls in mini muffin liners, and place them on top in a double-decker formation!  Have fun!

-Sitelle

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