A Duo of Ice Creams: Blueberry Lavender Chip and Salty Caramel Peanut Chip

I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream making kick recently.  It started in June when I was rotating on the burn surgery service.  To minimize heat loss from critically ill burn patients, the operating room is kept heated at a balmy 100 degrees.  While this is good for the patient, after  3 (or 7) hours it starts to make the surgeon  (aka me) a bit delirious (or just outright cray cray).  Thus, I instituted Ice Cream Fridays to have something sweet and COLD to look forward to at the end of the week.

Although I am no longer on the burn service, the temperature outside the operating room has risen prompting me to continue my ice cream making (although really I need no excuse to make ice cream!).

Last month I took advantage of in-season blueberries to create Blueberry Lavender Chip Ice Cream.  This recipe is a variation on the Wildberry Lavender Ice Cream by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  I did not have essence of lavender oil as called for in the original recipe so instead used some dried lavender flowers I had previously purchased to add a subtle lavender undertone.  I then added white and dark chocolate chips for texture and because everything is better with chocolate!  The result is a beautiful purple, creamy ice cream studded with crunchy rich white and dark chocolate chunks with a mild floral aftertaste from the lavender.

My next creation was also a spin on a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream flavor.  I started with her Salty Caramel Ice Cream (with a little extra salt added) and then added roasted peanuts and dark chocolate.  The combination of the salt, caramel, chocolate and peanuts is reminiscent of a Snicker’s bar…in a sophisticated and semi-frozen form.

If you want to have fun with ice cream this summer (or anytime) I highly recommend checking out Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook (I promise I am not sponsored by them!).  The recipes are fairly straight forward and easy to make with a wide variety of flavor combinations!

Blueberry Lavender Chip Ice Cream

(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

1/2 cup wild blueberries, fresh or frozen
2/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of dried lavender flowers
3 oz each chopped white and dark chocolate

For the blueberries:
Combine blueberries and 2 Tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over low heat.  Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, set aside and cool.

Prep
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar,  corn syrup, and dried lavender in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill
Gradually pour hot milk mixture through a strainer and into the cream cheese mixture, whisking as you pour until smooth.  Add blueberry sauce and stir until combined.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Just before the ice cream is done, add in the white and dark chocolate chunks and spin until thoroughly mixed.

Salty Caramel Peanut Chip Ice Cream

(adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream)

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs light corn syrup
4 oz. salted and roasted peanuts
4 oz. chopped dark chocolate

 

Prep
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Mix corn syrup and cream.

Cook

DISCLAIMER FROM JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAM:

Danger! This is the dry-burn technique. I don’t add water to the sugar before putting it on the heat, as some chefs do. Caramelizing sugar dry means it goes faster, but you have to watch it more closely and be ready with your cream. Here is an overview of what you are going to do:

Stand over the pan of sugar with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a full layer of melted and browning liquid sugar on the bottom with a smaller layer of unmelted white sugar on the top. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color-like an old penny. When little bubbles begin to explode with dark smoke, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately but slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning-hot sugar. Be careful! It will pop and spit! Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in.

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Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color (see note above). Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: It will fizzle, pop, and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Chill
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.  Just before the ice cream is done, add the peanuts and chocolate chunks and spin until mixed in.

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Cookies and (Ice) Cream Sandwiches

I’ll admit it…I’ve been lazy.  I promise that I have actually been cooking and baking for past several weeks of my blog hiatus!  Unfortunately, the whole work/saving lives thing has gotten in the way of documenting my tasty treats for the blogging world to drool over.  For those who have missed me, here is a much belated Super Bowl post.

One of my favorite memories from childhood involves football and my dad:  When I was in 3rd grade we had a whole month of gym dedicated to football.  One of our homework assignments was to watch football and learn the rules of the game.  Now I’m sure most of the boys were excited by this assignment but I would have much preferred to do math equations or read about chemistry (I was a really cool kid when I was 8).  I naturally put the assignment off, but one Monday night after I had gone to bed, my Dad came and woke me up to watch Monday Night Football.  Just me and him-our little secret! I’m sure my mom knew but it felt pretty secretive back then to be up late on a school night watching football!

While I’m by no means a football expert these days, I do still remember a few rules of the game that my dad taught me that night.  And once a year, I recall those lessons and suffer through 3 hours of football for the sake of eating delicious food- aka the Super Bowl!  My foodie friends and I have made somewhat a tradition of it and this year was no different; Roasted pig’s head and feet tacos from a beloved local restaurant, chicken wings, kale salad, chipotle bean dip, and chips and guacamole rounded out the feast.   Obviously a feast like this called for an equally amazing dessert- ice cream sandwiches!  However, these are no ordinary ice cream sandwiches.   These combine the Flour Oreo cookie with the mascarpone cheese ice cream I’ve adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  They were a little messy to eat but a great ending to a not so exciting Super Bowl!

Cookies and (Ice) Cream Sandwiches

For the Oreo Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

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In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.

In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for 1 hour or until firm.

Place the dough on a long sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the parchment. Roll the parchment around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.

Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm enough to slice without crumbling.

Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the log into about 24 slices- I used thicker slices than the recipe calls for so they would stand up better to the ice cream. Set them on the baking sheets 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, checking them often after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center.  Cool completely on the sheets.

For the Mascarpone Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 oz of mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup

Prep
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the mascarpone cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Cook
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Chill
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the mascarpone cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze
Pour the ice cream into your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Assembly

Once the ice cream has chilled, roll into a log about 3 inches in diameter and then chill again until frozen and holds its shape.  Cut into 12 approximately 1/2 inch slices and top half of the oreo cookies with the ice cream slices.  Then top with the remaining oreo cookies and serve.