Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Samoa Ice Cream
Shortly after I started this blog, I had a dream. A glorious dream. Okay, it wasn't really a dream, I was definitely awake. But this dream kept me lying awake in bed, when I should have been sleeping. I could not get it out of my head.
The idea was Samoa ice cream. Girl Scout Cookies had just been delivered. And naturally, like many of you I'm sure, my passion for Girl Scout Cookies had just been remembered.
Samoas, in my opinion, are the best (and naturally one of the most-loved) of the Girl Scout Cookies. Thin Mints are nice, and certainly deserve their place in cookie fame, but Samoas. Mmm. Little can beat a Samoa, in my opinion.
Now, Trusty Dishwasher Jeff does not agree. When he tried a Samoa, he said, "well, they're good," and lost himself the privilege of eating any more. If you only think they're good, that's not good enough. At 50 cents a cookie and available for only about a month every year, you better love them.
However, the problem remained. How to capture the essence of Samoas in an ice cream. Coconut ice cream with fudge and caramel ripples? Too busy. Chocolate ice cream with caramel ripple and sprinkled with coconut? Meh. And what to do with the cookie. Obviously, it was a shortbread, but it wasn't overly buttery. Mix it in? Jeff prefers his ice cream exceptionally smooth, so that was out.
Then it hit me. After a week of consuming thought, I got it. Chocolate-coconut ice cream with caramel ripple. Marry the two flavors in the ice cream base and layer with caramel. Served with shortbread.
I stewed about it for a couple of weeks. I'd never made up my own ice cream, and I was nervous. I kept finding reasons to not do it, always putting it off for one more day. But then, it was time. I had cream sitting there in my refrigerator, waiting to be churned. I had to do it.
It took a couple of days. I decided to make a custard ice cream, because they are so smooth, and they need to be refrigerated overnight before being churned to ensure they are chilled well enough. And I had to make shortbread, and caramel. If I was going to go to the trouble of making ice cream, I had to go all the way.
But when we finally ate it, it was delicious. So rich I almost couldn't finish it. Smooth. And every flavor present. Now, it's not perfect. And I will probably play around with it next time I make it. But it was delicious.
Note: the ice cream itself is gluten free. To make this celiac friendly, just don't serve the shortbread!
Samoa Ice Cream
Inspired by Girl Scouts everywhere.
Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream
Adapted from Chocolate Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa (I used a blend because that's what my grocery store sells)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup coconut milk (not light, not cream of coconut)
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the 1 cup of cream with cocoa powder in a saucepan, whisking to blend in the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, then add the remaining cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping out as much as you can. Place the bowl in an ice bath with a metal strainer on top.
Warm the coconut milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan (don't worry if it turns brown from left over chocolate). While you wait for it to warm, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. When the coconut milk-sugar mixture is just warm (do NOT let it boil), pour it slowly into the yolks, whisking vigorously. Pour the whole mixture back in the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. When the mixture has thickened (it should coat the back of the spatula--when you run your finger over it, it shouldn't flow and cover where you touched it), pour it into the cream-chocolate mixture through the strainer (which will remove any cooked bits of egg). Stir in the vanilla and stir until the mixture has cooled. Refrigerate immediately.
When the mixture is sufficiently cool, stir it (the coconut milk may have separated a bit) and freeze according to your machine's instructions.
Adapted from Marzipan
(Note: this makes about 3 times as much as you need for Samoa Ice cream, but is having extra caramel really a problem?)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup cream
Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir it occasionally until it begins to boil, then do not stir it anymore and increase the temperature to high. (You may swirl the pan if you have hot spots). Watch it carefully. You may find it helpful to keep a pastry brush with water handy so you can wet the sides of the pan if you see any crystallization. Once it turns a nice amber color, remove from the heat and wait for a few seconds, then pour the cream in slowly, whisking while you do. Be careful; the caramel will bubble up when you do this and could burn you!
I recommend you make this at least an hour before you plan on churning your ice cream. If it is too warm, it may melt the ice cream as you layer it.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup butter, at cool room temperature
1 confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper, and then spraying the parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and extracts, then beat in the flour. It may look dry at first; don't despair. It should come together.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces and spread in the cake pans. Prick the dough with a fork, which will prevent bubbles.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes (it will depend on your oven and the pans you use), until the edges are a light brown color and the middle looks dry. Remove from the oven, flip the cookies out of the pan, and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. It is important to cut them while they are warm to get clean cuts.
When you churn the ice cream, have the caramel ready. Spread a thin layer of caramel in the bottom of the container you will store your ice cream in (I always use plastic Ziplock containers). When the ice cream is done, spread a layer of ice cream on top of the caramel, and continue to layer the caramel and ice cream. Cover the ice cream with a layer of plastic wrap and freeze for several hours. When you are ready to serve, remove the ice cream about 10 minutes before you want to it and serve it with shortbread wedges. Be careful; this ice cream is rich--a little goes a long way!