Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dairy Free Lavender Honey Ice Cream

A few years ago I made a delicious lavender honey ice cream, but somehow neglected to post it here. Having recently become dairy-free, I wanted to remake this ice cream with almond milk. Not only did it taste exactly like my original recipe, it was so much easier! Omitting eggs from the recipe took out the need for me to heat the mixture at all, and infusing the milk overnight rather than steeping the lavender provided for a light and fresh flavor rather than a strong, tea-like one. This could also be because I used the leaves rather than the flowers, but that was only because my lavender plant has yet to flower and I am impatient. While the ice cream is fine to eat after the first freeze, the almond milk made it freeze a little too hard. By running it through a blender or food processor and refreezing it, the ice crystals broke up and make the ice cream much more creamy.

 Dairy Free Lavender Honey Ice Cream
2c.      almond milk
2T      fresh lavender leaves
1/4c.   honey
1 pinch of salt

With a mortar and pestle, grind lavender leaves until the oils start to release. Add leaves to almond milk- use some of the milk to rinse the oils from the mortar and add to the container. Refrigerate overnight. Strain leaves and discard. Blend together honey and infused milk until the two no longer separate. Churn for 15 minutes and freeze for 8 hours. Remove ice cream from container and blend on high; refreeze overnight.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Basil-Lime Sorbet Shooters

This weekend Jacob and I made a spontaneous trip to Montreal. While we were there, we indulged in some delicious macarons at a darling little boutique called Point G! I became inspired by one flavor that Jacob had selected- lime basilic or lime-basil. I began plotting my recipe and execution. Would there be pulp? Would it be smooth? How would I create a positive balance between the basil and lime flavors? Well, after some meticulous planning, I decided to go about it the following way.

Since lime juice from the grocery store is so unbelievably expensive, and also gross, I decided to purchase a 2lb bag of fresh limes and juice them myself. The plan quickly turned into: make Jacob juice the limes while I pretend to do math and figure out the science-y parts. I wanted to infuse the lime juice with the basil, but knew it would be impossible to do so without the acidity cooking the basil. Instead, I chose to infuse the sugar. People do it with orange zest all the time- why not herbs? I cut the basil into small pieces and used my mortar and pestle to grind the two together. Once the pieces were muddled a bit, I used my hands to rub the sugar and leaves together. I covered the mixture with some plastic and let it sit overnight.

I have always had great difficulty using fresh-squeezed citrus juices in my sorbets. They are quite watery and therefore require a lot more sugar (or alcohol) in order to keep them from freezing too hard. I attempted to remedy this by adding a little more sugar to the recipe which was not much of a problem considering how tart lime juice is. While I was not quite satisfied with the flavor or results of this experiment on it's, we did find a good use- Basil-Lime Sorbet Shooters! They taste like tiny margaritas, and are great on a warm day!

Basil-Lime Sorbet

1 1/3c.        fresh squeezed lime juice (2lb of limes)
1/3c. + 2T  sugar
1T              chopped fresh basil
1/3c.          water
1 pinch      salt
1t.              tequila (optional)

With a mortar and pestle or food processor, mix together 1/3c. of sugar and 1T chopped basil. Cover with plastic and leave unrefrigerated for 8 hours. In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve basil-sugar mixture and the remaining 2T of sugar in 1/3c. water. Once sugar has completely dissolved, add to lime juice and strain. Add tequila (optional) and salt and chill. Churn mixture until desired consistency. Allow to freeze overnight.

2 small scoops of sorbet
2oz      seltzer
1oz   tequila
sugar for the rim

Dip the rim of a small glass in some sugar. Add seltzer and tequila. Place 2 small scoops of sorbet in the glass, and fill the rest of the way with water. Serve immediately!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

No-Cook Fresh Strawberry Sorbet

How is it even within the realm of possibility that it has been nearly two years since my last adventure with Ice Cream Alchemy? Honestly, I am a disgrace to not only myself, but to all of the great ice cream historians of the world. I will go down in history as the greatest disappointment of...ah, well, I doubt you've all really missed me THAT much. In my defense (I am allowed a defense, right?) it has been an awfully uninspiring year up until this point. I recently moved from an apartment where I not only felt like a caged goat in a trolls gullet, gnawing at the gates that merely represented my humanity, but also did not have an adequate kitchen in which to perform my experiments. Add onto that my 50 day engagement and subsequent wedding last fall and now marriage which, while it obviously did not occupy much of my time in terms of planning and execution, did take up a large chunk of my brain and has required much mental recovery.

However, now that married life has become more of a natural phenomenon and we have moved into a lush new apartment with kitchen space large enough to appease the churning Gods of yore, I have just been itching to get back into ice cream mode. Since I have recently discovered my own lactose intolerance, it is time for a wonderful new journey back into the land of dairy-free ice cream. My previous experiments have left me feeling a bit disappointed, but with this new fire in my soul (and everlasting resentment of purchasing ice cream elsewhere) it is time to get into research mode and create some lovely and delectable treats. With that I bring you my first sorbet of the season! My maiden voyage as a newly evolved mad scientist! I present you with a sorbet with such freshness, it will leave you saying, "oooh!"

My personal problem with cooked strawberries is that they always taste like jam. Don't get me wrong, jam is delicious, but there is a time and a place for preserves. That time is during breakfast, and that place is on my toast. Or? In a donut. However, I do not like my ice cream or sorbet tasting like jam unless I am intentionally putting jam onto or into it. How do you make strawberry sorbet without cooking the berries you ask? Maceration. 

No-Cook Fresh Strawberry Sorbet
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar 
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vodka (optional) for freezing**

Thoroughly wash your strawberries, remove the tops, and cut into medium sized chunks. In a bowl, combine cut strawberries and sugar, and water. Cover bowl, and place in refrigerator overnight. The following morning, put macerated strawberry mixture into the blender and puree until smooth. Add vodka if desired. Churn for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. transfer to freezer-ready container and allow to freeze overnight. 

**I know it has been awhile, so I want to add this in as a reminder. Adding vodka or any other liquor to your ice cream does not impact the flavor, nor will it intoxicate or poison your children. The purpose of adding liquor to your ice cream is to assist in preventing the formation of ice crystals. If you do not feel comfortable adding liquor to your sorbet, then leave it out. It is not crucial, just a mere crutch I lean on to keep my wrists from breaking when I attempt to scoop my ice cream.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream (Cashew/Almond base)

After many failures, I have finally figured out what I would like to use for my base. As mentioned in my Mocha Latte post, I figured out that cashew milk is not only delicious, but a very simple substitute for dairy! After messing around with the ratios a LOT, I have finally decided to reveal the most successful one thus far.

Cashew/Almond Base
(Obviously do NOT use this if you have nut allergies!)
2c. almond milk
1c. sugar
2c. cashews
4T. kuzu root (ground to powder)

Slowly heat the almond milk and sugar until sugar dissolves. Add kuzu powder and continue to heat until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Make sure you are keeping control of the heat- not too hot! Pour the mixture over the cashews and allow to sit for 4 hours. Puree the mixture and strain. When straining, be careful not to push the cashew grounds through the sieve. You may stir the liquid in the strainer, but do not force the liquid through.

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

1qt. cashew/almond base
1/2c. vegan chocolate chips
2T. chocolate liquor
1 large brownie or 3 regular/small brownies

In a double boiler, heat chocolate chips and 1T chocolate liquor. As the chocolate chips begin to melt, add the base 1/4c. at a time. By the time you finish adding the liquid, the chocolate should be fully melted. Cool the mixture. Add remaining 1T chocolate liquor. Churn the mixture until thick. Fold chunks of brownie into the ice cream and transfer to freezer-friendly container. Freeze until firm and enjoy!

This ice cream is delicious when paired with a glass of shiraz.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blueberry Nectarine Sorbet

No, it's not baby food- while it may not look as delicious as some other sorbets, I assure you this seasonal delight is delectable! I decided to use a different method this time because I wanted to maintain the fresh fruit flavor rather than the "oooh...pie" flavor of cooked fruit.

In order to achieve this, I macerated the fruits in sugar. This created a sort of thick syrup, so all I had to do was add a little water and voila! No stovetop needed for this puppy- the simple syrup basically creates itself! I topped the ice cream with a little heated up apricot preserves for a little extra sweetness.

Blueberry Nectarine Sorbet
7ea. nectarines
1 1/2c. blueberries
1c. sugar
1c. water
1T blueberry vodka (regular works too)

Wash and carefully peel your nectarines. This is a project- sit down in front of your favorite show and take your time. If your nectarines are as ripe as they should be, you will need to be very careful- use a paring knife please! Once you have peeled the nectarines, cut the fruit away from the pit. Make sure you get as much as you can!

In a bowl, combine the nectarine pieces, blueberries, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Add water & vodka. Puree in blender or food processor. Put through a strainer. Churn & freeze!

This is the first sorbet I've made in awhile that isn't crystal-y and has a smooth texture. I am very happy with how this one turned out! Let me know how it works out for you :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Concept: Don't Call Me Shirley! Sorbet

I have been sitting here, all morning, pouting because I want to make ice cream. Needless to say, this desire has struck the day before payday when I am unable to galavant and find interesting ingredients. So I do what every ice cream making fiend does- I rummage! What do you do when life gives you lime juice, grenadine, and cherries? Make Shirley Temples of course! And dollface, you are the inspiration for today's ice cream adventure.

Non-traditional (aka fruitless) sorbets are quite difficult because you are basically manipulating sugar water to not taste like...well...sugar water. These NTS are usually best accomplished if you are working with a concept that will not be achieved by adding dairy. Teas, extracts, herbs, and spices are usually what work best with the NTS but can also wind up being terrible.

I currently would much rather be playing around with the reactions of non-dairy yogurts in ice cream, but alas, that will have to wait. For now, it's Temple-Time.

Don't Call Me Shirley! Sorbet
2 1/2c. water
1c. sugar
1/4c. lime juice
2T. grenadine
2T. liquid from maraschino cherries
cherries for garnish.

Dissolve sugar in water over heat. Add lime juice, grenadine, and cherry liquid. Cool & Churn. Freeze until firm and serve with cherries as garnish.

All in all, it's a summer treat that's fun for kids. It's a cool twist on a favorite drink that can be served as a scoop on a cone or in a glass filled with lemon-lime soda. If you're looking for simple-stick with a regular Shirley Temple, but if you want to have some fun with it this is for you. Please keep in mind that there is no nutritional benefit to this NTS or to Shirley Temples in general- Grenadine, Soda, and Maraschino Cherries are literally all sugar. Please be sure to limit how many Shirley's your kiddo has, especially if they are still losing teeth- don't want to rot them out before they have a chance to grow!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Coconut "Key" Lime

I'm pretty sure that this is my first Alchemy post I have made since getting my new macbook! Woohoo! No more angry posts because my stupid laptop died, or Blogger didn't autosave because my compy is so old that it can't run the most efficient internet. It's time to celebrate! Double celebrate in fact because it's 4th of July weekend! And no one says "independence" quite like Will Smith!

Or, for that matter, Key Lime Pie! I decided to attempt making this delicious summer-time dessert into a dairy-free ice cream. I approached it with two concepts in mind:
1) a scoopable ice cream
2) a frozen "torte" of sorts
So I did both. The scoopable ice cream was okay. I wish the graham cracker would have been chunkier, but instead it kind of speckled the ice cream. The torte, however, was amazing. I loved the consistency and I felt that it was a very good representation of the real deal.

Now onto the composition. I originally wondered how well coconut milk would do for the milk base...and then I remembered...

Of COURSE they go together! I also wished there were a whipped cream substitute (without being whipped soy cream) which is why I came up with the coconut glaze. I feel like the original base was just barely too icy, so I revised the recipe and cut out some of the water. The recipe below is the altered version, so you should not need to make any changes.

Coconut "Key" Lime
1c. canned coconut milk
1 1/2c. water
2/3c. key lime juice (fresh is best, but bottled with do)
1c. sugar
1 drop green food color (optional)

graham cracker crust mix (click for recipe)

Combine everything except the crust mix. Churn in ice cream maker until desired consistency.

For scoopable ice cream: Turn off machine, and fold in crust mix. Transfer to freezer-safe container and freeze until hard.

For torte: Line a small cake pan with parchment paper. While base is churning, press the crust into the bottom of the cake pan. Make sure to cover it completely. Once ice cream is finished churning, spread evenly into the pan. Cover with plastic and freeze overnight. Before serving, remove plastic and carefully run a knife around the edge between the ice cream and the pan. Flip onto a piece of plastic and give the bottom one nice "knock" (firm...but pound sounded too harsh). This should release the ice cream from the pan. Carefully peel the parchment from the crust. Cut into pieces and serve

For Coconut Icing: Take 1c. of canned coconut milk and mix with 1c. confectioner's sugar. Whisk until smooth. Icing should be thick. Drizzle over ice cream or slice of torte before serving. Garnish with toasted coconut or lime supremes if desired.