Frozen Desserts: Part 4

I've introduced you to a granita before. But, it's so light and refreshing that I wanted to include it in the frozen dessert series. Last month Bon Appetit had a recipe for a blackberry one with lemon cream. I tried it and to be honest I didn't like the lemon cream. It was too thick and greasy as it was made with mascarpone (though I normally love this cheese it didn't work with the granita for me). The blackberry granita was very good though, so the next day I served it again with whipped cream and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Perfect.

Blackberry Granita

18 ounces blackberries (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon creme de cassis (black currant liqueur, optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup water
Whipped cream, for serving
Lemon zest, for serving (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except whipped cream and zest, in blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a 9 x 9 metal baking pan (or similar size shallow pan). Freeze, scraping the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes until it resembles fluffy ice, about 2 - 4 hours. Cover until ready to serve. Scrape with fork again before serving. Spoon into small bowls and top with whipped cream and lemon zest if desired.

Serves 6.

Note: Can be made three days ahead. 


Frozen Desserts: Part 3

And now, on to the fun stuff.

I can't very well go ahead and do a frozen dessert series and not include ice cream cones, now can I? What is more fun than eating an ice cream cone? Do you remember the Drumstick ice cream cones you ate as a kid (and maybe still do)? Well, these are like those - a sugar cone lined with chocolate, filled with ice cream, dipped in chocolate again and rolled in nuts. But these are much better because by making them yourself you can use good quality chocolate and ice cream. And did I mention the flavor combinations are endless?

I'm going to give you the basic recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, and then you can make it your own.

Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones

9 standard sugar cones
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/3 cup coconut oil
3 pints ice cream, flavor of your choice
Toasted nuts of your choice, optional

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl set over simmering water. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile take out 9 cups to hold the cones. Bunch up some strips of foil into a ring shape and fit into each glass. This will help hold the cone upright after you dip it.

Holding one cone at a time over the bowl of chocolate, pour about a quarter cup of the chocolate into the cone. Swirl to coat the entire inside of the cone, then let the excess drip back into the bowl. Then dip the top half-inch of the cone into the chocolate and let the excess drip back in again. Place the cone back in the foil ring in its cup and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Working one cone at a time pack some ice cream into the cone, then top with a small scoop of ice cream. Place the cone back in the foil ring in its cup, then freeze one hour.

Rewarm the chocolate mixture if it's gotten hard again. Set out toasted nuts in shallow bowls. Again, working one cone at at time dip the ice cream into the chocolate mixture rolling to coat. Immediately roll in nuts, if using, before returning to it to it's cup and placing in the freezer for another hour.

Makes 9 cones. 

Note: You can make up to one week ahead. Once the cones are finished and completely frozen, wrap each in foil and stack them on a platter in the freezer.

Vanilla ice cream with almonds, dulce de leche ice cream with cashews, and
chocolate ice cream with toasted coconut and pecans.


Frozen Desserts: Part 2

Banana Ice Cream. It's rich. It's creamy. And it happens to be vegan.

But, don't let that detour you. I think I made it pretty clear in my last post that I am an unabashed ice cream lover. Ice cream that's skimping on flavor and texture just won't cut it for me. But this banana ice cream fulfills all my requirements. It is the texture of soft serve ice cream with hints of vanilla and a bit of extra sweetness from the maple syrup. It's good on it's own, but it's absolutely delicious with the sweet and salty almond topping. If you don't believe me, then you can trust Roy - a man who would probably never intentionally choose something vegan off of a menu. He had it the other day, and mentioned three separate times throughout the evening how much he liked it. If you don't believe either of us, then you can trust Miles who said "Mom, this ice cream really yummy!" when he tasted it.

So, thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow and her new book It's All Good where I got the recipe. I'm loving this book as it's filled with light and healthy recipes that I can make all the time. Like the banana ice cream. Seriously, I make it all the time now.

Banana Ice Cream with Sweet and Salty Roasted Almonds

½ cup finely chopped toasted almonds
4 teaspoons real maple syrup
Big pinch flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside while you make the banana ice cream.

Banana Ice Cream:
4 ripe bananas sliced into thin rounds, frozen (see note)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, scraping the sides as necessary. Don't worry if it's not totally smooth at first; the heat from blade of the food processor will defrost the bananas slightly and an ice cream texture will take shape.  Serve immediately with almond mixture sprinkled over the top.

Serves 4.

Note: After thinly slicing the bananas into rounds, place in single layer (as best you can) in a large zip-top bag. Place in the freezer for at least several hours. Then proceed with the recipe. Now that I make this recipe regularly, I like to keep bags of frozen bananas in the freezer, so I can make it whenever I want.