A couple years ago, my sister gave me Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams cookbook and the boys and I have been happily exploring its recipes. But it wasn’t until recently that Ben took a close look at the back of the book and discovered the accompaniments section, where we found the recipe for “Bombe Shell,” a fabulous and easy chocolate sauce that hardens on contact with ice cream.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I offer this recipe in the spirit of the season, and hope someone coats something with chocolate for you.
I guess I feel about recipes the way some people feel about mountains. It’s there in front of you, so why not give it a shot? There is really no pressing need to make nutella (you could push it and say there’s no pressing need to eat nutella, but I won’t go so far), but when you find a recipe that looks so easy, and promises a result so delicious, why not? Besides, it’s summer. And in summer, we say yes.
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 10-11 minutes, or until fragrant. Wrap them in a kitchen towel and rub them to remove the skin; use your fingers as they cool and do the best you can — it won’t all come off. Let the nuts cool.
Grind the nuts in the food processor until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth and spreadable.
This keeps at room temperature for three days, apparently, or in the fridge for two months, but we wouldn’t know.
It’s not summer without the ice cream machine in steadyuse.
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Beat together the eggs and sugar until thickened and pale yellow.
Meanwhile, bring the half and half to a simmer over low heat in a large, heavyweight pan. Slowly beat the hot liquid into the eggs and sugar, then pour back into the saucepan and heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Don’t let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble (yuck). Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, the add the cream and peppermint, then chill for several hours or overnight.
Once you’re reading to make ice cream, stir the custard and freeze in your ice cream machine. While that’s churning, melt the chocolate, and then when the ice cream is very nearly done, slowly pour the melted chocolate into the ice cream while the machine is running. Keep the machine running a minute or two longer to spread the chocolate threads throughout the ice cream. Eat immediately, or pack into a freezer container to harden.
I think it was the summer that Star Wars came out, 1970-something, when my oldest brother and sister had summer hotel jobs up in Ogunquit, Maine. Our parents drove my other brother and me up for a weekend visit and we ate a forgettable meal in the big, quiet hotel dining room followed by an unforgettable cheesecake. It was a fruit cheesecake, but instead of a shiny, syrupy layer of fruit on top of the cheesecake, the fruit was fresh, and it had been incorporated into the batter, leaving light, delicate streaks of berry throughout the cake.
This ice cream reminds me of that cheesecake, just a little bit.
1 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 graham crackers, crumbled
Beat the sugar and the cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Bring the milk to a boil in a medium-sized pan. Slowly beat the hot milk into the cream cheese mixture. Now pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the custard thickens slightly. Don’t let the mixture boil or the egg will scramble!
Remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a strainer into a large bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the lemon zest and cream. Cover and refrigerate until cold (or overnight).
Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in your ice cream machine
according to its directions. Add the crumbled graham crackers when the ice cream is semifrozen, and let the machine mix them in well. Eat right away, or decant into a container and freeze until hard.
It should come as no surprise, given all the baking I do around here, that my kids can order up whatever they like for a birthday dessert. But it was definitely a surprise, after a solid six years of chocolate birthday cakes, to hear Eli request bread pudding. And not just any bread pudding, but Chef Ric’s Bread Pudding.
So I went to school and asked Ric if he would share the recipe he makes for the school, only to learn that — talented chef that he is — he wings it. And of course, he’s making dessert for three hundred people, so even if he could give me the exact recipe he makes at school, it would have taken a bit of math to scale it down for our family. But luckily he has chef friends who do write down their recipes, and he passed on this recipe for a New Orleans bread pudding. It calls for more butter than any bread pudding recipe I have ever seen. I think it’s going to be great.
12 oz bread, cubed
½ pound butter
4 whole eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
Vanilla (to taste)
Ground Cinnamon (to taste)
2 cups sugar
Preheat the oven to 325. While it’s warming, put the cubed bread on a baking sheet and let toast it in the oven till just golden, about five minutes.
Lightly grease a 13X9 baking pan and put the toasted bread into the pan.
Heat milk and cream with butter and vanilla. Whisk eggs till pale in color and add sugar and whisk some more. Temper egg mixture with the cream mixture off heat. Pour the liquid over the bread and allow it time to soak for a few minutes.
Bake until set – approximately 30-40 minutes. Serve, if you like, with caramel sauce and seven birthday candles.
edited to add: I actually ran out of butter and sugar while making this (my pantry is usually better stocked than that!), so can report that this tastes just fine if you only use 1/4 pound of butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar