Secret to Scoop-able Ice Cream…Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream

Summer is approaching and that means ice cream time! Although, I think any time is ice cream time. Actually, I happen to love ice cream on a really cold day. I’ve probably said all that before in other ice cream posts, so let’s just get to the point. This particular ice cream is sooooooooo good. Creamy. Smooth. Delicious.

I like ice cream that is very firm and really cold. I hate letting it set out on the counter to allow it to soften. I will even use the tip of a butter knife to dig out little pieces of hard, cold ice cream. Is this weird?

Recently I was looking at ice cream recipes on Pinterest. I came across a recipe that suggested adding vodka to the ice cream mix to keep the ice cream from getting rock solid. I was so intrigued! It actually makes sense since alcohol doesn’t freeze solid. I would never, ever have thought of adding vodka to ice cream. But I couldn’t wait to try it. I used my go-to ice cream recipe and just added one tablespoon of vodka (half the amount she used). I mean, I do like vodka but I didn’t want my ice cream to taste like it.

You add it to the ice cream base before churning it in the ice cream maker. Vodka is a good choice since it’s pretty flavorless. I’m so glad I tried it because it worked! I had delicious, creamy ice cream that was scoop-able without being really soft. Great consistency.

One tablespoon of vodka for a whole batch of ice cream is nothing. I didn’t taste it at all. I certainly didn’t feel it….hahahaha.

What a good frickin idea, right?

Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup chopped semi sweet chocolate
¾ cup half and half
¾ cup whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 Tblsp vodka

In a bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together until it’s a thick yellow paste. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, heat the half and half and milk just until it starts to simmer. Slowly pour it into the egg/sugar mixture, whisking the whole time. Pour that mixture back into the saucepan and heat till it starts simmering. Stir constantly until you have a thickened custard like consistency.

Strain the mixture into a bowl. Stir in the heavy cream. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Stir in the vodka and pour it into your ice cream maker and churn until it sets up. I churned for 20 minutes. Scoop it all out into a container and freeze for at least 4 hours. But it’s good eaten right away too.

Buttery lemon Madeleines….

I had my first madeleine cookie at Starbucks, many years ago. I fell in love with those buttery little nuggets of sweetness. They have changed over the years so I stopped buying them. But the other day I decided to pull out an old madeleine recipe that I had stashed away. I made a batch and they were way too buttery. (I never thought there could be too much butter in anything). So I adjusted my recipe and made another batch. They were delicious. Still buttery, but not butter overload. Oh my, I almost wish I hadn’t made them. They are moist and light with crispy, sugary edges. Just the way a good madeleine is supposed to be.

I added some orange zest to the first batch (I love anything orange) and I added lemon zest to the second batch. I think I just might prefer the lemon. If you are not familiar with madeleines, they are also known as little butter cakes. They bake up with little hump on top… cute. They look like sea shells on the other side. They are the perfect cookie to enjoy with a hot cup of tea. I am having one with a cup of hot tea right now actually. Ok, ok, four of them……I am on my fourth one. Who in the world could have just one of these things!

They may look fancy but they are so simple to make. Wouldn’t it be nice to give some of these as a gift to someone, along with some good tea? In fact, I put together a gift package for a friend, with a madeleine pan, some madeleines and some english black tea. I know this friend is going to be very happy.

Next week I think I will make a batch of chocolate madeleines. Mm-m-m-m-m. I can’t wait to share those with you all.

I do recommend using a non stick madeleine pan. You can get them pretty much anywhere. I got mine on Amazon.

Buttery Lemon Madeleine Cookies

6 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest

Melt the butter and let it cool for about 20 minutes.
Using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Add egg, lemon zest and vanilla. Once it’s all well blended, add the flour gradually. Don’t over mix.

Grease the pan with butter and flour (1 Tblsp butter, melted and 1 1/2 tsp flour. Mix together and brush on the pan with pastry brush.)

Fill each little madeleine cup with batter (about 3/4 of the way full)

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until light brown. Let cool for a bit and gently remove from pan to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle on a light glaze or dip half of the cookie in melted chocolate.

Copycat Puesto Pistachio Salsa

Puesto is a California based mexican restaurant. They have great food, a good vibe and great margaritas. But let’s talk about the pistachio salsa they serve. The first time I went there, they brought out the chips and red salsa. Ok, so that was good….yeah, yeah. But there was this little tiny cup of green stuff. I tried it and holy crap, I was like whaaaaaaaaattttt?????? I asked the server what it was and she explained that it was their special pistachio sauce. I asked for more and she looked at me like I was crazy.

Apparently they aren’t overly generous with it since “pistachios are pricey”. I suggested that they charge for it if it’s that pricey, but don’t be stingy with it, because I sure would pay for it! Back then, it wasn’t even listed on their menu. The next time I went, I wasn’t served any and had to ask for it. Once again, out came the tiny little serving. I’m not kidding you when I say the serving size is tiny. You get maybe 1/4 cup of it. Geeeesh.

I was obsessed with this green concoction. I get like that when I discover something new. I will have something over and over and over until I tire of it. I tried to copy it but it never came out right. Come to find out, I was making it far more complicated than it really was.

I stumbled across a recipe recently and was shocked at how easy it is. I was really surprised to learn there was water in the recipe! I made one little tweak from the recipe and that was by adding a bit of fresh lime juice. I am so excited and now I can have as much as I want until I get sick of it. I may even try making it with toasted pumpkin seeds instead of pistachios. Ohhhhh, that sounds pretty darned good actually.

I really hope you will try this recipe. Homemade fried chips, a bowl of this (not a tiny little serving like the restaurant) and a margarita……ahhhhhhhhhhhh, I am happy. You will be too!

Pistachio Salsa

2 fresh serrano peppers (I would start with 1 and if you like more heat, add another)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 3/4 cup shelled pistachios
juice of half of a fresh lime
1 cup of water (Don’t just pour it all in at once. Just add a bit at a time to desired consistency) I did use 1 cup
salt to taste

In a skillet with a bit of oil, fry the peppers and garlic until blistered and lightly browned. Put them into a food proccessor and pulse until its all minced up.

Roughly chop pistachios (I used a meat tenderizer and pounded the hell outta them! Then place them into the food processor with the peppers and garlic. Add a bit of the water and pulse, pulse. Keep adding water until you have the consistency of a regular salsa. Mix in the lime juice and salt to taste.

Serving ideas:

-as a dip with tortilla chips
-spoon on tacos
-great on fish or baked chicken