ice cream

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Baked Alaska has a reputation of being difficult to pull off.  Well, after making this one, I can tell you that’s not true.  The key is not to be in a hurry, and to allow the ice cream and base (typically a sponge cake) to refreeze after layering the two.

This is a very fancy looking dessert, sure to impress anyone who gets a slice put in front of them.  If you want to be super-impressive, make a flambe Alaska, by dark rum over the meringue after torching, and light the rum on fire. [continued after the jump...]

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Having made browned butter for chocolate chip cookies in the past, I knew how much flavor browned butter could add to a recipe. I wasn’t disappointed in the results.

Used as a base for the Baked Alaska.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tbsp (9 1/2 oz) butter
2 cups (7 oz) cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz) brown sugar
1/3 (2 2/3 oz) cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Butter and flour a 9”x9” square baking pan.
  • Melt butter, in a traditional (not non-stick) skillet,  over medium heat.  Brown butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty.   As it gets darker, watch it very very closely, as it goes from light brown to burnt in less than 30 seconds.  Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
  • Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat the brown butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and sugar in an mixer and beat further until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the baking pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source: Epicurious.com

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I picked up a copy of David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop a few months ago (see my review here) and promptly made some ice cream.  For the sake of my waistline, I put the book (and ice cream maker) away.  After having dug the ice cream maker out for last month’s Daring Bakers challenge, and with summer heat like we haven’t seen in a long time, I figured it was time to get David’s book out and try some more flavors.

It didn’t take long before I came across this recipe and knew it was the one to make.  How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter, and ice cream?

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream

2 cups half and half
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth all natural peanut butter (see my notes below for details)

Whisk together the half and half , cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan.  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full rolling boil.  Remove from heat and whisk in the peanut butter, stirring until the peanut butter melts and the mixture is thoroughly combined.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour, then follow the directions of your ice cream maker to make the ice cream.

Makes about 1 quart.

Note: Use only all natural peanut butter, the kind that consists of peanuts and salt.  If there are any other ingredients, the ice cream will taste funny.  While I love Skippy Super Chunky peanut butter in a PB&J, when you cook/bake with peanut butter, make sure you use all natural peanut butter.

Source: The Perfect Scoop (p.30) by David Lebovitz

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Swiss roll ice cream cake

Swiss roll ice cream cake

After a hiatus from taking part in the Daring Bakers challenges, I was able to complete the July challenge.

It was also a good excuse to break out the ice cream maker, so it was a win-win situation.

Think of this cake as a thin chocolate & whipped cream cake, with ice cream, fudge sauce, and more ice cream inside.  Yeah, it tasted as good as it sounds.

I would make this again, but next time I think I’d just buy the ice cream and fudge sauce.  While homemade ice cream definitely tastes better than store-bought, for the filling of a cake, store-bought would be good enough.  Not to mention cut down the time to make it to a few hours.

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The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

The Perfect Scoop


I picked up a Cuisinart ice cream maker a few years ago, much to the delight of my taste buds.  Both ice cream and sorbet came out great, especially the sorbets made with in-season fruits.

One thing I never quite got around to doing was buying a book on how to make ice cream.  With the many recipes available on the web, it seemed a like a waste of money.

Fatefully, one day I was skimming through the local book store, looking for some baking ideas.  I came across The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.  I recognized the name, as I’m a big fan of his blog, so I started to skim through the book.  Most other ice cream books have a basic ice cream recipe, then add some mix-ins to make a multitude of flavors.  Not this ice cream book.  David comes up with some rather different (wakco?) ideas of flavors, things that I think most people never would have thought of making or doing (chocolate sorbet comes to mind).

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Cuisinart ICE-20 Ice Cream Maker

Cuisinart ICE-20 Ice Cream Maker

OK, I’ll admit it: buying this ice cream maker was probably not a good idea for me, at least at a time that I’m trying to lose weight.  Me owning an ice cream maker is almost like teaching a meth-head how to make make meth (ok, not quite that bad, but you get the idea…).

Had I realized how easy it was to make ice cream, I would have picked up one of these years ago.  I had always read about heating the cream, adding egg yolks, letting it cool, making the ice cream, letting it freeze/harden, then finally getting around to eating.  It seemed like a lot of work for ice cream, when the local supermarket’s freezer section is less than 10 minutes away.

Fortunately, you can skip the whole egg yolk concept.  Basic ingredients: heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar.  Add other ingredients/flavors to suit your needs.  My favorite (so far) has been peanut butter chocolate chip.

The taste of home made ice cream, even compared to the home made ice cream from ice cream stands, is phenomenal!  Mass produced ice cream has chemical/artificial stabilizers and emulsifiers, some of which can effect the taste of the ice cream.

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