Thursday, August 6, 2009
Excuse me while I lick the counter
It might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I made cinnamon ice cream for a dessert tonight and when chunk fell on the counter, I had a moment of serious contemplation before I wiped it up with a towel. I love cinnamony things. My favorite flavor at 21 Choices in Old Town is Snickerdoodle (followed closely by the oatmeal cookie one). Tangent - did you know that if you want one of the flavors of the day, you don't have to wait in that long line? You can go straight to the register. And, you can look up today's flavor on their website (so if they have Snickerdoodle, you can be sure to make a trip). I learned all this when I was pregnant.
But I digress . . . cinnamon things are wonderful. For dessert tonight, I'm making homemade ice cream sandwiches which I've never attempted before. I was telling my mom that I was making these and she said (and I agree) that a good ice cream sandwich is possibly the perfect dessert. They're even on the cover of Gourmet this month.
So, here's what I did. I made the cinnamon ice cream (recipe below) and a batch of oatmeal cookies. You can use your favorite recipe - I made a basic one and just added a cup of shredded coconut (no nuts, raisins, or any other mixed in things). Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack and then stick the ones you want to use in the freezer a few hours before assembling them.
Once the cookies and the ice cream are good and cold, put a scoop on top of a cookie, put another one on top, use a spatula to scrape the edges smooth, and stick them on a plate in the freezer. You have to do this right away with them individually so the ice cream doesn't melt. I originally planned to wrap them (individually) in plastic wrap but it was much messier. Then, just leave them in the freezer until dessert time (as if you can wait that long!).
You could roll the edges of the ice cream in something but other than coconut, I couldn't think of anything creative that went with my cinnamon-oatmeal combo. I bet chocolate chip cookies, mint-chip ice cream and chocolate sprinkles on the edges would be awesome!
Cinnamon Ice Cream (makes 5 cups)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cinnamon sticks
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T vanilla extract
Combine cream, milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape the vanilla from the pod into the cream mixture and then toss the pod and the cinnamon sticks in the mixture. Heat it until it almost boils - about 6-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. While the cream mixture is heating up, beat yolks, sugar, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until it's smooth and creamy - about 2-3 minutes.
Temper the yolk mixture by adding 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture to the yolk mixture and stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent the eggs from curdling. Do this until you've added 4-6 tablespoons of cream to yolk. Gradually add yolk mixture to the cream mixture (still over low heat), stirring constantly. Cook over low heat until the mixture is slightly thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon - about 3-5 minutes. Put the whole thing in the refrigerator until it's cold (leave vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks in it). When you're ready to freeze it, strain it into your ice cream maker and follow your ice cream maker's instructions.
Note: If you don't have a vanilla bean, just add 1T of vanilla extract to the cream mixture (and 1 T to the yolk mixture). The two types of cinnamon gave me good results. When I tasted the mixture before putting it in the ice cream maker I thought the cinnamon was really strong but it mellowed out when it was frozen. In general, flavors are less intense in the final product (the ice cream won't be as sweet as the mixture tastes before freezing)