I Scream, You Scream

Chocloate Peppermint Ice Cream

I knew I should have freakin’ written this post when inspiration arrived at my door in the form of “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home”, but as I’ve already explained, this summer was crazy and now, as I’m about to describe the ease with which I made my first ice creams, it’s decidedly NOT ice cream weather, (raining and 55 degrees – cold for Southern CA.)

Anyway, this story is worth sharing and in my defense, I didn’t even have an ice cream maker (it was backordered) until just after Labor Day anyway.

As those of you may know, I visited a good friend from high school, Nancy, who now lives in Columbus, OH this past February.  Apparently, one of the most life-changing events of that weekend was visiting Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at North Market.  I say apparently because the only ice cream I have craved since that visit is Jeni’s Salty Caramel.  Anyone who has ever visited a far away place and sampled foods available only in that region can attest to the torture of craving something you can’t get.  (Every once in awhile I still crave hot clam cakes and Del’s Frozen Lemonade – tastes I acquired on my visit to Rhode Island in 2006.)

So I was ecstatic when I heard that Jeni was releasing her first cookbook just in time for summer.  Finally!  I could reproduce her exotic flavors at home – Scarlet & Earl Grey, Wild Berry Lavender, Savannah Butter and of course, Salty Caramel.  I promptly ordered it from Amazon and waited.

Then I realized I didn’t even own an ice cream maker.  That’s how fantastic these ice creams are.  They actually made me buy a cookbook that – unless I bought an ice cream maker – I would never taste until my next trip to the Midwest.  (And who the heck knew when that would be?)

But lo and behold, the very next day, I received an email from Williams-Sonoma informing me that the Cuisinart stainless steel ice cream maker was on sale.  It was fate!  I was meant to make ice cream at home so I promptly ordered that too.

And waited….

And waited….

And waited…..

Both items were on backorder – the cookbook until early-August and the ice cream maker until mid-September.  So when the cookbook arrived a full four weeks before the ice cream maker I began flipping through the sections organized by season with the excitement of a 12-year old boy viewing his first Playboy.

What I love most about Jeni’s ice cream making instructions is the simplicity with which they’re given and the accompaniment of photos.  Each recipe starts with a base and then ingredients are added to that.  It was basically a foolproof way to make ice cream and the results were far from the frozen chipped monstrosities I remembered from my childhood.

After experimenting with the Buttermilk Strawberry recipe, (delicious!) I decided to use some of Scharffen Berger chocolate samples I received at a Food Blogger conference I had recently attended to make the Dark Chocolate Peppermint ice cream.

***Insert shameless product plug here***

Bear with me for a moment while I go off on how tasty Scharffen Berger chocolate is.  Who knew Hershey’s had a boutique chocolate in production?  This stuff rivals Green & Black’s in flavor and texture.  I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in chocolate the day I discovered it.  And I had plenty to experiment with after the guy sitting next to me at the aforementioned conference dumped a whole bowl of the squares into my bag when I wasn’t looking.

Anyway, I melted  1 ½ ounces of the 70% bittersweet tasting squares, added them to the ice cream base, dropped a few drips of peppermint extract into the batch and 30 minutes later, some of the best chocolate-peppermint ice cream I have ever had was born!  (I had my concerns about actually making ice cream because – like mayonnaise – I would finally be forced to acknowledge the ingredients.  But these ice creams are so rich, that I can only eat a ramekin-sized serving.  Phew!)

I know that Fall and Winter are typically not ice cream eating seasons, but I don’t care – 55 degrees and raining be damned!  I’m looking forward to experimenting with cranberries, red wine, baked apples and walnuts.  With Jeni as my guide, I’m pretty sure we’ll be eating crazy-flavored ice cream year round.

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One comment on “I Scream, You Scream

  1. Susan Weisberger
    October 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Heather when I come over for Christmas, WE ARE turning the heater up and making and eating ICE CREAM… Until I have found MY favorite.
    Your Mother, lol

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