• Chocolate S’more-bet Sundaes

    Chocolate S'more-bet Sundae.

    Chocolate S’more-bet Sundae.

    We love summer here at the farm. Not only for time with friends and produce from the garden, but also the opportunity to hit the road and travel. And while there are all sorts of reasons we like to roam, new food does seem to play a central role in our choice of destinations. Clam shacks in Long Island, shrimp boils in the Low Country and farmers markets in Kauai are all things that will tempt us away from our gardens. And there is a bonus to all this travel…the best dishes come back with us. And this dish, inspired by (the incredibly awesome) Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz, didn’t have to travel far to make it back to the farm (just a hop over the hills).

    smoresmore1And this is one of the best desserts we’ve found since we started blogging. A simple combination of chocolate sorbet, toasted marshmallow creme (more on this in a bit) and graham crackers, this is one tasty take on the classic s’more. Penny Ice Cream serves this on a waffle cone and browns the top with a brulee torch. We serve it as a sundae and add the graham crackers instead of a cone, but you will be happy either way. The combination of flavors and textures is a delight.

    smore2smore4smore5As for browning the marshmallow creme, it is easier than you think. If you have a brulee torch (and being total geeks, we do) just torch a scoop of fluff before service. If you don’t have a torch, just place a scoop of creme on a piece of graham cracker and put it under the broiler for 30-60 seconds. Then place the cracker and creme on top of the sorbet. It will look a bit different, but taste just as good.

    smore6smore7smore8What about the sorbet? If you haven’t had chocolate sorbet, you really should. The best recipes are just chocolate bombs, but have a lighter texture than ice cream and won’t fill you up (quite) as much. Easy to make, as well. There are many recipes out there but most seem to be a riff on a David Lebovitz recipe. And his recipes are certainly good enough for us. The key here is the combination of chocolate and cocoa powder, it’s like a chocolate punch in the mouth…but in a good way. This sorbet is great by itself, but add a bit of marshmallow and some graham crackers, and you may have the perfect summer treat.

    smore9Chocolate S’more-bet Sundaes:

    (Inspired by Penny Ice Creamery and David Lebovitz)

    Notes Before You Start:

    • No notes, go make dessert before summer is over.

    What You Get: A perfect summer dessert and a much better (IMHO) version of the classic s’more.

    What You Need: An ice cream maker and a blender. No other special equipment required.

    How Long? Maybe 30 minutes of active time, with a few hours of inactive time to chill the base and make the ice cream. Weekend dish, but the sorbet keeps well.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
    • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
    • 3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Marshmallow creme
    • Graham crackers

    Assemble:

    1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.
    2. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly with an ice bath or in the fridge (down to at least 40 degrees F), then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it to thin it out.
    3. After making the sorbet, harden it in the freezer for at least an hour.
    4. To make the sundaes, place a scoop of sorbet in a  bowl and top with marshmallow creme. Torch the creme with a brulee torch and garnish with graham crackers.
    5. -OR- Place a scoop of creme on a piece of graham cracker and broil for 30-60 seconds in the oven, until lightly brown. Place the cracker and creme on the sorbet. Serve.
  • Maple Ice Cream With Salty, Buttered Pecans

    Maple Ice Cream With Salty, Buttered Pecans.

    Winter is closing in (as much as it can in California), but we still like our ice cream. We never seem to tire of ice cream, regardless of time or place. We’ve read that the two foods that break the most diets are ice cream and bacon. And we are proud to produce both, in large quantities, here at the farm. And while we try to moderate our intake, we often find the best way to overcome temptation is to simply give some of our creations away (“free bacon and ice cream for all!”). But not this ice cream, we are keeping ate all of this one.

    And that wasn’t really a surprise, as this ice cream comes from Jeni Britton Bauer, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus Ohio. Jeni’s ice cream is some of the richest, creamiest and most flavorful we’ve tried anywhere. And you can sometimes find her ice cream at specialty stores across the country, it’s amazing, but ridiculously expensive. And since Jeni published “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home“, the best option is to make it yourself. And once you understand Jeni’s methods, you are on your way to ice cream nirvana.

    The key to Jeni’s method is to minimize the formation of ice crystals (ice crystals make ice cream gritty) and maximize butterfat and flavor. But instead of using traditional ingredients like granulated sugar or egg yolks, she uses corn syrup to sweeten, a cream cheese base for fat and thickens the milk and cream with corn starch. This may seem odd, but the science (and texture and flavor) are on Jeni’s side. Corn syrup is glucose, rather than sucrose, and resists crystallization. Corn starch bonds with the milk and cream to further reduce crystal formation. Cream cheese (it doesn’t impact flavor) mixed with a milk and cream mixture provides fat without extra water. Along with a rapid chill of the ice cream base, this method gives you creamy, silky ice cream that beats almost anything you can buy.

    Jeni’s cookbook has recipes for all sorts of exotic ice cream flavors like Queen City Cayenne, Blackstrap Praline, Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries and Chamomile Chardonnay. But she also has new riffs on classics like dark chocolate, vanilla, mint, salted caramel and this maple ice cream. We simply love rich, sweet maple syrup and maple sugar candy is one of our favorite holiday treats. This ice cream tastes like creamy maple sugar candy, and combined with the buttery salted pecans, it’s heavenly. Like we said, we aren’t sharing this one. Go make some of your own… ;-)

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  • Coconut Ice Cream With Dark Chocolate Sauce

    Coconut Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Sauce.

    It’s funny how the “rules” often seem to go out the window when it come to dessert. We try to have the garden and seasons guide our cooking, but sometimes we want coconut….and chocolate. They are not local, and we don’t even know if they are in season- but they sure taste good.  And this ice cream recipe is one of the best we have ever made. This coconut ice cream has deep flavor and creamy texture…and it is easy to make.

    This recipe is so easy because the ice cream is “Philadelphia-style”. Philadelphia-style ice creams omit the traditional egg-based custards and simply combine cream, milk, sweeteners and flavors. Philly-style ice cream often has brighter flavors and is usually lighter in texture (this means you can eat more). The downside of this style of ice cream is that it sometimes freezes harder and needs to soften a few minutes extra before service. And let’s face it- no one wants to wait extra time for their ice cream. But this recipe has none of those problems because of a secret ingredient, cream of coconut.

    If you are unfamiliar with cream of coconut you may know it by its most common brand name, “Coco Lopez”. Cream of coconut is sweetened coconut cream and the basis of quality Pina Coladas (yes, we will have a post). Coconut cream is basically the cream that floats to the top of the coconut milk. Good stuff and much denser and richer than coconut milk. The cream of coconut brings rich coconut flavor and a smooth texture that rivals any custard-based ice cream. Cream of coconut is widely available in most supermarkets, but you can also find it at many liquor stores (that Pina Colada thing, again). Just be sure to get cream of coconut and not coconut milk, as the coconut milk is not rich enough by itself for ice cream.

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