July is Ice Cream Month. Opportune in light of our record breaking heat wave!
So ….Here are some suggestions for Ice Cream desserts – which may tempt you away from the universally popular VANILLA and CHOCOLATE!
Chefs have taken to adding new [and in some cases mind boggling] new ingredients to show off their signature ice cream desserts. They have strayed far from the customary nuts, fruit and chocolate chips and are now incorporating celery! Bacon! Chili peppers and even GARLIC!
There is one new ‘flavor ‘which I find particularly interesting — Salt Caramel.
The original recipe is labor intensive, requiring boiling syrup to a caramel and adding salt flakes. But we can replicate the idea with an easy….
CARAMEL SALT ICE CREAM TOPPING
1 cup soft caramels [wrapping removed] ¾ cup cream or half and half
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine the caramels, cream and salt in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.
If the mixture has not softened enough to stir smooth, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds.
Stir the sauce until smooth.
Cool and store in a container.
Serve over vanilla ice cream at either room temperature or warm.
For an even more delicious experience add a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
Here are some other Ice Cream Favorites:
ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
Think outside the box – try sandwiching the ice cream with croissants, doughnuts, salted crackers, as well as the ubiquitous graham crackers. Flavor vanilla ice cream with strawberries or peaches or try coffee or cherry ice cream.
HOMEMADE YOGURT ICE CREAM
You can make this ice cream even if you do not possess an ice cream churn.
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup honey
½ cup condensed milk [you can use fat free condensed milk] 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients until smooth then pile mixture into a lidded container and freeze.
Turn the mixture into a food processor and process until smooth.
Note: you may wish to freeze and process twice to get a really smooth ice cream.
*You can also add 2 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate for added flavor.
The dessert I used to teach in the first class of my Basic Cooking Course was Baked Alaska. My family would come into the kitchen after the class ended and survey the leftovers – and we must have been the only household in existence where the moan went up, “Baked Alaska AGAIN?”
Baked Alaska requires no particular expertise –except for watching the oven – and is one of those desserts guaranteed to impress your guests!
The basic principle behind an Alaska is that the ice cream is totally insulated from the heat of the oven – when browning the meringue – so GREAT care must be taken to ensure that there are no gaps either in the cake base or the meringue covering.
You will need:
1 sponge cake or angel food cake, slice in 1” thick slices
½ cup strawberry jam
1 pint strawberry ice cream
1 pint chocolate ice cream
3 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Sugar for sprinkling
Ahead of time, arrange slices of cake about 1” thick on a flat oven-proof plate, to form an 8” round. Place the slices tightly together so there are no ‘gaps’.
Spread the jam evenly over the cake base.
Pile the ice cream onto the cake base – one flavor first then the second flavor- to form a mound.
Set in freezer until ready to serve.
About an hour ahead, prepare the meringue, as follows:
Whip the egg whites – adding the sugar a spoonful at a time.
Beat in the lemon juice.
Whisk the whites until the form stiff peaks.
If desired, pile into a piping bag with tip so you can create a fancy meringue design.
When ready to serve:
Pre-heat the oven to 425.
Spread or pipe the meringue evenly over the ice cream mound, being sure to leave no gaps.
Sprinkle some sugar over the surface.
Set the Alaska in the oven and WATCH IT!
As soon as it is lightly toasted, remove from the oven and… Serve with pride!
You can of course choose any flavor of ice cream you wish – just don’t choose ‘white’. That kind of removes the ‘oomph’ factor!
Note: IF there are leftovers, you can freeze the Alaska to enjoy another time – though it is not QUITE as good as straight out of the oven!.
About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?