Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Caramel Swirl

Done 2
When I was a little girl, living in New York City, my parents say my consistent question was … WHEN ARE WE MOVING? No, REALLY, when are we moving?
We’re not. We live in New York City. The greatest city in the world. EVERYONE wants to live here.
Well, not ME!
Where do you think you’d rather be living?
MAINE!
How or why I had that answer is completely beyond me.
So, some 45+ years later, here I am living in Maine, Downeast Maine … for a girl who grew up in Manhattan, land of Chinese food at 4:00 am, taxis, shopping, WALKING to the corner store at any hour for anything you can imagine, this is rural … REALLY rural.
I live in a lovely house, with wonderful gardens … and, of course, there’s the Dear One (who makes it all worthwhile). I just need to overlook the SNAKES, and the black flies (who seem to find me rather tasty), and the ticks, (who also find me rather tasty), and the ginormous rabbits that just seem to come out of nowhere!
Rhubarb
In our garden there’s a HUGE patch of rhubarb. Once it grew enough to use, my mind started swirling with thoughts of what wonderful things I could make with this rhubarb.
There’s a LOT of rhubarb, so be prepared for many rhubarb recipes to come. I did freeze a bunch so I have it handy for my new business venture The Maine Ingredients (on FB too, head over and like my page, please.)
Sitting around with Lisa one morning and talking about recipes for rhubarb, her face lit up and she said, ‘There’s a great looking recipe for Rhubarb Ice Cream in the New York Times. It has a caramel swirl!’
Done
Truth of the matter is, I had never made anything with rhubarb, hadn’t really eaten rhubarb before, so I wasn’t so sure about rhubarb in ice cream. BUT IT HAS A CARAMEL SWIRL! How bad could it possibly be!?
Oh, it’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s freakin’ fabulous! The rhubarb is sweet and little syrupy, the ice cream itself has a nice, surprising tang from the sour cream (which I wasn’t sure about as an ice cream ingredient), and the caramel … oh, my, my, the caramel. The caramel is just decadent. Next time, it just has to be a salted caramel!
Rhubarb is now my friend. The snake, the rabbit, the tics and black flies … not so much!
  • 1 and 1/2 C whole milk
  • 1 and 3/4 C plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/2 C sour cream
  • 3/4 pound rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 C heavy cream

In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, whisk together the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, the salt, the vanilla bean seeds and its pod. Simmer gently until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod and return mixture to a bare simmer.

Vanilla Bean

Place the yolks in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture. Scrape the custard back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in sour cream. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight.

Rhubarb and sugar

In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb with 1 cup sugar. Simmer until rhubarb is just tender and has begun releasing its juices, but has not started to fall apart, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to a bowl. Continue to simmer the juices until syrupy, 5 to 10 minutes more. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb. Cool completely.

In a clean, dry and preferably nonstick skillet, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over medium heat. When it begins to melt and lightly color, sprinkle in 2 more tablespoons and start swirling pan to help evenly distribute sugar. Add the final 2 tablespoons and cook, swirling pan until all the sugar has melted. Let cook, swirling occasionally, until the sugar syrup caramelizes and turns dark brown. Pour in the heavy cream and 2 tablespoons water (stand back; it may splatter). Simmer, stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula until smooth. Cool completely.

Pour the custard base into an ice cream machine and churn. Add rhubarb compote for the last minute of churning.

Scrape a quarter of the caramel into the bottom of a freezer-proof quart container. Top with a quarter of the ice cream. Repeat layering until all of the caramel and ice cream has been used, ending with the ice cream. Freeze until firm for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

NOTE: ONE WEEK!? HAHAHAHA!

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Brown Butter Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Hi, Mom.”

“Hi, lovey.”

“I’m at camp.”

“I know.”

“I’m already homesick. The food is yucky. I’m broke.”

“I’m sorry, honey. I’ll send you some money. And cookies … would cookies help?”

“Mom, your cookies always help!”

This was a conversation with my son, Tommy. The same child who is 24, living on his own, and away working at the same camp he has worked at for at least 7 years.

But he wants cookies.

What’s a Mom to do?

Bake cookies, that’s what a Mom’s to do.

So I off I went to the kitchen to bake cookies to ship to my starving, homesick child. Fortunately his favorite cookies will ship well and make enough to have in the house as well.

You can sub cranberries for the dried cherries and white or dark chocolate for the semisweet chocolate.

  • 2 1/2 C rolled oats (Use old fashioned not quick or instant)
  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C dried cherries
  • 6 ozs semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C walnut halves, finely chopped
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Dry Ingredients

Whisk oats, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; stir in dried cranberries, white chocolate, and nuts.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat until the milk solids turn golden brown, about 4 minutes; take care not to burn.

Browned Butter

Pour browned butter into a large bowl and whisk in brown sugar until combined. Whisk in cinnamon, then whisk in eggs and vanilla, beating well after each. Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Mixture will be thick. Drop by generously rounded tablespoon 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

Bake until light golden brown and just dry to the touch, but still a little soft inside, about 10 minutes.

Cooling

Slide parchment onto racks to cool cookies completely.

One-Pan Fudge Cake

Baked

You’ll have to use your imaginations here …

RING … RINNNGGGGGG …

Me: Hello?

SS: Hi! Whatcha doing for dinner tonight. I know the Dear One is away and you’re home alone. Come over for dinner and a movie. Just me and he kids. This way I won’t have to rescue you after you’ve done something I Love Lucy-esque.

Me: Okay. That’s great.

SS: Well, not just  me and the kids … 4 or 5 other people as well.

Me: Oh? (Wishing I hadn’t answered the phone now) Sure. What can I bring? (when will I learn NOT to ask that question!?)

SS: How about dessert?

Me: Okay. What time?

SS: How about an hour?

Me: See you then.

SS: Andrea? Don’t lock the door when you leave!

AN HOUR? Come up with and make dessert and drive into town IN AN HOUR!? Now what am I going to do?

Suddenly inspiration! I remembered seeing a recipe on Relish.com for a One-Pan Fudge Cake taken from the Junior League of Nashville cookbook.

Simple ingredients. One pan. Quick to throw together. Cools in the pan. Baked in 30 minutes. I.AM.SAVED!

Fudgey and dense, chocolatey without being too sweet, this cake is the answer to any last minute guests or dinner invitations!

Oh, and ice cream. Ice cream is great on top of this cake.

  • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 C chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Powdered sugar

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 8-inch square cake pan.

Melt butter, sugar and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. When melted, add flour, salt and baking powder. Stir well. Add eggs, vanilla and pecans, if using.

Pouring into pan

 

Stir well and pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares while hot. Let cool in pan.

Sprinkling sugar

When cool, dust top with powdered sugar.

 

Coffee Madness Ice Cream

Ready

Now that the fear of making ice cream and my first chocolate ice cream is under my belt … and so fabUlous … I have this desire need to try more flavors, add in different flavors and textures. Who knew making ice cream could be so easy? Well, easy thanks to my Kitchen Aide Ice Cream attachment.

After a kitchen powwow with a fellow ice cream with lots-o-stuff lover, coffee ice cream was the next flavor. But it needs chocolate! And something crunchy! Okay … brownies? Heath Bar pieces?

OH! YES!

The Dear One went to the store for me, list in hand, clearly saying MILK. I didn’t think I needed to be more specific … like, whole milk versus 2% milk. So into the house came 2% milk. Yucky to begin with, I wasn’t sure it would fly in the ice cream, but the thought of driving ALL the way to the store again made my head want to implode, so I went with it.

The 2% milk made this slightly less creamy. I also think my helper let the custardy part cook a *tiny* bit too long.

All that said, it was GONE without a problem in a couple of days. Freezer door opening, lid popping open, spoons digging in for just a spoonful.

But, really, how can you go wrong with coffee ice cream, brownies and toffee bits? You can’t!

  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C very strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 C bite sized brownie pieces
  • 1/4 C Heath bar bits

Combine eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and blend thoroughly with a whisk or electric beater for about 5 minutes. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan; do not let boil, just “scorch” it, bringing to a near-boiling hot. Turn off heat. Very slowly pour in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, beating rapidly with a whisk.

NOTE: Just as an aside, the reason for pouring a bit of the hot liquid into the eggs while whisking is so you temper the eggs. If you just poured the eggs into the hot milk, you’d have scrambled eggs!

Once it is all beaten in, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk mixture while beating. Heat mixture under medium low, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped in. Turn off heat.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the liquid (this keeps the mixture from forming a skin). Chill overnight or until completely cool.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow machine’s directions for how long it should churn. Add the 1/2 cup of CHILLED coffee halfway through churning. Toss in the brownie bites and Heath bits during the last minute of churning. You may need to finish mixing by hand before placing the ice cream in the freezer for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sliced

I had the honor … well, no, privilege of starting and maintaining a fabulous cooking forum. I met fabulous women. I even met some of my very best friends through this forum, all of whom I cherish and miss as I sit here in the frozen springtime beauty of Maine.

We traded our cherished recipes, helped each other with ingredients, shared our family trials, tribulations and successes. Sadly, we mourned together at the passing of some of our members.

We decided that our wonderful recipes needed to be in written in book form and we set out to self-publish our own cookbook. What a joy it was to put together! So many fabulous recipes, everyone jumping in to help test recipes and type. 290 pages of food and friendship!

One of my absolute favorite recipes from the book is Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, shared by jerseygirl. It is my go to banana bread recipe and where all of the bananas we don’t get to fast enough end up.

Continued thanks to all of you for sharing your recipes and time. Becky, I still miss you each and every day.

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 C butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan

Combine all ingredients except chips and nuts in a large bowl. Blend well on medium speed of an electric mixer. Stir in chips and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick interested in center comes out clean.

Ready to slice

Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a rack.

Pistachio Dried Cherry Torrone ~ March Daring Bakers

Done 3

The March 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.

It’s been a terribly long time since I’ve been able to join in any cooking or baking events. I’ve missed it.  I am so pleased to be able to join in BOTH Daring Kitchen challenges this month.

I have had this Martha Stewart Torrone recipe on deck for a LONG time and made my own changes to it, but felt the base recipe was easy enough for me to handle!

Done 2

And you-know-who is screaming WHY? And in the same breath WHERE’S MINE??

This was a bit fiddley. I was a bit hampered by not being in my own kitchen. I used a hand mixer that’s affixed to a bowl that turns, so it was a semi-stand mixer type piece of equipment … but not really.

It needs to sit and ‘dry’ a bit more, but man oh man, this is tasty stuff!

  • 2 pieces edible rice paper, (9 by 13 inches each) wafer paper
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 3 T light corn syrup
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C shelled salted pistachios, (about 7 ounces)
  • 1 1/3 C unsweetened finely shredded coconut, (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 C dried cherries

Place 1 piece of rice paper in a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet; set aside.

NOTE: I lightly buttered the sides of the baking dish. You’re going to trim them off anyway so it just makes removing the Torrone easier.

Put sugar, honey, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to simmer and sugar has dissolved, about 6 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.

NOTE: Aside from the no stand mixer problem, I also suffered from a no CANDY THERMOMETER problem. 300 degrees is hard ball stage. Drop a tiny amount of the boiling sugar into a cup with cold water, when it becomes a hard, crunchy mass once in the water, you’re done.

Meanwhile, put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Raise speed to high. Pour hot honey mixture into egg-white mixture in a slow, steady stream, and beat until mixture has cooled and thickened and begins to stick to whisk, about 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in vanilla, pistachios, coconut, and cranberries.

Working quickly, spread mixture into prepared dish. Place another sheet of rice paper on top; press down to flatten and spread evenly. Let cool on wire rack at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Ready to cut

Cut around edges of Torrone to loosen. Remove from baking sheet; transfer to a cutting board. Trim edges to be straight. Using a long, sharp knife, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Scoop

For Christmas (I am hanging my head in shame as I type) about 5 years ago (see, shameful) I was given an ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aide stand mixer. I have never had enough room in my freezer in Brooklyn to place the bowl. It sat in its box, in a corner, waving frantically at me, “Use me! USE ME! Oh, please use me!”

Fast forward … Maine. Huge chest freezer in the basement. First thing that went into it? The bowl for the ice cream attachment! YAY!

Home alone. Nothing to do. What to make? What to make?

“Hello! Hello? Psst! Hey, LADY! It’s me! You know, the lonely and now FREEZING ice cream bowl? Come on! Give it a whirl. You won’t be sorry! Don’t you just love ice cream?”

Love? Well, for me, it’s an affliction, really. The creamier the better. Crunchy bits? YES, MA’AM! But fortunately I have lots of will power where ice cream is concerned. See a new flavor … HAVE.TO.HAVE.IT! Buy it, have a few spoonfuls and never look at it again.

Well, I used to have willpower where ice cream was concerned. What happened? The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz happened and this fabulous recipe for chocolate ice cream! The flavor is so rich and intense, it is so lusciously creamy … well, all I can say is O.M.G. and thank goodness the Dear One was returning soon so he could eat a lot of this!

Oh, Kitchen Aide, thank you for making this ice cream make so easy to use!

Hmmm, what next? What can I add in next? What sort of flavor? Must have crunchy bits. Think it may have to be coffee ice cream with heath bars …

This makes about 1 quart of the best chocolate ice dream you have ever had!

  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 3 T unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 ozs bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract

Ingredients

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

NOTE: I used chocolate chips. I totally spaced the chocolate bar when I went food shopping!

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla.

Chilling

Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

Scoop Spoon

NOTE: This ice cream stayed really creamy and soft-ish in the freezer. What a delight!

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