I am pretty sure at the end of every Cook the Books month I wish I had made more. August was no exception. If you’ve followed along, you know I’ve had a good reason. Due to how the situation kept changing and progressing, things have been a blur since April. I’ve been in & out-of-town. Even when I am at home, I’m just trying to hold it all together anyway I can. Somehow in there, August ended. It is over and I don’t actually remember any of summer happening.
Needless to say, the freezer isn’t full of amazing homemade ice cream concoctions, as planned. I knew what I wanted, Ginger Ice Cream (with crushed Newman’s Own Ginger-O’s). Mint Ice Cream (again with the cookies, crushed Newman’s Owns Hint o’ Mint was what I wanted.) And, no freezer full of popsicles.
So, what did I make?
- “Daddy Tracks” (based on Vanilla/Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl recipe p. 123) I told you about the first batch that I made for my Dad once we brought him home on hospice care. It ended up being my favorite. A vanilla base with peanut butter, chopped peanut butter cups, kit-kats, and a dulce de leche swirl.
- Butter Brickle (based on Brown Butter Pecan recipe p.124) My Mom came up for 2 days after my Dad died. She has always liked something called Butter Brickle ice cream, which is a flavor you don’t really find much. It is sort of toffee-ish. I followed the recipe for the Brown Butter Pecan ice cream, but instead of pecans I added Heath toffee bits. It was rich and delicious!
- Lime-Blackberry Ice Pops (p. 146) Usually in August I make countless trips to pick wild blackberries down the street. The freezer gets stocked with bags and bags to have the rest of the year. This year, we managed just one berry picking trip. At the Babylady’s request, made popsicles. They turned out incredibly tart, because even though the recipe called for 2:1 simple syrup, I decided to just go with the simple syrup I already had in the fridge. (Grief fog is real people!) I always have assorted simple syrups in the fridge for cocktails or sodas, but they tend to be closer to a 1:1 ratio. I added quite a bit of sugar to decrease the tartness to more of our liking. I really like them, and they are beautiful, but could probably go a bit sweeter. You know, or I could follow the directions. A friend suggested dipping them tequila, a thought that is likely brilliant.
- Blackberry Ice Cream (p.143) and Strawberry Ice Cream (based on Blackberry recipe p.143) I really like fruit ice cream, but the ratio of heavy cream-to-milk (1&¾ cups heavy cream to ¾ cup milk) is just too much. It creams out the fresh fruit flavor. I favor a more balanced 1 cup heavy cream mix – still very rich, still fabulous, but not so reminiscant of whipped cream (which I, incidentally, don’t like).
- Vanilla Ice Cream (p.35) The plain vanilla ice cream is rich and nearly perfect. As above, I would probably switch the ratio of heavy cream-to-milk, but for some reason the vanilla can take the heaviness of all that cream. A perfect base to experiment with!
- Sugar (cone) Bowls (p.46) Full disclaimer: I don’t order ice cream in cones as I find them to be either stale or cloyingly sweet. And, sort of beside the point of the ice cream. I’d rather just have a straight up cookie on the side that actually tastes good than a mediocore (at best) cookie-like thing to hold my ice cream. Still, I thought the Babylady might find them fun, so I gave them a go. I tried several go-arounds and ultimately through the rest of the batter out. They either stuck to the cup and wouldn’t come off or they wouldn’t bend around the cup because they were too stiff. Or, if they did achieve a bowl-like shape, they slumped. But more importantly, they just didn’t taste good. Too buttery in a way that tasted odd with the ice cream. I actually took a picture of the strawberry and vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone/bowl, but the kiddo decimated it with sprinkles and it looked a bit like Hello Kitty exploded. Sorry. Or, you can thank me later.
- Did the recipes taste good? I think the book is, generally, solid. I wish I could have tried more of the unique flavor ideas (such as earl grey tea, or crème fraîche) or put together some ice cream sandwiches or a cake.
- Would I use it again? Yep, most definitely. I still have a lot of recipes bookmarked to try and I want to make them with lower heavy cream to suit my own taste preference. I am certain that the recipes all work and taste great, with a little personal tweeking.
- Is it reliable? Yes.
- Does it use real food? Yes.
- Can I replicate the recipes and are the results worth the effort? Yes. The instructions are clearly written and easy to follow. Most of the recipes follow the same general base and instructions, making it easy to get the hang of and them improvise.
Other: I’ve made ice cream in the past and there really isn’t anything hard about it. However, it is one of those things that seems like it will be a lot of effort if I haven’t done it in awhile. Making so many batches over the course of a month has sealed how easy it is into my brain. I’m excited to fiddle with the cream ratio and try out some new flavors!
Another month under our belts! We are two-thirds done and I’m pretty thrilled with our next selection, Jerusalem! Check in with Briggs in the next day or so for a full wrap-up of the participants from this month.