Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 33: Balsamic and Black Pepper Gelato

So I figured it was time to make one of the weird ones. I was a little skeptical that this wouldn't turn out well but I had to give it a shot. And as it turned out it was great. Balsamic vinegar is sweet on its own but when its mixed with a creamy sweet base you really taste the vinegar's sourness. But no part of its flavor is overpowering. There is just enough of each flavor to make it interesting. The pepper punch sort of hits the back of your throat as you finish a bite. Its an interesting combination of a cold dessert being spicy. But I could see this becoming addictive. Its the type of thing that you could easily use as a simple desert after a rich meal. It would be better in small portions because I think for some it would get too overwhelming. Id like to combine other vinegar's and spices and see what I could come up with. Maybe an apple cider vinegar with cinnamon perhaps?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week 32: Cinnamon Let Me In

Back on schedule. Today I made Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream. I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle cinnamon flavor that this has. I was afraid that it might have a strong eggnog taste but it isn't too bad. The texture is rich and smooth. The cinnamon didn't give it a graininess or chalkiness. It has a nice hint of cinnamon, like if you made cinnamon sugar on toast. Something crunchy like a honey roasted peanut or toasted walnut would be a great topping. I could see a nice caramel drizzle on it, like a snicker doodle. It would make a great ice cream sandwich between two graham crackers or sugar cookies. I didn't find it overly sweet so I think it would be ok to pair it with something a bit sweeter. I am really happy with this one. The addition of the cinnamon stick, not just ground cinnamon, did a lot for this. Its worth spending a little it to get the extra flavor. Even though the recipe didn't call for it I added a little vanilla extract. I think all ice cream needs it. This is a definite keeper. Easy, versatile, and comforting.

Week 31: Salty and Sweet

So I'm finally catching up, last week I made Pretzel and Chocolate Gelato. The recipe in the book called for a vanilla base with chocolate chips and pretzels. I favored a chocolate base with pretzels so that's how I did it. I may go back and try it her way sometime. One strong opinion I have to make on chocolate based ice cream ( since its been almost a year of making ice cream) is to use Baker's brand chocolate. I think it has a stronger chocolate flavor like what you would get from using cocoa powder but doesn't have a chalkiness that I find occurs with using chocolate chips. Even good Ghiradelli chips do leave some chalkiness. I also think it dissolves into the milk mixture better. It probably has a higher fat content that makes it a bit creamier too. All around I think it makes a superior chocolate base. From there you can add anything you want into it. I put pretzels in this  batch. Now there comes a texture choice. If you like the pretzels to be crunchy, which I prefer, you add them as a topping or mix them in yourself right before you eat the ice cream. If you like them soft, mix them into the batch as it churns. Words of wisdom: You may think you like the pretzels soft but after a few days they really get too squishy. It changes the texture and you don't enjoy the chocolate flavor as much. I should have put them on separately, but that's how I am able to give you such good advice. The other great thing about the crunchy pretzel on top is that you really get the good salt flavor. Its a great contrast to the rich creamy chocolate. When the pretzels sit in the ice cream the salt just sort of mixes in and you don't get that yin yang. I'm toying around with the idea of using chocolate covered pretzels in hopes that they might stay crisp and deepen the chocolate flavor. Any thoughts?

You just can't go wrong with chocolate and pretzels!

Week 30: This S#*t is Bananas

This was made several weeks ago and like usual I didn't get around to blogging about it. So here we go.

When I typically think of sorbet I think of a certain texture that is icy. However when you make sorbet from pureed overripe bananas and sugar syrup you end up with a smooth smooshy texture. Don't get me wrong it still tastes good but it doesn't scream sorbet to me. Maybe if the mixture was watered down more it may make an icier mix when frozen. Bananas are one of the only fruits that I really like just the way they are. We'll chocolate covered is even better but aside from that overripe bananas are not my favorite. Overripe bananas are essential to banana bread and that's where I think they should stay put. Its just a little to weird for me like this. I hate to hate on something like this but if you really love the taste of overripe bananas you will love this. I am definitely placing too strong an opposition to this. Sorry banana lovers :(
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