Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First popsicles, now ice cream? Yes, because it's PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE!!!

Making popsicles in the Zoku reminded me of my old Donvier Ice Cream maker. We bought it back in the 90s, and design-wise, it's similar to the Zoku. You've got a metal canister filled with coolant that goes in the freezer, and once the coolant is frozen you put the ice cream wannabe liquid in the canister & crank the dasher occasionally. 20 minutes or so later and you get soft serve. Freeze it to get full-blown ice cream. Sweet!

My favorite flavor of ice cream, since my youth, has been peanut butter & chocolate. No, not peanut butter ice cream with chocolate bits. That's just so wrong, Ben & Jerry! You want it like old school Baskin Robbins, where I enjoyed many pb & c cones as a child. Chocolate ice cream with peanut butter chunks...that's good eatin'! So now at 41 years old I decide it's time to make some pb & c ice cream at home, since I've got this Donvier machine waiting to be used again. I planned to make Cook's Illustrated chocolate ice cream & then add peanut butter, so I searched for "peanut butter chocolate ice cream" to get ingredients for the peanut butter "ribbon". And the first recipe that came up was from Joy the Baker's site, . Looking at the recipe, I said, heck, I'm just going to try this one! I found the use of cornstarch in the base instead of eggs particularly intriguing, especially since I'm not very fond of eggs. (Cookies & cakes & meatloaves are fine for eggs. Raw or partially cooked eggs are yucky, IMO. And I only eat scrambled eggs once or twice a year. They are just not my favorite thing.)

I did a few things differently from her recipe. I used darker chocolate (a Dutch cocoa blend for the cocoa, and a 60% semisweet/bittersweet chocolate chip) in order to get a richer chocolate flavor. I also added some agave syrup (probably no more than 1/4 cup) to the natural peanut butter to sweeten the pb, since I think they usually sweeten the peanut butter in the commercial recipes. You can find Joy's original Double Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream here: . And yes, you should go there. :)

The other difference for me, aside from the different chocolate and the sweetened pb, is that I didn't have whole milk on hand. So I used 1 1/2 cups of 2% milk plus 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream for the 2 cups of whole milk, and used 1/4 cup 2% and 1/4% heavy whipping cream for the 1/2 cup of whole milk that gets mixed with the cornstarch. Hey, don't judge; it worked out ok. :)

And tastewise? Well, I'm blogging about it, aren't I? :D Really, really good ice cream. The texture is akin to a super-premium ice cream like Ben & Jerry's , although part of the texture will depend on your ice cream maker. (The more air that gets whipped into the ice cream, the "icier" and less dense your final product will be, I believe.) I like to think this ice cream is what frozen Nutella would be like, if Nutella was made with peanuts instead of hazelnuts. Maybe it comes off more like a frozen custard or frozen pudding, but I don't care. I just want to eat it! Chances are if you're a pb & c freak like me, you'll want it,too.

My new "6 sticks" rule

Made strawberry/pineapple/coconut Zoku popsicles yesterday. But before I could make them, I needed to make a run over to Williams Sonoma for more sticks. I've come to the conclusion that if you ever want to make more than 1 flavor of popsicles with the Zoku, you better have a good supply of sticks! The 6 that come with the machine just don't cut it for more than a single batch, and it doesn't look like those things are going to multiply on their own. I'd say plan to have at LEAST 6 sticks per batch of popsicles, and more than that is even better. I ended up needing 10 for the s/p/c popsicles yesterday, which was all I had on hand since I still had 2 plain strawberry in the freezer. Of course, you can always keep your popsicle base in the fridge until you get some of your current popsicles eaten. ;)

So, word of warning, when you're buying your Zoku, pick up extra sticks. $12 for a box of 6. You're welcome. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer? What happened to spring?

LOL, I just checked & saw that I last posted here at the end of January! Talk about neglect!

We're in full summer mode here. 100 degree temps. Dips in the kiddie pool. Staying in the air conditioned house a lot. And now popsicles. I bought some Caribbean popsicles from Aldi that I love. My favorite fruit flavors are involved: strawberry, pineapple, and coconut. (Also mango & passionfruit.) Those three flavors were in my favorite smoothie from Frullati: the Affinity. I don't even think they make the Affinity anymore although I think you can get a similar smoothie there. Anyways, these popsicles are close and now when I taste them, they will make me think of summer.

And speaking of popsicles...last weekend we broke down & bought a Zoku Quick Pop maker. My friend Sara had bought one recently & raved about it, so I was curious. (Visit Sara's blog at .) And since I could easily see myself spending hundreds of dollars on Caribbean popsicles for myself (not to mention strawberry ones for my son), I thought, hey, I really need to start making them at home instead of buying them. So...$50 later & about 24 hours later, we made our first batch of strawberry popsicles. Still being a novice to the Zoku, we did have the popsicles stick on us, but once we got them out of the machine, they were delicious! Just like a really sweet, cold strawberry. I used a recipe from which you can find here: . I'm guessing the water in the recipe may have made the pops stick too much, so I need to tweak it 'til I get it right. Tastewise, as I said, they were awesome!

I also hunted down a mocha popsicle recipe I'm going to try, as well as the pineapple & coconut recipe from Zoku's blog ( ). So I'll be busy freezing this summer instead of baking, I think. Although...I did want to make some inspired-by-strawberry-lemonade cookies soon. We'll see if I'm desperate enough to run the oven during a 100 degree day! :)

'til next time!