Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fresh Mint Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I always loved peppermint bon-bon ice cream as a child...I think it was the mint flavor mostly, so fresh, and that lovely green color caught my eye of course!  But now that I have different tastes, and I no longer eat things that are artificially green colored...I haven't had any in quite a while.  So yesterday when I decided that I wanted to make fresh mint ice cream, I wondered how many of those good childhood memories of the lovely green ice cream would resurface.  I don't use chocolate in many things lately, because I have found that I am allergic to it I decided to leave the chocolate out this time.  I figured the mint on it's own would be just as good, and I wanted this to be a showcase of the fresh herb with no candy interference.  I did however include vanilla beans, because I enjoy mint and vanilla together, it is so wonderfully refreshing!  I used coconut milk instead of cream in my base because I actually prefer it to it's dairy counterpart in frozen desserts.  This ice cream was very simple to make, just throw all the ingredients in a blender whiz up and freeze!  It is wonderfully refreshing and delicious!  So much better than the peppermint ice cream I remember as a child!  The real mint is so fresh, and bright, and the mellow vanilla gives it that something can't just eat one bowl of this!  It is wonderful after dinner when you want to cleanse your pallate!  Try this out when you would like a cooling and refreshing ice cream this summer...this one is the freshest flavored I have had!

Fresh Mint Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
3/4 cup agave nectar
seeds of one vanilla bean
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender, and process until well blended and mint is very finely chopped. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to package directions (mine takes about an hour, and is still a little soupy like the consistency of a malt, but firms up in the freezer later). Pour into freezable container with a lid, and place in the freezer for at least a few hours, or overnight to firm up for best results. Makes about 4 cups of delicious ice cream!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cherry Coconut Oatmeal Scones

While I was on my run yesterday, I was thinking of possible ways to use some fabulous fresh cherries that I had on hand in a baked good...for some reason, I kept coming back to scones.  I have never had a fresh cherry scone before...dried yes, but not fresh.  So I decided that that was what I was going to make!  But I realized that I didn't have any heavy cream, which is usually a staple in my scones.  The solution, full fat coconut milk!  I thought it would be a wonderful replacement to the cream, and give the scones an extra sweet flavor that the regular cream doesn't have.  I decided that I wanted to include toasted large flake coconut in the scones to echo the coconut flavor of the milk, and also add some oats for texture...and not stopping there, I added a bit of spices that love coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg as well as a dash of vanilla.  The scones released a heavenly aroma while baking in the oven, sort of like a coconut oatmeal cookie, but better!  I had to have one before they cooled, and it was marvelous!  Kind of like an oatmeal cookie crossed with a scone, and the fresh cherries provided tart sweet pockets of flavor to bite into!  Much better than dried cherries in a scone!  You must try these before cherries go out of season...

Cherry Coconut Oatmeal Scones
Makes 8

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup maple sugar, or granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold organic butter, cut into chunks
1 cup toasted large flake coconut, toasted

1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1 cup cold full fat coconut milk (chilled in the fridge is best), mixed well
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz fresh organic cherries, quartered
coconut milk for brushing
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 with the rack set at the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture starts to clump into pea sized pieces. Mix in the coconut and oats.  In a small bowl, stir the vanilla into the coconut milk. Add the milk to the dough, and stir a few times, but do not overmix. The dough should hold together when squeezed, but still be clumpy. fold in cherries until evenly distributed. place dough on a floured work surface, and shape into a 4 inch wide log. Use a bench scraper to cut into trianges. There should be about 8. Place scones on the prepared baking sheet, reshaping slightly if necessary. Brush the tops with the coconut milk, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8