Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sesame Almond Honey Ice Cream

I had made an honey almond sesame mix to snack on, since I love salty sweet nuts, especially when made with honey.  I sometimes use nuts like this in a salad as a nice addition, but I was thinking they would be heavenly in an ice cream!  I know, almond and sesame seeds might sound like an unusual combo, but it is quite delicious!  I thought I could use the honey nuts and seeds the way buttered pecans are used in butter brickle...nice little islands of sweet and salty crunch in my ice cream...but I wouldn't stop there with the flavors!  I decided that the ice cream base would need to be sesame almond as well.  So I added tahini, for the sesame seed element,  because of it's flavor, and because nut butters make wonderfully silky ice cream.  I also added almond extract in addition to the standard vanilla to give it that extra vanilla flavor note.  I used coconut milk, for my base, because I prefer it to cream, but if you wanted to make this with dairy, you could use 2 cups heavy cream and one cup milk to substitute for the coconut.  But I find the coconut milk wonderfully sweet and silky.  When all was churned and frozen and it was time to taste the ice cream, I didn't just have a taste...well I had one, but then I had to have a large bowl...this is not something you can just have a sample of!  It was like a slightly exotic butter brickle but way better!  The almond tahini base was silky and wonderfully nutty...and the sweet and salty honey nuts and seeds were fabulous!  Like little surprises that you bit into!  Talk about a party in my mouth! 

Sesame Almond Honey Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
honey sesame seeds and almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp maple sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Ice Cream Base:
3 cups organic full fat coconut milk, chilled
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp almond extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

To make honey almonds and sesame seeds, heat oven to 375, line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. Toss nuts and seeds with honey, sugar, and sea salt and mix until well combined. Spread out on prepared sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes until seeds are fragrant and toasted. Remove pan from oven and let cool completley.  You  will only need some of these for the ice cream recipe, so you can snack on the rest!

To make base, combine all ingredients except nut mix in a blender, and process until well blended. 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). With a spoon, mix in about a third to a half of the honey nut and seed mix depending on how many chunks you like in your ice cream. Pour into a 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!

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