Posts tagged #ice cream

Hot fudge sauce for when it’s too damn hot: Grunings hot fudge recipe

I come from a long line of sweet-toothed women. My twin great aunts walked up and down the length of Manhattan in matching coats and high heels, window-shopping, visiting the Metropolitan Museum, or just plain shopping. Where did they get their energy and stamina? Every journey ended at Schrafft’s on Fifth Avenue for a hot fudge sundae.

Speaking of sundaes, Sunday lunch at my grandmother’s, a regular tradition until I was about eight when we moved too far away to make the drive, culminated in more of the same. As soon as the clearing up started, Uncle Eddie was dispatched to Grunings Ice Cream Parlor for coffee ice cream and hot fudge sauce. In addition to aunts, uncles and cousins, my grandmother’s younger sisters were faithfully at the table. I couldn’t tell them apart, and anyway, we always referred to them as Twinnies. They had names—Bea and Vi—short for Beatrice and Viola; but to us, and I think even at times to themselves, they were a single entity: The Twins. Their love of sweets, along with their high heels and shiny red nail polish were woven into the fabric of family legend. Twinnies laughed and winked at me conspiratorially as I dug into the sundae that punctuated every Sunday meal. They greeted the pleasure of hot fudge that hardened over cold ice cream and then stuck to your teeth with fresh enthusiasm every single week.

Time, as is its wont, eventually extinguished the Sunday lunches. Even Grunings, a family-owned northern New Jersey ice cream haunt that held strong for some eighty odd years, bit the dust some time in the late 1980s. Luckily, I found at least four dog-eared cards in my mother’s old recipe box (they really, really, really liked it). All were attributed to various family members with more or less the same recipe (Grunings) in different quantities. I picked one and revised it slightly—oh how the younger generations just can’t leave well enough alone. But I didn’t mess with it too much. I swapped out the evaporated milk for heavy cream and bumped up the chocolate by an ounce.  I don’t think you’ll mind. So, if you have about ten minutes to spare and want to make something easy for a modern Sunday lunch cooked outside on the grill, this hot fudge is the ticket to assuage a raging sweet tooth when it’s just too damn hot to turn on the oven.

Grandmother’s (Grunings) hot fudge sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cups (8 ounces) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 pinch salt

3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Stir cream, brown sugar, butter and salt over medium heat in a small saucepan until the cream comes to a boil and the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to low and stir in the chocolate. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is “glossy.” You’ll know exactly what that means when you get there. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve hot. The sauce can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

Posted on July 5, 2012 and filed under Sweets.

An appetite for life: strawberry mango ice cream recipe, for Marina Keegan

It’s strawberry season in New England. Fat, juicy strawberries—not those bland, watered-down versions that we’ve been trying to pass off as fruit all winter—are now ours for the taking. They are sweet, luscious, full of life, full of intensity. We must savor them while we can. Their season is short.

We don’t think of ourselves as having a season. We go along with our ups and downs, with our ins and outs, with our personal little dramas. If we are lucky and if we choose it, we grow up and have children. We hug those children, feed them, watch them grow. They bring us immeasurable joy and sometimes pain. Then, if we are very, very lucky, if we are careful not to interfere too much, if we guide them lightly without burdening them with our own expectations and unfulfilled dreams, our children become passionate, engaged and joyful human beings. They have an appetite for life.

I want to discover the doubters in the shadows of the Taj, learn from the pilgrims pious only to mankind. I want to eat mangos with the orphans at the Kurukshetra Humanist School and tunnel the atheist transcripts in the ancient libraries of Delhi. I want to trace India’s rivers and railways for non-theist seeds – seeds planted by Gora and Roy and the authors of Hindi tradition. I want to go to India because I’m curious. Curious about the country and curious about myself. Curious about the crescendo of a secular movement for social change that’s setting a global precedent; a precedent with potential to alter the future of the nation and the world.

These are the words that my son’s close friend Marina wrote two years ago in her grant application to fund a study of Humanism in India for the summer. She got the grant; and she invited Luke along to travel with her. They shared a perfect set of qualities that engender good travel and enduring friendship: one part adventurer, one part intellectual seeker, one part fun-lover, one part possessor of humor and wit, all dashed together with a healthy measure of ebb and flow that make travel enjoyable for two people in close, often crazy, but never boring circumstances.

Her  words recall to me a life before. Do you remember? That time before the trappings of adulthood started to close in and make us forget the limitless sense of possibility that Marina had? The trappings that, if we are not watchful, will very subtly dull our appetite for living. With a few more years on us, the weight of our anxieties, problems, and past experiences start to accumulate, and we forget. We forget to take a bite out of every day. We forget to wake up and look around and say: WowLook at this. Look at all this.

“This” is absolutely wonderful. “This” is absolutely horrendous. “This” is everything and nothing all at once. Wow.

Marina Keegan died in a car accident just five days after her graduation from Yale. She was about to move to Brooklyn to share an apartment with Luke and some college friends. She was already exceptionally accomplished as a writer, but it was just the beginning. She intended to start a job at the New Yorker in a few weeks.  Her play will be produced in Central Park this summer. And much, much more.

Like the strawberries in season right now, Marina was intense, juicy, sweet. One of her professors, Deb Margolin, described her:

Marina Keegan and Death are two incompatible concepts for me. It is a parallax vast and unbridgeable. This was a young woman of outrageous intellect, probity, humor, hope. Her brilliance had a restive and relentless quality. She was all legs, all brains.

She was also immensely kind. She agonized over so many issues: “How can I eat at Taco Bell if it can save a child in Africa?” Marina saw the mess of our world yet still remained hopeful, still wished to make it a better place. Above all, Marina knew how to be a friend.

Marina’s last essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, has reverberated around the internet, as have so many of the words she left behind. You can read them here. I hope you will. I hope they will change you, wake you up. I hope you will take a bite out of life today and relish it, and say to yourself, Wow. I hope, as Marina so fervently wished, you will  “do something to this world.” I hope, as she implores, you will BEGIN from wherever you are now.

We don’t know the length of the season that is allotted us. I hope we can all be more like Marina.

She had an appetite for life.

Marina in Jaipur

On the Ganges

Desert near the Pakistani border

At the Beatles' ashram

Preparing an 'American meal' at the orphanage

Strawberry Mango Ice Cream Recipe, for Marina

Makes about 6 cups

This recipe is a bit free form. It started as frozen yogurt, but needed more richness, so I added cream. The yogurt gives it a little tartness, but you could use all cream. Sweeten to taste—you  may want to add more honey or agave syrup. The mangoes, yogurt and rosewater were meant to evoke India.

1 quart strawberries, halved

2 to 3 mangoes to make about 2 cups of mango chunks (frozen will do)

1/2 cup agave syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon rosewater, or to taste

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Chill until cold. Churn in an ice cream maker.

Gimme candy, gimme ice cream, gimme sugar: honeycomb ice cream recipe

Back in the olden days, i.e., my childhood, we made our own amusements all summer long. Unlike modern mothers—myself and others, you know who you are—our mothers were not particularly interested in how we passed the time. If we were bored, they certainly did not perceive it as their problem.

There’s the door, go out and play.

One summer, a pack of pre-adolescent girls took a bike ride. We whizzed past flowering rosa rugosa, honeysuckle, and mysterious, deep pine woods as we pedaled the flat pavement on the mainland side of Barnegat Bay at the Jersey shore. The morning turned hot, so we veered down shady lanes and sped along without the resistance of hills or wind to slow us, until late afternoon. Where were we? We wended our way back in what we hoped was the direction of home. A posse of station wagons approached. Angry parents! Scolding! We were miles from home! This is the only actual parental intervention I remember from summers of yore.

So, what did we do when we had reached the outer limits of boredom? We made candy. I have a very tolerant aunt to thank for that.  Aunt Eileen allowed, no, encouraged my cousins and me to tear up her kitchen in pursuit of sugar. She had a droll sense of humor and a sweet tooth as prodigious as any nine-year-old girl. She handed us her legendary recipe for fudge—I remember it involved marshmallow fluff—and let us have at it. After fudge, there were rice krispie treats (more marshmallows) and eventually taffy. Burned in my memory is an image as clear as a photograph: three cousins on the front steps, pigtails, short shorts, tiny tee shirts, skinny legs and all. Eat a little, pull a little, eat a little, pull a little. Aunt Eileen in the background, only too happy to test the results.

Recently Elise (Simply Recipes) Bauer posted a recipe for Coffee Heath Bar Ice Cream. Hold the phone! Those are two of my absolute favorite flavors! They called up memories of candy making and summer, and inspired the following idea for honeycomb ice cream. Besides, it is officially National Ice Cream month. 

Don’t be fooled by the name and think you are getting something natural: the candy is all about sugar, even though I used organic cane sugar here. The name comes from the air pockets that permeate the candy and make it look like a honeycomb. It is at least as sweet. The resulting ice cream has edgy, grown-up, burnt sugar flavors, and boy, is it good.  I won’t lie. I am a sucker for edgy, grown-up, burnt sugar flavors.

First you must make the candy. I haven’t made honeycomb candy since, well, since I can’t remember. Maybe I never made it. I can tell you it is quick to accomplish, especially if you avoid the missteps I made, which I willingly share with you forthwith.  After that, make basic ice cream custard. Finally, send the mixture through a painless churn in the ice cream maker and stir in more crushed candy before packing it into a storage container.  Just try to find something like this in the freezer case at your local market.

Honeycomb Candy Recipe

Vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup organic cane sugar or white granulated sugar

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

A pinch of salt

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it lightly with vegetable oil spray. Set it next to the stove. Sift the baking soda twice into a small bowl and set it next to the stove. Have a silicone, heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon nearby.

2. Pour the water, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. (The candy will bubble up to at least four times its volume, so the pan should hold at least 2 quarts.) Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Shake the pan from time to time to keep the sugar from burning at the edges, but do not stir. Cook until large, even bubbles form and the candy looks like dark caramel. Theoretically this should measure 300 degrees on a candy thermometer, but pay attention to the way it looks and smells. Your thermometer may not be precisely accurate and you risk burning the sugar. My thermometer measured in at 275 degrees.

3. Pick up your spatula with one hand and sprinkle the baking soda into the pot with the other. Immediately stir as briefly as possible with the spatula, just long enough to mix in the baking soda. The candy will billow up tremendously, which is a good thing. Try not to deflate it by over stirring.  Immediately scrape it onto the awaiting parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let it cool.

4. Break the candy into pieces and store it in an airtight container in the freezer if not using right away. The candy is very hydroscopic, which means, it sucks moisture out of the atmosphere like nobody’s business and becomes a sticky mess in no time.

5. To crush the candy for ice cream, place it between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and lightly tap with a rolling pin. It is light and airy, so it doesn’t take much force to break it up into coarse crumbs.

Look and Cook: How to make honeycomb candy

Pour the water, sugar, honey, salt and vanilla into a saucepan. Cook it over medium heat without stirring.  Shake the pan from time to time, and cook until large, even bubbles form and the syrup looks like dark caramel. With just a few strokes of a heatproof silicone spatula, stir in the sifted baking soda. It will billow up, don't try to stir it down and deflate it.

Immediately pour it onto a baking sheet lined with oiled parchment paper. The baking soda forms uneven air pockets that make it look like a honeycomb when you break it apart.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Even though I hopefully (and generously) buttered a baking sheet, the candy stuck to the pan. Line the pan with non-stick parchment and spray it lightly with vegetable oil for insurance.

If you still don't believe me, this is how the candy looks if you use the oiled parchment paper.


Honeycomb Ice Cream Recipe

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup honey

5 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed honeycomb candy

1. Combine the cream, milk and honey in a heavy saucepan (2 quarts or larger), and heat over medium heat until scalding (tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pot.)

2. Whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl. Set the bowl on top of a damp paper towel or dishcloth to keep it from sliding around. Whisking constantly, gradually dribble about half the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Still whisking constantly, add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining cream.

3. Use a heatproof spatula to stir the custard constantly over medium-low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 170 degrees measured on a thermometer.  Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the mixture to catch any little bits of egg that may have cooked and solidified. Stir in the vanilla, almond extract and 1/2 cup of the crushed honeycomb candy. Reserve the remaining 1 cup of crushed candy in an airtight container in the freezer to mix into the ice cream later. Refrigerate the custard until very cold, 4 to 6 hours or overnight. The candy will dissolve into the cream.

4. Churn the ice cream base in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

5. Remove the churning paddle and carefully stir in the remaining 1cup crushed honeycomb candy. Pack into a container and freeze for several hours, or until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.

More ice cream from around the web:

Salted butter caramel ice cream

(David Lebovitz) and many more

Bitter chocolate ice cream

(Leite's Culinaria)

Dulce de leche ice cream

(Smitten Kitchen)

Coffee heath bar crunch ice cream

(Simply Recipes) and many more

How to make ice cream without a machine

(David Lebovitz)

Mint chocolate chip ice cream

 (Cooking Lessons)

Orange frozen yogurt

 (Cooking Lessons)

Posted on July 20, 2011 and filed under Summer food, Sweets.

Further adventures in dairy: mint chocolate chip ice cream

“I hate mint.”

Oh dear.

I had a sinking feeling as I drove out to my friend Louis’s house that he was one of those. Mint Haters. I can’t keep my friends’ predilections strait. Me, I’ll eat almost anything, so I forget about the cilantro-haters, the mint-haters, the fish-haters. Or at least, I can’t remember  who’s who.  I thought I was bringing a special surprise treat to end our feast. Better luck next time.

I look forward all year to suppers on Louis’s screened porch.  He is a close friend, so there is never any fussing. And he is always honest. I count on him for that, even when it’s not convenient.  The other night he picked up some fish and a couple of lemon cucumbers. All he asked of me was to bring along some herbs from my garden, and we would figure out dinner when I got there. I’ll have to fill you in on the recipe later, when I nail it down, but it involved tarragon. A lot of tarragon. Now, you’d think a mint hater would also be a tarragon hater. You would be wrong.  In truth, it was lucky that Man of the House was out of town. We missed him, but he is fan of neither fish nor tarragon.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a lot of milk from Catherine’s cow.  What’s lovely and old-fashioned about that milk is that it has several inches of luscious, thick cream floating on top. I could just shake it into the milk and drink it defiantly, but instead I saved it for making a batch of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

So many flavors, so little time. Traditional ice cream is basically custard sauce with flavorings. Once you’ve nailed down the custard sauce, it’s easy and fun to improvise on the flavors. To make the sauce, you need to separate eggs. Apparently this is too much to ask of you. (The Boston Globe discourages publication of recipes that require this task.) Would you really balk at the prospect of separating an egg? I don't think so. But just in case, here's how:

First lesson: separate the eggs. If you are new at this, here's how: Break an egg by tapping it on the counter instead of on the side of the bowl. In the side-of-the-bowl method you risk breaking the yolk and/or dispersing little shards of shell where you don’t want them (and thereby encouraging contamination).  So gently tap the side of the egg on the counter. Hold on there cowboy, you are not trying to smash the egg to smithereens. Now, hold the egg over a bowl and with your two thumbs, prise the shell open. Let the white dribble into the bowl as you pour the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell and drop the yolk into a separate bowl.  The best way to retrieve bits of shell and/or unwanted yolk (if you are using the whites for meringue, for instance) from a bowl of whites is with the edge of an empty eggshell half.

The second lesson here is tempering the eggs when you make the custard. You don’t want scrambled bits of egg in the custard, so instead of dumping the yolks into hot liquid, you gradually beat a little of the hot liquid into the yolks and THEN pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook just until the custard coats the back of a spoon. If you want to be more precise when you are learning how to do this use a thermometer. Stop the cooking at 160°. Too much heat will also scramble the eggs, so go slowly and stir constantly.

Lecture over.  Back to the ice cream. Louis, being a good sport agreed to a wee taste. I love it when I surprise people and change their minds about something.

“This isn’t mint ice cream! At least, it’s not like anything I’ve ever tasted (e.g., green and overly sweet.)  It’s so fresh, so natural, so subtle!”

Did I mention how good a friend Louis is? Yet I trust he would not lie just to save my feelings. The proof is in the eating: we polished off all of it and I’m not telling who ate the lion’s share.


The snappy yet subtle flavor of this ice cream is coaxed from fresh mint leaves infused in hot cream. This process invites invention. Think of the leaves of other herbs like lemon verbena, Thai basil, regular basil, rose-scented geranium or lavender flowers. Put a little romance in your ice cream, that’s why you bought the machine, isn’t it? This flavor probably should be called mint chocolate shard ice cream: the chips are not little rocks of chocolate, but flat slivers that melt in your mouth.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (makes about 1 quart)

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

2 cups fresh mint leaves, torn in pieces if they are large

1/2 cup sugar

5 egg yolks

4 ounces (1 cup) chopped bittersweet chocolate

1. Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan (2 quarts or larger), and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, stir in the mint leaves and set aside for 1 hour.

2. Return the cream to a simmer. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and strain the cream, pressing on the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon to extract every drop of minty goodness. Discard the leaves.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk. Set the bowl on top of a damp paper towel or dishcloth to stabilize it, and gradually pour in the hot liquid (about 1/4 cup at a time) whisking constantly. When about half of the hot cream has been added, return it to the saucepan with the remaining cream.

4. Stir the custard constantly over medium-low heat until it coats the back of a spoon, about 160° on an instant read thermometer.  Strain the mixture (again) into a bowl to catch any little bits of egg that may have solidified. Refrigerate until very cold, 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

5. Line a small, flat tray with parchment or waxed paper. Make sure it will fit into your freezer.

 6. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Pour it onto the paper-lined tray and spread it in a thin layer. Freeze until firm and brittle.

7. Churn the ice cream mix in an ice cream maker according to directions.

8. When the ice cream is frozen but still slightly soft,  remove the chocolate from the freezer. Break it into pieces with your hands and then roll it up in the paper and crumple it to break it some more. If it becomes soft, return it to the freezer for a few minutes. Add it to the ice cream and churn it for about 1 minute, until the chips are mixed into the ice cream. Pack in a storage container and freeze for several hours, or until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.

P.S. If you are feeling too lazy for this (it is summer, after all, you needn’t be ambitious) try this frozen yogurt


Posted on July 24, 2010 and filed under Frozen desserts, Summer food.