Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ice Cream and "The Perfect Scoop"

Ice cream is a quintessential summer treat. You really can not beat the cold, creamy, deliciousness of it and it seems especially great when the sun is shining and the weather is warm. My first memory of ice cream is of the ice cream man coming to our neighborhood and playing his little tune, usually when I was supposed to be taking a nap. I really do not remember ever getting to buy any ice cream from that little truck, but the idea of it sounded so fun to me! My next memory of ice cream is going to Dairy  Queen with my dad as a little girl and ordering chocolate dip cones. Yum! Those are probably still one of my favorite treats. After that comes memories of going to Baskin' Robbins because it was in the same mini-mall as my dad's office. For some reason I remember taking money out of his cash box to go buy ice cream cones- probably I was not supposed to be doing that now that I am thinking about it! I am not picky about ice cream. I really like any flavor and I enjoy all types-- soft serve to hard freeze. The past few summers I have been into the simple vanilla cone from McDonalds. I am usually strongly against going to McDonalds, but they do have a good low-fat vanilla cone that hits the spot for less than $2.00. 
When we were creating our wedding registry, I added an ice cream maker as a whim. I really did not  think we would get it and I knew it wasn't something I would buy for myself. I wasn't even sure if I would really use it if we did get it. I definitely prefer making food at home instead of buying it, but ice cream seemed a little daunting. Well we received the ice cream maker as one of our first gifts! I did think seriously for one day about taking it back, but Aaron told me to keep it and that it might be fun to try out. Could it be that he really likes ice cream?? Well I started by making plain vanilla ice cream using some vanilla that we got on our honeymoon in Mexico. The flavor was excellent- rich, deep vanilla, but the texture was a little icy. I kept experimenting, trying an ice cream sweetened with agave nectar next. Good flavor, but still the texture was icy and hard. Rocky road for Aaron's birthday came next, and then I learned about Dave. David Lebovitz is a pastry chef who lives in Paris and a wonderful blog. He specializes in desserts and he has an entire book dedicated to ice cream- The Perfect Scoop. I think his book has me sold on continuing to use our ice cream maker.

There are recipes in this book for just about any type of ice cream you can think of and more. Chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, raspberry-chocolate, Guinness-milk chocolate, and hot-chocolate ice cream start it off. Then you will find green tea, cinnamon, fresh ginger, malted milk, and orange popsicle ice cream. Almost every type of fruit or herb and even some vegetables have an ice cream recipe in this book. Plus the last chapter is full of all types of toppings and accompaniments. How to choose?! I decided to start with mint ice cream. Mint chocolate chip ice cream has always been one of my favorites and I am growing fresh mint in my herb garden. There probably could not be a better way to use that mint than homemade ice cream! The final product was fantastic! The flavor, the texture, the color. I loved it and I can't wait to try more recipes from this book! There is a very similar recipe on David's website in case you are interested- mint chip ice cream.Otherwise, grab a spoon and eat your favorite scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!

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