Ice Cream that high-fives your taste buds.

Everyday Flavors

Breakfast Dessert

Wow. In the not-so-great words of Staind, “It’s been awhile.”  I haven’t written/made ice cream since February?! Holy smokes what have I been doing? Have I been stuck on a piece of gum this whole time? Trapped in an elevator? Participating in an epic arm wrestling match? Doubtful. I digress…

I got recharged for ice cream when I saw that Pop Tarts were on sale so I gently cocked my head to the side and said to myself “yes, you should make some of that right now.”

Strawberry Pop Tart Mug Shot

I have pretty fond memories of frosted strawberry Pop Tarts. My milk consumption skyrocketed every time one of these sleek pastry envelopes exited the toaster. Between the boiling lava “strawberry” injection inside and the dry as dessert pastry outside, my taste buds wanted nothing but cold and refreshing milk to diffuse the situation. It was like Back Draft for my mouth. I figured a vanilla bean base would a good counterpart to the 2 for $5 pastry and I still stand by my love for strawberry Pop Tarts. Fa life.

They were on sale.

Breakfast for Dessert – Strawberry Pop Tart

It won’t burn your mouth…promise.

It seems like Pop Tarts took on the same brand experimentation that its other 90’s counterpart Lunchables took on. Meaning, ANY FLAVOR GOES. Lunchables went from compact, neatly sliced “meat” and “cheese” and crackers to full on Thanksgiving feasts. I noticed the other day that Lunchables have no boundaries, they just keep expanding their packaging to fit a turkey leg, 7 layer dip, all you can eat buffet, you name it, Lunchables will put in a box. As for Pop Tarts, they have expanded to actually having ice cream flavors but I wanted to keep it old school and felt loyal to my two favorite flavors, strawberry and brown sugar.

Brown Sugar Pop Tart Mug Shot

Breakfast for Dessert – Brown Sugar

This is my last batch for awhile (again), but I have big plans to eat ice cream in 6 different countries over the course of the next month. Customs can’t stop me for having deliciousness in my stomach can they? NOT.


Bastani Jan

Da who? “Bastani” means ice cream in Farsi and “Jan” is used when referring to a friend or someone you care for, so if your friend’s name is Pickles and you adore her, then she would would be Pickles Jan. (If you have a friend  named “Jan” then she is DOUBLE AWESOME.) How do I know all this? Did I live in Iran for a decade? Maybs. NOT! My dear friend at work is Persian and he taught me a thing or two and since this ice cream was for him, I figured I would name is something meaningful.

Afshin Jan brought in Persian ice cream to work once and then I had it at a restaurant and liked it very much. It’s extremely unique in flavor, much like Persian cuisine which I am a huge fan of. There are three major ingredients that make up Persian ice cream: saffron, rose water and pistachios. But before we get there we need to talk about texture because I don’t leave home without it. Bastani is MEGA creamy and smooth so don’t expect it to hang around for awhile in that cone or dish of yours. This sucker is on a mission to get to know your taste buds and is not playing  hard to get. Let us begin with the essentials…

saffron mugshot

I never really had much saffron in my life, but me oh my am I excited about it. It’s a really rare spice that only yields a limited amount of “threads” which is the other form it takes, hence why it’s a hot commodity and so pricey. I opted for powder because in this form it’s simple to mix vs. the threads which need to be seeped in order to release their flavor. Just to confirm, you aren’t crazy…what you see above is a deep maroon color…in a couple of minutes you will see something completely different in color. My sous chef is a unicorn and is about to perform some magic…

rose water mugshot

The next ingredient is rose water which is a really strong flavor and usually what you taste the most in Persian ice cream. It’s extremely flavorful and you feel like you are sitting in a bed of roses when a large gust of wind comes in and delicately places a few petals on your tongue as you unassumingly yawn/stretch.  Get the picture?

pistachio mouth

This guy is clearly singing:

Nothing really much more to say than that.

I did add egg yolks because I wanted the texture true to form…CREAMY MANIA. This is how we did…

Bastani-Jan

I actually don’t think this photo does it justice…this thing WAS YELLOW. (Like Coldplay “yellow”). As mentioned earlier, my unicorn sous chef wiggled its horn and cracked its knuckles and voila…maroon powder turns into bright yellow! I really enjoyed this one…though next time I might tone down the rose water and let the saffron play in the sun a bit more. Afshin Jan loved the surprise which made it even better!


G.C.L (Goat Cheese Lemon)

G.C.L sounds like some kind of Ford Taurus model. Regardless it is what I have named this flavor. Let’s start by saying that cheese is one of my all time favorite foods on the planet. I always have it in some form in my refrigerator and goat cheese is my #2 most favorite type. (Havarti takes #1 and  I am guilty of liking really “bad cheese” like velveta and the square fluid-like cheese found in handi-snacks). Drum roll please for The Goat:

Goat Cheese Mugshot

Awhile back I tried goat cheese gelato  from Holy Gelato and liked it but it was very rich and I got bored with it after a few bites. I remembered wishing I had mixed it with another flavor to break up the possessive relationship the goat cheese was having on my taste buds. I originally was going to  mix it with fig but after I tasted a wee sample of the goat cheese base with mashed up figs I wasn’t convinced this is how I wanted to go. Enter the lemon. I squeezed a whole lemon into the goat cheese base and let the games begin. The base was thick and looked like Elmir’s glue so I  imagined this appetizer flavor would come out creamy and soft. Not the case. It was very firm even though I added two tablespoons of corn starch which was a surprise, but after letting it sit out for a wee bit it was good to go.

G.C.L (Goat Cheese Lemon)

I really liked this one…can see it’s not for everyone but the lemon did wonderful things. It brightened up the tangy goat cheese taste and it was really light on the buds (taste). I’d make this again and serve it before a meal because it would be a cool (pun intended..not..well sorta) to start things off.

Goat Cheese Lemon Ice Cream


Twinkie Feast

Twinkies kind of look like some dog’s tails, short, stubby and cute.

Twinkie Mugshot

You can feel the slightly damp cake in this shot which is why I love Twinkies. They are greasy and oily but still light and you don’t feel ALL that bad after eating one or two. (kinda).

Twinkie X-Ray

I made this for a “guilty pleasure” themed gathering which was in very good company. Chicken nuggets, Popeye’s biscuits, donuts, fries, cheap wine and the list goes on. DROOL.

I chopped up some Twinkies and mixed it with a vanilla bean base. I did do some different stuff with the base this time around. I substituted heavy whipping cream with half and half and again used corn starch instead of eggs.  I only used one Tbsp of corn starch and it was a great level of hardness..not too soft but not rock hard either. The vanilla bean really came out in this one verse others I’ve made with using all heavy whipping cream.

Twinkie Feast

Soft, airy, cloud-like cake can sometimes take on a stale flavor when in ice cream because when you mix it in ice cream it’s wet at that point, and makes it a wee bit soggy. The cream really held up though which is more or less the best part of a Twinkie anyway. I went nuts with the photos…it just photographed so well!

Aerial View of Twinkie Feast

Twinkie Log


Salted Caramel Mirage

Mirage? Yep. Visually I can’t believe how good this flavor looked. The studies and big brain people say that food that looks appealing tastes better…ab.so.lu.tely. For this post, I’m going to be like Momento and work backwards:

Salted Caramel Nose

Looks like a clown nose minus the creepy intentions.

Caramel Top Hat

Follow the Salted Caramel Road

HOLD.ME. As a self proclaimed texture freak, this is like looking at the Mona Lisa..I just don’t know where to begin.

You can’t really speak of ice cream in SF without bringing up Bi-Rite and their dominance of salted caramel which is why I was intimidated. If you live in SF you get it. Bi-Rite OWNS Salted Caramel.

I made this for a special occasion. A friend at work requested it as she was moving a bookmark to a new chapter. I  knew this was going to be different than any other ice cream I’ve made…caramel is tricky because you are turning this:

Sugar Mugshot

into this:

Caramel

Sorry Inspector Gadget, I won’t be needing your bungee arm for this one, all I need is heat to make caramel.  I threw in one cup of white sugar in a sauce pan and let that sucker burn until it turned to an amber color. Then I threw in some cream which solidified the caramel into a semi-solid-not-really-blob-thing:

Caramel Hockey Puck

I let this caramel hockey puck  fully dissolve in the cream which took some time. While those two got to know each other I warmed egg yolks, milk, more cream and a bit more sugar in a separate pan. [insert jazz hands]

After the hockey puck of caramel dissolved, I put in a bowl to cool down and added some sea salt and a hint of vanilla.

Salt Mugshot

Once it was cooled and ready to roll, I added the egg yolk/milk mixture and had a lovely base ready to freeze.

Not going to beat around the bush…IT.WAS. AMAZING. This dream  flavor  not only satisfies my taste buds but photography nerdness.  I have a huge crush on this ice cream…I can’t stop looking at it and batting my eyelashes.


Philly’s Finest

My friend who got the mint cookie’s and cream in the previous post also got this surprise flavor which I’m going to call Philly’s Finest. How come she got two flavors?! She’s my cube mate at work who puts up with my voices, antics and me ignoring her questions because I have my headphones on.  She is also a friend who helped me at the ice cream event so I wanted to show my appreciation.

If you don’t know Tastykakes, they are a Philadelphia treat made of a sponge cake and  butterscotch frosting. My Philly friend visited a few months ago and brought a bunch back to work which I saved specifically to experiment with.

Tastykake

Tastykake X-Ray

I was thinking of a flavor that would play nice with the butterscotch frosting so I opted for a sweetening libation: Maker’s Mark. I used probably around 1 Tbsp of the warm and buttery liquor which happens to be my favorite spirit.

Maker's Bottle

I also threw vanilla bean guts in and got this very rich and creamy base that was flirting with the little Philly cake. Once again I used corn starch instead of eggs and it remained creamy and soft.

Philly's Finest


Mint Cookies n’ Cream

It was my “favorite girl from Philly’s” birthday and when I asked her what flavor she wanted she said “Well I like Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookies and Cream.”  I have just the cure!

Mint & Oreo Mugshot

DOUBLE STUFF WHAAAAATTTT!! Just look at that extra millimeter of cream! I think I have made a mint base at least a half of dozen times by now and every time I learn something new. This time I learned that it totally depends on the freshness of the mint used. I made this flavor twice in one weekend and noticed the second batch came out better because the mint was in better shape. It was like the first batch was Arnold Swarchenegger in Kindergarten Cop and the second batch was Arnold in Total Recall..one was timid and gentle and the other was out of control good.

mint cookies and cream

I have been dabbling with a new method of using corn starch instead of egg yolks. Why? I adore the creaminess that egg yolks provide but I do notice that it affects the flavor and I have been reading others who have tried corn starch and swear by it. I have made three batches now with corn starch and have to say I really like it. This ice cream was very creamy and soft, almost sticky and in my opinion a little too soft. I’m going to continue to experiment with the corn starch method and see how different flavors freeze with it.

Mini Cup

Loved this flavor. Natural mint is so wonderful and dapper. You know when it enters a room because it’s so sharp and gracious with it’s offering.  This flavor is like the Don Draper of flavors, slick, cool and guilty with pleasure.