Usually, I am a lazy person when I make ice cream. That means no custard bases for me — my ice creams have milk, cream and sugar, but never will you see an egg yolk in the ingredient list.
But when I thought about a traditional vanilla bean recipe, I realized that if I wanted the subtle, deep flavor that accompanies the best vanilla recipes, it needed to be a custard base.
And, even more importantly, it needed a really good vanilla bean. When I was contacted by Singing Dog Vanilla a month or two ago, I agreed to try their vanilla beans, not really knowing what quality they’d be. When they arrived, I was so impressed with the biodegradable packaging and the “Free Trade Plus” program they use for their farmers. But, as great a selling point as both of those are, they would have meant nothing if the beans hadn’t been good.
And they weren’t good — they were amazing. Without hesitation, I will say that they were the best vanilla beans I’ve ever gotten my hands on, and I’ve bought them locally from spice importers in NYC, in bottles and packages in grocery stores, and tried them in cooking classes. These were so moist and fresh, and I got more seeds out of one bean than I usually do out of two — I would have felt totally comfortable using half of one of these beans in the recipe, still guaranteeing strong vanilla flavor.
Which brings me to the exciting news: Two of you, lucky readers, can win a package of these vanilla beans I’m raving about! Just leave a comment to this post, and I’ll pick two winners randomly next week. Hopefully you guys will love them as much as I do!
Honey Vanilla Ice Cream
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
1/4 cup honey
Over low heat, mix the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks, and heat, stirring frequently with a whisk, until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove the mixture from the heat, and whisk in the milk, vanilla bean seeds and honey, stirring until combined. Process in an ice cream maker for 45 minutes, and then freeze overnight until the ice cream reaches the consistency you prefer.
Tags: desserts · food
December 13th, 2019 · 9 Comments
I have found the secret to perfect meringues, every single time. No more worries about humidity or temperature, no more whipping and whipping until you’re blue in the face, only to produce soft peaks. And as an added bonus, no more worries about eggs expiring in your fridge.
Because my secret to meringues is so painfully obvious: egg white powder. I actually mentioned it in my last recipe post, because I used it for royal icing, in which the egg whites are never cooked. But ever since then, whenever I have a recipe that calls for whipped egg whites, guess what makes my life so much easier? That very same jar of egg white powder.
Just make sure you buy the kind with no added sugar. This stuff isn’t cheap, and you don’t want to pay more for something you probably have on hand or could buy for a lot less. I found mine at a specialty cooking store, but you can also buy it on Amazon here.
Now go make these for Valentine’s day!
Peppermint Meringue Recipe
4 tbsp egg white powder and 7 tbsp water (or substitute 2 egg whites)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Whip the egg whites until thick and foamy. Mix together the sugar, peppermint extract and cream of tarter, and add the misture gradually. Continue to whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks (you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing falls out).
Bake for 90 minutes to two hours, or until meringues are firmly set.
Makes about 20 meringues.
Tags: desserts · food
Remember last month when I complained about my lace cookie disaster? And remember when I vowed to tackle them again, because I knew they had potential for greatness?
Well, my opportunity came only a week later, when I was invited to a friend’s dinner party, and happily volunteered to bring a dessert. And because I really, really, wanted to get this recipe right (and because another guest was safely bringing an additional dessert, so it would be ok if mine crashed and burned), I decided to give lace cookies another try.
But crash and burn they did not. Rather, my friends found them so addictive that everyone ate two or three (not a problem — this recipe makes a lot of cookies!). Not to mention that they provided us with some serious energy, because somehow the entire party would up at a Karaoke bar at 3:30 in the morning. I blame the cookies. (What’s that you say? The wine? Oh, yeah, maybe that too).
Either way, these cookies are great. They’re totally unique — they don’t have a taste or a texture like standard cookies, which makes them a little bit more elegant, I think. They would also be GREAT for layering in pastries, because they’re extremely crisp and have a really interesting texture. That being said, they definitely snap when you bite into them, so don’t expect to bake a large sheet and cut it into squares after it’s dry!
Chocolate-Drizzled Oatmeal Lace Cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup oats, chopped in food processor
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
6 tbsp melted butter (until the foam subsides)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt
For the ganache:
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp heavy cream
In a food processor, pulse the raw oats several times until they become small pieces. While that is going, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Combine all ingredients for the cookies in a large bowl and stir to combine. Spoon onto baking sheets by the teaspoon, placing each cookie at least 3″ apart from others (they spread a lot!). Bake at 425 for 6-8 minutes, or until cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown around the edges. Let them cool completely on the baking sheets before sliding them off with a spatula.
For the chocolate drizzle, melt chocolate chips and 2 tbsp heavy cream for 15 seconds in the microwave on high heat. Stir to combine — if there are lumps, heat for an additional 5 seconds at a time. Spoon the ganache into a squeeze bottle and use it to drizzle chocolate onto the cookies, either on the cooled baking sheets or on a wire rack. Serve!
Makes about 24-30 cookies.
Tags: desserts · food