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Ice Cream Social

Every summer when I was a kid, our church held an ice-cream social.  I know it may sound a bit “Little House on the Prairie”,  but it really was fun and coincidentally since L.H. is my favorite show of all time, quite fitting I suppose.

It was worth sitting outside in the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity of Midwestern summers… ice cream melting down my hand,  a sweet & sticky mess and completely content.

In the fall,  it was fresh-pressed hot apple cider and cake donuts which were also swoon-worthy, but more on that another time.

The ice cream socials were the highlight of the summer church events.  We would eat as much ice cream as we could get away with until we were nearly in a sugar coma.  If given the opportunity,  I could would still eat ice cream ad nauseam.

I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I have an entire set. 

Strangely I don’t normally like desserts that are cloyingly sweet,  I like them to bring a little something else to the table beyond pure sugar.

While I do border on needing a program for my insatiable sweet tooth  (Hello. My name is Cheryl.  I have a problem with sugar…)  My Achilles heal is ice cream.  

There is something about that sweet frozen yumminess. The unctuous “mouth-feel” of ice cream, the way it sits on your tongue and  freezes your whole mouth until the dreaded brain freeze sets in.

Some people like plain old vanilla, with nothing in it.  Not my style.  I’m more of a pralines & cream, or chocolate with ancho chili kind of girl.   The smooth richness of the ice cream is what pulls me in,  but the “goodies” are what keep me coming back. 

I like stuff in my ice cream,  whether it’s nuts, cake bits, fruit, candy or (speaking of unctuous)  especially ribbons of salted caramel…  it needs texture.

I received an ice cream maker for Christmas a few years ago and have yet to use it, so I thought what better way to try it out than publicly through a blog on the Internet where if I screw it up I can look like an idiot for all eternity.   No problem.

When I was in high school, I met someone who would eventually become a good friend of mine.  She is from Lebanon and she introduced me to flavors that I had never had before.  To this day, her’s is the best baklava I’ve ever tasted.  It was unique and not overly sweet, as most tend to be.  It was flavored with rose water and pistachios and these flavors remind me of her and they are still some of my favorites.

I wanted to make something unusual and beautiful but it had to be delicious,  so I’m taking the flavors from Nona’s baklava and using them for my ice cream. 

The ice cream maker I have is a Cuisinart Flavor Duo.  It has side by side bowls that each hold 1 quart of ice cream.  The recipe will yield 1 quart of ice cream,  if your ice cream maker is larger or smaller, you will need to adjust the quantities.

Rose Water & Pistachio Ice Cream

  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup half & half  (or heavy cream)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. rosewater (find in Middle Eastern market or online)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  1. Whisk milk & sugar together for 1 – 2 minutes until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in half & half, salt, vanilla, rosewater & food coloring.  Whisk another minute until everything is thoroughly combined and salt is dissolved.
  3. Turn machine on,  pour liquid in through top and let it run for 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Add in the pistachios and let it mix for 5 minutes.   
  5. Done!  Ice cream will be like soft-serve at this stage.  If you prefer it more frozen,  transfer into airtight plastic container and freeze for 2 hours.

and now, for the advanced class:

Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut

This ice cream requires a bit of cooking,  but nothing too taxing.   It is a variation on the base recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer.  She is an ice cream genius based in Columbus, Ohio.

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half or whole milk  (+ 1/4 cup on the side for slurry)
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • Ice bath= a medium sized bowl filled with ice water
  1. To toast coconut, place on sheet pan and bake for 3 minutes at 350 degrees.  Move it around and put back in for another minute or two.  It will go from golden brown to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  2. In a small bowl,  combine the quarter cup of milk and cornstarch.  Whisk to combine & set aside.
  3. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the coconut milk, half & half (or milk), sugar and salt; bring to a boil over med-high heat.  Cook for 4 minutes.  DO NOT walk away from the pot of boiling milk.  It can boil over very quickly, adjust the flame if it is too high to keep it at a steady low boil.
  4. Stir in the slurry.  Return to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. (about 2 minutes)
  5. Place cream cheese in a bowl and pour a half cup of the hot milk mixture over it and whisk until smooth.   Whisk in the rest of the milk mixture.
  6. Pour mixture into resealable plastic bag (ziplock) and seal, trying to get out as much air as possible.  Submerge bag in ice bath until chilled.
  7. Snip corner off of plastic bag and pour into ice cream maker. 
  8. When there is approximately 5 minutes left for ice cream to finish, add in the toasted coconut and let it mix to combine.
  9. Transfer into plastic storage container and freeze until set.

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