WARNING: This blog post may make you gain weight.
Last weekend, our AMAZING neighbors invited us over for a casual barbecue. We live in a nice neighborhood, but what makes it truly great is the community that we're working on building. (My contribution to community building is baked goods, in case you were curious.)
It was a pot luck arrangement, and we were assigned dessert. In case you didn't know, dessert is a BIG DEAL. Everyone remembers dessert; especially if it's good. A bad dessert will *literally* leave a bad taste in people's mouths. (Top Chef proves this over and over and over again.) I needed something that EVERYONE would love, from age 2 on up, for a hot day.
Ice cream. PERFECT!
To make ice cream, you need to do a little planning. You need ingredients (duh), a recipe (or book of DELICIOUS recipes):
An ice cream maker:
I say we require planning because both ice cream makers have freezer bowls, which really do need to be frozen 24 hours in advance of use. Fortunately, ours live in my Standing Freezer of Love (Dr. Chill, whom I got as a Valentine's Day gift when we got Richard Blaze), ready at a moment's notice to serve my whims. And serve they do!
If you clicked through, you'll see that the smaller one claims to be a 1 1/2 quart ice cream maker- which is a lie. It does 1 quart comfortably. When Costco put the 2 quart one on sale, I snapped it up with the intention of finding a new home for the smaller one.
I could talk about all the varied paths my good intentions are busy paving, but we can skip that, right?
I decided to do two quarts of a tried-and-true favorite, the Ben & Jerry's Sweet Cream. Then, I picked up my trusty copy of The Perfect Scoop and picked out the Aztec "Hot" Chocolate recipe. Pepper is chocolate anything is all the rage these days, and this ice cream is a prime example why. It's totally, 100%, full of MMMMMMM.
(Recipe notes, I used Penzey's Dutch Process Cocoa, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile powder. I actually use Penzey's spices exclusively in my cooking; they're excellent and extremely well-priced. No affiliation, just a happy customer.)
But three quarts felt... unbalanced. We had chocolate and "un"-vanilla. And half a flat of fresh strawberries. Any other woman would have sliced the strawberries and served them on the side. Not me.
I flipped through my trusty ice cream recipe book and found the recipe for Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream. The thing you need to know is that I HATE STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM.
Or so I thought.
Apparently, store-bought ice cream tastes nasty, and homemade ice cream tastes like absolute heaven. It curls your toes and feeds your soul. And it takes a minimum of effort. (By minimum, I mean macerate strawberries, blend, chill, throw in ice cream maker, eat.)
It was so easy, we through together a double batch for the knitting group at the last minute- and it was ready about 10 minutes after they showed up.
The ice cream? Was a resounding hit with the neighbors, their kids, and the knitting group.
Do yourself a favor. Make some ice cream. Just be warned: it's completely addictive, and totally worth it.