A Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream for Mom

bourbon vanilla

It’s a special occasion whenever family comes into town.  Tom’s mom came into town for a short visit and wanted to make ice cream with us.  While her favorite flavor is plain vanilla, we decided to add another layer of complexity to the flavor by adding bourbon to the mix.  While we think it’s just grand, if you aren’t feeling boozy, just omit the bourbon altogether.  You’ll still have a delicious spoonful to enjoy with pie, cake, etc. without fussing with the additional steps.

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The Ice Cream Sandwich

The history of the ice cream sandwich is a little bit foggy, but many signs point to it being an American food.  In 1900 a man on the Lower East Side was said to have sold quarter-inch slabs of ice cream between two water wafers. Pictures from the Jersey Shore in 1905 show a horse-drawn cart selling ice cream sandwiches for one cent, and one of the first appearances of the modern ice cream sandwich was at Forbes Field, in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The New York Times even mentions the food as early as 1928.  The ice cream sandwich spawned many frozen treats including the Eskimo Pie, originally called the I-Scream-Bar, and I was unable to find an instance of the ice cream sandwich being eaten in the world before its United States debut.  The town of Blue Earth, in Minnesota, claims to be the birthplace of the ice cream sandwich, but fails to back up their claim to fame.

ice cream sandwiches: a truly american food.Michael’s first ice cream sandwich ever from Melt Bakery.

Last summer was when we realized that the ice cream sandwich might actually be something truly American. Michael, founder and creative director of Hong Kong Honey, was visiting New York working with our good friends at Brooklyn Homesteader.  We all headed down to Parked! Food Truck Fest for some delicious treats and our excursion ended by sharing a couple of ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery.  One was a chocolate concoction, and other was the inspired combination of ginger ice cream with lemon sable cookies.

Michael mentioned that he had never had an ice cream sandwich before, and we talked about how truly American the food was.  He was surprised when he opened the package when it revealed cookies on the outside instead of bread.

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Sage Browned Butter Ice Cream (with a bonus cookie recipe!)

This is part two in our series of pizza appropriate savory ice creams.  There was a point where we were just throwing out delicious herbs and thinking about how they were best used in savory foods.  Browning sage in butter is one of the first steps in making an excellent Thanksgiving meal.  And browned butter is just plain delicious and decadent.

sage browned butter- earl grey openThe three important flavor components to our ice cream sandwiches

However, butter is not high on the roster of common ice cream flavors.  It does play an important role in a great proportion of sweet baked goods, so we knew there had to be something to it.  We were kind of clueless on how to make a browned butter into an ice cream component.  Luckily, Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams has a “Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream” that acted, very loosely, as our guide to this butter alchemy.  We made a couple changes, namely lowering the amount of butter (she uses three sticks!) and the addition of some lemon zest and the substitution of light brown instead of white sugar.  The results are surprisingly sweet and just the right amount of buttery.

After tasting the ice cream, we thought it would pair nicely with a shortbread, another dessert that prominently features butter.  The recipe for a favorite Earl Grey Tea shortbread, which naturally highlights compliments the hints of citrus, follows the ice cream recipe.  These ice cream sandwiches are like a butter explosion!

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Rosemary Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Shavings

rosemary frozen yogurt

Rosemary Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Shavings

When we were dreaming up this blog, one of our main objectives was to make this project collaborative.  Our friends have great ideas and we try to make them happen.  That means we talk about ice cream a lot.  However, at the heart of it, the next two posts are pizza party themed.  That’s right, we baked.

photo by Anoop Ranganath.

We’ve been planning a pizza party for awhile and we wanted to do some flavors on the savory spectrum.  One of our dear friends in Richmond, VA knows a lot about herbs and had many suggestions, including this flavor combination, based on a rosemary mocha drink she had at a local cafe.

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Milk Chocolate: Ice Cream versus Frozen Yogurt

milk chocolate frozen yogurt and ice cream

Milk Chocolate Frozen Yogurt (left) and Ice Cream (right)

As we both have quite the sweet tooth for chocolate, we knew we had to make a satisfactory chocolate frozen treat.  I say frozen treat without specifying ice cream or frozen yogurt because we equally appreciate the two for their inherent qualities: Yogurt has that undercurrent of tartness, while ice cream has that milky sweetness that reminds you of childhood treats.  Also, we had a little mix-up when making our most recent batch.

We had every intention of making chocolate frozen yogurt.  Our very first frozen adventure was, in fact, a woefully hard-freezing and icy chocolate with pretzels and mini marshmallow frozen yogurt, made from the recipe that came with the ice cream maker instruction booklet. Lesson learned: Don’t make our mistake and use the recipe that comes with your machine. It practically guarantees icy cold disappointment.  We felt we needed to redeem chocolate frozen yogurt after that first mess.

However, in the rush to get our batch done in the morning before a busy Sunday afternoon, we forgot to modify the recipe we were using to accommodate the yogurt and therefore forgot all about the bowl of strained yogurt that waited so patiently in the fridge.  After acknowledging the bummer, we decided to make the recipe both ways to compare the results.

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