I am going to be surrounded by 600 plus elementary school kids for the remainder of this week and all of next week. I am the chairperson for my daughter’s school book fair. I’ve been doing this gig for about three years now. It is super time consuming as I prep all the take home flyers (oh how I wish our school would get on board with a paperless communication system), host two days of back-to-back classroom preview periods, and then open up for a week of sales. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
But I love books and I love how the kids get so excited about
spending their parents’ money reading.
As I thought about what to post during these jam-packed days, I admit I was puzzled. I wouldn’t be home to photograph my activities in the kitchen. I wouldn’t be home to do a garden or spring cleaning update. I wouldn’t
have a life time to do any of that.
But I would have time to make home made ice cream. And with the warm and windy weather we’re having today, I think the timing is right. Then again, when is the timing not right for ice cream?
Move over store-bought ice cream, there’s a new sheriff in town! Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever go back to store bought ice cream again. The taste of home made ice cream is amazing, the ingredients are straight-forward and everything is under your control; no high fructose-this and partially-hydrogenated-that. And virtually any flavor combination that you enjoy can be made into ice cream. How about cappuccino for the exhausted book fair coordinator?
Here’s what you’ll need. There’s one thing missing from this photo…
You’ll also need this. Sorry people, but this is the way I roll. I’ve seen some recipes out there for ice cream without an ice cream maker, but I’m sticking with this guy. Any type of ice cream maker will work. Electric is better for obvious reasons, but if you’ve got one of those hand-cranked kinds and any kids hanging around saying they’ve got nothing to do you can put them on it.
You will need 6 egg yolks. Save the whites for a breakfast or dinner omelet.
Sugar and pinch of salt into the bowl along with the yolks.
Mix until it is combined and let it sit while you go to the next step.
Put 3 cups of half-and-half into a heavy pot over medium-low heat and watch it constantly until tiny bubbles begin to appear and a little vapor of steam comes off the top. It doesn’t take long so don’t walk away for a minute. Even if your kids are arguing over a bunch of petty stuff and you’re about to come out of your own skin…be a good soldier and don’t leave your post. Just tell them you’re going to put them outside to carry on their argument for the benefit of the neighbors…works every time…except this one. Please learn from my experience and save yourself a trip back to the store to buy some more half-and-half.
Take your pot of heated half-and-half and head over to the bowl with the yolks, sugar and salt. Turn your mixer back on and slowly pour the heated half-and-half into the mixture. Careful here. This is hot stuff which is why I couldn’t photograph and pour at the same time. Also, you don’t want scrambled eggs, so pouring slowly while the mixer is on low is key.
Quickly wipe out the pot and remove any of the “skin” that is left in the pot. You’re going to pour the mixture back into this pot and need all that goop out of there.
Heat again and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and you can make a line down the back of the spoon with your finger.
Like this. This was the batch that needed to be dumped, but you can see what I mean on the spoon. If you can tell the mixture has thickened while you’re stirring it (after 5 to 10 minutes) , just remove it from the heat and forgo the ol’ finger-on-the-spoon technique. There is a tendency to over-cook at this stage, and you don’t want to do that.
Pour through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl in case you have any little chunks (and you probably will). Add the espresso, cinnamon, vanilla and Kahlua (another perk).
Whisk it all together, cover with plastic wrap after you sneak a little taste, and put it in the refrigerator until it is completely chilled. Overnight works well.
Pour chilled mixture into frozen ice cream container. (Please note you need to plan ahead and make sure the bowl of the ice cream maker is placed into your freezer and is completely frozen before you get to this stage.)
You can add chocolate covered espresso beans or an espresso flavored candy. I usually use chocolate covered espresso beans, but I found these little Espresso Pillows at Trader Joe’s in the check out line. Roughly chop them and do the same if you’re using the chocolate covered espresso beans, which are delicious by the way.
See the ice cream getting to the soft serve consistency? That’s when you add the espresso beans or candy.
Scoop all of the ice cream out and into a freezer-safe container. It should freeze for a bit unless you like your ice cream at this super soft stage. If you freeze it, let it sit out for a few minutes before you scoop it.
See all of those lovely specks of espresso and the candy bits covered in chocolate? It’s like a frozen cappuccino, and it will definitely be the pick-me-up treat I will need. Sorry kids, this one is just for the grown-ups!
Cappuccino Ice Cream
3 cups half-and-half
6 extra-large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-1/2 tablespoons ground espresso beans, decaffeinated or regular
1 tablespoon Kahlua liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chocolate-covered espresso beans, chopped
Heat the half-and-half until it forms bubbles around the edge of the pot and steam starts to rise. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar and salt until mixed. Slowly add the hot half-and-half until combined. Wipe out the pot and pour the mixture back into the clean pot. Cook over medium-low heat (low heat is recommended), stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s thickened and the ice cream coats the back of the spoon well enough that you can run your finger down the back of the spoon and the mixture doesn’t run. It is easy to over cook at this step, so if you can tell the mixture has thickened, just remove it from the heat.. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, Kahlua, and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Pour the espresso cream into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Mix in the chopped espresso beans, spoon into a container and allow to freeze for a few hours. Soften slightly before serving.
I do the egg, sugar, and salt mixing before I heat the half-and-half, so I can focus on the temperature.
You can substitute any chocolate candy that looks like espresso beans instead of using the chocolate covered espresso beans.
Be sure to use finely ground espresso beans, not instant espresso.
(adapted from Ina Garten and she calls it Espresso Ice Cream, but I turned it into cappuccino by adding the cinnamon)