Frozen Treats


P1160679
I recently tried cake batter ice cream for the first time. The kid in me really enjoyed it. After all, my birthday cake of choice, even still, is Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden with homemade chocolate lovers’ frosting. Yeah, they changed the name, but it’ll always be “Butter Recipe Golden” to me.

P1160628

Now how silly is that, really? Let’s make homemade gelato so it’s made with fresh–often local–ingredients. Then let’s add in boxed cake mix and junk it up. Hmm. In a word, YES! And why? Because we can. And because some things just plain taste good even if they’re a little trashtastic. You only live once. Let’s enjoy the ride. With rainbow shots. WHEEEEEEEE!

KATTY’S CAKE BATTER GELATO

1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, halved the long way and scraped
½ to 3/4 of a cup (I went all out and used 3/4, but ½ might do the trick just as nicely) boxed cake mix

Combine milk and cream in a saucepan. Scrape vanilla bean seeds with the tip of a sharp knife. Add both seeds and pod to the milk mixture.

Heat on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, remove pod. Whisk in cake batter. Let cool to room temperature. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. And now, time to spin it up: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

I wanted little rainbow goodies in mine, as I had in the cone I tried. But I learned it’s better to sprinkle the shots–sprinkles, Jimmies, nonpareils–over the top when you serve the gelato. It’s a party and you’re invited!

P1160680Buon caturday and happy weekend, amici!

P1160190

I often say I’m a lucky ladybug. I try all sorts of things and am decently successful at many of them. Except for math, perhaps. And when it comes to making popsicles, there’s a bit of math and science in the mix, especially where alcohol is concerned.

A dear friend sent me rocket popsicle molds earlier this summer and I couldn’t wait to try them. “I’ll make coconut margarita popsicles!” Now, your friend The Kat tends to pour generously. That’s a mistake when you’re trying to fuel rockets to freeze. I filled the molds, placed them in their tray in the freezer for a good 48 hours, and invited my #1 taster to try them with me after work.

BUT THEY WERE LIQUID.
THEY DID NOT FREEZE WHATSOEVER.
SO WE DRANK THEM.

They were damn fine margaritas (I’ll share soon!), but they weren’t popsicles. Lesson learned. Mission aborted–or, rather, repurposed. Less alcohol for rocket launch. And at last, we have liftoff! Guitar! Drums!

Remember Fudgesicles? These are the Vietnamese grown-up version. Slightly fudgy, wicked coffee, icy and refreshing. NOM!

VIETNAMESE COFFEE POPSICLES

1½ tablespoons strong ground coffee (I use decaf Cafe Du Monde–you know me, I don’t lack energy!)
1¼ cups hot water
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon Malibu rum
1½ teaspoons cocoa powder
1½  teaspoons milk

I have a neato contraption to brew Vietnamese coffee individually, just as they do in restaurants.

P1160180

I used it to brew bit by bit as 1¼ cups of water is more than it will hold at one time.

Brew coffee. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, milk, cocoa powder and Malibu. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. My rocket molds need 1/2 inch of space to allow for expansion. You don’t want them to liftoff without you, after all. Freeze and enjoy!

P1160186

P1150971
Up till tonight, I thought my absolute favorite gelato was fresh mint stracciatella. And that is a special summertime treat. But my friend Chu suggested I make a coconut gelato. Hmm, OK. I’m always up for something new.

I love words. And I love Mounds! Yet sometimes words fail me. What words could possibly describe Mounds gelato? A coconut-infused stracciatella with buzzed-up bits of moist coconut, the lovely addition of not one, but two different rums and a drizzle of dark chocolate?

With apologies to Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins, I give you supercali-hella-licious–because I do think I have a new favorite here, amici! Rich, creamy, cool and coconutty–everything you’d expect a homemade Mounds gelato to be.

MOUNDS GELATO

1 ½ cups whole milk (Arethusa Farm these days—from Litchfield, CT–remains my very favorite, have you tried it yet?)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup Baker’s Angel Flake coconut (sweetened)
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon Malibu rum
1 tablespoon spiced rum (try Brinley Gold Shipwreck or use a dark rum)
pinch salt
¼ cup (2 oz.) dark chocolate (I ♥ Valrhona feves)

Heat milk, heavy cream, coconut and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. I used my Oxo Good Grips potato masher to press on the coconut throughout the process. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour. Discard vanilla bean.

Transfer milk/cream/coconut mixture to a food processor. Pulse to chop up the coconut. Add back to pan.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to milk/cream/coconut, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. Of course, the coconut won’t pass through the sieve, so fold that right back into the bowl. Stir in salt, rums and almond extract. Let cool to room temperature. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. And now, time to spin it up: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions

While your gelato processes, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave. When the gelato is almost finished (aim for 5 minutes before it’s time to turn off the machine), use your spatula to drizzle the melted chocolate S-L-O-W-L-Y, carefully and patiently in a fine stream. I try to zigzag back and forth to make a continuous line. The chocolate will harden in tiny bits and streaks that make the gelato uniquely stracciatella and not just ordinary chocolate chip!

Mounds of deliciousness await you, amici! Dig in! And stay cool!

P1150985

P1140767

I’ve been longing to give Vietnamese coffee gelato a whirl for a while. It’s a natural flavor choice for Katty’s Kitchen–my base gelato recipe is made with that magical ingredient, sweetened condensed milk, just like Vietnamese iced coffee. If you like a nice, strong Vietnamese iced coffee,  you’re gonna love this gelato recipe. I solemnly swear!

As anyone who knows this kat personally can attest, I rarely lack for extra energy. So, I steer clear of caffeine and stick to decaf, but feel free to fire up with high test if you like the extra boost. It’ll keep ya jumpin’ east of Java! I use Café du Monde as they do in many Vietnamese restaurants in my area. I can’t remember where I bought it, but I’m willing to bet you’ll find it locally at A Dong Supermarket in Elmwood’s Shield Street Plaza or Kien Oriental Market on Park Street in Hartford. If not, check with your local Vietnamese restaurant to see where they get their coffee.

Oh, and while we’re going local, I’d like to send a special shout-out to my friend Michele, whose glorious yard-fresh (yeah, talk about free-range!) eggs yolks made this gelato eggs-tra special EGGS-CELLENT!

VIETNAMESE COFFEE GELATO

1¼ cups whole milk + ¼ cup after milk is infused (I’m very fond of Arethusa Farm these days—from Litchfield, CT)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks (thank you, Michele!)
¼ cup Café du Monde ground coffee
pinch salt

Heat 1¼ cups milk, heavy cream and coffee grounds on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain through a tea strainer. Yup, a tea strainer. Just be patient and stir the grounds as you go. It works! This yields a very thick coffee concentrate.

P1140735

1 ¼ cups is what I measured after it had infused, so I added ¼ whole milk back to the mixture to bring us back to 1 ½ cups of dairy.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, let cool to room temperature. Stir in salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 20 minutes. It makes the custard nice and thick. Next, it’s time for the spin cycle: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Enjoy!

P1140749

For your gelato or ice cream or simply your spoon, there’s nothing like creamy peanut butter sauce. As a native New Englander, I’ve always loved the peanut butter sauce at Friendly’s. But it struck me I might love it even more with a bourbon caramel twist–so I made it happen. And so can you. Ready?

PEANUT BUTTER BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE

First, make the salted caramel. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, whisk together:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter
good pinch of Kosher salt

Continue to whisk till sugar dissolves, then cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and add:

2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark bourbon
¼ cup light Karo syrup
½ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Nature’s Promise–Stop & Shop’s organic label)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

It will take a bit for the peanut butter to melt in, so be patient and keep whisking. Once it’s nice and smooth, add:

¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
one more good pinch Kosher salt

Let cool and store in the fridge. When it’s time to serve, reheat very gently and very slowly in the microwave–on the defrost setting for maybe 10 seconds or so to start. I swirled a quarter cup’s worth (by spoonful, using a very tiny spoon) into a batch of stracciatella I made last night to make it extra-special good. It worked. :)

Because I’m wired funny, “Peanut Butter” gets stuck in my head every time I’m making something with this ingredient. I confess to singing it aloud as I’m putting the recipe together. I’m sharing so you can sing along, too! “It takes a lot of little nuts to get things done!” Truer words never sung or spoken. C’mon now, sing it with me! Oh, and grab a spoon and dig in!

Sunshine and warmer weather have sent your friend the Kat outdoors to play in her garden. Garden? Yes, even townhouse cats can get down ‘n dirty with lots of pots and bags of good soil!

Right outside my slider, I’ve got quite the assortment of herbs and vegetables growing, along with some catnip for the Queen and pretty flowers thrown in for good measure.

And mint–several varieties, even. As my big, brand-new apple mint plant was loaded with leaves, my thoughts immediately turned to…G E L A T O! I love stracciatella and wanted to make a fresh mint version, so I headed for the deck and got pickin’! Meet the guardian of the apple mint!

KATTY’S FRESH MINT STRACCIATELLA (CHOCOLATE CHIP GELATO)

1 ¼ cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup mint leaves
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 a vanilla bean, halved the long way and scraped
¼ cup (2 oz.) dark chocolate (I ♥ Valrhona feves)
a pinch of Kosher salt

Combine milk, cream and mint in a saucepan. Scrape vanilla bean seeds with the tip of a sharp knife–add both seeds and pod to the milk mixture.

Heat on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Strain liquid using a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on the leaves to extract all the liquid. Discard leaves and vanilla bean. You probably already knew we were done with those. :)

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, remove pod, let cool to room temperature. Stir in salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. And now, time to spin it up: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

While your gelato processes, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave (I use the defrost setting). When the gelato is finished, keep the machine running, then pour the melted chocolate S-L-O-W-L-Y and carefully in a fine stream. The chocolate will harden in tiny bits and streaks that make the gelato uniquely stracciatella and not just ordinary chocolate chip!

There’s no mint like fresh mint when it comes to refreshment in the form of gelato! Try it and see!

Matcha. The ground green tea powder that rhymes with gotcha!

Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, matcha is said to boost metabolism and burn calories while lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Isn’t that good to know as we’re about to whisk it into a creamy dessert?

I’m not sure about matcha’s health benefits when blended into gelato–let’s hope at the very least, it’s a wash. HA HA HA! Ready to take vanilla bean gelato into matcha latte land? Off we go!

MATCHA LATTE GELATO (VANILLA GREEN TEA GELATO)

1 ¼ cups whole milk (I use The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, halved the long way and scraped
1 tablespoon matcha
a pinch of Kosher salt

Scrape vanilla bean seeds with a knife–add both seeds and pod to milk, cream and matcha in a saucepan.

The vibrant, grassy color alone makes this a perfect spring gelato!

Over medium-high heat, whisk to blend the matcha. As the milk/cream warms, the powder will blend in nicely. When small bubbles form at the edge of the pan, remove from heat. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

Sort of looks like planet earth, doesn’t it?

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.

Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, let cool to room temperature. Stir in salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. Then, it’s time to go for a spin: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

What’s not to like about a matcha latte you can enjoy with a spoon? Let’s dig in!

I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it, you can dig it… And I hope you can dig it, too! >>^..^<<


Once upon a time, an Italian girl in the Land of Steady Habits decided she wanted a lemon tree. Yes, you can grow your own citrus–even in New England! And I do.

Two years ago, Limona came home with me.


This semi-dwarf Meyer lemon tree basks in the sun on the deck in warmer weather, and in the living room when temperatures fall. Check out this fun slideshow of Limona with April Katt on YouTube. My little tree, how you’ve grown!

She’s blooming beautifully right now with loads of jasmine-scented blossoms.


Of course, like everything else in Katty’s Kitchen, the harvest is very much an artisanal, small batch operation. Limona yielded four–count them, four–lemons.


That’s OK, I need but three lemons to make gelato.

LIMONA LEMON TREE GELATO

1¼ cups whole milk (I use The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped (or ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract)
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons for me)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch salt

Heat milk and vanilla on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly. Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, let cool to room temperature. Give the lemons a roll on the counter to maximize the juice before you squeeze ‘em. Stir in salt, lemon juice and zest. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 20 minutes. It makes the custard nice and thick. Next, let’s go for a spin: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions. Remember, lemon zest LOVES to hang out on the dasher, so be sure to scrape the dasher carefully to ensure the zest goes into the gelato where it belongs. Enjoy!


♫ “We are the farmers who work the land and grow the crops to feed the cows that give the miiiiiiiilk…for you to enjoy!” ♫ So catchy, I get a kick out of this silly little local  jingle, not to mention I find myself singing it when I’m thinking about making gelato! HA HA! Fresh Connecticut milk from The Farmer’s Cow makes killer gelato, don’tchaknow? Andiamo–let’s go make some!

KATTY’S STRACCIATELLA (CHOCOLATE CHIP GELATO)

1 ¼ cups whole milk (I use The Farmer’s Cow)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, halved the long way and scraped
¼ cup (2 oz.) dark chocolate (I ♥ Valrhona feves)
a pinch of Kosher salt


Combine milk and cream in a saucepan. Scrape vanilla bean seeds with the tip of a sharp knife–add both seeds and pod to the milk mixture. Dig my new pig!


Heat on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for half an hour.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly. Ooh, look at all the vanilla bean specks!


Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Do not let it boil! This custard will be exceptionally thick.

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl, remove pod, let cool to room temperature. Stir in salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. And now, time to spin it up: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

While your gelato processes, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave. When the gelato is finished, keep the machine running, then pour the melted chocolate S-L-O-W-L-Y and carefully in a fine stream. The chocolate will harden in tiny bits and streaks that make the gelato uniquely stracciatella and not just ordinary chocolate chip!

I must confess, this particular gelato was so delicious, I ate far more than my fair share. And can’t wait to make it again! MOOOOO!

Ever wonder what four pounds of freshly picked cherries look like?


Not that you need all of them for this recipe, but they sure do look pretty–even patriotic–in my star basket! Ah, Cherry, Cherry…you’ve got the way to move me to make as many cherry treats as possible during the limited, two-weekend timeframe that is cherry pickin’ season in the Land of Steady Habits.

Persistence paid off, as did a height advantage, when we hit Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury early Saturday morning.


Having a partner in pickin’ helped fill the bucket quickly, too. Thanks, Ma!


By now you know my pickin’ always leads to the kitchen, so let’s see what kinda deliciousness we can stir up with these cherries.

KATTY’S CHERRY ALMOND GELATO

½ cup almonds, toasted
2 cups sweet Bing cherries, pitted
1.5 cups whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons mascarpone
1 tablespoon amaretto
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Toast nuts in a frying pan over medium high heat, shaking/stirring regularly till they are golden and fragrant–about 5 or 6 minutes. Let them cool about 5 minutes, then buzz ‘em up in a food processor till they form a paste.

Add almond paste to milk and heat on medium to  medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.


Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!

Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. When you do, you’ll notice you’ve left some ground nuts behind. Scan for and remove any eggy bits, then add the nutty part back to the gelato. Whisk in the mascarpone.

Meanwhile, since you already have the food processor out, why not use it to chop the cherries for you? Once chopped, add the almond extract and amaretto to the fruit.


Stir in cherry mixture and salt to the custard.


Let cool to room temperature. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard in the fridge overnight or at least four hours.

Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. Now, commence the spin cycle: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.

Happy Birthday, America! Cherry cheers to you and yours this 4th of July!

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers