Pistachio Semifreddo

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My husband and I have enjoyed celebrating several wedding anniversaries at Volt (restaurant of Bryan Voltaggio of Top Chef fame) in Frederick, Maryland while in the Washington, DC area at Christmastime. This year we splurged for the tasting menu to celebrate our FIFTEENTH anniversary! 🙂 One of several desserts we were served was a semifreddo rolled in dark chocolate and pistachios. It had a celebratory candle in it, and was our favorite! It was my introduction to this Italian semi-frozen dessert. Delicious and different. I went home that evening and searched for a recipe to make it myself.

I selected this recipe from Gourmet because it had rave reviews and was similar to the Volt version. Importantly, shelled pistachios are available at Trader Joe’s, making the task much more doable as well. I made it to serve with Pizzelles on New Year’s Eve at a friends’ house. It is such a special dessert and is simple to make. I will definitely make this one again. Great!

Yield: Makes 2 quarts

  • 1 1/2 cups shelled salted pistachios (6 1/2 to 7 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Pulse 1 cup pistachios with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very finely ground. Add remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and pulse until just coarsely ground.
  2. Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, then increase speed to high and beat until meringue just holds stiff, glossy peaks.
  3. Beat cream with almond extract in a wide bowl with mixer at high speed until it just holds soft peaks.
  4. Fold meringue into cream gently but thoroughly, then fold in nut mixture in same manner. IMG_7004
  5. Spoon into a 2-quart dish, cover with plastic wrap flush on the surface. Freeze, covered, until firm enough to scoop, about 4 hours. Let soften slightly before serving. IMG_7006

Note:  The egg whites in this recipe are not cooked.

One Year Ago:

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Chocolate & Butterscotch Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

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I made cookie ice cream sandwiches once already this summer and now they seem like the best idea when having kids over for dinner. My family was divided as to which “chipwich” was preferred- this one versus the giant chocolate chip-oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwiches. My husband loves anything butterscotch and my son loves anything “giant”, so I am not sure that their votes count! These crispy cookies made a thin, sweet, flavorful, and easy to eat vehicle for the ice cream. 🙂 The cookie recipe is from Martha Stewart Living.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture all at once, and beat until just combined. Stir in chips.
  5. Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets (I used a small cookie scoop.), 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool on the baking sheet, 1 minute, then transfer cookies to the rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Place one rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of one overturned cookie. Top with another cookie and press to flatten ice cream. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with additional cookies.
  8. Freeze 30 minutes to overnight.

Fudge Pops!

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When I made these fudge pops for the first time I thought that they were the best “fudgsicles” I had ever had. This time I had the same experience. 🙂 They taste like chocolate ice cream– but so easy to make!

A popular tourist destination in New York City is a restaurant named Serendipity– tons of people go there to eat frozen hot chocolate. Although I have never been, I think their special dish must taste just like these fudge pops. They are essentially frozen hot chocolate- cocoa, sugar, cream, and milk cooked and frozen. These are a much smaller, more waistline friendly version. DELICIOUS!!! I saved us a trip to the Upper East Side! 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food.  I used half and half instead of milk and cream.

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 pops

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream (or substitute equal amounts of half and half)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk until smooth.
  2. Whisk in remaining milk, cream, sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring constantly, and cook 1 minute.
  3. Transfer to a large liquid-measuring cup and stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour into eight to ten ice-pop molds and insert ice-pop sticks.
  5. Freeze until pops are solid, about 6 hours (or up to 1 week). Just before serving, briefly run molds under hot water to release pops.

Giant Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

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When several of my friends came over for lunch with their kids, I wanted to make something fun for dessert (for everyone!). For some reason a “chipwich” came to mind. Everyone loves a “chipwich.” 🙂 I made them giant because that is more fun too- of course!

Because the cookie can become too hard after freezing it with the ice cream, I tried a cookie with a more chewy texture than a classic chocolate chip- a chocolate chip cookie with finely ground rolled oats. This dessert was eaten with ease! The cookie flavor really stood out as well. My son said that we should be eating them more often. 🙂 The cookie recipe was adapted from Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies by Irma S. Rombauer, Ethan Becker, and Marion Rombauer Becker.

Yield: about 15 cookie ice cream sandwiches

  • 1 2/3 cups (8.25 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (5.25 oz) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (5.25 oz) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 T milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups (4 oz) rolled oats, ground fine in a food processor
  • 1 cup (7 oz) semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 oz milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • vanilla bean ice cream, slightly softened
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (convection). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Throughly stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add sugars, egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until very fluffy and smooth.
  5. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Stir in oats, chocolate, and nuts (if using).
  7. Using a 1 1/2- inch cookie scoop, scoop dough out onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for  10 to 12 minutes, or until just tinged with brown.
  9. Transfer cookie sheets to wire racks and let the cookies firm up, 3 to 4 minutes. Then, transfer the cookies to wire racks until throughly cool.
  10. Place one rounded scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of one overturned cookie. Top with another cookie and press to flatten ice cream. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with additional cookies.
  11. Freeze 30 minutes to overnight.

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Biscoff Crunch & Swirl Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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This might be the best ice cream I’ve ever made – it might be the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten! I have always loved the little brown cookies that the flight attendants serve on an airplane- Biscoff- the airline cookie. I have never remembered what they were called- I never knew that you could buy them! Then I saw a recipe for Biscoff Crunch Ice Cream on Annie’s Cooking Lab. YUM. Fairly soon after spotting the recipe, I saw Biscoff cookies at Costco. (Wow!) I still thought that I would never find Biscoff Spread outside of Europe– then I spotted it at the local grocery store. Yea! I adapted the recipe by putting the Biscoff swirl and crunch in my favorite vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla bean ice cream base recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Jeni Britton. The Biscoff swirl and crunch recipe is from Annie’s Cooking Lab. FABULOUS.

  • ACTIVE: 20 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 20 MIN PLUS 4 HR FREEZING
  • SERVINGS: MAKES 3 1/2 CUPS
For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Biscoff Crunch and Swirl:

  • 3/4 package Biscoff Cookies (about 25 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup creamy Biscoff Spread
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbl. light corn syrup
  1. To make the Biscoff swirl, scoop the Biscoff Spread into small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Add the cream and corn syrup and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the milk mixture to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the vanilla flavors the milk, about 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in the salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.
  5. Strain the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Once the ice cream is chilled, stir in the Biscoff cookie pieces. Place a spoonful of ice cream in a plastic container, spread some of the Biscoff swirl mixture over the top. Repeat the layers, finishing with ice cream on top. Pack the ice cream into a plastic container.
  7. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream and close with an airtight lid. Freeze the ice cream until firm, about 4 hours.
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Father’s Day Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream

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Now that my body has finally recovered from my husband’s birthday cheesecake (We HAD to eat it all! 🙂 ….) it is time for a special Father’s Day dessert. My husband is a cookie dough ice cream guy. I saw this recipe all over the blogosphere– DOUBLE cookie dough ice cream. The ice cream is cookie dough flavored– with the help of browned butter and brown sugar- and then cookie dough chunks and chocolate chips are incorporated into the ice cream after it has been churned. YUM! The recipe is from Annie’s Eats; ice cream recipe adapted from Joy the Baker and cookie dough recipe originally from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. In order to chill the ice cream base quickly, I place the bowl in an ice bath and stir intermittently until chilled. I also always place plastic wrap over the entire surface of the ice cream before freezing to prevent ice formation. Delicious! Happy Father’s Day!

For the cookie dough:

  • 5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus 1/4 tsp. salt)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ice cream:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet) (or to taste– I would add less next time!)
  1. To make the cookie dough, stir together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Mix in the flour, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.
  2. To make the ice cream, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue heating, stirring often, until the butter is a deep golden brown color, being careful not to burn it. Whisk in the heavy cream and heat until simmering. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount to the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the rest of the cream. Mix in the salt. Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan and heat until just slightly thickened, and the temperature reads 170-175 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and the whole milk. Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. (This process can be expedited by placing the bowl in an ice bath and stirring intermittently until chilled.)IMG_3825
  3. Once the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chop the disk of cookie dough into small chunks. As soon as the mixture is done churning, transfer to a bowl or airtight container, folding in the chocolate chips and the chunks of cookie dough. Cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container in the freezer until firm.

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