Category Archives: Ice Cream

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate SyrupMy dad is the kind of person who just *needs* something sweet at the end of each day, probably because he was raised by someone who always had a chocolate cake on her kitchen counter. Aside from brownies though, he’s not much of a baker and neither is my mother, so homemade desserts weren’t a huge part of my family life growing up. Still, we were a small-dessert-every-night sort of family. We always had something sweet in our weekly grocery haul–Oreos, pecan sandies, popsicles–but I think, if asked, we’d all agree that the best dessert was always vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Homemade Chocolate SyrupFast forward fifteen-ish years to me living the professional home baker life in New York in the middle of a pandemic. I can pretty much make whatever dessert I want, and maybe it’s because the weather is warming up or I’m feeling nostalgic or a little homesick, but all I really want right now is vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.Homemade Chocolate SyrupNow, I do not have much desire to begin making my own vanilla ice cream, but Homemade Chocolate Syrup? That, I need. Like many of us, I grew up with Hershey’s Syrup in the fridge, but now that I’ve started making my own chocolate syrup, I’m ruined for storebought forever. Deeply chocolaty, a little tangy, just thick enough, pourable even when it’s fridge-cold—this is the stuff my ice cream dreams are made of.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupAlso, my chocolate milk dreams. I generally cannot abide liquid dairy, but put some chocolate syrup in a glass of whole milk and I. am. interested.Homemade Chocolate Syrup beats the pants off of every storebought version I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn up my nose if someone offered me a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of Hershey’s Syrup on top—I’m not a monster!—but it simply can’t compete with this stuff. Where the syrups you’ll find on shelves are cloyingly sweet, lacking in chocolate flavor and full of ingredients none of us can pronounce, this one is super chocolaty from cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, has a little depth from brown sugar, and requires six ingredients that you very well may have in your pantry right now. Oh, and it’s vegan.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to make Homemade Chocolate Syrup, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is essentially a souped-up simple syrup with a little chopped chocolate and vanilla extract stirred in at the end. We’re talking twelve minutes start-to-finish for a pint (that’s two cups!) of chocolate syrup. I haven’t done the math, but I’m fairly certain this is less expensive than storebought, too.Homemade Chocolate SyrupWith that, I rest my case…and also tiptoe into my kitchen at 2am for some ice cream and Homemade Chocolate Syrup. Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
makes about 2 cups

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot or saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cocoa and salt to remove any large lumps. Add water and whisk to combine.

Place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to a simmer, then constantly for 5 minutes while it simmers. Mixture will expand dramatically. Remove from heat.

Whisk in chopped chocolate, followed by vanilla. Let cool a bit in the pot before transferring to a jar (or other container) for storage.

Chocolate syrup will keep covered in the refrigerator. Stir before using.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate Syrup

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamCan you believe it’s Labor Day Weekend? I am stunned at how quickly this summer has gone by! It was a really great one for me: my entire immediate family visited over the course of three months and I got to go to my beloved Swan’s Island. The best.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOne of my favorite memories from the last few months is my parents’ last-minute trip to NYC. Long story short: in late June, I was telling my mom about how much I loved The Ferryman and how I wished she could see it before it closed in couple of weeks…and six hours later, she and my dad had booked flights and a hotel, we’d been offered a front row seat to the East River fireworks display, and we had tickets to both The Ferryman (the day before it closed!) and Come From Away! My family are not terribly spontaneous people, so this was pretty wild.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThe whole visit was a ball, and even though we were all exhausted by the last night, we decided to go for one last good meal. And so it was that I loaded my parents into a car and we took the short ride down to Red Hook for some harbor views (my favorite), lobster rolls (my mom’s favorite), and ice cream (my dad’s favorite). Red Hook’s got something for everyone.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamThis recipe is based off the scoop of Rice Krispies Treats-centric Snap Mallow Pop! that I had that night at the Red Hook location of Ample Hills. Like the ice cream that inspired it, this one’s got a marshmallow base and is studded with Rice Krispies Treats. Unlike the original though, this recipe can be made at home without an ice cream machine—one of the few pieces of kitchen equipment I don’t have—instead relying on a four-ingredient no-churn base.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamMaking a no-churn ice cream base is simple. At its most basic, it’s just folding whipped cream (for creaminess, heft and scoopability) into sweetened condensed milk (for sweetness and to prevent ice crystals from forming). I always throw in a little vanilla, and this time I added a cup of marshmallow fluff for big marshmallow flavor!No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAs far as the Rice Krispies Treats go, you can make whichever version of that recipe you like (if you go with the original recipe on the back of the box, I’d cut it in half). I tend to go rogue and keep mine to a 1:1:1 formula: 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup mini marshmallows, 1 cup Rice Krispies cereal. Except in this case I double it, so 2:2:2…?No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOnce they’re made and cooled, pinch/pull the treats into small pieces. Those will get layered with the marshmallow ice cream base and then frozen.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamAnd scooped. And eaten in a cup.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamOr a cone. Or maybe both. It’s the last weekend of summer. Get wild. Eat ice cream twice.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream
makes about 8 cups

Rice Krispies Treats:
2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
pinch of salt (optional)
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Marshmallow Ice Cream Base:
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, very cold

Make Rice Krispies Treats. Grease a rimmed pan (I used a quarter sheet pan). Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add mini marshmallows and salt and stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

Transfer cereal to prepared pan. Use greased implements or hands (be careful—the mixture is hot!) to press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool for about 30 minutes.

Use lightly greased hands to pull Rice Krispies Treats into small pieces. Set aside.

Make marshmallow ice cream base. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer (or a whisk) to whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture just until combined.

Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream base to a 9×5-inch loaf pan or other freezer-friendly 8-cup vessel. Top with about 1/3 of the Rice Krispies Treats pieces. Repeat layering process two more times so that you have 3 layers each of the ice cream base and rice Krispies Treats pieces.

Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing for a minimum of 6 hours. Scoop and serve as desired. Leftovers should be kept covered in the freezer.No-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice CreamNo-Churn Rice Krispies Treats Ice Cream

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis post really couldn’t come at a better time: New York weather has officially crossed over into the “totally disgusting” zone. Blazing hot, humid AF—you get the picture. There will be no baking in my Brooklyn kitchen until Monday, at the very least.

I love my apartment—love it!—but its one major drawback is that the kitchen is both windowless and un-air-conditioned. There is no amount or configuration of tiny Costco tower fans that can counteract the all-consuming heat of a 350F oven on a sticky 99F NYC day. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesSo, let’s skip the oven this weekend and make milkshakes instead. Caramelized Banana Milkshakes, to be specific.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesSure, they require five minutes of stove time to caramelize the bananas, but that small amount of cooking will be totally worth it when you’re blitzing up frosty, brown sugar & banana milkshakes.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesWe’re talking pure banana flavor here, unencumbered by cinnamon or anything else. You may, of course, add a pinch of whatever you like, but don’t go too crazy. Simplicity is the name of the game.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis recipe is a breeze: three steps, four ingredients (six, if you count the recommended whipped cream and drizzle of caramel or butterscotch). The hardest part is waiting for the bananas to cool so that they don’t melt your ice cream. After that, it’s just a blitz in the blender and deciding which of your dwindling stash of paper straws you’re going to use today.

Oh, and parking yourself directly in front of your air conditioner until the heatwave is over, but you already knew that.Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes
makes about 2-3 small milkshakes

3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For Garnish (optional):
caramel or butterscotch sauce
whipped cream

Peel bananas and slice into 1-inch chunks.

Combine butter and brown sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and pan is hot. Carefully add banana slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Combine bananas and ice cream in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with caramel/butterscotch sauce and/or whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana Milkshakes

Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch SauceIt seems like every time I think a recipe is going to be a snap, it’s a total nightmare. Butterscotch Sauce is a classic example of this—I went into testing thinking this would be a one-and-done situation, but instead I made sauces that:

  • separated in seconds.
  • required a candy thermometer.
  • burned.
  • crystallized.
  • hardened immediately upon hitting ice cream.Butterscotch Sauce

Testing was a bummer, to say the least. I mean, all I really wanted was a blog recipe that would also allow me to have ice cream with buttery brown sugar sauce for lunch and call it work. Is that too much to ask?!Butterscotch SauceTurns out it’s not. I “fixed” my first five test batches by slapping a metaphorical culinary bandaid on each one (less butter, less complication, less time, less movement, more liquid), and this all led me back to a method I knew worked: the way I make the caramel for my caramel corn, which is literally the easiest molten sugar recipe of all time. Just put it all in a pot and leave it alone.Butterscotch SauceButterscotch SauceHere’s the gist of my Butterscotch Sauce recipe:

  • put dark brown sugar, butter, salt and heavy cream in a pot and don’t stir it.
  • bring it to a boil and don’t stir it.
  • cook it for five minutes and don’t stir it. Just don’t do it.
  • remove it from the heat, add some vanilla and…okay, stir it now.

That’s it. Wait a few minutes before spooning it over a scoop of ice cream so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. Safety first.Butterscotch SauceThis sauce is thick and golden and best served piping hot, so that it will set softly on whatever delicious thing over which it’s been poured. It’s rich, buttery and has good hits of salt and vanilla to complement its brown sugar flavor. And it’s easy to make.Butterscotch SauceYou might even say it’s a snap.Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch Sauce
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Without stirring or jostling, combine dark brown sugar, butter, salt, and heavy cream in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving hot over ice cream. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for at least a week.

The best way to reheat this sauce is by putting it in a pot over medium-low heat and stirring just until heated through. Butterscotch may also be warmed in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between, until hot.

Butterscotch SauceButterscotch Sauce

Hot Fudge

Hot FudgeAs far as I’m concerned, hot fudge is a perfect food. It’s the thing that takes sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes and, heck, any plain ol’ scoop of ice cream from good to outstanding. It’s like the fairy dust of frozen desserts—adding just a couple of spoonfuls can make anything magical, especially if whipped cream, nuts and a cherry are involved.Hot FudgeIt might surprise you to learn that hot fudge is incredibly easy to make. I grew up thinking of it as a shop-only item, along with caramel sauce and magic shell. Flash forward a few years and I have no fear making any of these classic ice cream toppings—they’re all crazy-easy to put together and much better from scratch!Hot FudgeHot fudge is a ten minute, one-pot operation, and requires just seven ingredients that you probably have on hand. I mean, how can you argue with smooth, sticky, shiny, sweet hot fudge where you know the amount and quality of every ingredient? It’ll take you less time, cash and energy to whip up a batch than it will to get to the store and back. I mean, that’s half the reason I do all this baking and cooking: because I can do it all from the comfort of my own kitchen in my most-mismatched pajamas.Hot FudgeAlso, because homemade almost always beats store-bought in terms of flavor, quality, and price. That goes double for this hot fudge, which gets its richness from both chopped dark chocolate and cocoa, has less sugar than anything you can purchase, and costs me a whopping $4 for 1 1/3 cups. And it’s delicious. And it doesn’t require putting on real pants or going outside. Yesssss.Hot FudgeMost hot fudge recipes I’ve seen are sweetened with sugar in addition to light corn syrup and chocolate, but I couldn’t determine a flavor-related or structural reason that it needed to be there, so I nixed it and nothing terrible happened. In fact, the resulting sauce is as rich and fudgy as any I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot), and I don’t find it to be lacking sweetness at all. If you’d like a sweeter hot fudge, or maybe know something I don’t,* feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar when you whisk together the light corn syrup and cocoa.

*If you do, please tell me. I’d be interested to know.Hot FudgeThis hot fudge pours and puddles and takes nicely to the sundae treatment. And just in case you think it can’t get much better than that, you should know that it stays good for weeks in the refrigerator and reheats like a dream, so you can have hot fudge sundaes any day of the week all summer long.Hot FudgeI recommend you start with today.Hot Fudge

Hot Fudge
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1/3 cup light corn syrup (or mild honey or golden syrup)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup (5 fl oz) evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot, whisk together light corn syrup, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Whisk in evaporated milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has simmered for 2 minutes and has an even color and consistency. Whisk in dark chocolate, followed by butter and vanilla.

Serve over ice cream, or any other desired item. Store leftovers in a microwave-safe container in the refrigerator.

To reheat, microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable. Alternatively, heat in a pot on the stove over low heat, stirring very frequently, until pourable.Hot FudgeHot Fudge