A few weeks ago I watched an episode of Pioneer Women where she was making homemade ice cream and I was not able to stop thinking about how good that sounded. With warm weather and the summer cookout season coming up I took the plunge and ordered a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker.
The day I received it Dave was out of town so I decided to fire that baby up and dig in to some homemade strawberry ice cream. I used the recipe that came with ice cream maker and about 30 minutes later I had something that resembled strawberry ice cream and tasted really good but the texture was really icy, not at all what I had in mind.
I googled “icy homemade ice cream” and sure enough there were several articles on why homemade ice cream turns out icy. It seems to be associated with the water content in the ice cream and if you are mixing in items with a high water content (like strawberries) the water will crystalize leaving the ice cream with an icy texture.
A few days later I decided to try again but with chocolate….cocoa does not have any water in it so I thought it would be safe. Sure enough, it was PERFECT!!!
I really wanted to try the strawberry again so this time when I purreed the strawberries, I drained them and actually patted them with a paper towel to dry them a little. The original recipe called for adding lemon juice and I left that out also. That was the trick……strawberry heaven in a bowl.
Since we were having a cookout over memorial day weekend I decided to serve some of this frozen perfection but I wanted a little something else to go with it so I remembered what I had watched this week on Ina Garten (I know, I watch Food Network way too much!) Ina had served some homemade ice cream along side chocolate dipped shortbread cookies. Of course Ina made her own shortbread cookies but as far as I am concerned, Lorna Doone’s are amazing so I decided to just buy some of those but dip them in chocolate myself.
I wrote a post a while back about tempering chocolate for dipping items like fruit. It is a complex process using multiple pans, water baths and thermometers. You can read that post here. Leave it to Ina to come up with a quick process that produces the same results. If you have ever melted chocolate for dipping you might have seen how the chocolate turns a dusty gray color when it dries, this is called “blooming.” Tempered chocolate dries glossy.
Ina’s method is to melt half of the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second sessions, stirring between each session, until the chocolate is melted. Remove the chocolate from the microwave. Break up the second half of the chocolate and stir it in to the hot chocolate mix. The more you stir the glossier the chocolate will be. Within just a minute or so all the chocolate will melt and will be ready for dipping your cookies or fruit or whatever you want to dip. SO EASY!