Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

I wanted to make a classic chocolate ice cream with my new ice-cream maker; I love milk chocolate, and had found the perfect recipe in The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz. I showed my (Irish) husband my book, and he was immediately drawn to this recipe instead on the next page. It turned out to be delicious combination; so incredibly creamy and rich. If you are a fan of Guinness, this ice cream is for you.

Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

Photo by Nicholas Draney Photography

7 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Guinness Stout
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the milk chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Cherry Sorbet

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Draney Photography

For my birthday, my mom surprised me with an ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer, as well as the book The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz. I couldn't wait to make my first recipe. But which one should I choose? I wanted to make the vanilla frozen yogurt, the chocolate French-style ice cream, the strawberry granita....but my decision was made as I went grocery shopping and came across some shiny, bright red cherries. Cherry sorbet it was!

Although I think I prefer the flavor of fresh cherries better (and have eaten at least a pound in the last week or so to prove it), this sorbet is a great choice for summer. The cherries are cooked prior to mixing, and this provides a deep, rich flavor. The sorbet itself is nice and light, perfect for a hot summer day.

Cherry Sorbet
from The Perfect Scoop

2 pounds cherries
1 cup water
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Stem the cherries and remove the pits. In a medium saucepan, warm the cherries over moderate heat with the water, sugar, and lemon juice until they start becoming juicy. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and cooked through. Remove from the heat and let stand until they reach room temperature.

Puree the cherries and their liquid with the almond extract in a blender until smooth.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

No-Knead Bread

I recently celebrated my 28th birthday, and luckily my family and friends know me well, as I received many kitchen-related gifts. I have been wanting a french oven for the longest time, and when I saw the no-knead bread recipe going around the blogging community, it only solidified my desire. My mother-in-law, Teresa, surprised me with a beautiful, red, 7-qt. cast iron pot, and I finally got to break it in today, when at long last, I made the infamous bread.

I could not believe how easy this bread is to make. There are only four ingredients, and you literally mix them together, let them sit overnight, and make the bread the next day. Amazing. The crust is nice and crunchy, and the interior is so soft and light. One of the easiest and best bread recipes I have ever seen; my new pot is going to be put to great use!

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Draney Photography

No-Knead Bread, revisited
from Steamy Kitchen
adapted from Mark Bittman of NY Times, who got it from Sullivan Street Bakery. When the recipe first came out, it was the blogging community who took the bread to new heights, especially Rose Levy Beranbaum, author of The Bread Bible.

Yield: one 1½ lb loaf
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water
Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel…something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Holding towel, dump wobbly dough into pot. Doesn’t matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Draney Photography