Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

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So, remember when I was having a dilemma about whether or not to keep adding text to my lead photo? Well, I’ve decided, with your feedback, to just do whatever the heck I wanna do. I think it will work out nicely and now I don’t have any more imaginary stress about it. So, THANKS. You are all the best…so, I made you ice cream!

YAY!

This ice cream is so dang good, you guys. I mean, it has all the flavors of a pumpkin cinnamon roll, including a gooey cinnamon caramel swirl AND a cream cheese icing swirl. I mean, we all know cream cheese icing never hurt a cinnamon bun, amiright? The ice cream is laced with pumpkin puree and a punch of spices making it taste like all the things we love about autumn, plus those swirls. The swirls aren’t totally necessary, but they really make this ice cream something else…plus they make for pretty scoops and I’m all about cute food.

And, can we talk about how it’s October and I’ve been wearing witchy colors on my nails EVERYDAY, that have apparently transferred into the styling here. I love that black flatware and have had it almost since the beginning of this blog–meaning it’s older than my 3-year-old niece.  I can’t always make it work the rest of the year…so just another reason to L-O-V-E fall. Okay, I’m done. Happy Friday, get yo’ pumpkin ice cream on!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

It is best to make the cinnamon caramel in advance so it can cool to room temperature before layering with the ice cream. You will probably have a little extra caramel, so just store it in a lidded jar in the refrigerator for 1 week…and pour it over this ice cream OR use it to dip apples into.

3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup plain pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups whole milk

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl whisk the softened cream cheese until creamy, stir in the maple and pumpkin. In another small bowl whisk together the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the milk. Set both aside.  Prepare an ice bath in a clean sink or large bowl.

In a saucepan heat the remaining milk, sea salt, cream, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and quickly whisk in the cornstarch mixture until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into the bowl containing the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture. Whisk to combine completely. Pour the mixture into a gallon size freezer bag, seal, and dunk into the ice bath. Let it sit in the ice bath until cool.  Process the ice cream base in a ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions. Layer the ice cream into a container with the cooled cinnamon caramel and cream cheese—try to get at least three layers for maximum swirled goodness.

For the Cinnamon Caramel Sauce:

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a saucepan heat the sugar, water, butter, and corn syrup together until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture becomes deep golden brown and caramelized. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the salt and heavy cream until smooth and glossy. The caramel will bubble furiously at this point, so be careful! Stir in the cinnamon and pour into a heatproof container to cool.

For the Cream Cheese Swirl:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until combined and smooth.

 

 

 

 

Apricot Almond Crunch Frozen Yogurt

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Summer! It’s here for real…I know I’ve been talking summer since the beginning of June, but it’s more than official now and this one is turning out to be more temperate and less hot/sweaty/dank hell…and by temperate I mean, hot and humid with just a smidge of hellishness. Which means more evening walks and weekend bike rides…you know, good stuff. The summers here in Michigan are an explosion of green. Things are growing all over the place and it’s beautiful.

But, harbored in all of that greenery are horrible, voracious mosquitos. Multiple species even, some with hideous, striped-tiger-bodies. UGH…I hate them. Like, HATE. A lot. And no amount of bug spray AKA poison-candy (that stuff smells like candy and death!) really keeps them from biting straight through our clothing. I’ve tried natural stuff and the stuff that makes me feel like I might actually die if I inhale. It seems none of them are really working. What kind of works is riding my bike or walking swiftly…no pauses…and it only works kinda, but better than the poison-candy aerosol. It didn’t so much work when my bike chain came loose a mere 2 miles from the car and Sean had to finagle it back on whilst getting mauled by a swarm of mosquitos. Oh, and we were downwind from the zoo so there was a really fun…aroma. We were SO CLOSE to being mosquito-bite-free, but alas it didn’t work out for us. What did work out was that this froyo was stashed in the freezer for when we got home. So even though I was covered in itchy welts and maybe a little more back-sweat than I am ever comfortable with, frozen treats saved the day. Like they do.

I mean, if you’ve been riding your bike for a few hours in the summer swelter and combatted mosquito attacks like a champ, walking into your cool home, flopping on the couch/floor/wherever with a pint of froyo is totally appropriate. Especially if that froyo is homemade and trashed-up with mix-ins. I live for frozen yogurt + mix-ins. Gimme the stuff from those froyo shops that sell it all by weight any day — Yogurt Beach in Reno, I’m looking at you. But, since I can’t pop into my favorite frozen yogurt place on the daily, I can make some at home. The apricots are roasted here, which makes ripe apricots taste even more apricot-y, and less-than-ripe apricots sing. I could eat the apricot swirl with a spoon. The almond crunch gets a bit melty once layered with the frozen yogurt and apricot swirl, but maintains its crunch giving this yogurt a TON of awesome texture. I cannot resist a good crunch. The flavors just make sense to me — tangy and creamy yogurt, heady and lush apricot, crunchy, caramelized toasted almonds, and a little sweet-floral honey come together to make a super summery combination that is just so, so good.

Apricot Almond Crunch Frozen Yogurt

Yogurt base adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

I roasted the apricots for the swirl, but if you dread turning on the oven in the summer heat, just cook the apricots on the stovetop until they are very soft. The recipes for the apricot swirl and almond crunch make a little extra, perfect for topping! 

For reference, I used this ice cream maker and these containers (I purchased these items myself and am not affiliated with either manufacturer). 

Apricot Swirl:

1 lb apricots

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon honey

Almond Crunch:

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sliced, toasted almonds

Frozen Yogurt:

1 1/2 cups strained, whole milk yogurt*

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

For the Apricot Swirl:

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Rinse the apricots, pat dry, and remove pits. Chop coarsely and toss with sugar and honey. Spread into a baking dish and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the apricots have released their juices, are soft, and become syrupy. Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and scrape into a blender or deep bowl and pulse with an immersion blender (or blend in regular blender, being careful of the steam) until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.

For the Almond Crunch:

Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Set aside.

In a tall-sided saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, combine the honey, sugar, and enough water to moisten the sugar (a few tablespoons). Heat over medium high to dissolve the sugar, continue to cook until mixture boils, becomes golden, and reaches about 300˚F. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the salt and baking soda — warning, the candy will bubble up and expand quite a bit once the soda is added — followed by the almonds, stir to coat. Spread the candied almond mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool. Once cooled and brittle, break the almond crunch into pieces with a rolling pin or mallet.

For the Frozen Yogurt:

*As instructed by Jeni, I strained regular yogurt for this. I used a 2 pound container of regular, whole milk yogurt in a cheesecloth-covered mesh sieve set over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. I’m thinking you could use greek yogurt, though I have not tested it. I think that if you used a lower fat yogurt, the texture of the finished yogurt may be a bit more icy.

In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup of the milk. Set aside. Place the yogurt into a large, heatproof bowl. Prepare an ice bath in a clean sink basin or large bowl.

Combine the rest of the milk with the cream in a saucepan with the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for a few more minutes, whisking or stirring, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the yogurt to blend. Stir the mixture over the ice bath until cooled — or alternatively, pour the mixture into a gallon freezer bag, zip the top, and place in the ice bath to cool. Once cooled, pour the yogurt base into the basin of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once churned, scrape about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into a freezer container, drizzle however much apricot swirl you want (a few tablespoons), followed by some of the almond crunch. Repeat with the remaining  yogurt/swirl/almond crunch so you have several layers of yogurt, swirl, and crunchy bits. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours or until solid.

Rhubarb Swirl Ice Pops

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Spring has finally sprung in Michigan and it means business! Since the days are warm and sunshine-y, it’s definitely time for all kinds of frozen goodness. In a few weeks, I’m sure  I’ll be avoiding the oven completely. Tis’ the season for sandals, porch cocktail-ing, and frozen delights!

These ice pops combine my perennial favorite, tart rhubarb, with creamy coconut milk and sweet vanilla. I love rhubarb because it’s so weird and so pink and so tart-fruity…there’s a lot to love. These pops are dairy-free by default, the coconut milk is such a wonderful creamy flavor and honestly sometimes I need a break from dairy-overload (I just love cheese and dairy-goods, mmmkay?). The creamy coconut milk juxtaposed with the tart rhubarb is a pretty amazing match–plus, those colors just get me! I can’t resist anything that’s both pretty and tasty — these pops are just that.

So, while the temperatures rise and rhubarb can still be found at the market, make these, eat, repeat, and dream of summer!

Rhubarb Swirl Ice Pops

Makes 10 ice pops.

For the hot-pinkiest of purees, try to buy rhubarb that is pink all the way through the stalk (look at the cut-end, cross-section, is it pink? is it green?). If it’s not super pink, that’s okay, it will be just as delish, just maybe not so vibrant. 

2 cups diced rhubarb

1/2 cup sugar

1, 14 ounce, can coconut milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 vanilla bean OR 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the diced rhubarb with the 1/2 cup sugar until the rhubarb releases it’s juices and begins to break apart, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl rub the seeds from the vanilla bean with the sugar, if using. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and sugar to combine (add vanilla extract/paste at this step if using instead).

Layer spoonfuls of rhubarb into the popsicle molds, followed by the coconut milk mixture, repeat until all the molds are filled. Insert a skewer and swirl the mixture in each mold if needed. Cover and insert sticks (the rhubarb mixture is thick enough to hold the sticks and keep them from being too buoyant  and freeze for at least 4 hours. Un-mold frozen pops and serve immediately or store in a zip-top bag in the freezer.