Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream

This is the 2nd in my series of ice creams commemorating the birthday month of my Mom and a number of people in my life. Last week’s recipe, pistachio nut ice cream, was almost exactly the same as the one she gave me years ago. Today’s recipe may not be found in the recipe book that Mom gave me but I still consider it to be her own. To create this ice cream, I used the base of the pistachio and replaced the nuts with other ingredients. The result is a chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream with hazelnuts. Mom would be proud.

Not to bore anyone, but I feel I must reiterate my warning about the use of raw egg in this recipe. When a recipe calls for raw egg, I use eggs with pasteurized shells, which may be found in the egg case at your grocery. Beyond that, I used milk chocolate chips but you can use whichever kind you prefer. As for the hazelnuts, I toasted them lightly before freezing them, like I did with the pistachios. This is to prevent them from becoming soggy during processing in the ice cream freezer. Lastly, you’ll note that the recipe calls for “a heaping 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa.” That’s because on my first attempt at creating this recipe, I accidentally dropped a heaping measure of cocoa into the cream before I could level it off. (Thanks, Max.) The ice cream was delicious and I’ve been repeating the accident ever since. (No, really. Thanks, Max.)

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Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Ice Cream Recipe

yield: 1.5 quarts

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, roasted & roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, roughly chopped  (milk chocolate, semi or bittersweet may be used)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup half & half
  • a heaping 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Frangelico liqueur (optional)
  • chopped hazelnuts, for garnish

Directions

My Baby

  1. Place the hazelnuts in your freezer before starting.
  2. Place all the ingredients, except the nuts and chocolate chips, into a blender and “Stir” until well-blended.
  3. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. Pour cream mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. About 5 minutes before completion, pour the hazelnuts and chocolate chips into the machine and finish processing.   (See Notes)
  6. When completed, remove the ice cream from the canister to be either served or transferred to a sealable container until frozen to your liking.
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Variations

As was the case with pistachio ice cream, there are plenty of recipes for chocolate ice cream on the internet, or, if books are more your style, “A Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz is a good place to start. No matter where your recipe comes from, you’ll soon discover that no store-bought brand can rival the taste of good, home-made chocolate ice cream.

Notes

Your machine may not recommend adding nuts and/or chocolate chips to the cream while the machine is running. If that’s the case, process the ice cream per the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, add the nuts and chips to the semi-frozen cream, stir to fully combine, and either garnish & serve it or transfer it to a sealable container and place in the freezer.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream

Mom was a great lover of ice cream. In the Summer, it was she, far more often than the 3 of us kids, who suggested going out for ice cream after dinner. Dad rarely, if ever, refused her and, so, we’d pile into the car and off we went. Many years later, she and I would be in the car, returning to her home, when she would mention ice cream. The next thing I knew, we’d be standing at some counter waiting for our single scoop cones. Well, Mom’s birthday — as well as that of her Mother — was August 15th; Uncle’s birthday, Zia’s husband, was August 11th; the birthday of my Friend the kitchens’ Taste Tester was on the 7th; and my Friend the Entertainer’s birthday is August 20th — but wait, there’s more. In the Children’s Division, my Grand-Nephew’s birthday is the 1st and the Oldest of the Boys Upstairs has a birthday on the 18th. Well, with so many birthdays to honor, I’m going to post ice cream recipes for the next 3 Fridays of this, their “birthday month.” (My Friend the Entertainer believes that one’s birthday should be celebrated the entire month.) And whether you choose to make any of these 3 ice creams, make sure that on at least one of August’s warm nights, you get yourself a single scoop cone. You’ll soon discover what Mom knew all along: it’s a great way to end a day.

Today’s recipe, pistachio ice cream, is pretty much the same one that Mom gave to me in a recipe book years ago. It’s not a complicated recipe and there’s no custard to make. Still, there are a couple of things to consider. First, and most importantly, the recipe calls for 1 raw egg. Now, I am certainly not advocating the use of plain, raw eggs in this, or any, recipe. When a recipe calls for raw egg, I use eggs with pasteurized shells. You can find them in the egg case at your grocery and using them will eliminate any worry you might have when serving raw egg. Yes, they may cost more but the peace of mind is well worth it. With the “egg question” out-of-the-way, all that’s left is how to deal with the pistachio nuts. First off, I use roasted, unsalted nuts that I shell myself. It is much easier to remove the “paper” off of the nuts if you shell them yourself, and the less paper, the greener your ice cream. Still, even with every bit of paper removed, your pistachio ice cream will not be as green as store-bought. For that, you’ll need to add a few drops of food coloring. Whether to use food coloring is a decision for you to make. Secondly, while half of the pistachio nuts are ground in the blender, I freeze the other half in my freezer, based upon a comment by my Trusty Traveling Companion. Although he likes chopped pistachio nuts in his ice cream, he doesn’t like that they’re often a touch on the soggy side. By adding them to the ice cream already frozen, the problem is avoided.

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Pistachio Nut Ice Cream Recipe

yield: 1.5 quarts

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup pistachio nuts, shelled & roughly chopped – divided in half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8  – 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • pistachio nuts, for garnish when serving

Directions

My Baby

  1. Place half of the pistachio nuts, the egg, and half & half into a blender and “Chop” until nuts are fully ground.
  2. Add everything but the reserved pistachio nuts to the blender and “Stir” until well-blended.
  3. Refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight.
  4. Pour cream mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. About 5 minutes before completion, pour the remaining pistachio nuts into the canister. (See Notes)
  6. When completed, remove the ice cream from the canister for serving or  transfer to a sealable container and placed in the freezer.
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Variations

There are plenty of pistachio ice cream recipes on the internet offering far too many variations to list here. One particularly interesting method can be found on the Brown Eyed Baker’s website. In addition to adding chopped nuts to the cream mixture, he begins by steeping some of the pistachios in milk, extracting as much flavor as possible from the nuts. If you’re googling pistachio ice cream recipes, be sure to check his out.

Notes

Your machine may not recommend adding nuts to the cream while the machine is running. If that’s the case, process the ice cream per the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, add the nuts to the semi-frozen cream, stir to fully combine, and either garnish & serve it or transfer it to a sealable container and place in the freezer.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

I’ve been making ice cream for some time. Quite a few years ago, I bought a fancy Italian gelato maker from (the now-defunct) Sharper Image. Considering the cost of that machine and how little it was used, quart for quart, that was some of the priciest ice cream … er … gelato that I’ve ever eaten.  I never did get the chance to make enough to bring the costs down because the machine was a casualty of the move to my current home. Undeterred, I dove back into the pool and purchased a model from Cuisinart, as well as an extra freezer canister. I love this machine and it’s definitely paid for itself. Not only have I made ice cream for my friends and neighbors but I’ve brought it with me to Michigan and made ice cream for Zia and her friends. As for the many recipes I’ve tried, we are all in agreement that today’s recipe makes the best ice cream.

It was almost 2 years ago, during another long and sleepless night, that I came across a recipe for cheesecake ice cream. It called for cream cheese and, although tasty, it was, as a friend (the Entertainer) said, “… more like a frozen piece of cheesecake.” I kept searching until I found today’s recipe, which was posted by Melissa Symington on AllRecipes.com. Far and away, it is the best ice cream recipe I’ve come across in quite some time. Granted, by using a pudding mix, it is not a true ice cream and some ice cream purists may find that objectionable. Luckily, I’m not a purist nor are any of my friends and family. This is one ice cream recipe that I’ll make again and again.

The recipe presented below is pretty much the same one I found that night. The only changes I’ve made are to add a pinch of salt to each of the 3 preparations and to replace the milk with half-and-half. The yield is about 2 3/4 quarts of ice cream, although I’ve seen versions of this recipe where the ingredient amounts are all halved. Of course, the results are every bit as good as the original but then you’ve little to give to your friends. Trust me. Once they taste this ice cream, they’ll be asking for more. Make a full-batch and you can make everyone happy — well, maybe not your cardiologist.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

Berry Swirl

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Graham Cracker Crumble

  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • pinch of salt

Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water until smooth. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in butter. Pat into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in.x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the ice cream ingredients. Fill ice cream freezer cylinder two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze. Whisk before adding to ice cream freezer (mixture will have some lumps).
  4. Crumble the graham cracker mixture. In a large container, layer the ice cream, graham cracker mixture, and blueberry sauce three times. Use a spoon handle, chop stick, or similar object to swirl the now-full container’s contents. Freeze.
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Variations

Although not a problem with the blueberries in this recipe, I find that large pieces of fruit or berry usually do not freeze well in home-made ice cream. The water content of the fruit turns to ice and the resultant shard-like texture interferes with my enjoyment of the luscious cream across my palate. (Yes, I’m fussy about my ice cream.) So, to avoid this, if I’m going to use another fruit or berry in this recipe, I’ll pass them through my Roma strainer or, at least, purée them before preparing them for addition to the frozen cream mixture. This way I get all the flavor but none of the ice shards. That is how I prepared the strawberry ice cream pictured above, as well as a black cherry version of this same recipe.

Notes

One of the things that sets this ice cream apart is the graham cracker crumble. Reminiscent of a cheesecake’s crust, you do not want to skimp or skip this ingredient. Still, the recipe makes a great deal of the crumble and, like me, you may find there’s too much. Use as much of the crumble as you like and store the rest in your freezer for next time. I’ve no idea how long is should be frozen because mine has never been in the freezer for more than a couple weeks. This is one very popular ice cream.

It is possible to make ice cream at home without an ice cream maker. (I know because I forgot part of my machine during a recent trip to Michigan.) Granted, it may not be as easy as pouring ingredients into a frozen canister and pushing the “on” button but you can still make ice cream. First off, combine the ingredients listed above in a sturdy glass or stainless mixing bowl. Mix well and place the bowl and its contents into the freezer. Remove the bowl after 45 minutes and give its contents a good stir. Work fast. You can use a hand mixer, stand mixer, immersion blender, whisk, or spatula. Place the bowl back into the freezer. After 30 – 45 more minutes, remove the bowl and give it another good stir. Repeat the process again and again and again. It will take a few hours but you will eventually have a mixing bowl filled with ice cream that is as “solid” as you would get from a machine. Not only that but, believe me, you’ll never forget part of your machine again.

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Cherry Cheesecake Pizza

Since Easter is only a few days away, I thought it the perfect time for something sweet. Mom got this recipe from one of our two-flat’s neighbors, Johnnie, a wonderful woman whose daughter and my sister remain very close friends to this day. Easy to make, this is a perfect dessert for any party, potluck, or family dinner. If you wish, you can use canned pie filling and ready-made pie crusts — I told you it was easy. On the other hand, if you’ve got the time, you can make your own pastry dough and/or topping from fresh or frozen fruit. Either way, you’ll end up with a great little dessert.

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Cherry Cheesecake Pizza Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 pie crusts, ready-made or equivalent amount of pastry dough — not puff pastry
  • two 8 oz packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, rough chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • two 14.5 oz cans of pie filling (or use 2 cans/bottles of tart cherries and follow the maker’s recipe on the container to make a filling)
  • Whipped cream for serving – optional

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*.
  2. Roll pastry dough until large enough to cover the pan, as well as to create a ridge along the edge of the pan. Transfer to pan, prick with fork several times, and bake on center rack of oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well-blended. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. Add the walnuts and mix using a spoon or spatula.
  6. Once the crust is thoroughly cooled, pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and use an offset spatula to make it smooth.
  7. Bake in pre-heated 350* oven until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before proceeding.
  8. Carefully pour and spread fruit topping to cover the cheesecake. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 2 hours.
  9. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

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Variations

The original recipe called for one ready-made pie crust and one 8 oz package of cream cheese. Mom always doubled the amount of cream cheese and used both pie crusts, as well. This cheesecake was originally made on a 14″ or 16″ round pizza pan but, lacking one, I use a 12″ x 9″ sheet pan instead. Lastly, the original recipe used cherries for the topping. You can easily substitute blueberries, strawberries, or whatever fruit you prefer.

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Fiocchetti

Fiocchetti

I was trying to find a recipe when I ran across one that I hadn’t thought about or tasted in decades. Fiocchetti are a sweet treat that Mom would make for us kids on occasion and I’ve just learned that they’re a popular item throughout Italy during Carnivale. (Who knew?) Depending upon where you are in Italy, fiocchetti  may be called: “chiacchiere”, “manzòle”, “bugie”, or “risole”. No matter what you call them, basically, they’re all the same: thin strips of sweetened dough that are deep-fried and coated with sugar. After reading that description, you can probably guess why Mom only made them for us “on occasion” and no more often than that.

“Fiocchi”

The word fiocchetti is derived from the word fioccho (pl. fiocchi) or ribbon(s). The strips, if left alone before frying, do indeed look like pieces of ribbon. Mom, however, would pinch each strip in its center, making them look like over-sized farfalle. She referred to them as either angel wings or bow ties. I can remember eating one, alone in my room, that I had stolen from the stove top while Mom was distracted. (Yeah, like a six-year-old would be able to pull off anything in that kitchen with Mom standing right there.) It was a recurring theme in our house. Mom would be cooking some treat and we three juveniles would be falling over each other trying to steal away a sample or two. It’s a wonder that any of them ever made it to the table.

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Fiocchetti Recipe

total time: about 90 minutes, includes 60 minutes for dough to rest.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus as much as 1/4 cup more
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • oil for frying
  • additional confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients and combine as if making pasta. Form a large ball.
  2. Put 1/4 c flour on work surface and knead dough, using as much of the flour as necessary to create a smooth and shiny dough. This should take about 10 minutes
  3. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. Roll out dough until very thin and cut into strips about 6 inches long and from 1 to  3  inches wide, depending on your preference. If you like, pinch the center of each strip to create a bow-like shape.
  5. Deep fry in hot oil that has reached 350*. It should only take a minute or two for them to turn golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.

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