Tag Archives: coffee

Coffee Ice Cream + Mocha Sauce (and some thoughts on life on the internet)

It’s not a secret that I love coffee. And ice cream. It was only a matter of time before I made a batch of coffee ice cream. Rich, bold whole coffee beans steeped in cream and sugar and churned until frozen. It’s about all I can do to not eat it morning, noon and night, which isn’t all that surprising given those are the hours that I drink coffee. (Note: I thought I would try a kitchen experiment and rinse and dry the coffee beans after they steeped and brew them in a pot of coffee. Result: something akin to swamp water. I figured it at least meant that all that coffee essence was trapped in my ice cream.) I announced my intentions for this ice cream last weekend on Twitter, giving a shout-out to David Lebovitz (@davidlebovitz) whose recipe I was following.

To which he replied:

Enjoy the coffee ice cream – don’t forget the chocolate sauce! : )

The power of the internet and social networking sites. It astounds me that we live in an age where somebody like me, a purple-haired fungal biologist can interact with world-class pastry chef. I figured I had better heed his advice – this man literally wrote the book on ice cream. But, because of my long standing coffee obsession, I made mocha sauce instead. David Lebovitz did not steer me wrong  – coffee and chocolate go hand in hand.

I sometimes forget that this blog is in a public space. I understand that when I hit the Publish button that my words, my thoughts and my food appear on the internet, for anybody to to view and read. But it’s all in a very abstract sense. It astonishes me when somebody decides to reach across cyberspace and write to me about what I’ve presented here. It’s a technological hug. And it’s lovely.

I am a lot of things. And my relationships with the people who read this blog vary tremendously. I am family; daughter, sister, niece, cousin. I am a friend; from grade school, high school, college and grad school. I am a co-worker; from the dental office and from the lab and the larger scientific community. I am a former dancer. I’ve made friends with the family and friends of the people closest in my life. And I am a stranger to some. All of these people are welcome to participate in these slices of my life that I decide to put on the internet. 

I forget how wide of a net life casts. It’s an easy thing to brush off, to slide past, but it really is astonishing how many intersections there are. Like my obsession with coffee and ice cream, it’s no secret that this time in my life has been difficult. It’s oddly comforting, and simultaneously very scary, knowing that so many people have access to many of my innermost thoughts and emotions. It gives me the opportunity to share without actually having to speak the words aloud. It gives my readers the opportunity, whether in a public comment or a private message, to give me a hug. And it makes me feel not quite as lonely.

Thank you for the hugs.

(Have some coffee ice cream and mocha sauce).

Coffee Ice Cream and Mocha Sauce
from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
Coffee Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee
Mocha Sauce
1 cup strongly brewed coffee
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

For the ice cream:

Warm the milk, sugar whole coffee beans, salt and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan. Once warm, cover and remove from heat. Let steep for at least an hour (or longer if you have to deal with your towed car…). Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large batter bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Rewarm the coffee-milk mixture. Slowly pour the warm coffee-milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Cook custard until thick, stirring constantly. Pour through the mesh strainer and stir into the cream. Mix in the vanilla and the ground coffee. Chill thoroughly. Churn in your ice cream maker.

For the mocha sauce:

Whisk brewed coffee, sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 30 seconds without stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth. Let the sauce stand for at least an hour (it will thicken slightly).

Salted Caramel Coffee Float

Um, hello?

What was I thinking, not making salted caramel ice cream until now?

(Smacking forehead)

Here it is; six months and many flavors since getting my ice cream machine and I am only just now getting around to whipping up a batch.

Holy moly, this stuff is good. I should only make it once every six months because I am tempted to eat the entire quart in one sitting. And pairing it with coffee was a sheer stroke of genius. I call it a float, but one could get all fancy and call it an affogato, which is simply a scoop of ice cream topped with a shot of espresso. (I don’t have an espresso machine handy, so I just went with some super strong coffee).

This delight takes me to a special, Nirvana-like place in a way that no other food has recently. And with everything that’s on my plate at the moment, finding Nirvana isn’t so bad. Especially when it tastes so good.

This recipe is from the fabulous Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. And I may not search for another salted caramel ice cream recipe ever again. It is the most decadent balance of salty, sweet and oh-so creamy.

Making Jeni’s ice creams is like a science experiment (and appeals to my scientist nature). Warning: it takes a lot of bowls – but go with it and do the extra dishes, it will be worth it. She calls for the use of corn syrup, cornstarch and cream cheese in her ice creams, always with delicious results. The corn syrup provides glucose (in contrast to granulated sugar which is sucrose) and prevents ice crystals from forming. Cornstarch absorbs extra water molecules. And all that water come from milk, which is 90% water, and having molecules that will bind up all the water will result in a creamier, more elastic ice cream. And cream cheese (perhaps the most unexpected one of the bunch) brings extra casein proteins (also found in milk) which helps to bind up all the ingredients. How cool is that? Ice cream making is like a science … wait, ice cream making IS a science. I love it.

Salted Caramel Coffee Float

makes about a quart

from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon grey sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with about 2 tablespoons of the milk to create a slurry. Set aside.

In another large bowl (this will be the final bowl holding the ice cream base, so make sure that it is large enough. I like to use an 8-cup batter bowl that has a spout.) whisk the cream cheese and the salt together until smooth. Set aside.

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, mix the corn syrup and heavy cream. Set aside.

Heat the sugar in a deep-sided pot over medium heat. Patience is key for caramel making. This is a dry-burn technique. Make sure the sugar is in a uniform layer in the pot and leave it alone until the sides start to melt and darken. Once this happens, take a heat-proof spatula and bring the melted edges in towards the center of the sugar to help melt the remaining sugar. Continue to push the melted sugar inwards until all of the sugar is melted and is evenly amber in color. Once small bubbles start to burst with dark smoke, remove from heat and slowly, SLOWLY (and be careful of exploding hot sugar) pour 1/4 cup of the heavy cream  into the sugar and stir furiously. Continue adding all of the cream until it is incorporated. Stir in vanilla.

Return to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a roiling boil and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cornstarch slurry. Bring back to a boil and cook for a minute longer, until slightly thickened.

Pour through seive into the salted cream cheese and whisk until smooth.

Chill completely. (Jeni says to transfer to a ziploc bag and submerging it into an ice bath, but I usually just stick my batter bowl into the fridge and wait a few hours. I’ve always been pleased with my results.)

Freeze in your ice cream maker. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours in the coldest part of your freezer.

For the coffee float: Scoop salted caramel ice cream into a mug and top with strong, hot coffee.

It changed my world.

Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Raspberries! We got raspberries in our CSA box this week (among other tasty goodies).

As my backyard raspberries have been wiped clean, this was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. In my book, raspberries trump all other berries (and fruits, for that matter). Sweet, tart and oh so perfectly hued.


I admit, I gobbled them all up on Thursday evening without a second thought, enjoying every bite. But they’ve been on my mind ever since. So, on this lazy Sunday afternoon, with it’s overcast skies, I am also thinking of home, the almightly Pacific Northwest. Where coffee is king and available on every street corner. Where it’s often offered with a scone. So my mind turned to scones. Raspberry scones, to be precise. Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones to be even more precise. (Luckily, I had the foresight to freeze some of my backyard bounty … and so these scones easily became a reality.)

Now, I am not actually a fan of the coffeeshop scone. Too often they are dry,  hard and cloyingly sweet. But these scones, the ones I baked this very afternoon, are delightful. Crispy edges and a soft, crumbly interior. The zing of lemon and the crunch of poppyseeds. And of course, the pockets of raspberries. It’s like uncovering a buried treasure chest. And when you add a cup of french press coffee with my favorite Batdorf and Bronson coffee bean from Olympia – well, it made me want to share the whole experience with you.

Raspberry Lemon Poppyseed Scones

makes 4 large scones

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons poppyseeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 lemon
5 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup raspberriesGlaze
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar


In food processor, add flour, sugar, poppyseeds, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter, and pulse a few more times, until resembling cornmeal.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and lemon juice. Add to dough and continue to pulse until it starts to come together. Add milk and pulse until dough fully forms. Remove blade from food processor and add raspberries (if using frozen raspberries – do not thaw).

Tranfer dough to floured countertop (the dough will be sticky) and fold a few times to incorporate the raspberries. Form a 6-8 inch disk, with the middle slightly higher than the edges. Cut into quarters and transfer to a cookie sheet. Brush tops with milk. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Mix together lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over warm scones.

I repeat: Delightful.

Friday :)

You know you are in for a good day when:

You are leaving Minneapolis (with its snow and 3 degree temperature) to go to Florida (with its sun, 80 temperature and a very special gentleman).

You encounter the shortest security line you’ve ever seen at MSP airport.

And your coffee comes with a bad muffin joke.

Happy Friday.

Crazy about coffee

I love coffee.

I mean really really really love coffee.

Partly for the caffeine.

(although, if necessary, I can make it through the day without it)

But mostly because it smells so damn good.

And tastes even better.

It makes me outrageously happy.

And maybe a little bit crazy (but that might be genetic).

I drink it during brunch…

And while I work…

And when I visit friends.

I am amused by gigantic cups of coffee art.

Even Scott likes coffee.  And that’s (one reason) why I love him.

I just needed to put that out there in the world.

But I am not obsessed about coffee.

Or addicted.