It’s too hot. Too hot to move and too hot to eat. I find myself making minimalist dinners these days.
One night it was just zucchini and corn fritters. No sides, no sauce. I told the kids they were “corn pancakes” but that you don’t get to have syrup with them. But if you do eat them all, you get ice cream. It worked.
Ice cream is the only thing I really have wanted to eat lately and, occasionally, that leads to me making homemade ice cream. I’ve had an ice cream maker for about 10 years now, and some years it gets pulled out a lot, and some years it doesn’t.
This summer I’ve gotten in the habit of buying a pint of heavy whipping cream every two or three weeks, and it just naturally leads to the making of homemade ice cream.
The only thing that holds me back from making ice cream more often is choosing a flavor. It’s ridiculous, because the options are limitless! Even making a simple vanilla base and stirring a crunchy topping in creates a whole new flavor. “Broken cookies in it?” my 2-year-old son asks every time I tell him we have more homemade ice cream available.
I wanted to share a really “new” ice cream flavor with you this week, but I have to tell you, people are making some very questionable choices with their homemade ice creams. I seriously saw “roasted garlic with honey swirl.” I saw one for basil chip instead of mint chip, which I thought sounded interesting, but it got terrible reviews.
Then I found this recipe for banana pudding ice cream. Watch out, this is some heavy-duty ice cream, using half-and-half in place of the milk and still two eggs. I finally conquered adding eggs to my custard base! I wasn’t successful until my third try, but now I feel like I can make any ice cream. I haven’t tried the banana pudding one yet, but I plan to make it for the next cookout we host. This one is too heavy to allow myself to eat three-quarters of it.
For those of you without ice cream machines, I wanted to include a popsicle recipe and thought these Earl Grey tea and cream ones looked divine. You even make a homemade blueberry jam to go in them. Make these popsicles for your ’tweens and they’ll feel like such grown ups. Plus they’re tea-flavored, so perfectly acceptable even before lunch on these miserable hot days.
And finally, for an easy no-cook recipe, an ice cream sandwich ice cream cake, which I had at a child’s birthday party this summer and thought it was delightfully charming for being so simple. The recipe tells you to pipe the Cool Whip and let it freeze solid between the layers before adding more layers so it looks pretty, but I really don’t think that’s necessary. If you don’t want to put the time into that, just spread it with a knife and proceed to lay all three layers at once.
Banana pudding ice cream
1½ cups half and half
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas mashed
1 cup crushed Nilla wafers
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the half and half, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Take saucepan off heat. Place eggs in a medium bowl. While whisking, gradually (to not curdle the eggs) add about half the sugar mixture to the eggs.
Pour egg mixture into saucepan with the half and half that remained in the saucepan.
Stir in cream.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. About 5 to 10 minutes.
Take saucepan off heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, stir in mashed banana and pour into an ice cream maker. Use manufacturer's directions to freeze. Add Nilla wafers about 5 minutes before end of freezing time.
If ice cream is too soft for your liking at this point, place in freezer for about 1 hour.
Blueberry London Fog Popsicles
For the London fog cream layer:
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ whole milk
¾ cup cane sugar
1½ tablespoons loose-leaf earl grey tea
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
For the honey blueberry layer:
1½ cups blueberries
¼ cup honey
⅔ cup water
Prepare the London fog cream: combine the cream, milk, sugar, tea, and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Just before it boils, remove from heat and steep, covered, for 20 minutes. When done steeping, strain the cream through a fine mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup with a spout.
While the London fog cream steeps, prepare the honey blueberry layer. Combine the blueberries, honey, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring, until the blueberries break down and the sauce is thickened to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to a boil and chill until cool enough to touch (I put mine in the freezer and stir every few minutes).
Once cool enough to touch, puree the blueberry compote in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup with a spout.
Divide the blueberry puree among 10 popsicle molds. Pour the London fog layer over top until the molds are just about full. Your mixtures should swirl automatically, but if your blueberry compote is a little thicker, you can also add swirls by inserting a chopstick or skewer along the outside edges of the mold.
Freeze until solid, 12 hours or overnight. To remove: Run the popsicle mold under warm water for a few seconds will help you remove the frozen popsicles from the mold.
Ice cream sandwich cake
12 ice cream sandwiches unwrapped
16 ounces whipped topping thawed
½ cup miniature chocolate chips
¾ cup mini M&M's
⅓ cup fudge sauce
Place four ice cream sandwiches in a row on a serving plate.
Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip to pipe dollops of whipped topping over the ice cream sandwiches. Sprinkle chocolate chips and M&M's over the layer of whipped topping. Freeze until firm.
Repeat the process with the remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping and candies until you have three layers of ice cream sandwiches and three layers of whipped topping and candies. Freeze each layer until firm before proceeding with the next layer.
Freeze the whole cake until firm, at least one hour. Drizzle the fudge sauce over the top of the cake. Cut into slices then serve.
Cake can be stored in the freezer for up to three days before serving. For storage, cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap once cake is completely firm.