Sunday, July 17, 2011

Shake It

It's officially National Ice Cream Month. Thank goodness President Reagan designated the third Sunday in July as the National Ice Cream Day, which is today.  I don't know what we would do otherwise. In 1984 he stated that these two events, National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, should be observed with "appropriate ceremonies and activities". Okey dokey, Mr. President! I just did a great activity in honor of my country  and it was making a batch of homemade ice cream. Oh, and I didn't even use a machine! Thank you for making sure there was a holiday for this, Mr. Reagan. Who knows, if there wasn't we all might have forgotten about ice cream.

I want to explain how this ice cream is made without a machine.  You put the ingredients into a ziploc freezer bag and shake it with ice and salt.  Easy, right?! Not. When your standing in your house shaking a bin filled with ice and cream for 15 minutes the time goes by incredibly slooooooow. Oh, and when the weather channel tells you that outside currently feels like 104 degrees and your apartment is even warmer, it goes by even sloooooooower. I'm sorry I'm complaining so much, but this heat wave has turned me into an uncomfortable shrew. 

Back to delightful things like ice cream.  When I think of ice cream two people immediately pop into my head. My mom and my grandpa. My mother because when I was growing up she would eat a giant bowl full of ice cream before bed. Once again, how is she not 300 pounds?? Anyway, with her bowl of Bridgeman's Vanilla she would pile on fruit or cereal or syrups. It was pretty amazing, and my grandfather was no different. For grandpa's Bridgeman's Vanilla Ice Cream I specifically remember that he would put corn flakes on top. Oh, and after he put the corn flakes on top he would put the bowl in the refrigerator for them to melt together. I know! What sense does that make? I seriously wish I could ask him what the hell he was thinking. Soggy, plain corn flakes with melted vanilla ice cream??! It's just too confusing. 

 So, after my homemade ice cream was all finished shaking and after I was done shoving it in my face, I realized that this ice cream turned out pretty tasty.  The candied pecans were especially amazing. Who knew stirring pecans into melted butter and sugar would be so delcicious?! Ok, maybe I did. Also, this is not a low fat ice cream, lots of buttermilk in this one. It's all natural, but still.  Don't eat all of this by yourself or you will feel guilty for at least a week. Just saying.  I hope you get a chance to try it out. I think it would be a great activity to do with kids as well. You can always omit the nuts if there are allergies and, I am just guessing here, I bet chocolate chips would work pretty well in here if need be. Enjoy!

Buttermilk-Pecan Ice Cream:


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup candied pecans (page 138)
  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt


Make the mix.
Whisk the sugar, cream, buttermilk, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla and candied pecans in a large bowl.

Pour into a bag.

Prop a 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag open in a large container; pour in the buttermilk mixture. Press out the air and seal. Chill the bag until ready to make the ice cream.
Fill your container.
Put about 10 cups ice in the container, filling it about three-quarters of the way, then pour in the sea salt. Nestle the sealed bag of buttermilk mixture in the ice.

Start shaking!
Tightly cover the container with the lid. Shake vigorously for about 15 minutes, or until the buttermilk mixture is thick. How long it takes depends on your shakin'!
Serve and eat.

For soft-serve, rinse the outside of the bag, snip a corner and pipe into bowls. For firmer ice cream, freeze 1 hour before scooping.

Candied Pecans:

  • (Makes 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add the pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is sticky, 6 to 8 minutes. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet to cool, then refrigerate at least 10 minutes before using.

Monday, July 11, 2011

old-fashioned root beer

 It's summer!!! Yes, and I have been reminded of this fact every night for the past two weeks. How am I reminded you ask? Because I've been sweating myself to sleep.  I haven't been too inspired to turn my oven on and bake because of this heat, but then I saw the recipe for the Root Beer Bundt Cake. Yes, a cake with soda in it. Oh, and you melt a stick of butter into the soda.  It's funny because a friend of mine recently asked me if I was planning on baking some healthy treats.  My newest recipe probably answers her question loud and clear.

I love root beer. A few of the reasons i love it is because it reminds me of summer as well as baseball.  Why baseball? Because the most delicious root beer on the planet, in my opinion, is named after the great Harmon Killebrew, an old- fashioned slugger for my favorite baseball team, the Minnesota Twins.  To me it's fitting that they named an old-fashioned root beer after that classic ball player. Harmon actually recently passed away, so I guess this cake is in honor of him. 

I'm going to tell you the truth, this cake was incredibly easy to make.  Luckily I have a beautiful bundt pan, so my cake turned out looking exactly like it did in Food Network Magazine. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying! A woman named Claudia Sidoti came up with this recipe because she apparently loves root beer as much as I do. Thanks, Claudia. I'm sorry I have no idea who you are but apparently you're a Food Network television star. Way to go! Here is her recipe, made by me. Enjoy.

Root Beer Bundt Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 cups root beer
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed DARK BROWN sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
3 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan; tap out the excess flour.
2. Heat 2 cups root beer, the cocoa powder, chocolate and 1 stick butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts.  Add the granulated and brown sugars and whisk until dissolved.  remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Combine 2 cups flour, the baking soda, allspice and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  Whisk the eggs into the root beer mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients (the batter will be slightly lumpy).
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through.  Transfer to a rack.  Gently poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour 1/4 cup root beer over the cake; let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and let cool completely.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup root beer, a pinch of salt, the confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over cake.

To be honest, this cake has more of a chocolate taste than a root beer taste, in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong, it's delicious, but I'm going to admit that I was a little disappointed that I couldn't taste the root beer a little more.  The glaze was delicious and root beer-ish enough, so I guess that makes it alright.  Oh, and this cake is so moist and fluffy.  This is one good cake. Hope you get a chance to try it!! Happy baking...