Frozen Assets

There’s nothing more satisfying than an indulgent scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day. And it’s even better when you’ve whipped up your own homemade creation. Brian and I don’t make nearly enough in our house, even though the bowl for our ice cream maker is always frozen, always ready to go. This past weekend we FINALLY checked the activity off of our to-do list and man, I have no idea why we waited so long! The creamy blend we put together wasn’t difficult, or even that time consuming to make. And the best part: We have enough creamy goodness to last us for days!

Speckled Strawberry Ice Cream by

Speckled Strawberry Ice Cream by

We started out with a classic base and dressed it up a bit with flecks of dark chocolate and vanilla bean. The addition of some strawberry simple syrup (leftover from another project) and tiny pieces of fresh strawberries made sure that every lick of this decadent treat was one we’ll remember.

Speckled Strawberry Ice Cream

(Recipe adapted from True Vanilla Ice Cream, printed in the August 2013 issue of Bon Appétit)

Makes about 2.5 pints

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons all-natural strawberry simple syrup 
  • 1 3.5-ounce bar 70-percent dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into a tiny dice

1. Combine the heavy cream, whole milk, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and use a knife to loosen the seeds. Add both to pot. Heat over medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Once sugar has dissolved, remove from heat, cover and let sit aside for 30 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar for about 2 minutes or until pale. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the eggs and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup more and combine. Now pour the yolk mixture into the pot with the remaining milk mixture. Heat over medium, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain custard into a medium bowl and refrigerate until chilled.

3. Once chilled, pour custard into an ice cream machine and churn until nearly finished. Once you think you have about 5 minutes remaining, add the strawberry simple syrup, chocolate pieces and fresh strawberry and continue to let the ice cream maker do its thing. When complete, transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for 2 to 4 hours or more.

SWWU Tip 1: Don’t have time to make the all-natural strawberry simple syrup? Don’t worry, you can skip it and have a more subtle strawberry flavor. (It really is quite a tasty addition though!)

SWWU Tip 2: Need to send someone a unique thank you note? Check out these adorable ice cream themed thank you cards you can make in just minutes

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Happy Hour Must-Have: Strawberry Gin and Tonic

The strawberries at our local farmers’ market are looking great and tasting sweet. You may remember that we whipped up a pretty (and delicious) all-natural strawberry simple syrup recently and I’ve enjoyed mixing it into fizzy drinks like soda water and champagne. But my favorite use (so far) has been using it as a way to jazz up a classic gin and tonic, my usual drink of choice.

Strawberry Gin and Tonic by

Strawberry Gin and Tonic by

The strawberry syrup adds a subtle fruity flavor and transforms the cocktail into a festive-looking pink sipper. I think I may have to go have another!

Strawberry Gin and Tonic

Makes 1 drink

  • ice
  • 3 ounces gin (I prefer Pylmouth)
  • 1 ounce all-natural strawberry simple syrup (get our recipe here)
  • tonic
  • 1 strawberry with a small, 1-inch slit cut into the bottom

1. Fill a glass with ice. Pour in the gin and strawberry simple syrup, then top with tonic water. Gently stir until combined. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary. Garnish glass with the strawberry.

SWWU Tip: Make your ice cubes out of tonic water for an extra special treat.

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Berry Nice

Brian and I always make a stop at Meisner’s Farm Stand in Hudson, NY on our way up to the farm or when we’re headed back to the city. This past weekend we decided to check in and see what they had available (our first visit of the season). It’s still a bit early for their typical offerings, but we were able to pick up some beautiful strawberries.

Ingredients for All-Natural-Strawberry-Simple Syrup by

Ingredients for All-Natural-Strawberry-Simple Syrup by

Though it was hard not to eat them all up on the drive home, I was able to save them for a new project. I’ve been craving a strawberry syrup to add to homemade sodas, cocktails and more. But, I wanted something that didn’t have a ton of unnatural ingredients (I’m looking at you red dye no. 40). I came up with the recipe below and I’m quite pleased with the outcome. The strawberry flavor really shines through and I was able to balance the flavor with much less sugar than I would have expected to use (you may need more or less sugar depending on how sweet the strawberries you have are). Check back soon to see what this delicious syrup ends up in and on.

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup by

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup by

All-Natural Strawberry Simple Syrup

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar

1. Hull and quarter the strawberries, discarding any that are bruised. Place in a medium saucepan and top with water until the berries are just covered. Bring to a boil over medium, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

2. At this point, the liquid should be reddish in color and the strawberry pieces should be quite pale. Pour the berries and liquid through a strainer and discard the flesh of the fruit. Return the red strawberry water to the pot and add the sugar. Add more sugar if the berries you’re working with aren’t very sweet. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup has thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if desired, making sure to cook until anything else you add is also dissolved. Let cool completely then transfer to a jar or bottle and store in the fridge.

SWWU Tip: I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but next time I whip up a batch of simple syrup I’m going to use some of our homemade vanilla sugar to add a little something extra.

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