Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sundae Sunday - The round-up

Well, it took me a week, but I'm finally back with the round-up of all the delicious treats that my friends made for Sundae Sunday.  Ice cream month is just about done, but there's plenty more summer weather to come (especially around here--they're forecasting 107º for Tuesday!).  Check out all these tempting photos, then try to decide what to make first! =)

First up we have Mike of Living Out West.  He made what he referred to as "Plain Jim" ice cream.  What I'd call it is fabulous.  Vanilla, with both bean and extract, can be enjoyed as is, or become the perfect canvas for other things.  Check it out here.

Next we have a new friend, Elaine, invited by Mike to join in the fun.  She has a lovely blog, California Living.  She immediately won me over by mentioning one of my favorite restaurants from college, The Old Spaghetti Factory. =) She went all out and made three different flavors, which she then combined for some fantastic homemade spumoni.

I invited a fairly new friend as well.  Margaret of The Irish Mother is someone that I met through Adopt-a-Blogger.  She started her blog to share her collection of family and other recipes, and is doing a wonderful job of it.  In fact, she's about to celebrate her 1-year blogiversary next week.  For our Sundae event, she took a delicious-looking Chocolate Velvet ice cream recipe and made it even more decadent by adding cheesecake!  Go read all about it here.

Now we go from something totally decadent to something light and refreshing.  Leslie of Lethally Delicious shared this lovely mango sorbet with us.  She advises only using really good mangoes, and gives some great tips on finding them.  Check out her recipe!

Next up is more fruit and gorgeous color from Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs.  She has a couple favorite ice cream books, but was looking to try something new.  She searched her bookshelf using Eat Your Books, which is also a favorite tool of mine, and found a new recipe for Blueberry Ice Cream.  Read all about the service and the ice cream in her post.

Phyl from Of Cabbages and King Cakes continues our theme of fruity ice creams perfect for enjoying in a heat wave.  He went for a grownup concoction featuring Pimm's No. 1.  I've never tried it, but I definitely want to, now that I've read about Phyl's ice cream.  He uses it with lemon and lime curd to make a delicious citrus ice cream.  Read about it here.  

Margaret decided to borrow an idea from Phyl and feature Lemon Curd Ice Cream on her blog, Tea and Scones.  I'll be busy eating that with my friend Kayte, while everyone else can try the second ice cream she made....

...German Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream.  Sorry, we won't be making this one here, since no one likes coconut. More for the rest of you, right? =P  Be sure to head over to Margaret's blog for more about both of these great recipes.  

On to more chocolate!  Abby of Stir it! Scrape it! Mix it! Bake it! decided to take a break from playing with her new ice cream machine and made us these awesome Chocolate Pudding Pops.  I'm definitely going to have to make these for my girls, since chocolate pudding is a favorite dessert of theirs.  Having it in frozen form will definitely go over well.  You can find the recipe for these chocolate treats here on Abby's blog.   

If you want some delicious items to mix into Mike's vanilla ice cream up above, look no further than Mary's blog, Popsicles and Sandy Feet.  She gives us not one, but two yummy treats that are just perfect for dressing up some homemade or store-bought ice cream.  I don't know which to make first, the Maida Hatter Palm Beach Brownies or the Peanut Butter World Peace Cookies.  Maybe just make both?  Head over to Mary's blog for more, including links to the recipes.  

If you're looking for something to serve alongside your ice cream, Jeannette of The Whimsical Cupcake has a great idea.  She made Buttercrunch Toffee, and then topped her Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream with some Salted Bourbon-Caramel Sauce.  Sounds like a great way to beat the heat down here in Texas, where Jeannette and I both live.  She has all the recipes here.  

While Jeannette may be the closest to me geographically, this next treat comes from the person farthest away.  My blogging friend Marthe of The Baking Bluefinger sends us this lovely sundae all the way from The Netherlands.  She decided to make use of a gift from a Canadian friend, and made us a treat that features lots of maple syrup--Maple Syrup meringues topped with Maple Ice Cream, then topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of more maple syrup.  You can find out more on her blog (now that her internet is cooperating!).  

That brings us to my contribution, which also follows a theme.  Mine was caramel.  My sundae starts with a waffle bowl, which I filled with Salty Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream and topped with an amazing Butterscotch Sauce.  And don't forget some whipped cream and a cherry!  For more info and a recipe for the sauce, head over here.  

I hope you've enjoyed the showcase of our frozen favorites.  Next up will be an Autumn event--I'm still working on a theme--that will take place in late September or early October.  If you'd like to be part of the fun, you can email me at diskitchennotebook at gmail dot com and I'll send you the details when we get closer.  (I plan to contact all past participants unless you tell me not to.)    

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We all scream for...sorbet?

Hopefully you aren't tired of ice cream posts yet. =)  This one is actually courtesy of Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon.  She's our hostess for Tuesdays with Dorie this week, and she picked Creamy Dark Chocolate Sorbet for us to make.  It could be debated whether this recipe is actually for sorbet, since it contains milk, and sorbet generally doesn't.  In fact, Dorie adapted this recipe from one by Pierre Hermé, which was made with just water, no milk.  The substitution of milk for part of the liquid is what makes this sorbet creamy.  The sorbet is pretty easy to make--you combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, and boil it for 5 minutes.  Then you thoroughly chill the mixture and churn it in an ice cream maker.  The result is a bit more "soft-serve" than usually, so it really benefits from several hours in the freezer (I left mine overnight) so it can firm up.  The only changes I made were to add a bit of salt, and to increase the recipe by a third.  I used a mix of chocolates, ending up with an average cacao percentage of about 62%, I think.

The verdict?  It's hard to believe that such a simple recipe can make something so delicious!  Chocolate ice cream is wonderful, but almost too rich sometimes.  This sorbet is extremely chocolatey, but refreshing at the same time.  I'm sure we'll be making it again very soon, since it's rapidly disappearing.  

Here's my ingredient list, since I scaled the recipe up by a third (easier to do after converting to metric) to make about a quart:

300 grams lowfat (1%) milk
300 grams water
200 grams granulated sugar
265 grams bittersweet chocolate
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the original recipe, head over to Steph's blog.  And to see what everyone else thought of the sorbet, check out this week's Links.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sundae Sunday - Nuts about caramel

So what do you think makes a sundae a sundae?  Is it just having sauce on ice cream?  Is it adding whipped cream?  Is it the cherry on top?  Well, I have all of those today, so there's no doubt in my mind that this is a sundae. =)  I don't eat sundaes much.  I usually eat a single scoop of ice cream, plain, in a small bowl or ramekin.  Eating a small amount means I can get away with eating ice cream more often.  Occasionally I'll put some chocolate or caramel sauce on top.  But whipped cream?  Never.  And cherries?  I don't even like them. Jamie got to eat the one on this sundae; he's the one who bought the cherries in the first place, so I can make him some ice cream with roasted cherries.

But since this is Sundae Sunday, I went all out.  At the base is a waffle bowl, made from the same recipe as my cones, but sandwiched between a couple small bowls to give it shape.  The ice cream is salty caramel with pecan pralines.  (You can also find the salty caramel ice cream recipe in this Bon Appetit blog post. Thanks, Mike!)  It's topped with a sinfully sweet butterscotch sauce and topped with softly whipped cream and a cherry.

I added the pralines to the ice cream because I wanted something that wasn't too plain, and I thought they would be good with the caramel ice cream.  Initially, I was thinking of using hot fudge or some other chocolate sauce for the topping, but then I decided that I wanted to stick with the caramel theme.  Regular caramel sauce seemed too obvious; I wanted something with a little more character.  I consulted my bookshelf on Eat Your Books, looking for butterscotch sauce.  I was a bit surprised when it pointed me to my copy of Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman.  But sure enough, there was a butterscotch recipe in there.  Butter, dark brown sugar, cream, salt, vanilla, and the intriguing ingredient of cider vinegar were fairly quickly combined into a delicious topping.  As for the whipped cream, I made it by hand--I've finally learned that the best way to do that is to use a large bowl and my big balloon whisk, even for a relatively small amount of cream.  The whipping goes fast that way, and I can easily stop before the cream gets over-whipped.

The verdict?  Wow.  This sundae was totally decadent, and completely delicious.  I let the caramel for the ice cream get a little too dark, so the ice cream wasn't very sweet.  But that was okay with the pralines and sauce, both of which were quite sweet.  I don't usually go for nuts in my ice cream, but I like how the pecans were crunchy, while the praline coating melted into the ice cream.  The butterscotch sauce was wonderful--the additions of vinegar and salt really gave it an excellent flavor.

Butterscotch Sauce
(adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman)

55 grams (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
115 grams (4 ounces, or a packed half cup) dark brown sugar
115 grams (4 ounces, or half a cup) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Place the butter and brown sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cook for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat until the sugar has completed melted into the butter and the mixture is thick and bubbly.  Remove the pan from the head and whisk in the cream.  Let the mixture cool slightly--about 5 minutes--then whisk in the vanilla, vinegar and salt.  Makes about a cup.

For more info on making the butterscotch sauce, check out this article from Shuna Fish Lydon, with great how-to photos.

And be sure to check back later this week for my Sundae Sunday round-up!

Sundae Sunday

Fill 'er up!!

Welcome to Sundae Sunday!  What is that, you ask?  Well, if you're a regular reader of my blog, you've probably noticed my recent (well, ongoing) obsession with all things ice cream.  We've been suffering through an incredible heat wave here in central Texas--we're up to almost 40 days of 100º+ temperatures since late May.  This week, the intense heat has branched out to other parts of the country, and many of my blogging friends are suffering through it as well.  At least I have air-conditioning!  So what better time to make some delicious frozen treats?  Plus July is National Ice Cream Month!  It would be a shame to let it pass without some celebration.

So it seemed like a good time for a blogging event.  Back in December, I hosted a Virtual Cookie Exchange.  A bunch of us got together and posted cookie recipes on the same day, so we could share our favorites with each other.  This is the same sort of thing--we're having a virtual ice cream social, with ice cream or other frozen treats or related items (e.g. sundae toppings).  My sundae post will be up later today (a tease--I hope you like caramel!).  Later this week I'll have a round-up of what everyone made.

I've also decided to make this a seasonal thing.  I love getting my friends together for an event like this, but I know everyone is busy, so I don't want it to be too often.  The schedule will be roughly as follows...

Summer - July
Autumn - late September or early October
Holidays - December
Winter - February
Spring - late April or early May

If this sounds like fun and you'd like to participate in future events, leave a comment on this post (make sure it's not anonymous, or I won't have a way to contact you) or send me an email at diskitchennotebook at gmail dot com.  The more the merrier!  I should have a specific theme for the next event figured out by early September.  In the meantime, look around for some delicious ice cream recipes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's a virtue

People seem to think that I have a lot of patience.  When they learn how long I've worked in customer service, they think I must be a patient person.  When they see something that I've created, be it a fancy cake or a piece of needlework, they say how making those things must take a lot of patience.  Honestly, though, I think most of the time it's more stubbornness than patience--because I don't feel very patient a lot of the time, especially when I'm dealing with my children.  And when I get an idea in my head, I don't want to wait.  I want to make it happen now!

You've all seen that in action with all my recent posts about frozen treats.  Sure, it's summer, and a great time for ice cream.  But I want to make all the different flavors right now.  I actually didn't make any new ones last weekend because I knew there wouldn't be room until we finished eating some of the ones I'd already made.  I can hardly wait to make some more, though.  It's not just flavors that I've been experimenting with, either.  After buying some cones and waffle bowls at the grocery store that weren't very tasty (and arrived broken as well), I decided that I needed to make my own.  Jeni's book has a recipe, but I was lacking one important thing--a waffle cone iron.  

It wasn't always the case, but these days Austin has quite a few different places to shop for housewares. The place I end up at most often is Sur la Table.  When SLT came to town a few years ago, the local Williams-Sonoma store expanded quite a bit as well.  But despite the fact that they have a lot more to offer these days, I still don't shop there all that often.  For some of the basics, I like to go to Ace Mart, a local restaurant supply store.  And for some items, like cake boxes and decorating tools, I shop at All in One Bake Shop.   I may not like shopping for clothes or shoes, but I can shop for kitchen gear all day long. =)  Where do you all like to shop for bakeware and related stuff?  I can always use some new places to check out.  =)

How Brianna deals with the fact that I need more practice making cones without holes at the bottom...

When I started looking for a waffle cone maker, I started with Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma.  SLT didn't even have one on its website.  W-S had one, but it was listed as online only.  Sometimes that information isn't accurate so I still checked the store, but no luck.  I even tried Bed, Bath & Beyond, but same thing--online only.  If I wanted to buy one online, I could just order one from another favorite of mine, King Arthur Flour.  I was about to give up and resign myself to having to wait a week or so, when I thought of something else.  I'm not sure why I don't usually think of them, but we also have a Crate & Barrel store in Austin.  I checked their website first.  Success!  They have this one.  And it was on sale!  Even better, I was able to check store availability from the website, and it looked like my local store had some in stock.  I was doing this on a day off, so I headed right down to look.  They had one!  As it turned out, a lot of other ice cream related stuff was on sale, which is how I ended up with the cute dishes pictured here, as well as a couple of these glasses.  

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to eat ice cream...

The verdict?  Well, I think you can see that the cones were a big hit with Brianna and Gillian.  My only problem is that now they want ice cream for dessert every night.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the patience for it--I swear they can take an amazingly long time to finish eating an ice cream cone. =)  They had plain dark chocolate ice cream in their cones, but the others pictured are filled with a flavor that I made just for me.  (Though I just discovered that J did sample some.)  I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry, so I made a batch of the Milkiest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World, and layered it with some fabulous raspberry sauce and some of the Chocolate Bombe Shell.  

As for the cones, I've made them a couple times.  I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, though a couple of this last batch still had holes in the bottoms.  I've learned that the cones taste better if you let them get more browned, too.  We've made some waffle bowls, too, by sandwiching the hot waffles between a couple of small ramekins with rounded bottoms.  

If you'd like to try these and lots of other great ice cream recipes, I definitely encourage you to get a copy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  (No, this is not a sponsored post; I just really love this book.)  You can find the recipes for the chocolate ice creams and the raspberry sauce in the book.  Here's my version of her waffle cone recipe.  

Waffle Cone Batter

2 egg whites (60 grams)
60 grams (1/4 cup) heavy cream
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
70 grams (5 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter
85 grams (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

Whisk the egg whites and cream together in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla.  Whisk in the melted butter, making sure that everything is thoroughly blended.  Finally, gently whisk in the flour, just until the batter is smooth.  

I let my batter rest (at room temperature) while my waffle iron was heating.  For my waffle iron, my #40 disher is just the right size to scoop the batter.  It took some trial and error to figure out exactly how long to cook the waffles.  And be prepared to burn your fingers a few times while you learn to roll them into cones.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tickled pink

I run into people all the time who tell me that they hate grocery shopping.  That's such a strange idea to me.  I don't like clothes shopping (don't even get me started on shoe shopping), but I love grocery shopping.  Even the online shopping I do is mostly for food and related stuff (cookbooks, bakeware).  I'm lucky to have such great local places to shop.  Occasionally, though, I'll need to order something that I just can't get here.  (Like the chestnut flour for next week's recipe--no sign of it anywhere around here.  And not enough time to order it.)  My go-to place for baking ingredients is definitely King Arthur Flour.  

I don't order from them all that often--I try to wait until they're offering free shipping or a discount on purchases over a certain amount.  I'll usually restock on some hard to find flours (like Durum) and buy some things in bulk (like yeast).  I usually get side-tracked by something pretty (like cupcake papers).  And sometimes things just jump into my little electronic shopping when I saw these raspberry jammy bits and bought them several months ago.

Then, as sometimes happens, the jammy bits disappeared into my pantry and kind of got lost in there.  If you saw my pantry (even after I organized it) you would understand. =)  I'm still not exactly sure what reminded me they were in there.  I was trying to think of something other than currants to add to this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, and they popped into my head.  Lynne of Café Lynnylu picked Cream Scones for us to make this week.  My girls--especially Gillian--love scones for breakfast.  But Brianna complains any time I put dried fruit in them.  So I decided that I'd split the dough and put the jammy bits in one half and chocolate chips in the other half, just in case.   

Another change I made was to use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat pastry flour.  (That was a case of something jumping into my grocery cart when I was in the bulk department at Central Market last week.)  And of course, we had to have glaze.  For the chocolate chip scones, I just drizzled them with a simple glaze made with powdered sugar and milk.  I got a bit more fancy with my raspberry scones, though.  I whisked some raspberry sauce into the basic glaze, which made it a lovely pink.  I made the raspberry scones a bit smaller than the recipe indicated, and dunked them in the glaze to completely coat them.  

The verdict?  Well, I thought these were quite yummy.  Gillian ate one and said she liked it, while Brianna was content to eat only the chocolate chips ones.  (G had one of those, too.)  I'll probably stick with drizzling the glaze most of the time, but the raspberry scones were good with the full coating, since the scones themselves weren't all that sweet.  

If you'd like the basic recipe for the Cream Scones, head over to Lynne's blog.  And to see what everyone else did with this week's recipe, check out the Links!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chocolate for breakfast

I'm taking a short break from my Ice Cream Week (and a half) to bring you these yummy muffins.  This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  She picked Chocolate Chunk Muffins. When I first read the pick for this week, my first thought was that I was sure I'd made this recipe before.  After all, how could I go three and a half years baking from this book and skip over something with so much chocolate?  Especially since my girls love anything with chocolate chips/chunks.  I looked through my archives, but there was no evidence that I've made these before. 

Like most muffins, these were easy to mix up.  You mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another (in this case, two others), pour the wet on top of the dry, and gently mix until just barely incorporated.  I used regular Hershey's cocoa powder and 58% El Rey chocolate in the muffins.  For the chunks, I actually used chocolate chips, 63% dark chocolate chips from Guittard.  I loved the texture of the muffin batter--not at all runny.  That was good, because it always seems like when I have a runny batter, I end up with flat tops (on muffins or cupcakes) that bake into each other.  No such problems here!  I ended up baking my muffins for 20 minutes.

The verdict?  Gillian will always love scones more, but these muffins were deemed an acceptable way to start off our Independence Day.  =)  Anything with chocolate chips tends to go over well in this house.  The girls ate theirs plain, but I topped mine with some raspberry fruit butter, which was a very good combination.  I love raspberry and chocolate together.

For this week's recipe, head over to Bridget's blog.  And to see what everyone else thought of these, check out the Links.   Stay tuned for another great chocolate/raspberry combination tomorrow!

Monday, July 4, 2011


Happy Independence Day, everyone!  

This is a day to be thankful for all the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.  I'm also thankful to have working air-conditioning here in central Texas, where it's supposed to be over 100º for the next week.  I came home from work on Friday to find that the temperature in my house was over 80ºF.  Turns out that after almost 10 years (can we really have been in this house for almost 10 years?!), the air-conditioner condenser unit had had enough.  Why do things like this always seem to happen going into a holiday weekend?  Which leads me to the next thing I'm thankful for--a wonderful heating & a/c guy who was willing to come out on a Saturday to figure out what was wrong and fix it.  Otherwise, I'd probably be spending my holiday weekend in a hotel. =)  I haven't appreciated air-conditioning so much in a long time.  (J says it got into the high 80s in the house while I was at work on Saturday, before the a/c was fixed.)

I felt like a big wimp, complaining so much about the lack of air-conditioning.  After all, we didn't have a/c when I was growing up.  It was fairly hot and humid in Pennsylvania in the summer, and I can remember plenty of nights when we would lay in bed at night with all the windows open, just hoping for some breeze.  But as several people pointed out to me, it may have been hot then, but we didn't have high temperatures over 100º for days on end.  The ways we try to beat the heat are still the same, though--fans, minimal cooking, and lots of frozen treats!  I admit it, I let my girls eat popsicles for breakfast on Saturday morning. =)

Today, though, I've got more ice cream for you.  My Ice Cream Week is running over the week-long time frame by a bit (and there's at least one more post to come), but you can never have too much ice cream, right? =)  Today's flavor happens to fit the patriotic theme for the day--red and white in the ice cream, though I had to find a blue dish for it to complete the theme.  (You could probably add blueberries; I just don't like them.)

When I first got my copy of Jeni's book, I read all the way through it.  Then I went back and started a list of the flavors that I wanted to make.  It didn't take me long to fill a page in my notebook.  Some of the choices were obvious ones, like the Salty Caramel and Darkest Chocolate in the World.  The Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk one was high on the list as well, since I had a ton of strawberries in the fridge.  Brianna asked me to make the Milkiest Chocolate in the World, since she wanted to try it when we were in Columbus, but they were out of it.  What surprised me was the recipe that ended up next on my list.   Young Gouda Ice Cream with Vodka-Plumped Cranberries.  Cheese in ice cream?  I really like Gouda--and cranberries--so I figured, why not? 

The verdict?  I admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from adding cheese to ice cream.  I did figure that the creaminess of the Gouda would work out okay.  What I ended up with was something that reminds me a lot of cheesecake.  I guess that shouldn't be that surprising.  It's really good, but really rich.  The tart cranberries are a nice contrast to the richness and creaminess of the ice cream.  Now I'm eager to experiment with some of the other unusual recipes in the book.  

If you'd like to give this one a try for yourself, I recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  To get started, you can find the recipe for Jeni's Vanilla Bean ice cream here at Food & Wine.  To make the gouda version, omit the vanilla bean.  Increase the salt to 1/4 teaspoon and the corn syrup to 2 tablespoons.  After whisking the milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisk in half a cup (about 2 ounces, or 60 grams) of young Gouda or another creamy cheese.  Proceed with chilling the mixture and churning it.  Dried cranberries are plumped in simple syrup with a couple tablespoons of vodka added.  They're layered in with the ice cream as it's packed into a freezer container.

Stay tuned for my next Ice Cream Week post, on ice cream cones!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pop goes the strawberry

I mentioned a while back that my dad was very cool and got me a Sur la Table gift card for my birthday back in February.  It was an ends-in-a-zero birthday, so the gift card amount was pretty nice. =)  I spent a little of it, but have been carrying the card around in my wallet for quite a while, not knowing what else to buy.  My bakeware collection is pretty extensive already, and I hadn't come up with anything else that I just had to have.  

We've been making lots of ice cream because it's ridiculously hot every day here.  The girls were also bugging me to make popsicles, and the June Bon Appetit issue has lots of cool frozen treats (not ice cream) that I want to make.  I have an inexpensive little popsicle mold, but it doesn't hold very much.  I was debating getting a new one when I ran across something in the back of a recent Cook's Illustrated magazine--a review of the Zoku Quick Pop Maker.  I quickly decide that this was what to spend the rest of my gift card on!  Normally, I might not have bought something like this, since it seems a bit expensive just to make popsicles.  But birthdays and gift cards are for things you wouldn't necessarily buy for yourself, right? =)

Like the canister for my ice cream maker, the pop maker has to be frozen ahead of time--about 24 hours ahead, to make sure it's completely frozen.  I managed to make what I hope is a permanent spot for it in my freezer.  Once the unit is frozen, you insert the sticks, pour in your popsicle mixture (2 ounces per pop) and wait 8-10 minutes.  Voila!  The first time we just tried it with some strawberry yogurt thinned with a little milk to make it pourable.  I had a little trouble getting those out--not sure if I left them in too long, if the mixture wasn't right, or if it was just because it was the first batch.  Since then, I haven't had any trouble.  For the second round, we just used some orange and grape juice (not together!).  It's so cool that you can go from wanting to make an ice pop to eating one in ten minutes!

For the latest round, I was inspired by one of the ice cream flavors I made recently.  It was for Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Ice Cream from my latest cookbook.  (Yes, I'm obsessed. How could you tell?)  It calls for roasting sliced strawberries in the oven (with sugar) and making a purée which is then added to the ice cream base.  I made the ice cream, and found that it had a mild strawberry flavor.  I wanted to increase the amount of strawberry, so when I put the freshly churned ice cream into a freezer container, I layered in some of the extra purée.  That wasn't the best idea, since the purée ends up kind of icy--though it's an interesting contrast to the creamy texture of the ice cream.  But as I was eating it, I thought that it would be great as a popsicle.  So I made a double batch of the purée, chilled it thoroughly, and pulled out the Zoku.  Since the girls weren't home when I made these, I put the finished pops in small ziploc bags and stored them in the freezer.

The verdict?  Definitely a hit with the kiddos.  Okay, with Brianna at least, since Gillian fell asleep in the car on the way home and hasn't tried one yet. =)  It's hard to go wrong with strawberries and sugar.  The purée also has some acid--in the form of lemon or lime juice--to perk it up.  I'm sure we'll be making more popsicles with the purée, as well as coming up with other fun things to put in the Zoku.  I've found a couple of lists to get us started, from Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking.  If you'd like to try my strawberry ones, here's what I ended up doing.  And stay tuned for more from Ice Cream Week!  (which may end up being more than a week, at the rate I'm going)

Roasted Strawberry Purée

680 grams (24 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into thick slices
140 grams (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
juice of 2 limes (or lemons, if you prefer)

Preheat your oven to 375ºF.  Place the strawberries in a 13"x9" glass baking dish.  Sprinkle the sugar over the berries and gently mix the two together.  Roast the strawberries for about ten minutes, until they are just tender.  Transfer the strawberries and syrup to a tall, narrow container and add the lime juice.  Purée with an immersion blender until smooth.  Chill thoroughly before adding to ice cream base or making popsicles.  

I made this double batch because I wanted a lot of purée to play around with.  You can also halve the ingredients and roast the strawberries in an 8" square baking dish.  You can also purée the mixture in a food processor or blender; I just didn't want to wash mine.

Note: This post was not sponsored in any way.  I just happen to like the Zoku and wanted to tell you about my experiences with it.