Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup with Cupcake Project

A while back the fabulous Stef at Cupcake Project contacted us about co-hosting an Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup. What could be better than cake and ice cream all in one, we thought...not much, except, well, cake and ice cream all in one in a mini version -- a single serving just for you!

So, during the month of May, Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious will be co-hosting an Ice Cream Cupcake Roundup. If cupcakes are the "it" thing, we are hoping ice cream cupcakes will become the summer "it" thing.

We want you to send us your ice cream cupcakes. Post about them and be sure to include directions for others. Tell us what worked and what didn't work. Get creative. Try different flavors of ice cream and cake. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

Let's take ice cream cupcakes out of the sidelines and make them a top choice for a summer dessert.

To participate:

Post on your blog about ice cream cupcakes some time in the month of May and link back to this post somewhere in yours to spread the word about the event. Feel free to use the event logo if you'd like!

Send an email to stef at cupcakeproject dot com by May 30th with:

  • Your name
  • Your blog's name
  • The name of your ice cream cupcakes
  • A link to your post on ice cream cupcakes
  • A photo of your ice cream cupcakes!
Stef will respond to all entries. If you don't hear back from her within a couple of days of sending the email, drop her a note to make sure she got it.

Don't blog? That's ok too! Send us a little note about your ice cream cupcake along with a photo and we'll post a little something for you on our site.

Need some tips to get you started? After the break is Stef's quick and dirty tutorial on how to make ice cream cupcakes.

How to Make Ice Cream Cupcakes

A simple ice cream cupcake is just cake on the bottom, ice cream on the top, and some frosting.

  1. Use any cake recipe you like. Just fill your cupcake liners half as full as you normally would. You don't want the cake to come to the top because you want to leave lots of room for ice cream. Bake as normal, although you may need to cut baking times a bit since there is less cake.
  2. When the cupcakes are done baking, let them come to room temperature and stick them in the freezer. I froze mine right in the cupcake tins to make it easy.
  3. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer and use a spatula to cover the cupcake with ice cream. I worked with ice cream that was out of the freezer for just a couple of minutes. It was still hard but not so hard that I couldn't spread it.
  4. Return the cupcakes to the freezer and wait for the ice cream to get hard again.
  5. After the ice cream is hard again, you can further smooth the tops by dipping your spatula in hot water and running it over the top of the cupcakes.
  6. Frost the cupcakes with your favorite frosting - I think a cream cheese frosting works best. You can also frost the cupcakes with ice cream. The words "Ice" and "Cream" in the photo above were frosted with ice cream. I found this to be REALLY hard. As I tried to pipe the ice cream, it would melt and as soon as it melted it wouldn't hold any shape. If anyone knows a good way to do this, please write about it!

Stef goes into more detail on her blog, so please feel free to visit.

I made mine a little bit differently....

This ice cream cupcake thing was quite an adventure. As ice cream, not cupcakes are my thing, for both my bases I went the mix route and I made a dense cake batter using the following recipes, as I thought a denser cake would hold up better in the little cups:

For vanilla:

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

For chocolate:

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix the three ingredients with an electric mixer, and
then make a one and a half inch ball and flatten it into the foil cupcake cup lined muffin tin. Bake them at 350° for 20 minutes. (Both of these recipes also make great cookies so if you have leftover dough, put similarly one and a half inch balls of it on a greased cookie sheet and bake along with your "cupcakes." I mean, these were so great and so easy that I had to make a dessert for a party and I whipped these up in about three minutes, cooked for twenty, and off to the party...)

(Note: For the chocolate, I would use the butter in place of the oil if I did this again, the cake bottoms were much harder when I used the oil over the butter.)

For the ice cream, I had planned to make a strawberry ice cream to go with the chocolate and a orange ice cream to go with the vanilla bases. However, for some reason my strawberry ice cream came out really dry and hard and it just wasn't worth using. I didn't even keep it. This might be the first time in history I actually trashed an ice cream right after making it...I think it was my fault, not the recipe's.

I did make an Orange Popsicle ice cream using
David Lebowitz's The Whole Scoop. I am not sure if I love this ice cream flavor, but it's not bad. One problem was that it was super super soft, and never really hardened, which made it harder to assemble the cupcakes and hard to eat them too. I did alter the recipe a bit, making it non-alcoholic by using orange extract instead of the liquor, but that would surprise me if that was what affected the hardness, because usually alcohol keeps things from freezing.

So, I used a
large scoop to scoop the creamsicle ice cream onto the vanilla bases...I ran out of the ice cream though (maybe it was too large a scoop?), so I experimented with a few others...some of the chocolate that I used on the chocolate cakes, and some cinnamon frozen yogurt I had made a while back...I out them back in the freezer to chill...

I then made a white chocolate shell to pour on top. I altered a version of a hardening shell used in Tartufi in Lebowitz's book as well. The problem with this was that I think that the different make up of the white chocolate made a huge difference in the outcome. My "hard shell" was soft and chewy like caramel. (And ok, ok, David, I have learned not to alter your already fabulous recipes!!!) While this would make a YUMMY candy, it made eating the hard base, the soft ice cream, and the chewy topping an almost impossible feat!

So in the end after my strawberry fiasco, I decided to go the completely easy way with the chocolate based cakes. I went out and bought
Hood's Light Under the Stars ice cream and used a large scoop to make a dome of ice cream on the top. I topped it with Hershey's Chocolate Shell Topping and some sprinkles. Simple and easy! (And yummy!)

What is great about these cakes is that you can easily make them from a cake mix, store bought ice cream, and a store bought chocolate shell, or you can use ice cream you have made yourself to give it your own personal touch. And everything is completely interchangeable in the recipe...for those picky eaters you can customize ice cream and base...Also a plus!

In the end, would I make these again? I don't know. Reviews were mixed...the chocolate ones were more of a hit, but all agreed they were hard to eat. I think the cookie base was too hard (I had pulled it from another recipe in which I LOVE the base, but you put a pumpkin cheesecake on top and then everything is just gooey). Even though I liked the initial idea of having a more solid base than just regular cake, I think that using a regular cake would work much better.

I think I WILL try making Stef's sometime in the near future though!

That was my adventure. Not a total success, but fun nonetheless! I am interested to see what our lovely readers come up with too!

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Free (or Cheap) Ice Cream Week!

It's that time of year again...back in 1979, to celebrate their first anniversary, one Vermont ice cream company decided to have a free cone day. As you know, it's all about keeping up with the Joneses. Lucky for us, two other companies followed suit and this week, starting Tuesday, you can hop from shop to shop and get your fill of ice cream!

Tuesday it's free cone day at Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shops! Stop by, but be prepared to stand in line, because this freebie always draws mad crowds.

Wednesday, search under your couch cushions for loose change. If you find 31¢, you're in luck...take your 31¢ and head over to participating Baskin-Robbins between 5 and 10pm to take your pick of their 31 flavors...a scoop is only gonna cost you one quarter, one nickel, and one penny (Or three dimes, and a penny. Or thirty one pennies. You get my drift.)

Thursday, head over to Carvel after work for some caffeine and cream. Carvel is offering a free arctic blender or blended coffee.

Friday, no free ice cream, but buck up. There's only one day until the weekend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nothing like Quack Tracks in your ice cream

Ah the signs of summer in Boston, the adorable ducks in the Boston Public Garden are surrounded by little ones fighting to get their shot at riding Momma duck. There's not a sunny day that you walk by the precious statues and don't see little ones riding them like horseys or families lined up to get that Kodak moment. I can remember class field trips to ride the swan boats (or should I say float since they are in a pond the size of a swimming pool!) and always stopping by these reknown ducks. Well these ducks have become a Boston landmark and since the launch of the famous Duck Tours, there are people quacking all around town. Yeah, so its a little obnoxious but who doesn't love to be a true tourist every once in awhile! So as the Duck Tours launch a new season a Boston favorite creamery, Brigham's, has launched a new flavor in their honor, Quack Tracks. Its their yummy award-winning vanilla ice cream with mini peanut butter cups and streaks of fudge tracks. Wow...does that sound good and it was. Although I have to admit I am not a huge fan of vanilla based 
ice creams (gotta have more flavor!) this was super creamy and had just the right amount of peanut butter cups and fudge. I was very tempted to add the fudge and whipped cream (because it was a birthday treat shared with my coblogger Bethany!) but I didn't want that to take over the flavor. Good decision but that just gives me a reason to go back.

And if you can't find the ice cream but want your Duckling fix you can always find the precious book Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCluskey in a book store near you. Children big and small are sure to cherish it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Celebrate Patriot's Day with Cold Stone Creamery (Boston and New Hampshire)

Celebrate Patriot's Day with a free treat at Cold Stone Creamery today -- New Hampshire and Boston only (which is kind of odd to me, because it's only Massachusetts, Maine, and Wisconsin that observe the holiday -- but by all means, glad New Hampshire can participate!). "The free, 3 oz, Ice Cream CreationTM named 'Patriots' Day Creation' is made with Cake BatterTM Ice Cream, brownies, fudge and patriotic red and blue sprinkles.

Locations include:
Boston: Beacon Hill, Brighton, Agganis Arena, Charlestown, Fenway, Prudential Center, Theatre District
Massachusetts: Bellingham, Burlington, Hingham, Hyannis, Leominster, Mansfield, Medford, Millbury, Newton Centre, Plymouth, Southborough, Westwood
New Hampshire: Manchester, Nashua, Newington

By the way, if I ever motivated to run the Boston Marathon, I would SO be that person that ran to the ice cream store after the run. But, yeah, run a marathon?! Which reminds me, a shout-out to our dear friend Steve who is running today to support The Fitness for Kids Foundation. Way to go, Steve!

Thanks to Arianna for this reminder about this event!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Win a Year of Ben and Jerry's and Reddi-Wip

Table for Five is holding a contest on their blog for all you ice cream sundae lovers out there...a year's worth of Reddi-wip whipped cream and Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

Enter here by 9:00 AM on Tuesday, April 29th! Good luck!

A special thank you to Table for Five for offering such a great contest!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shirley Temple Ice Cream, Take 2

Sister Sarah (who runs ReBook, Inc., and yes, I need to update the site!) and I made Shirley Temple Ice Cream last night -- take two. (For take one, visit here.) Sarah wants to call is Sarah Temple Ice Cream or Sarah's Shirley Ice Cream -- Any opinions?

Soooo, without further ado, here is Take 2...

Shirley Temple Ice Cream, Take 2

2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons grenadine (this time I used the syrupy sweet bottled kind)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup of halved maraschino cherries

Combine the first four ingredients plus 1/4 cup of the grenadine and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice in the top half of your double boiler. Place over simmering water and heat, while beating constantly, until the mixture thickens. This took us about 17 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and add the milk, and the cream, as well as the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice and 3 tablespoons of grenadine. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or until cool).

Place the chilled mixture in your ice cream maker and freeze according to the ice cream maker manufacturer's directions. Add the cherries during the last few minutes of churning.

The results? Well, like the last recipe, this didn't freeze as hard as other ice creams I have made. In fact, it pretty much had a soft serve consistency, even after having had sat in the freezer overnight.

On first tasting Sarah and I both liked the final result but agreed it still didn't taste like a Shirley Temple. Even with very little lemon juice and no extract this time, it still tasted lemony. But the cherries were a nice addition -- and with the bottled grenadine syrup (which we tried because both Sarah and I used to Shirley Temples with the bottled, no-pomegranate-juice-included grenadine syrup) the color was much more appealing.

I have to say though, when I scooped it into the bowl for photographing, I had to eat the prop, and that time, though still very lemony, the lingering flavor reminded me very much of a Shirley Temple...hmmm...either way, it's closer than the last time.

Next step? Try making this with flat ginger ale or sprite. Ohhh, or maybe we could try a Shirley Temple Sorbet!

Big thanks to Stef over at Cupcake Project for her inspiration and homemade grenadine recipe!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

15 Mile Weekend with Two Scoops of Ice Cream

This weekend was quite a crazy one. I went down to NYC on Friday with Kevin to visit Ashu. Saturday we walked up to the Guggenheim and then walked all the way down to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (to see our estimated route, click here). Seeing as we had walked some on Friday and at least a couple of miles today, and our route (especially across Central Park) on gmap wasn't perfect, we estimate about a 15 mile walk total this I am not going to feel too badly about the two different ice cream places I sampled this weekend.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

The reward at the end of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge was a sweet and creamy one. As we walked into
the quaint little shop that was once a Fulton Ferry fireboat house, we stood for about 5-10 minutes in line -- a line that was 1. Much shorter than the one we passed at Grimaldi's Pizza on the way to the Factory, and 2. much shorter than the line that was there when we walked out with our ice cream. The line gave us time to take in the atmosphere -- a simple shop that has probably changed little since it was first opened October 13, 2001 (Interestingly enough, the shop was slated to open September 12, 2001, but the events of September 11th inevitably changed that). The focus of this shop is it's smooth, eggless (one might say "Philadelphia Style") ice cream, not the atmosphere in which it sits. The shop though clean, is cluttered with freezers and there isn't too much room to sit down. It is fine this way, as the best way to savor your ice cream is to go outside and enjoy the view of the Manhattan Skyline, and as one most likely does, lament on the broken skyline's missing twin towers.

The eggless ice cream is this way because eggs, owner Mark Thompson believes, give ice cream a "greasy flavor." Instead he uses a Pennsylvania recipe -- a recipe he found sans eggs.With only eight flavors, one isn't overwhelmed with choices, which is a relief this day and age. When I got to the counter I asked for vanilla chocolate chunk, but the kid at the counter told me they were out. Kind of disappointed, but also knowing any of these flavors would be good, I changed my cone to the same as Ashu's -- chocolate chocolate chunk. The ice cream wasn't a disappointment: rich, creamy, and just the perfect amount to satiate my sweet tooth and refuel us for our walk back across the bridge. A taste of Kevin's vanilla was lighter, and just sweet enough. A taste of the vanilla made me wish that they hadn't run out of the vanilla chocolate chunk -- I can imagine that would have been ice cream perfection. But alas, I still can't complain. It was good either way.


While my passion is ice cream, my husband Kevin enjoys a good hot dog, and Ashu indulged us by taking us to some hot dog hot spots. Friday we found Papaya Dog in Hell's Kitchen as we walked from the bus station to Ashu's apartment, Saturday we stopped at a few street vendors, and today she took us uptown to Brooklyn Diner at 57th Street (where they weren't yet serving hot dogs but we indulged in some yummy breakfast as well as a Christopher Meloni sighting) and then up to Gray's Papaya on Broadway at 72nd to try their world renowned hot dogs and see their big sign in the window that supports Obama (Ashu is a huge fan!).

Alas, I digress. While on our way back from Gray's, we saw a Pinkberry (warning: you might want to turn off the sound; this site is kind of annoying!) and after Ashu's negative raving, I had to try. Though not actually an ice cream, but a frozen yogurt, Ashu tells me this is all the rave in the city and the lines at the shop we passed on Saturday proved case in point.

We walked into the stark, clean, stylish shop. There was one other customer in the shop, but he was gone minutes after we arrived. What I found so strange is that this woman took my order (I was the only one that ordered) and she took my name -- as if she would lose my order in the empty restaurant (Later I saw they had printed a little label with my name and stuck it on my cup -- I guess it would be useful when the shop was busy.) I ordered a original with raspberries ($3.95 plus 95¢ for a topping) and the server actually put my order on a scale! Then she used tongs to carefully place about 10 raspberries on the yogurt. The yogurt was just that: frozen yogurt. It wasn't the sweet, ice cream-tasting soft serve you get when you usually order frozen yogurt. It tasted cultured like actual yogurt that had been frozen. It had a bit of a lemony taste. The best part was the amazingly fresh raspberries. I agreed with Ashu in the sense I couldn't understand the lines. It wasn't that good. But it wasn't terrible. Just not something I would choose again. But as Ashu says "If someone were holding a gun to my head, and telling me to eat it, I'd eat it, but..."

Well, enough of ice cream eating in NYC...

Additional information for this post found in the article "Fire and Ice Cream" from the New York Times, Novemeber 25, 2001.
Thanks to Kevin for such great photos and Ashu for being a great tour guide!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Let's salute the Girl Scouts for Thin Mint Ice Cream!

Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold...
wow that song brings back great memories of Brownie troop!

And there's nothing better than springtime sales of Girl Scout cookies to relive the good old days too. Back in 1917 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, one of the first Girl Scout troops baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project and 91 years later America's obsession lives on. I am one of the addicts and Thin Mints are my game. So my first thought with this year's delivery of my Girl Scout cookies, besides plain eating them, was to make Thin Mint ice cream. Of course I thought this was the greatest idea ever but apparently and as I suspected, I was not the first to be the brain-child of this fabulous creation. Check out Edy's Thin Mint Cookie which is the slow-churned light version made with a vanilla base or for the real thing, Dreyer's Thin Mint Cookie made with a chocolate base. Sounds like you have 1 month to indulge since these are seasonal flavors offered from Jan-Apr. Better get some quick or if by chance you have a box or two of Thin Mints left in the house why not make your own...enjoy!

Thin Mint Ice Cream
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups of milk
1.5 cups sugar
4 eggs yolks
3 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoons vanilla or mint extract
1.5 cups crushed Thin Mint GS cook
ies (about 1 box)

Heat the milk and chocolate until smooth and slowly add sugar and salt in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Separate egg yolks and place in medium size mixing bowl. Gradually whisk hot mixture into egg yolks. Return egg mixture to saucepan on low heat and add whipping cream and vanilla. Heat until mixture lightly coats a rubber spatula. Cool over an ice bath and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Freeze as directed in ice cream machine and then mix in crushed cookies. Place in freezer for 8 hours.

If ice cream isn't your specialty check out PickyPalate's Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Cheesecake cups, has a Thin Mint pizza that looks fun for the kids, and wow look at this super easy Triple Layer Thin Mint Pie that Austin's Cookiemadness makes.

And if baking and ice cream making isn't your thing...there's always room for a Thin Mint'tini!


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