African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is quickly becoming one of my favorite theme parks. I remember as a kid I didn’t quite “get it.” But now, I love to just wander through the park, seeing all of the absolutely amazing details and finding the hidden walks and trails, including the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Africa. The pathway curves along through lush plants and exotic wildlife, including hippos, gorillas, and bright colorful birds.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Now imagine you’re wandering along the trail and you see a small path veer off to the side that you’ve never noticed before. Feeling adventurous (after all, you’re in Africa, right?) you follow it and find yourself surrounded by dense vegetation, only to break through and see a thatch-roofed stand offering just one thing: The. Best. Vanilla. Ice. Cream. … Ever. You can just see it, right? Sounds perfectly like some hidden magic that Disney would include in their theme parks. Well, if it ever happens, this would be the ice cream.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This isn’t a plain-Jane vanilla ice cream. The rich cream and sweet milk are highlighted, instead of over-shadowed by, the star of the show: The Madagascar Vanilla Bean. Now, I don’t know how things are where you live, but around here, vanilla beans pretty much cost about as much as an entire meal. But every now and then, it’s worth it. And this is one of those times. You cannot believe how much flavor you will get out of just one of these unassuming, glorious beans. Trust me.

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The recipe couldn’t be easier. It’s my normal sweet cream base, except that you scrape the seeds out of a vanilla bean and add the seeds AND the bean shell (is it called a shell? A husk?) into the base before you bring it to a boil. I just made traditional vanilla bean ice cream, but this would be a FANTASTIC base to make for my Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream or to add any other mix-ins you can think of.

And of course, one bit and you’ll think you discovered the most perfect treat on an exotic (Disney) African jungle trek. 🙂

African Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp corn syrup

3 egg yolks

Pinch of salt

1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

In a large pot, mix together the milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds and husk/shell. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. In a separate dish, stir together the egg yolks and salt. When cream mixture has cooked at a boil for five minutes, remove from heat and slowly add about 1 cup of the liquid to the egg yolks (try not to get the shell of the vanilla bean in here), stirring constantly. Pour the now-hot egg yolks back into the pot with the remaining cream, return to low heat, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, pour into a heat-safe container, cool completely and chill. When chilled, pour into the base of your ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Pour into a freezer-proof container and freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

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Storybook Circus Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Casey Jr.’s coming down the track,

coming down the track,

with a smoking stack.

Am I the only one who loves this song? Every now and then (or more often than I care to admit) it pops into my head and I find myself making train arms walking down the hallway.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich

Oh Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland. The area was one of the first to be opened in New Fantasyland and is amazingly themed. The whole area looks like circus, albeit a very clean, friendly, and organized circus (so basically, not like any real circus). But one of the most fun details in the area is the peanut shells in the sidewalk!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

So, of course, I would want to eat some peanut butter ice cream while I’m walking through Storybook Circus! And since we’re walking through such a fun area, the best way to eat that peanut butter ice cream would be sandwiched between two peanut butter cookies. Because I think that’s the way that Casey Jr. would have wanted it.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

The recipe for the peanut butter cookies is slightly adapted from Can’t Stay Out Of The Kitchen. I love how good and crunchy these get, which makes them absolutely perfect for holding up to the rich and creamy ice cream. As you may be able to tell, I made mine mighty large, because all the treats at Magic Kingdom are pretty extravagant. This size is perfect for sharing, but feel free to make the cookies smaller for a more manageable-sized treat.

Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

And the peanut butter ice cream is perfectly delicious. It’s sweet and a little salty and almost sticky, tasting like the best peanut butter frosting. De-lish. Tastes just like a perfect treat for Storybook Circus 🙂

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Can’t Stay Out Of The Oven)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbsp. hot water

2 cups all-purpose flour

Mix brown sugar, sugar, peanut butter, butter and eggs with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, baking soda, and hot water and mix until blended. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Drop with a cookie scoop or large spoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until done (mine took close to 20 minutes).

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

salt

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine cream, milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and salt in another cup. Remove the cream mixture from heat and slowly whisk approximately 1 cup into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly add the egg and cream mixture back into the rest of the hot cream and return to low heat. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

In a large, heat-resistant bowl, combine the peanut butter and vanilla. Pour about half of the cream mixture into the bowl and whisk in with the peanut butter. When fully mixed, add in the remaining cream and stir well. Cool completely and chill for at least an hour.

When chilled, pour into the base of ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Transfer to freezer-safe container and freeze for at least four hours. Once frozen, scoop desired amount unto one of the peanut butter cookies, and top with one about the same size. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and return to freezer.

If desired, you can roll the edges of the cookies in crushed peanuts or chocolate chips.

Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream

Title Shot

Have you ever had the Berry Cobbler at Artist Point inside Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? It’s one of those desserts that has become a Disney classic, and for good reason. It’s a warm doughy cobbler filled with blueberries, and topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries, and finished with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream! Which of course means that it would be absolutely excellent to mix all that together into it’s own ice cream recipe, right? I mean, it’s only common sense! 🙂

The original dessert from Artist Point has become so popular that it’s featured in some of the official Disney cookbooks, and can be found in the Recipe section on allears.net (Click here to see the recipe section). I used the recipe from my Delicious Disney cookbook.

Cookbook Cover

Inside Cookbook

The cobbler is easy to make (and makes a great breakfast if you bake it early enough :)) You just mix together your dry ingredients, then add the cold butter and mix with your hands (or a pastry cutter if you’re fancy like that) until it’s crumbly. Stir in an egg and some cream until just mixed. Pour it all into a 9″ square pan, plop plenty of blueberries on top, then sprinkle some brown sugar over top and dot it with more butter. The recipe says to bake for 20-25 minutes or until browning on top. I baked mine for about 35 minutes and clearly, it did not really brown on top.

Cobbler

Also clearly, we do not really have much self-control in our household when it comes to baked goods. I tried to justify that piece out of the middle by “making sure it was done,” but let’s be honest. I love that little bit of gooey part.

Anyway, my guess is that a little extra brown sugar and butter will help the top of this look like the official cookbook picture. Feel free to give it a shot and let me know!

Next, we’re finally going to make a delicious vanilla ice cream base. I know! I haven’t done any plain vanilla yet! But hold onto this vanilla base recipe, I’m sure it will be popping up plenty in the future. The base is made just like any other base (cooking cream, milk, and sugar to a boil; adding a bit to some egg yolks and salt; stirring the egg/cream mixture back to the pot and heating until thickened, add the vanilla, cool and chill).

To get the fresh raspberry and blackberry part of the Artist Point Berry Cobbler incorporated into the ice cream, I made a quick sauce of the berries with some sugar and heated until they’re mushable. If you would like, you’re more than welcome to push the sauce through a sieve when it’s finished to help remove all the seeds. I didn’t. Could it be because I already had a pile of dishes in the sink? Possibly. I like to say it’s because they use whole berries in the original dessert (seeds and all) and I was just keeping the Artist Point integrity in the making of this ice cream.

Once you churn your ice cream, you’re going to layer everything into your freezer-proof container. Pour in some ice cream, top it with some crumbled chunks of cobbler and berry sauce, and keep layering up till you’re out. Be sure to save some of the cobbler and berry sauce for the top layer so everyone knows what they’re getting. And because it looks pretty.

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I took this to an Independence Day campfire cookout and it was a big hit – hope you all love it just as much!

Campfire

Enjoy!

Artist Point Berry Cobbler Ice Cream

Berry Cobbler (Recipe from Delicious Disney cookbook):

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg

1 cup heavy cream

12 oz. fresh blueberries

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add 1/2 cup butter and mix with hands or pastry cutter until crumbly. Add egg and cream, and mix with a spoon until just combined.

Pour batter into a very well greased 9″ square pan. Place blueberries on top, sprinkle with brown sugar, and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp. of cold butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or longer) until golden brown. Cool completely and set aside until ready to use.

Berry Sauce:

1/2 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 pint fresh blackberries

1 cup sugar

salt

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a low boil, and cook until fruit is softened. Remove from heat. If desired, push through a sieve to remove seeds. Cool completely and set aside until ready to use.

Vanilla Ice Cream Base:

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks

salt

2 tsp. good quality pure vanilla extract

In a large pan, bring the cream, milk, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Cook for five minutes. In a separate heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the salt. Remove the cream mixture from heat, and gradually add some of the hot cream to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add about 1 cup of the liquid to the yolks. Slowly pour the tempered egg yolks mixed with cream back into the pot with the remaining cream mixture, stirring the whole time. Return pan to low heat and cook until slightly thickened, stirring, and do not allow to boil. Remove from heat, pour into a separate container, add vanilla, stir, and cool completely.

When chilled, pour into the base of an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. When ice cream is ready, pour about 1/3 into a freezer-proof container. Top with broken pieces of the cobbler and a few spoonfuls of the berry sauce. Layer on more vanilla ice cream, and continue layering the ice cream with the cobbler and berry sauce until out of ice cream. Finish with a few more bits of cobbler and a swirl of berry sauce. Freeze at least 4 hours before serving.

Karamell Küche Ice Cream Pie (with Pretzel Crust and Marshmallow Meringue)

Karamell Küche Ice Cream Pie

You know that smell that hits you as soon as the door of Karamell Kuche is opened? I know I can be standing at the Pretzel Cart in the Germany Pavilion, and know when someone has just entered Karamel Kuche by the sweet buttery smell of heaven wafting across the way. I get instantly jealous and make a bee-line for some caramel goodness myself. It’s like there’s this invisible cord of caramel pulling me in.

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Karamell Küche Ice Cream Pie

This ice cream pie pretty much tastes like that smell. It is sweet and creamy and salty and sticky and gooey and crunchy and rich and decadent and definitely a crowd-pleaser. And trust me, you’re going to want to make this for a crowd (otherwise, if you’re like me, you could put this whole thing away by yourself and spend the rest of the week in sweatpants 🙂 ).

Yes, I’ll admit, there are quite a few steps to this one. The good news is that each step is pretty easy, and you end up with a stellar, delicious ice cream pie. So roll up your sleeves and get ready!

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Pretzel Crust

First, we’ll make the pretzel crust. You’ll need about 2-1/2 cups of pretzel crumbs (just pulse some pretzel sticks in a food processor a few times), then mix them with some brown sugar and butter. Press this into the base and up the sides of a 10″ deep dish pie plate and bake for about 10 minutes. Let it cool completely, then stick it in the freezer until we’re ready for it. You may notice in this picture there’s still some big pieces of pretzel. PLEASE take the time to get your pretzel pieces smaller than mine. Some of those larger pieces are harder to cut through when frozen. You should pretty much end up with pretzel crumbs.

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Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Now, the caramel ice cream is a little trickier than my normal bases. We’re going to make a basic caramel first, by dry-cooking the sugar over medium heat. Make sure the sugar is in a thin layer evenly spread out across the bottom of the pan, and practice extreme self-control at this point – don’t touch it until almost all of the sugar is melted. When there’s just a little bit of white sugar left on top, stir it just enough to incorporate it into the melted sugar, then let it continue to cook until it is a deep amber color. Remove from heat and SLOWLY pour in the cream, stirring the whole time. The sugar will seize at this point, but return the pot to the heat and keep stirring. Most (if not all) of the hardened sugar will incorporate into the cream. Add the milk and corn syrup at this point, and then you’re back on track for a regular ice cream base. Be sure to save the egg whites from this one – you’ll need them for the Marshmallow Meringue. Cool completely, then churn in your ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s recommendations. After churning, pour into prepared pretzel crust and place back in the freezer. (Once it’s frozen, cover with plastic wrap.)

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For the Marshmallow Meringue (okay, technically it’s an Italian Meringue, but Marshmallow Meringue sounds infinitely more whimsical and deserving of this pie), you start with beating some egg whites to get them fluffy and holding stiff peaks. Meanwhile, heat sugar with a little bit of water until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Slowly pour the heated sugar into the egg whites and beat on high until stiff peaks are formed and the mixture is completely cooled.

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Cover the caramel ice cream with the meringue, being sure to go all the way to the edges, and put back in freezer for at least 3-4 hours.

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Now comes the fun part. 🙂 We need to brown the meringue! I, of course, did this with a kitchen torch. Being sure to use a steady hand, work your way around the pie, making sure to brown up all the little valleys you created, without getting the tips too burnt.

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As you may be able to see in some of my pictures, I spent a little too much time over the spots I was taking pictures of. 🙂 If you don’t have a kitchen torch, don’t worry, just place the pie in a 475 degree oven for a few minutes until the meringue is starting to brown. Bonus: This way helps soften the ice cream so it’s easier to cut! But I say, if you ever have an opportunity to use a kitchen torch, use the kitchen torch.

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You’re now ready to serve and wow your guests. Enjoy!

Karamell Küche Ice Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust & Marshmallow Meringue

Pretzel Crust:
2-1/2 cups pretzel crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients and press into a 10″ deep dish pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely, then place in freezer until ready to use.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream:

3/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks (save the whites)

Generous pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Spread out the sugar in a thin layer in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Allow the sugar to melt without stirring or disturbing it until it is almost all melted. Then carefully stir the sugar and allow it to continue cooking until it reaches a dark amber color. Remove from heat, and slowly pour in the cream, stirring the whole time. Be careful! It will spit and seize at this point. Return the pan to the heat and continue stirring. Most of the hardened sugar should melt into the cream mixture. Add the milk and the corn syrup, bring to a boil, and cook for five minutes, and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the salt. Slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs, stirring the whole time. Add the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream, return to heat, and cook over low until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and brown sugar, and cool completely.

When cool, pour into base of ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Transfer ice cream to the prepared pretzel crust, smooth out the top, and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Marshmallow Meringue:

4 egg whites

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

Pinch of salt

Begin beating the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small saucepan, mix the water and sugar and cook over medium high heat. Once the sugar dissolves, don’t stir it. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, or until it reaches soft-ball stage (to test, drop a small amount into a cup of cold water then try to squeeze it between your fingers; if it’s pliable but stays together, it’s ready). Slowly pour the melted sugar into the egg whites with the mixer on medium low, being careful not to let it touch the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until stiff peaks are formed and the meringue is completely cool – you’ll know it’s cool when the sides of the mixing bowl are cool. Spoon meringue onto frozen caramel ice cream. Feel free to get creative and make any kind of design you’d like in the meringue (perhaps some Mickey ears?).

When ready to serve, remove the pie from freezer and brown the meringue, either by using a kitchen torch, or by placing in a 475 degree oven for just a few minutes (if you use the kitchen torch, let the pie sit out for about 10 minutes to make it easier to slice).

Banana Ice Cream with Curry-Candied Cashews: Cotton-Top Tamarins

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I was so excited the other day when I came home and found this:

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While these bananas may look rather mundane to most people, my husband hates over-ripe bananas. I was planning on make this ice cream last week, but the ripe bananas were gone by the time I got home from work. But luckily this time I caught them before they were extradited from my kitchen. 🙂 To prepare these for the ice cream, I sliced them both, sprinkled with a little brown sugar, and roasted in the oven until the sugar was melted and starting to bubble (about 10-15 minutes). Once cool, puree them in a food processor or blender and set aside.

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So of course, bananas will work perfectly with the adorable Cotton-Top Tamarins at Animal Kingdom (yes, I know it’s a generalization). Honestly, when these guys are active we could stand and watch them for hours.  But then I started to wonder what I could pair with the bananas to make it fit better in Animal Kingdom. I thought I would be very scientific with this and research the Cotton-Top Tamarin. Turns out, they are mostly found in Columbia, South America. Here I was expecting them to be from Asia (mostly because I’m pretty sure my mom hangs out at their habitat while we ride Expedition Everest). And unfortunately, the main spices and flavors of Columbia weren’t really in line with what I was thinking for this ice cream.

But I am intrigued by the flavors found throughout Animal Kingdom, so I decided to infuse some of the spices found throughout the park. Behold, the creation of the Candied-Curried Cashews.

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These glorious little morsels are a mix of brown sugar and spices that are pan roasted just until the sugar melts. They have a little kick to them but aren’t too spicy. More on that later.

The base for this ice cream actually is a little lighter than normal, using only one cup of heavy cream. You get a very similar creaminess from the bananas, so I replaced the extra cream with milk. Otherwise, the base is the same as a regular sweet cream base, just add the pureed bananas when the base is finished. The cashews get layered in after the base is churned.

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So what does this crazy combination taste like? When you first take a bit you get the smooth, fruitiness of the bananas and the crunch of the cashews. The curry flavor is very slight, but then you end up with a bit of a tingly heat afterwards, which is both balanced and slightly heightened by the milkfat in the cream.

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It’s a perfect pair that just screams Animal Kingdom, and will remind you of those fun and feisty Cotton-Top Tamarins.

Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream with Curry-Candied Cashews

Curry-Candied Cashews:

1 cup cashews (pieces & halves work fine)

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. tumeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium saute pan and cook over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Remove from heat and spread out over a piece of wax paper to cool. Set aside.

Banana Ice Cream Base:

2 over-ripe bananas

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

2-1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. corn syrup

3 egg yolks

Salt

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Slice bananas, sprinkle with brown sugar, and cook in 375 degree oven until the sugar is melted and bubbly, 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

Combine milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt. Remove cream mixture from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add about one cup of the hot cream to the prepared egg yolks. Slowly add the tempered egg yolks back to the pot with the remaining cream mixture, stirring the whole time. Return to low heat and cook until slightly thickened (about 5 minutes), stirring often. Remove from heat and pour into a chilled bowl. Stir in the banana puree and vanilla extract. Cool completely and chill. Pour into canister of ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s recommendations. When finished, layer base into freezer container with the curry-candied cashews, ending with a smattering of cashews. Freeze at least 4 hours in the coldest part of your freezer. Sprinkle with additional cashews when serving, if desired.