Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: aka totes cheating on my Paleo

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

I totes cheated. I totes cheated badly. I didn’t want to, but I had exactly 3 reasons I cheated on my dairy-free, no refined sugar life.

  1. I wanted to

Because honestly, you only need one reason to make Blackberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Glaze: because you want to. But you really get pushed over the edge if 3 things happen on Sunday:

  1. You realize it’s blackberry season and find the freshest blackberries from JSM Organics in Monterey County, CA
  2. The shop that sells aged balsamic vinegarWe Olive, just happens to be on your walk home (if you walk 0.6 miles the other way and then come 0.6 miles back)
  3. Those two ingredients BEG to be set up on a Sunday night double date with your friends, cream & sugar

And so, I cheated. Blackberries are in season and they pair amazing with fresh, organic cream. Aged balsamic vinegar reduced with sugar provides an unexpected salty topping for your fresh ice cream. Get ready to cheat and like it, because here’s the delicious recipe.

Simple ingredients for the entire recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh whipping cream

Simple ingredients for the recipe: vanilla, sugar, fresh blackberries, aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh creams

Blackberry Ice Cream with Aged Balsamic Glaze

A few notes before I start, since I’m digging the bullet points today (product of a successful Monday at work).

  1. Ice cream generally has few ingredients, so make those ingredients count: buy the best and freshest. If you are buying your blackberries from Costco (Mom!), you’re doing it wrong
  2. Your ice cream maker, unless you are blessed to have the $300 version, must be pre-frozen and your ingredients must be cold. Give yourself time to do both properly
  3. Drink a Coyote Canyon Sangiovese while you make this recipe. It pairs perfectly and I needed 3 bullet points to feel valid about this whole bullet point thing
Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Fresh blackberries from JSM Organics and aged balsamic vinegar from We Olive

Ingredients

For Ice Cream:
2 1/2 quarts     blackberries
1c                      sugar
2c                      whipping cream
2c                      half & half
2tbs                   vanilla
1tsp                   salt

For balsamic glaze:
1/2c                  aged balsamic vinegar
1-2 tbs              sugar

Make the Ice Cream
In a medium sized bowl, smash or partially puree blackberries. I keep mine partially chunky, but you can opt to puree and strain if you prefer a smoother, seed-free ice cream. Macerate berries with sugar, which is just me using a fancy, chefy word to explain the process where fruit is broken down, sugar is added, and then naturally those berries further break down to release juices and their natural sugars.

Lookit me, I'm maceratin'

Maceration: not a dirty word

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the whipping cream and half & half. Add vanilla, salt and macerated berries. Simmer on low until flavors meld, about 15 – 20 minutes.

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Half & half, whipping cream and vanilla makes pretty saucepan art

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Add berries to the mixture and watch everyone make friends

Cool in the refrigerator overnight (best) or in the freezer 1 hour. Follow ice cream maker instructions to finish ice cream. Here are my photos from the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. The bowl has to be frozen overnight, then the recipe must be split and made in 2 batches. Simply put, add base and run ice cream maker for about 20 minutes, then freeze for an additional hour. From start to finish on the ice cream:

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Ta-Da! Perfect, summery, fresh blackberry ice cream. Now to make the perfect salty topping…

Make the Aged Balsamic Glaze
In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, gently boil the balsamic vinegar until reduced to about half the original liquid remains. Add sugar to taste (careful, it’s sticky and hot). After sugar has dissolved, turn down low and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Original amount of balsamic vinegar

Reduced vinegar

Reduced vinegar

A tip on thickness of your glaze: the more you reduce and the longer you simmer, the thicker the glaze becomes. However, it will further thicken when cooled. 10 minutes seems about the right amount of simmer time to slightly thicken and then cooling will take care of the rest. Drizzle cooled balsamic glaze on finished ice cream and enjoy, noting all bullet points of the reasons you like this:

  1. Because you made it
Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze. Storage containers from Williams Sonoma, designed by my very lovely friend, Amanda.

Blackberry ice cream with aged balsamic glaze

 

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Paleo Ice Cream with Thai Inspirations

Clockwise from top: Ginger Rum, Irish Coffee with Whiskey, Mango Coconut

Clockwise from top: Ginger Rum, Irish Coffee with Whiskey, Mango Coconut

I recently took a trip to Thailand where inspiration for flavors and adventures are around each and every corner and usually in unexpected places. The more I explored, the further I travelled, I became pleasantly lost in a country of spices, flavors, curiosities and wonderfully warm people. I took a cooking class from Thai Charm Cooking School, ate homemade spiced chicken and rice on remote islands with Phi Phi Dive Club, bartered for Spices with Joy at the Damnoen Floating Market, drank ginger rum with a french man who made the best American burgers, ate “Angry Birds” sushi, dined at the finest of street food stalls for $3.00 a meal, perused local farmers markets for local fruits and fried whole chickens, and downed my weight in Pad Thai. The flavors and adventures plus birthday present in the form of an ice cream maker inspired me to make “Thai” Ice Cream once I returned home.

Thai Spices from the Floating Markets

Thai Spices from the Floating Markets

Simple ingredients for ice cream

Simple ingredients for Rum Ginger ice cream

Here are the recipes for my Paleo ice cream. Most use a base of Coconut Whole Fat Milk, which you can find in the Asian section of a grocery store and Coconut Creme, which you can find at an Asian specialty stores, Trader Joe’s, or Amazon. Because Amazon has everything. Except Angry Birds sushi.

Ginger Rum Paleo Ice Cream

Ingredients for Ginger Rum ice cream

Ingredients for Ginger Rum ice cream

This Ginger Rum ice cream was inspired by a French man, living in Thailand, who served the most amazing American Meals. I spent my birthday evening there, where we celebrated with newfound friends with burgers, cigars, and the most delicious ginger-infused rum. The rum was made by adding ginger slices and sugar to a bottle of rum and patiently turning the rum bottle on its side for 6 months at a time. Fortunately, this Ice Cream can be made in about 3-4 hours and requires much less patience than ginger rum. Before you start, remember to put your ice cream bowl from your ice cream maker or Kitchen Aid attachment in the freezer overnight to fully freeze!
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Ingredients
1c             Rum (yes, this much – you’re going to burn it off)
2c             full fat coconut milk
1/2 inch   ginger root, cut into small slices
2 tsp         salt
1/2c          brown sugar
1 tbs         vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, bring rum to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know the alcohol is burned off when you take a deep sniff and your nose does NOT have that “omg, alcohol!” reaction. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until the ginger flavor is as strong as you like it. The longer you simmer, the stronger it gets. I simmered about 20 minutes. Remove ginger and cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy!

Mango “Sticky Rice” Ice Cream

Coconut, salt, and mangoes love to hang out together in ice cream!

Coconut, salt, and mangoes love to hang out together in ice cream!

Mango sticky rice is a popular and incredibly delicious dessert from Thailand. This recipe is not Paleo, because condensed & evaporated milk are used in several Thai dishes. In fact, they like these ingredients so much that they are sold in little stands on the side of the road. This recipe uses condensed milk, and it’s worth cheating on any diet for it! 

IMG_8192
Ingredients
2            ripe mangoes
1 1/2 c   coconut full fat milk
1 1/2 c   sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs      vanilla extract
2 tsp      salt
1/2c       brown sugar
raw coconut flakes (I used unsweetened from the health food store)

Peel the mangoes, chop and puree until corse. Add all ingredients except for the raw coconut flakes into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Let simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all flavors meld. At this point, you can adjust salt and sugar to taste. Cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

While ice cream base is cooling, toast raw coconut flakes in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes until slightly brown. WATCH the coconut carefully. It goes from brown to black in an instant. I know this because I did this. First batch thrown out, second batch watched much more closely!

Perfectly toasted (not burned!) coconut flakes

Perfectly toasted (not burned!) coconut flakes

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy. Top with toasted coconut flakes.

Irish Coffee Paleo Ice Cream

Ingredients for Irish Coffee pale ice cream

Ingredients for Irish Coffee paleo ice cream

Irish Coffees are not what you’d think of when you think of Thailand. But it reminds me of an evening watching World Cup games at midnight at an Irish Bar, who claimed to serve the best Irish Coffees in all of Thailand. I’m not sure the competition was stiff for this challenge, but I am sure that the Irish Coffees were delicious and left a warm memory from Thailand. 

Ingredients
1c          whiskey
1 1/2c    full fat coconut milk
1 1/2c    coconut creme
3 tbs      coffee grounds
1/2c       brown sugar
2 tsp      salt
1 tbs      vanilla extract

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In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, bring whiskey to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let sit until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know the alcohol is burned off when you take a deep sniff and your nose does NOT have that “omg, alcohol!” reaction. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat until the coffee flavor is as strong as you like it. The longer you simmer, the stronger it gets. I simmered about 20 minutes. At this point, you can adjust salt and sugar. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove coffee grounds as they can become bitter. Cool the ingredients in the refrigerator (overnight) or in the freezer (about 1 hour). If the ingredients aren’t cool, they will NOT set in your ice cream maker.

Using your ice cream maker instructions, churn the ingredients until delicious, frozen, and creamy!

Ice cream mixture just poured into ice cream maker

Ice cream mixture just poured into ice cream maker

Ice cream completed!

Ice cream completed!

Hope you enjoy the Thai-flavored ice creams and let me know if you have questions, comments, or ever want a buddy to travel with in Thailand!

Farmers Market fair, including (from top right) thai chills, curry paste, whole fried chicken, preserved eggs, and Angry Birds sushi

Farmers Market fair, including (from top right) thai chills, curry paste, whole fried chicken, preserved eggs, and Angry Birds sushi

Thai Charm cooking school ingredients and fare

Thai Charm cooking school ingredients and fare

Street food!

Street food!

And don't forget to set your table all pretty

And don’t forget to set your table all pretty

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