Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cherry-chocolate whiskey ice cream and a bunch of breads

Last week was busy, due to choral concerts, so I never managed to blog about the ice cream and breads I made two weekends ago. I tried making baguettes for the first time, to meh results. I also made a white whole wheat bread and a yeasted cornbread; both worked out well.

This weekend I made my first bread with instant potatoes (but mostly with whole wheat flour): Irish potato brown bread. It also was a winner, but it didn't stay fresh for long, so soon afterward I baked a loaf of Swedish rye.

More excitingly, I unvented a new ice cream flavor: cherry-chocolate whiskey. It's like Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but with a better recipe and added rye. I also made a yummy chocolate peanut butter ice cream, with peanut butter chunks.

Ice cream

I started out wanting to make a fruit ice cream, to go along with a peanut butter chocolate ice cream I was already planning to make. Strawberries looked great, but the birthday boy wanted cherries, so I figured I'd make Ben & Jerry's recipe for Cherry Garcia ice cream.

This was the first time I'd tried Ben & Jerry's recipe book, and although it was good for inspiration, it seemed lacking in implementation. It called for shaved Hershey's dark chocolate, when I expected chunks of better chocolate. It didn't give any hint as to how to avoid having the cherries freeze solid. And it used whole eggs (not egg yolks) and didn't cook them—an interesting approach, but one I'm leery of. It's not even close to their own recipe, I suspect. So I decided to adapt a recipe from The Perfect Scoop.

Since the occasion was an adult's birthday where whiskey would be consumed, I got the idea of adding some sort of booze to the chocolate-cherry ice cream. My daughter informed me that bourbon and cherries go together, and I found some Bulleit in the cupboard. It was rye, not bourbon, but I figured it'd work.

Cherries and whiskey go together

I pitted maybe half a pound of cherries, cut them in half, poured rye over them, and put them (covered) in the fridge.

Then I got some good dark chocolate disks (from Berkeley Bowl), chopped them, and refrigerated them, too.

I made the rum-raisin ice cream base from The Perfect Scoop, minus the salt, and refrigerated it.

The next day, I churned the ice cream, substituting the cherry-infused rye for the rum. When it seemed to be close to done, I added the cherries (which I'd chopped a bit more because they were very alcoholic) and chocolate. The alcohol in the cherries seemed to unfreeze the ice cream, so I had to churn it another 10 minutes or so.

If you like whiskey and boozy ice cream, this is delicious! The cherries were perhaps overly boozy; I might try soaking them less next time. And there will be a next time.

An added bonus was that the alcohol made this ice cream stay scoopable, even after a couple of days in the freezer.

The peanut butter chocolate ice cream, on the other hand, did not stay scoopable, but it was delicious. I added little peanut butter disks to it. I might do that again, but I'd make them much smaller.

The only other difference from before was that I made the ice cream using Skippy "natural peanut butter spread" (no stirring needed) instead of TJ's unsalted peanut butter. I don't know if the difference was noticeable, but I tried the Skippy because David Lebovitz recommends against peanut butters that separate.


I tried to make baguettes, but they were disappointing—they didn't rise well. Apparently, they tasted good, though. I used the usual Josey Baker sourdough recipe, mixing the dough at 4 pm or so, and "kneading" it at 4:50, 5:15, 5:40, and 6:20. I expected the dough to be risen at 8:20, since it was warm, but by 7:30 it looked dangerously big, so I put it in the fridge.

The next day at 2 pm I took it out, and divided the 820 g of dough into 3 parts that I pre-shaped. At 2:15 I shaped it into baguettes, which I supported using rolled-up placements that were covered with parchment paper. I covered the baguettes with plastic. I scored 2 of the loaves and tried cutting the third into an epi, but my scissors were too short to do that well. Still, the epi disappeared first. People like bread that they can grab a chunk of.

I used rolled-up placemats to support the rising baguettes

The white whole wheat bread was a Hensperger bread machine recipe (p. 127). I might have used a delay timer. I used light sesame oil, which is currently my favorite oil for baking. The maple syrup was half grade A and half grade B, because that's what I had. I reduced the salt and yeast by one half. I don't remember much about the bread, except that I liked it, and it didn't seem very different from a regular whole wheat bread.

The yeasted cornbread was a Josey Baker recipe (p. 208). I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of Kamut flour, and sodium-free baking powder and soda. I don't recall whether I added any of the salt the recipe called for. People liked it, but I think I like regular cornbread better.

Yeasted cornbread

I'd been wanting to make a bread with instant potatoes, so I made Irish potato brown bread (Hensperger p. 117). It was nice but delicate, and it turned stale quickly. Like all breads with potato flakes, it can't be made using the delay timer.

Sunday's Irish potato brown bread was great for French toast Wednesday night

Tuesday night I set up some Swedish rye to be baked by 7 a.m. Wednesday. With fennel, honey, and citrus zest, that bread is a heavenly smell to wake up to!

Swedish rye, baked on the delay timer

The recipe (Hensperger p. 136) calls for orange zest, but we were low on that, so I used mostly lemon zest. This bread is delicious, whether on its own, in French toast, or as the basis for a tuna sandwich.

Swedish rye, the inside

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