Heat Week: Three dessert projects that will bring you closer to your freezer
A quick way to forget how hot it is outside is by holding the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker.
I made a batch of coconut cherry ice cream last week, and it was refreshing to dig into the bottom of the deep freezer, where the silver canister had been chilling since the last time I got an itch to make ice cream.
This year's inspiration was the bag of cherries that had been sitting in my fridge for a little too long. They weren't so good for eating plain, but they were perfect for a cherry sauce, which I swirled into a batch of the coconut ice cream from a new ice cream cookbook called "Jude's: A Celebration of Ice Cream in 100 Recipes" by Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger (Kyle Books, $19.99). The honey-sweetened coconut milk made a rich, silky ice cream base that could be mixed with any kind of fruit puree or jam. With the coconut milk and coconut cream, it's a dairy-free dessert that tastes as toasty as late summer.
If you want to make an icy treat that's a little on the boozy side, consider the vibrant raspberry Campari sorbet from "Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers" by Nicole Rucker (Avery, $32). You could use strawberries instead of raspberries and still keep the flavor and the color, but be sure to strain out the seeds of both for the best texture. The bright red Campari, an Italian aperitif, isn't there only for the flavor. The alcohol actually makes the sorbet smoother.
And for a final freezer-based food project, check out Rachel Fong's adorable animal-themed banana pops. Fong is the popular creator behind "Kawaii Sweet World" on YouTube, where she posts creative baking projects and tutorials about how to make these little desserts come alive through just the right sprinkle, marshmallow or tiny dot of chocolate.
These frozen banana pops are in her new cookbook, "Kawaii Sweet World Cookbook: 75 Yummy Recipes for Baking That's (Almost) Too Cute to Eat" (Clarkson Potter, $24.99), and although I don't have the skill to make them look as good as she does, frozen bananas dipped in a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate chips sounds even better than a frozen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup right about now.
Raspberry Campari Sorbet
I am a sucker for bitter paired with sweet, and I choose my cocktails with that in mind. I had a wonderful Campari, gin, soda and raspberry smash at a friend’s house that inspired me to add a little Campari to my raspberry sorbet. A little alcohol makes for a smoother texture in frozen desserts. You could use neutral-flavored vodka instead, but the bitter note of Campari makes the raspberries in this frozen treat bounce with flavor. For an even boozier treat, you could serve a scoop of this in a small glass with a floater of limoncello or other liquor.
— Nicole Rucker
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 pounds fresh ripe raspberries
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Campari liqueur or Gran Classico Bitter
Pinch kosher salt
Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water and set a clean medium-size bowl inside it. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups water to a boil, add the sugar, and stir. Continue cooking until the mixture is completely clear and all the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it into a heatproof bowl. Cool the syrup to room temperature.
In a blender, puree the raspberries with the syrup until smooth. Scrape the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard the seeds. Stir the lemon juice, Campari and salt into the raspberry puree and cool the fruit mixture in the ice bath until the mixture registers 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Alternately you can cool the mixture to room temperature and refrigerate it overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Transfer the mixture into the bowl of a 2-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions until almost set but still a little slushy, about 25 minutes. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and chill it in the freezer until completely set, about 1 hour, before serving. Makes 2 quarts.
— From "Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers" by Nicole Rucker (Avery, $32)
Vegan Coconut Ice Cream
This vegan ice cream is so easy to create at home. It’s unexpectedly creamy, with a fresh coconut flavor that makes your mind instantly wander to tropical islands. We’ve used cornstarch for extra smoothness and love serving it with toasted coconut flakes, which give nutty taste and texture, but if that’s not your thing, simply serve it straight up.
— Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 pint coconut cream
6 ounces agave syrup (or honey, for a non-vegan option)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Handful of coconut flakes, toasted, to serve (optional)
Combine 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk with the cornstarch to make a paste. Gradually add a further 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk, stirring constantly. Pour the remaining coconut milk into a saucepan over low heat with the coconut cream and agave syrup. Bring slowly to a simmer, then stir in the cornstarch paste and salt. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, then remove from the heat. Cover the pan, cool and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or if you don’t have time, for at least 2 hours.
Pour into an ice-cream machine and churn to a soft set following the manufacturer’s instructions, or until the blade stops. Spoon the soft ice cream into an airtight, freezer-proof container and put in the freezer for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until firm. Remove from the freezer and allow the ice cream to soften for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping. Serve with toasted coconut flakes, if using. Serves 6.
— From "Jude's: A Celebration of Ice Cream in 100 Recipes" by Chow Mezger and Alex Mezger (Kyle Books, $19.99)
Zoo Animal Banana Pops
These cutesy animals made out of frozen bananas are a fun late-summer kid project from "Kawaii Sweet World" author Rachel Fong, who runs a popular YouTube channel about all things sweet and adorable. You can find wooden pop sticks at craft stores or in the craft section of a grocery store. Just make sure you get uncolored ones.
— Addie Broyles
For the banana pops:
5 large bananas
10 wooden pop sticks
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
To decorate the various animals:
Giant heart sprinkles
Mini marshmallows (polar bear)
Peanut butter chips (cat)
Semisweet chocolate chips (cat, monkey, zebra)
Soft caramels (monkey)
Banana candies (monkey)
Peel the bananas and cut them in half crosswise. Insert a wooden stick into the cut end of each banana half. Freeze the bananas for at least 30 minutes.
In a bowl or tall microwave-safe drinking glass, microwave the semisweet chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil together in 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Repeat for the peanut butter and white chocolate chips (separately).
To make the polar bear: Dip a frozen banana pop into the white chocolate coating until it is fully submerged. Remove the pop and gently tap it against the side of the glass to remove any excess coating. Let it set completely, about 1 minute. Then dip six mini marshmallows into the melted white chocolate coating and press them onto the pop for ears, arms, and legs. Cut one mini marshmallow in half and dip the sticky side into the melted white chocolate coating. Press it onto the banana pop for a nose. Use a toothpick to dab on melted semisweet chocolate coating for eyes and the nose.
To make the cat: Dip a frozen banana pop into the peanut butter-chocolate coating until it is fully submerged. Remove the pop and gently tap it against the side of the glass to remove any excess coating. Let it set completely, about 1 minute. Dip four peanut butter chips into the melted peanut butter–chocolate coating and press them onto the pop for the arms and legs (flat sides facing outward). Dip the flat side of another peanut butter chip into the melted peanut butter–chocolate coating and press it onto the top of the pop for an ear; then repeat with a semisweet chocolate chip for the other ear. Use a toothpick dipped in the semisweet chocolate coating to dot on a face.
To make the monkey: Dip a frozen banana pop into the semisweet chocolate coating until it is fully submerged. Remove the pop and gently tap it against the side of the glass to remove any excess coating. Let it set completely, about 1 minute. Dip six semisweet chocolate chips into the melted semisweet chocolate coating and press them onto the pop for the ears, arms, and legs (flat sides facing outward). Mold a soft caramel into an oval for the face, and then press it onto the surface of the pop. Use a toothpick dipped in the semisweet chocolate coating to dot on a face. Dip a banana candy into the melted semisweet candy coating and press it onto the end of one arm.
To make the zebra: Dip a frozen banana pop into the white chocolate coating until it is fully submerged. Remove the pop and gently tap it against the side of the glass to remove any excess coating. Let it set completely, about 1 minute. Dip a toothpick into the melted semisweet chocolate coating and drag it across the surface of the pop to create stripes. Dip six semisweet chocolate chips into the melted white chocolate coating and press them onto the pop for the ears, arms, and legs (flat sides facing outward). Use a toothpick dipped in the semisweet chocolate coating to dot on a muzzle and eyes. Let it set, about 1 minute. Dip another toothpick in the white chocolate coating and dot a nose on the muzzle.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make more of the animals of your choice. Decorate all the pops with additional heart or flower sprinkles, as desired, by dipping them into the matching color of chocolate coating and pressing them onto the pop.
— From "Kawaii Sweet World Cookbook: 75 Yummy Recipes for Baking That's (Almost) Too Cute to Eat" by Rachel Fong (Clarkson Potter, $24.99)
WELCOME TO HEAT WEEK
When you live in Austin, extreme heat's a given. This week, we're bringing you a series of stories about all the ways high temperatures affect our way of life beyond the weather forecast. See all the Heat Week stories at austin360.com/heatweek.
Essential safety tips for hot weather: stay hydrated; watch for the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke; and never leave kids or pets in the car. If you or someone you encounter seems to be experiencing health problems related to the heat, take immediate action to cool down and call 911. For more tips, go to austintexas.gov.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Family Eldercare's annual Summer Fan Drive delivers fans to seniors, adults with disabilities and families with children who need heat relief and meet the drive's eligibility requirements. Find donation and volunteer information at summerfandrive.org.