bittersweetbaker

Panforte Ice Cream and Gingersnaps

In Cookies, Ice cream on August 3, 2010 at 10:16 am
From Adriana Baking

About half a year ago, I had what I thought was a wonderful idea. I would start a food blog and post new recipes and anecdotes about my experience in the kitchen every week.  Naturally, I couldn’t keep my excitement to myself. And when I told my parents about my idea, they were every bit as encouraging as I was excited.

The first few days of blogging were pretty frustrating for me. I would sit in front of the computer, obsessing over every view and updating my blog when I realized not much was happening.  If someone happened to find my blog and leave a comment, I would spend the whole day reading over it in my head, eventually memorizing it.  Soon enough, I realized that I had more and more to write about. Instead of writing only about the recipe, I started incorporating little pieces of information about what was going on in my life. Anecdotes. My little group of readers seemed to like the new style of posts, and my blog was soon becoming more popular.

From Adriana Baking

Encouraged by my blog’s growth in readership, I was determined to be the best blogger I possibly could, and tried very hard to take better quality photos. My photos have definitely improved since this post (yes, I chose the worst picture on my blog), and a big part of it is due to our new dSLR camera. I updated a couple times a week, and was delighted when one of my readers told me that she had tried one of my recipes. It seemed that I always had a new recipe to post or something interesting to write about. But as I become a better seasoned blogger, I frequently find myself at loss for words. I try to update my blog once a week, hoping that I come up with a well written post within those seven days. It doesn’t go that way.  Most weeks, I sit down at the computer and stare at a blank page for hours, raking my brain for ideas and starting sentences just to delete them a few seconds later. Desperate for inspiration, I look through old photos of recipes and try to come up with something. Unfortunately, I get easily side tracked.

From Adriana Baking

In the end, I always come up with a new post, no matter how hard it is to craft each sentence and build up each paragraph. I find that writing flows naturally once I get the first few sentences down. And I couldn’t be happier when my post is finally written up and people from all around the world get to read my blog. My humble little space of the internet definitely makes up a big part of who I am. It would be impossible to continue blogging every week if it weren’t for your support, so I thank you.

From Adriana Baking

Just like each view stirs something inside of me and each new comment warms my heart, this ice cream is like eating a spoonful of happiness and comfort. Though it may not be very refreshing, it is my choice of ice cream on a night so hot and humid I long for the cool evenings that fall will soon bring. It just makes me happy, and I can’t exactly explain why. Served on a warm gingersnap, it is the best ice cream I’ve made or tasted.

From Adriana Baking

Panforte Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
makes 1 quart

Ingredients:

1 cup half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons full-flavored honey
1/4 cup mixed candied citrus peel (see following recipe), chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preparation:

Warm the half and half and spices in a medium saucepan. Cover and remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Rewarm the spice-infused mixture. Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and mix it into the cream. Discard the cinnamon stick. Stir the custard until cool over an ice bath. While it’s cooling, warm the honey in a small saucepan, then stir it into the custard.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the candied citrus peel and almonds.

Candied Citrus Peel
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
makes about 1 cup

For the ice cream recipe as is, you’ll only need 1/4 cup, but I made half the recipe. Mysteriously, it disappeared.

Ingredients:

4 large oranges or lemons, preferably unsprayed
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt

Preparation:

With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of peel 1 inch wide from the oranges, cutting lengthwise down the fruit. Remove just the colorful outer peel, leaving behind the bitter white pith. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, slice the peel length wise into very thin strips no wider than a toothpick.
Put the strips of peel in a small, nonreactive saucepan, add enough water to cover them by a few inches, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain the peel, and rinse with fresh water.
Combine the 2 cups water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the saucepan. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer and bring to a boil. Add the blanched peel, reduce the heat and cook at a very low boil for about 25 minutes, until the thermometer reads 230 F. Turn off the heat and let the peel cool in the syrup.
Once cool, lift the peel out of the syrup with a fork, letting the excess syrup drain away.
NOTE: If you do not have a candy thermometer, simply cook the peel until most of the liquid has boiled away and the fine threads are shiny and translucent.

Gingersnaps

Adapted from Feeding Dexygus Seconds. Makes at least 3 dozen, depending on thickness.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cream butter and sugar until very soft and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture. On low speed, mix until it all just comes together.

Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible. Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight. Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into very, very thin slices, no more than 1/8″. Place on a parchment-lined sheetpan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.  Since I wabted to cut out flower shaped rounds of dough I froze the dough for about an hour, then very carefully rolled it out on a heavily floured surface. I could then cut out any shape I wanted to.

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  1. I definitely know how you feel. Sometimes I sit. And sit. And sit. And just can’t seem to think of anything to say! And sometimes it just flows. Who can say why?

    I love reading your blog though and appreciate all of the effort you put into it! These ice cream sandwiches look fantastic!

  2. The ice cream looks fantastic. I am on an ice cream kick right now. I am always on the lookout for a new recipe!

  3. I chuckled reading your post. My early newspaper column writing was much the same. So much agony eeking out an article each week. Sooner or later though you learn to turn off the critic for the first draft and it just flows. You no longer expect or desire a masterpiece. You just write and write and write. Then you invite the crtic back in for the review and draft 2. These days I’m a senior editorial manager at a fortune 100 company. Who would have dreamed that my early food writing would have taken me so far? Plus of course the joy or writing my own food blog and continuing to create a hundred or more new dishes each year. Love your blog and am very much enjoying following along on your journey. …Susan

  4. i feel like reading your blog is kind of like having a conversation with you =D and you know when you said you kind of re-read your first comments in your mind? thats what i did when you commented on my blog for the first time. you were one of the first people to ever comment on my blog, and i thank you for that. =D

  5. looks super yum!!! too bad i don’t have an ice cream maker or the time to do it by hand…

  6. Ngaww….I can totally relate to this! When I started my blog, I never actually intended for anyone to read my blog =] But then I started reading more and more blogs and then people started commenting- I loved reading the comments! I love reading my old posts and seeing how much has changed since then =D

    I’ve never had gingersnaps before…..I’ll have to try them one day. But you ice cream looks delicious!

  7. I think you sum up very well the experience of a blogger, old or new.

    This ice-cream looks fantastic! and I’m glad to stumble on your blog

  8. Adrianna, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier this month. Be sure to check out my August Daring Baker results, they’re fun. This cookie and ice cream looks delicious…I am filing it away for the Fall. It can’t get here soon enough.

  9. […] one of the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve made. I decided to garnish them with a curl of candied citrus peel, as I had some left over from making yet another batch of panforte ice cream. You can tell from the […]

  10. Oh man this looks delicious! Everything here looks so yummy! And your photographs are beautiful!
    I recently launched my own blog http://www.prettygoodfood.com I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! Thanks and Happy Cooking!

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