About a week ago I received an offer to sample and review a cookbook. Now, I'm over-the-top busy with work, not to mention that we have to temporarily move out of our house to have renovations done (thank you, New England winter, for the ice dams that sent water pouring into every bedroom). But when I saw the title of the cookbook, I couldn't pass up the opportunity: Ice Cream Happy Hour - 50 Boozy Treats You Spike, Freeze and Serve, by Valerie Lum and Jenise Addison. I mean really, what better way to relieve stress than to sit down with a beautiful bowl of boozy ice cream? Yes, please.
The brain children of this book are two New York City women who started experimenting with spiking ice cream in their tiny Brooklyn kitchens. Valerie Lum, is the baker at Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where she specializes in baking brownies, blondies and cookies. Her partner in this wonderful endeavor is Jenise Addison, who grew up in Queens, graduated from the French Culinary Institute and now spends her time brining, curing, butchering and fermenting at Bierkraft. After months of experimenting with various formulations and spirits, the two hit on the ideal ice cream-to-booze ratio and perfected the chemistry. They figured out that they could fit as much as an entire cup of 80 proof alcohol into 1-quart of ice cream to achieve ideal consistency and flavor. That's some beautiful alchemy. Needless to say, this is decidedly grown-up ice cream and is not meant to be dished up to your eager toddler...or curious teenagers.
Ice Cream Happy Hour is organized by tantalizing categories: Boozy Ice Creams, 80-Proof Specialties, Cocktails in a Cone, Tropical Treats by the Scoop, Spiked Sorbets and Sherbets, Tipsy Sundaes and Floats. Following a lively introduction, the book gives simple, easy step-by-step directions (including photographs) on how to make and spike, temper, thicken and chill the custard; dissolve the gelatin (the thickening agent that counteracts the alcohol's thinning properties) and churn the ice cream. Once you understand the process, the authors suggest you boldly go where no other has gone and experiment with your own combinations, of which there are so many, they couldn't all be included in their book.
I chose the Orange Sherbet with Amaretto recipe because I love sherbet as it's such a nice, creamy cross between ice cream and sorbet. Plus, I dig anything with amaretto in it. Lastly, this recipe is very easy, requiring no cooking. I must admit to taste-testing this sherbet more than once as it was churning. It's reminiscent of an orange cream-cycle with a just right dose of almondy amaretto - absolutely bowl-licking delicious! Once the construction crews are out of my house, I fully intend to try the following more complex recipes from Ice Cream Happy Hour: Caramel with Spiced Rum, Fig with Barley Wine, Ginger with Dark Rum, White Russian and Cosmopolitan. The boozy possibilities as positively endless!
Lemon juice, orange juice and sugar form the syrup
Whisk it all together until completely blended
Add milk - now you've got yourself a cream-cycle!
Icy cold amaretto...mmm
Whisk in gelatine and amaretto, then immediately pour into ice cream maker and churn
Orange Sherbet with Amaretto (Recipe reprinted with permission from Ice Cream Happy Hour, authors and Ulysses Press)
Makes 1 quart
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice.
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract or almond extract
1 packet (1 Tbsp.) gelatin
1/3 cup cold water
3/4 cup cold (refrigerated) amaretto
Make the syrup: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice together until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Whisk in the milk and vanilla or almond extract.
Cover and chill the syrup for at least 4 hours.
Once the syrup is completely cold...
Dissolve the gelatin: Pour water into a small saucepan and evenly sprinkle the gelatin on top.
Allow to sit until the gelatin appears to have absorbed as much water as it can, about 2 minutes. This is called blooming.
Gently warm over low heat and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved in the liquid, about 3 minutes.
Spike the syrup with the cold amaretto and gelatin mixture: Refrigerate the alcohol until completely cold (do not try to speed up the process by putting it in the freezer, which may make the gelatin set up too much before added to the syrup.
Pour the gelatin into a medium bowl and whisk the cold alcohol until combined. Do not attempt to kip this step by pouring the alcohol directly into the saucepan with the gelatin.
Pour the cold orange syrup into a large bowl. Stream the alcohol and gelatin mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the syrup and whisk until thoroughly blended.
Churn the sherbet: Pour the cold mixture immediately into the ice cream maker and churn for at least 20 minutes. Due to the alcohol content, you may wish to churn it longer to get the desired thickness. If you don't want to serve the sherbet immediately, or you want a firmer texture, transfer it to a freezer-proof container and freeze for several hours before serving.
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