Who screams for ice cream (bars)?
Next up: a frozen treat in honor of Canada Day, eh? Posting date is July 3.
- 2 ounces (55 g) toasted walnuts (about ½ cup; see page 19), coarsely chopped
- 5¼ ounces (150 g) digestive biscuits or graham crackers (approximately 15 biscuits)
- 2½ ounces (70 g) thin, salty pretzel sticks
- 2 ounces (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup (55 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (20 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 pints (946 ml) homemade or store-bought premium vanilla or salted caramel ice cream
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 5 ounces (140 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), chopped
- Line an ungreased 8-inch (20-cm) square pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs by approximately 2 inches (5 cm) on two opposite sides.
- Place the walnuts in a large bowl.
- Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse in three or four short 2-second bursts until the biscuits are finely ground, with a few coarsely ground pieces for texture. Sprinkle the biscuit crumbs over the walnuts. Put the pretzel sticks in the same food processor (no need to wash in between) and pulse five or six times in 1-second bursts to create small sticklike chunks. Alternatively, place the pretzels in a zip-tight plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Do not overprocess the pretzels; the pieces should be peanut size, not powdery. Sprinkle the pretzel chunks over the biscuit crumbs and use your hands to toss them together.
- Place the butter in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), stirring until the butter is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water, add the brown sugar and cocoa, and stir until combined. Add the egg in a slow stream while whisking. Return the bowl to the pan of simmering water and whisk slowly and constantly until the mixture thickens slightly, 60 to 90 seconds. It won’t thicken up like a pudding, but it should be a smooth mixture that shows whisk marks. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined; try to ensure that the dry ingredients are covered by the wet. Turn the crumb mixture out into the prepared pan and firmly press it into an even layer on only the bottom of the pan, not the sides; if you like, use the back of a metal measuring cup to help even it out. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes.
- Remove the ice cream from your freezer and let it soften, about 15 minutes. Place the ice cream in a large bowl and use a rubber spatula to beat it until it is slightly malleable. Alternatively, beat the ice cream in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (a chilled bowl and paddle are preferable) until almost smooth but not melty, about 10 seconds. Remove the crust from the refrigerator.
- Spread the ice cream over the cocoa pretzel crust in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the cream, butter, and corn syrup together until just simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until the fudge is smooth. If you have a few stray unmelted chocolate chunks, reheat the mixture over very low heat until completely melted.
- Whisk the fudge topping vigorously for 1 minute to release excessive heat or until it reaches room temperature. Remove the bars from the freezer and pour the fudge over the ice cream layer. Working quickly, use an offset spatula to spread the fudge topping into an even layer. Again, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the bars are solid, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Once the bars are completely frozen, remove from the freezer. Dip a knife in hot water and wipe it dry. Using the hot knife, go around the edges of the pan. Gently pull up on both sides of the parchment overhang to release the bars from the pan and place the bars with the parchment on a large cutting board. Freeze the bars on the cutting board for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bars from the freezer. Dip a knife in hot water and wipe it dry. Using a hot knife, score and slice the bars into 1-by-1½-inch (2.5-by-4-cm) rectangles. (Freeze the bars in between scoring and slicing if the ice cream gets too soft.) Serve immediately.
Rogue bakers galore, and a few intrepid bakers took on the baked Alaskas this week!
Who was brave enough to make the baked Alaskas this week?
In honor of our 49th state, we’re making Baked Alaskas! Posting date is October 25.
- 1 pint (473 ml) coffee ice cream, slightly softened
- 12 unglazed, unfrosted chocolate cupcakes (see Baked Note)
- 1 pint (473 ml) vanilla ice cream
- 7 large egg whites
- 1¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pull one or two very large pieces of plastic wrap across the top of a 12-cup muffin tin. The plastic wrap should cover the entire tin, plus there should be overhang (6 to 8 inches/15 to 20 cm) on either side. Press the plastic wrap into the bottoms and sides of the cups. Don’t worry if it doesn’t adhere to the sides of the tin; you just want to make sure it conforms to the general shape of the cups.
- Equally divide the coffee ice cream among the prepared muffin cups. Use your fingers to press it into a compact, even layer. Cover the pan loosely with more plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour.
- Slice the cupcakes horizontally through the exact middle. Remove the pan from the freezer, and fold back the plastic wrap on top. Take the bottom piece of each cupcake (right side up is fine) and place it directly over the coffee ice cream, smushing the cake a little to create an even layer. Cover again and freeze for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer to soften.
- Remove the pan from the freezer, and fold back the plastic wrap on top. Equally divide the softened vanilla ice cream among the 12 frozen cupcake layers. Use your fingers to press it into a compact, even layer. Immediately cover each with the top piece of cupcake (dome facing up) and press gently to adhere to the ice cream. Cover again loosely and freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Invert the cupcake pan, pulling gently on the plastic wrap to help release the Alaskas. Remove all of the plastic wrap and divide the Alaskas onto two separate, parchment-lined baking sheets or 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) pans (this will make it easier to brown the meringue on just 6 at a time, which is ideal) and freeze for another 30 minutes.
- After the Alaskas have been frozen for 30 minutes, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a nonreactive metal bowl (ideally from your standing mixer) until combined. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture registers 140°F (60°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form, adding the cream of tartar when the mixture begins to thicken, after about 3 minutes. When it holds stiff peaks, after about 6 minutes, add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.
- Working quickly, remove 6 of the baked Alaska bases from the freezer. Cover each base in a thick coating of meringue—from top to bottom—taking care that no part of the base is showing, swirling and spiking the meringue as you like. Return to the freezer and repeat with the remaining bases. Freeze for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
- Bake just 6 meringue-covered bases at a time (do not bake one tray on the top shelf and one below), until the meringue starts to brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Keep the remaining bases in the freezer until the oven is free, then bake them at once. Alternatively, you can brown the meringue with a kitchen torch; just a few passes of the flame should do the trick. Plate individually and serve immediately.
We’ve got some great looking brioche and ice cream sandwiches — and of course, one rogue baker!
What did you think of these ice cream sandwiches?
We’re making ice cream sandwiches next – not just any ol’ ice cream sandwiches but fancy ones, with brioche instead of cookies.
Posting date is August 16!
- 1¾ teaspoons instant yeast
- 2¾ cups (385 g) bread flour
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 10 ounces (2½ sticks/285 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 2-tablespoon-size pieces, plus more for the pan
- 1 recipe Brown Sugar Praline Ice Cream (see page 59), or 2 to 3 pints (946 ml to 1.4 L) of your favorite ice cream or gelato
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the yeast with ½ cup (70 grams) of the bread flour. Add the milk, and mix on low speed until combined. Turn off the mixer, cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 45 to 60 minutes so the mixture can ferment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and salt with the remaining bread flour.
- Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Add the flour mixture and eggs to the bowl. Mix on low the speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium-high. Mix until a dough forms and begins to pull cleanly from the sides and bottom of the bowl, 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, the dough will have a nice sheen and look very elastic.
- With the mixer running on medium-high, slowly add the butter, one chunk at a time, waiting for each addition to incorporate before adding the next piece. After all the butter has been added, keep mixing until the dough is smooth and uniform. This whole process should take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the dough hook, use your hands to scrape any dough on the hook back into the bowl, cover the bowl lightly with plastic, and place it in a draft-free environment until the dough doubles in volume, between 1 hour and 1 hour 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
- Use a dough scraper to scrape the light, silky dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by hand for about a minute, folding it in half and then over itself. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (use a scale if you have one), about 2½ ounces (70 g) each. Form each piece into a ball by rolling it on the counter between your thumb and fingers; don’t incorporate too much flour, as the dough should retain a little bit of stickiness. Place each ball in a greased muffin cup. The dough might pop over the top of the tin by about ½ inch (12 mm) or so. Cover the muffin pan lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
- Prior to baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 90 minutes, but no more than 2 hours. At this point, the dough may have risen a full inch (2.5 cm) over the top of the tin. During the last 30 minutes of the rise, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake the brioches until the crust is golden and the bread is cooked all the way through, 12 to 18 minutes; the internal temperature should hover near 195°F (90°C) on an instant-read thermometer. If the crusts brown too quickly before the center of the bread is ready, cover the tops of the bread with foil until finished baking.
- Allow the bread to cool for a few minutes and pop the individual brioches out of the pan.
- Slice each brioche in half (slightly warm is divine, though room temperature is fine), separating the “muffin top” from the bottom. Place one generous scoop, about ¾ cup (180 ml), of ice cream on the flat surface of the bottom of the muffin and sandwich it with the top. Serve immediately. We have also been known to toast the brioche before filling it; this is a must-try at least once in your life.
A perfect dessert for a hot day!
Leave your links – what did you think? And did anyone try that challenging chocolate syrup again?