Banana Toffee Crunch Ice cream

When I,  like most people have a lot of ripe bananas, I make banana bread. But even after I made banana bread I still had several bananas left. So I started searching through my cook books and found this recipe in The Perfect Scoop. After I tasted the base I was in love. It had a strong roasted banana flavor and it wasn’t too sweet. And if you have ever mad ice cream before, you know that once the ice cream is churned it lessens the intensity of the flavor; which is just what I had planned on.

However once I churned it I realized that it had hardly changed all and to top it off it was too rich for my taste. Meaning I had some really strong banana ice cream, which wasn’t really what I had been looking for. I decided to give it a chance and see what it tasted like in a day. The next day it was just as strong and I realized it needed some crunch. So I decided to melt it down and mix in vanilla ice cream base and add homemade toffee pieces. The results were amazing. The ice cream had a nice amount of banana flavor but it wasn’t over whelming and the pieces of toffee added crunch as well as a little bit of chocolate. Listed below are the recipes for the roasted banana ice cream, altered vanilla base, and homemade toffee. I didn’t combine the two ice cream base recipes because they are made differently.

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Roasted Banana Ice Cream

Makes about 1 Quart

Ingredients

3 medium-sized ripe bananas, peeled

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp course salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the bananas into 1/2 in pieces and toss them with the brown sugar and butter in a 2 quart baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes (stirring half way through baking) until the bananas are browned and cooked through.
  3. Scrape the bananas and the thick syrup in the baking dish into a blender or food processor. Add the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt, and puree until smooth.
  4. Chill the mixture throughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker. Or mix with the following Vanilla ice cream base, and mix to your ice cream maker. Once churned, hand fold in broken up pieces of toffee. They should be small pieces, about the size of a dime, if not smaller.

I removed the vanilla bean from this recipe

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Vanilla Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

pinch of salt

6 large egg yolks

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Heat the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Take milk mixture off the heat and allow to cool for 30 min.
  2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of 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 yolks into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  4. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream, and add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
  5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Then churn the base in an ice cream maker. Or mix with the roasted banana ice cream base, and then churn in an ice cream maker. Once churned, hand fold in broken up pieces of toffee. They should be small pieces, about the size of a dime, if not smaller.

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Toffee

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 tbsp water

4 tbsp butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp packed light brown sugar

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips or 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. Create an outline of 8 in circle on a parchment lined baking sheet. I use a cake pan to make the outline.
  2. Fit a small, heavy-duty saucepan with a candy thermometer, then add the water, butter, granulated sugar, a brown sugar, mixing them together. Have baking soda and vanilla measured and ready.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring as little as possible. (you may need to tilt the pan to get an accurate read on your thermometer. When the mixture reaches 300 degrees, remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Mix just until combined; don’t over-stir.
  4. Right away, pour the hot toffee mixture and spread to cover the circle.
  5. Scatter the chocolate pieces over the toffee and wait 2 minutes to allow them to melt. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. If you’d like sprinkle the chocolate with finishing salt or with coarse salt. Cool completely, until the chocolate is firm. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen you may need to cool it in the refrigerator. Remove it once the chocolate has hardened.

Storage: The toffee can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the freezer or at room temperature.

Creme Brulee

Creme brulee is one of the quintessential restaurant desserts. You’ll find it in just about any restaurant you go to, yet it still has a reputation that oozes class. It is silky smooth custard covered in caramelized sugar. You can’t get better than that. Sounds hard to make right?

Wrong!

You couldn’t be further from the truth and it is inexpensive to boot! The sad part is most restaurants’ creme brulee ranges from bad to down right inedible. In all of my years of eating dessert I have yet to taste a lusciously creamy (you can’t forget flavorful) creme brulee with the perfect amount of caramelized sugar on top that creates that wonderful *crack* sound when you take the first spoonful.

Once I found this recipe (which I found in a publication of Cooks magazine) I actually stopped eating creme brulee in restaurants because I was tired of paying so much for a dessert that I could make for pennies on the dollar and I knew would be impeccable. The following recipe is actually less than a dollar per serving, and is quite a show stopper. My parents have told me on numerous occasions that I have “spoiled them” and whenever they brave trying creme brulee at a new restaurant, it never compares.

I mean and who doesn’t like playing with a little fire now and again? It’s honestly my favorite part of making this lovely dessert…well besides eating it of course.

*note*

To serve this dessert you will either need a blow torch or to use the broil setting on your oven. I personally don’t trust my oven to do an even job of caramelizing, so I have never tried this method. You can purchase a little torch at most stores that sell kitchen gadgets. However I would recommend purchasing a real blow torch from your local hard ware store. The last time I bought one, the propane canister cost about $5 and the head (the part the flame comes out of) cost around $15, and they last a long time. I have had mine for two years and I use it several times a year and I am maybe a 1/3 of the way the way through the container. Invest in one that self ignites, trust me it will save you time and effort.

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

4 cups chilled heavy cream.

2/3 cup granulated sugar

pinch salt

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

12 large egg yolks

8-12 tsps cane sugar

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan; with paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into pan, submerge pod in cream, and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that sugar dissolves. Take pan off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse flavors.
  3. Meanwhile, place a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large baking dish or roasting pan and arrange *8-10 4-5 oz ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on *towel. Bring a kettle or large saucepan of water to boil over high heat.
  4. After cream has steeped, stir in remaining 2 cups of cream to cool down mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up and combined. Whisk about 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened and combined. Add remaining cream and whisk until evenly colored and throughly combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 2-qt measuring cup, or a pitcher (or clean medium bowl); discard solids in strainer. Pour or ladle mixture into ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
  5. Carefully place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; pour boiling water into dish, taking care not to splash water into the ramekins, until water reaches 2/3 the height of ramekins. Bake until centers are just *barely set and are no longer sloshy and a digital instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 170-175 degrees, 30 35 minutes (25-30 minutes for shallow fluted dishes). Begin checking temperatures about 5 minutes before recommended time.
  6. *Transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 2 hrs. Set ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hrs or up to 4 days.
  7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has formed on the custards, place a paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 tsp *cane sugar; tilt and tap ramekins for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize the sugar. I recommend (if you can handle it) holding the ramekin at a 45 degree angle and slowly rotating it in your hand while you are caramelizing the sugar. It will help the sugar melt more evenly. If you are afraid to hold the ramekin while you are caramelizing the sugar you can put it on a lazy susan and slowly turn it. If you are using a real blow torch keep the flame approx 8-10in away from the surface.  This will allow you to evenly caramelize the sugar without getting burnt spots. If you are using a little torch keep the flame approx 1-4in away from the surface. I recommend to serve *immediately. However they may be kept refrigerated for up to 30 minutes uncovered.

Variations

Tea infused creme brulee-(you can use any kind of tea you’d like, I prefer chai or green tea)

  • Knot together the strings of 10 tea bags. Follow the recipe above, substituting tea bags for vanilla bean; after steeping, squeeze bags to extract all the liquid. Whisk 1 tsp vanilla extract into yolks in step 4 before adding cream.

Add fresh fruit or a layer of chocolate

  • Follow the recipe above; but before pouring the custard into the ramekins put fresh fruit in the bottom such as raspberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. Or you could put pieces of chocolate down. I would recommend melting it a bit so they don’t float. Yum!

Tips and Tricks

  1. I say 8-10 because it depends on how full you fill them. I can get 10 portions out of this recipe, however if you are looking for hardier portions just fill 8 ramekins. Try to make the ramekins as level as possible; it will help to prevent spilling and improve the presentation.
  2. I consider it a firm giggle like jello.
  3. I use tongs with rubber bands wrapped around the pinchers.
  4. I think it melts better than beet sugar. I recommend serving immediately because I love eating the two different temperatures. Warm from the caramelizing process and cold from it being recently refrigerated.