A few months ago, a good friend sent me this book as a spur of the moment gift. You know someone is a good friend when they think you'll love something, and they are totally right.
As soon as I opened it I was bewildered and enticed by the unique flavors of ice cream. I showed it to everyone who came over: "Earl Grey! Gorgonzola! Sweet Corn! Basil!" I never thought ingredients such as those could be put in ice cream. But I was excited at the possibility!
Since receiving this book I've made several of the recipes in it, ranging from deliciously normal to out-of-control surprisingly awesome: Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Buttermilk, Honeyed Peanut Butter with Chocolate Freckles, Lemon Blueberry Frozen Yogurt, Dark Chocolate Peppermint, Lime Cardamom, Kona Stout, Backyard Mint with Raspberry Swirl, Wild Berry Lavender. They have all been incredible.
For reasons of nutrition and taste preference, I've altered the recipes quite a bit. And I'm making what I believe to be the healthiest and most delicious ice cream I've ever tasted.
So in the first part of this 3-part series, I'm going to tell you what I love about this book. In Part 2, I'll tell you what I don't like, where I'm willing to compromise, and how I tweak the recipes. And Part 3 is a recipe for Basil and Pine Nut Ice Cream with Raspberry Swirl!
But First, Some Background
Jeni Britton Bauer is the founder and president of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, which has (according to their website), 11 stores in Ohio and Tennessee. If you are lucky enough to live near one, I am very jealous.
She wrote this book to help people like you and me enjoy the best possible homemade ice cream. She took the flavors from their stores and adapted them for the home ice cream maker. Thank you, Jeni!
Why I Love Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
1. Best Homemade Ice Cream Texture.
In the introduction, Jeni claims that she really doesn't like homemade ice cream. She says it's "icy, goupy, soupy, crumbly, eggy, gritty, and too buttery."
If you follow the directions she lays out, you can make ice cream that is none of those. These ice creams are smooth as silk, solid enough that you don't end up with soup in your bowl, and have a rich yet somehow perfectly light mouthfeel. I've never tasted anything like it. And it's all REAL! No chemical fillers, stabilizers, or thickeners here!
Whenever I try a recipe for homemade ice cream that doesn't follow Jeni's techniques, I'm disappointed.
2. Creative Flavors.
I know I already sort of covered this earlier, but let me just name a few more.
Chamomile Chardonnay. Olive Oil with Sea Salted Pepitas. Lime Cardamom. Grapefruit Hibiscus. Banana with Caramelized White Chocolate Freckles. Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Cherries.
You might just think these sound weird. And that's fine. But Jeni seems to know what she's doing, so I'm trusting that even the most unique ones are probably delicious. And, as my brother always says before trying something new, "I'm open to bad experiences!"
3. A Love of Local.
Jeni sources ingredients for her ice creams with care. She uses local, grass-fed cream and milk. She buys fresh fruits and vegetables in season. And the things she can't get locally, like vanilla beans and chocolate, she sources directly from farmers and producers with whom shes has built a relationship. I love it!
I felt that we had done her proud when, in order to make her Kona Stout ice cream, we went to a local coffee shop for fair trade coffee, went to a local liquor store for a micro-brewed stout, and used grass-fed cream from a local farm. Sure, it took longer to shop for ingredients, but the flavors were incredible, and the process made us grateful for all those who grew and made the components of our ice cream.
Here is Part 2: Dislikes, Compromises and Tweaks, and here is Part 3: A Recipe!
Do you have this book or have you heard of it? Tell us what you think in the comments!
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This is part of: Pennywise Platter Thursday, Keep it Real Thursday, Freaky Friday, Foodie Friday