Recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Earlier this week I heard—for the first time this year—the sweet sounds of spring. It wasn't birds chirping or kids playing outside that made me stop in my tracks and whirl around, it was the familiar jingle of the ice cream truck. 

Now, I don't know where you live or where you grew up, but my whole life I have heard the jingle of the ice cream truck. It reminds me of being a child, taking my parent's dollar and running out front of my childhood home. It reminds me of living in the city, where our street is so tiny and the truck has to drive so slowly that the jingle can be heard right outside my house for about 15 minutes most summer days. It's the sound of taking it easy, of splurging on a treat, and of summer sun.

Today we are skipping the ice cream truck and making a slightly healthier popsicle you can quickly and easily throw together at home. And who can beat the flavor combo of peanut butter, banana, and chocolate? Seriously now...

Peanut Butter Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Makes 8 popsicles

4 bananas
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey or agave (to taste)
1/2 cup peanut butter

Topping:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
handful of chopped peanuts or cashews

In a blender, add peeled bananas, greek yogurt, and peanut butter and blend until smooth. Depending on how sweet your bananas are, add honey or more peanut butter based on your personal preference. Fill your popsicle molds (I have this one) 3/4 full, insert sticks, and freeze for 4–6 hours or until completely frozen.

When ready to serve, heat chocolate chips and coconut oil over a double boiler on the stove, whisking until melted. Drizzle melted chocolate over each popsicle and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Enjoy immediately or store on a wrapped plate in the freezer until ready to eat. 

Recipe: Peach Ice Cream

I know that summer is officially over, but I needed to make one more recipe with the summer ingredient I have on hand: peaches. What you'll read below is my second attempt at making peach ice cream. The first attempt ended up way too vanilla, not enough peach, and definitely over churned. But this second try, it's damn good. 

French-style ice cream can seem mildly intimidating. Your trying not to burn cream, get a perfect custard consistency, and it takes a lot of cooling. But I promise, this ice cream is the creamiest I've ever made at home. Definitely worth the extra work and not as intimidating as you would think!

Let's hold on to summer for just a few more hours and make this peach ice cream, okay? Do yourself a favor. 

French-Style Peach Ice Cream

Yields 6-8 servings

1 cup 1% or 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
3 peaches, peeled and roughly chopped
1 peach, peels and chopped small
2 tablespoons sugar

The technique for making this French-style base is from the Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones cookbook. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in making ice cream. The techniques mapped out in this box are incredibly detailed and helpful (pictures!).

Make your ice cream base: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar until just combined. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Also set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together milk, heavy cream, and the remaining sugar. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to the brink of a simmer with small bubbles beginning to form along the edge of the pan. Turn the heat to medium and ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs and keep them from scrambling. Repeat with another 1/2 cup ladle of hot cream.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the saucepan while you pour the egg mixture in. With the heat on medium, continue to cook on medium while stirring constantly until the mixture changes to a slightly thicker consistency. Once you feel a little more resistance as you stir, test the readiness by removing your spoon/spatula from the saucepan and running your finger across it. If the path created by your finger holds for a second or two, it's ready.

Remove from heat and pour into a plastic container or measuring cup through a fine mesh strainer. Place into the ice bath, stirring often with a clean spoon, until cool. Remove from the ice bath, cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. 

Make peach puree: In a blender, blend together the 3 roughly chopped peaches and sugar until smooth. 

Make your ice cream: Pour peach puree into the custard and mix together. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instructions. Once ice cream has mixed, quickly mix in chopped peach pieces with a spatula. Pour ice cream into a loaf pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan, pressing it lightly into the pan so it touches the top of the ice cream. Place in the freezer to set for 2 hours (or overnight). Once frozen, scoop into a bowl or ice cream cone.

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Recipe: Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles

In recent years I've developed an addiction to ice cream and frozen treats. 

This is not something I've had my entire life. As a kid, I remember occasionally getting ice cream for a treat or on vacation or occasionally something from the ice cream man who drove around our neighborhood. But I don't remember craving it the same way I do now. Recently I'm pretty game for ice cream any time, any day, any where. Need a pickmeup? Go get ice cream. Need to celebrate something? Let's get ice cream! Need to kill some time before going to the movies? Ice cream that you get a lid for and end up sneaking into the movies. It's just exactly what I want at any given moment and I've decided to go with it.

These popsicle were created because I tend to come home from work very hangry and need something right away. Because when you are tired and annoyed from work and hungry, you'd be surprised how often you decide to just get ice cream for dinner. Having these not-too-unhealthy alternatives handy means I make it to dinner more often.

Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons honey
Half a lemon
1 1/2–2 cups vanilla greek yogurt

Place raspberries in a medium sized bowl. Add honey and juice from half a lemon. Using a spatula or spoon, cover the berries with the juice and honey and let sit for at least a half an hour in the fridge. Pour your raspberry mixture into a blender, and blend until smooth. If you really hate raspberry seeds, you can pour the mixture through a mesh strainer before filling your popsicle molds, but I didn't bother.

When filling your popsicle molds (I believe I have this one), alternate between the yogurt and raspberry puree until they are 3/4th full. Then using a wooden skewer, swirl the layers together a little bit to get swirls. If you don't have a wooden skewer lying around, you can use anything that's long and fairly skinny. You also don't have to swirl them at all and they will still be great. Add in your popsicle sticks and freeze for 4–6 hours until completely frozen.

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Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Today I've brought you something that's been floating around in my brain for MONTHS now. For Christmas, G gave me the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid (!!!!) and after looking through a bunch of new ice cream cookbooks and the book that came with the attachment, I decided I wanted my first endeavor to be strawberry ice cream.

This is kind of a strange choice for me. I like strawberry ice cream, but I definitely wouldn't say it's my favorite or even go-to ice cream (for those wondering at home, my go-to ice cream is peanut butter swirl). But strawberry seemed easy enough, better than just plain vanilla, and a flavor that would lend itself to being homemade. Strawberry ice cream from a carton is good, but homemade strawberry ice cream, where you chopped the strawberries and made it that day, would be next level.

But it wasn't until I made these Raspberry-Dusted Lemon Donuts that I discovered the amazingness of freeze-dried fruits (I get mine at Whole Foods). I can't get enough! And, added bonus, they kind of mimic the crunchy bits on a strawberry shortcake ice cream bar! The Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich was born.

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 12 sandwiches

For Sugar Cookies
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups flour

Strawberry Ice Cream
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 oz freeze-dried strawberry slices, crushed into small pieces but not dust (optional)

Make your ice cream: In a bowl, mix chopped strawberries with 1/2 cup of sugar and lime juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

In a large bowl, whisk eggs until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Whisk in sugar until combined. Add in milk and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Switch to a rubber spatula and add in strawberries and all the juice. Finally, stir in heavy whipping cream. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's instructions. Once ice cream is done, pour into a 9x11 inch baking sheet and spread evenly. Place in the freezer for 2 hours (overnight is even better).

Make your cookies: Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk flour, salt, and baking powder to combine. With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixer.

Drop rounded balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I made mine about a tablespoon and a half large. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 5 minutes, and then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Make your sandwiches: Once cookies are completely cool, match cookies of the same size. Spread your crushed freeze-dried strawberries onto a plate. Because I wanted to ice cream centers to be uniform, I used a circle cookie cutter to cut out pucks of ice cream all the same size. I placed each puck onto a cookie and topped with another cookie, pressing them together slightly. If you want to make your sandwiches the easy way, scoop a large ice cream scoopful of ice cream and place it on one cookie. Using the other cookie, press the sandwich together. Either way, they'll be beautiful and delicious.

Over the plate, spoon the crushed strawberries onto the sides of one half of the ice cream center, pressing lightly with the back of the spoon until they stick. Place back in the freeze to harder completely. Once completely frozen, store in an air tight container in the freezer. Enjoy!

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