Friday, June 27, 2008

Ice cream.

The girlies bounded out of school for the final time on Thursday afternoon, like two sleek little kittens exploding out of a cat-carrier after a trip to the vet. The delight on their faces was a sight to behold, as was the impossible sweetness of their baby sister, who raced up the pathway to hug them 'round the knees in rapturous greeting. She has been waiting and waiting for her favourite playmates to be "free-d" for the past two long weeks, as her little nursery school wound up at the beginning of June, and she's been stuck at home with the likes of ME ever since.

It has been a long and arduous month, here, save the lovely few days "home" last weekend. There were projects to be completed, oral presentations to be performed, and a stream of year-end testing at school. Piano lessons wound up, and the girlies danced beautifully in the ballet school's annual recital. Yessir, there was more than just a little bit of stress to be felt in this household, but miraculously, everything ended up being just fine. Even the littlest "teddy bear" got up on that great, big stage, and remembered every, single step of her dance. She looked so tiny and perfect in her little pink tutu, with flowers in her hair, even if she DID gaze out at the audience without blinking the entire time, like a newborn fawn caught in the headlights of oncoming traffic.

This week has been filled with good-byes, to wonderful teachers, administrators and friends. Our little town seems to empty-out, as of July 1 every year... People tend to drift off to cottage country, or to visit far-away relatives, and my girlies and I can't help feeling a bit lonesome around here for the first little while, until our days fall into some semblance of a summertime "routine".

That new routine kicked off with one of our favourite treats: home-made chocolate ice cream. Because NOTHING says "summertime" like a great, big bowlful perched on your knees, and slowly freezing the bare skin on your lap where the legs of your shorts don't quite reach.

A few years ago, I splurged and bought a beautiful, stainless-steel Cuisinart ice cream maker. It was a gift for my husband for Father's Day, and although it was undoubtedly a self-serving choice of present for me to give, he would be hard-pressed to deny that his tastebuds have benefited greatly over the past several years (and I have his ever-expanding waistline measurements to prove it. He has mine, too, so I won't share them with you).

The evening before school ended this week, the girlies and I ceremoniously placed the drum of the ice cream maker in the freezer, in preparation for a celebratory batch, which we planned to make the moment we returned home the next day. Since we had already consumed all of the divine "Milk Minties" candies that we had purchased at Chocolate Barr's in Stratford the weekend before, I headed for our local grocer's to purchase our second favourite treat in the whole wide world: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. In bulk. We chopped them all up into bite-sized chunks, and the few handfuls we managed to resist eating on the spot, we tossed into the ice cream mixture at the very last minute.

Oh. My. Word.


If anyone has a quick-and-easy remedy for accute brain-freeze, the girlies and I are all ears.

Simply Spectacular Chocolate Ice Cream

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 c granulated sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c whole milk
3 1/4 c heavy (whipping) cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Combine the white and brown sugars, and the cocoa in a medium-sized bowl, and stir to combine. Whisk in the whole milk, until the sugars have dissolved completely, and the cocoa powder is no longer "floating" on top (about 1-2 minutes). Gently stir in the heavy cream, and the vanilla. (I don't like to use an electric mixer for this... if you get too "enthusiastic" and beat heavy cream too hard, it makes the ice cream taste butter-y!!)

Turn on your ice cream machine, and slowly pour the mixture into the freezer-drum... allow it to mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. While the mixture is soft and creamy, gently fold in chocolate chips, cookie pieces, brownie bits, or whatever else you fancy, before transferring it to an air-tight container, and placing it in the freezer to firm-up a bit (this takes about an hour or two). Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

This will make about fourteen 1/2 c servings...
Or, in my case, one serving with fourteen mouthfuls.

Brain freeze! GAAAA!!!!!


painted maypole said...

oh, yum.

and summer vacation here is nearly half way over. We've been out for FIVE weeks already. Crazy.

Nan said...

My boys have made checking your blog a daily ritual. (Good thing it's more kid-friendly than, um, mine, lately!) They are consumed with the idea of making icecream now, but I lent my icecream machine to a random family member a few years ago and never saw it again. I should just bite the bullet and buy a new one.

If you can get coconuts, in their shells, (that's brown, dry coconuts) let us know. we have THE RECIPE!

Candygirlflies said...

Ooooh, yes PLEASE, Nan... I can get "fresh" coconuts at the larger grocery store quite easily!! I'd love to have your recipe!!

You and the boys should DEFINITELY invest in another machine... Even the hand-cranked variety are lots of fun, and our local toy store sells one shaped like a ball, which you toss around and play with, till you have the ice cream made!!

Love to you all-- and many thanks to your sweet sons for reading!!

xo CGF

Leeann said... I wish we lived closer....that sounds just like MY kind of reward for school ending...MMMMMMmmmmmm

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