Greetings and welcome to the first installment of Flavor of the Month, a new feature here at SGCC! A few weeks ago, in my New Years post, I asked you all for suggestions and ideas on how to improve this blog. I wanted to know what you all wanted to see here. I was touched to read so many comments saying that you loved SGCC just as it is and not to change a thing. I actually got a little verkempt! However, change leads to growth, and I really do want to grow, both in my writing and in my cooking.
Several of you gave me some excellent suggestions for tweaks I could make - some relating to technical issues and some to content. I intend to take each into consideration, so keep your eyes peeled over the next several months.
There was one comment that really stood out to me, and this is the one I chose as the winner of The Flavor Bible. The comment was submitted by Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas. I chose Brilynn's comment because she hit on two points that had already been lurking in the back of my mind.
Brilynn said "...as far as ideas for SGCC, I like your Dinner and a Movie Theme, you could perhaps turn it into a blogging event? Or maybe you should just make more ice cream... that drunken cherry ice cream is fabulous. You should have an ice cream at least once a month."
I'd been thinking about the best way to implement my Dinner and a Movie idea for months, and had considered trying to make a blogging event out of it. I'm still working on the details, and as soon as I'm ready to unveil it, you'll be the first to know.
I had also been thinking about incorporating more ice cream recipes into SGCC. Since I live in Florida, my family and I are lucky enough to be able to enjoy ice cream year round. And trust me, we do! Doing a monthly ice cream feature was a perfect idea! So, on the 15th of every month I'll reveal my Flavor of the Month.
This month's Flavor of the Month is Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle Ice Cream. It's a riff on one of my favorite Haagen Dazs flavors of the same name. Freshly toasted coconut and buttery sesame brittle are mixed into a smooth and rich coconut ice cream base. It's crunchy and creamy and chewy all at the same time. It's also utterly sublime!
My inspiration for the coconut ice cream base came from the cookbook, Delicious Days by popular blogger, Nicky Stich, by way of the supreme ice cream master himself, David Lebovitz. It is a Philadelphia-style ice base, made without eggs. Instead, heavy cream is simmered with coconut milk and palm sugar. After chilling, the base is churned into luscious mounds of silky coconut bliss.
The recipe for my sesame brittle came from Gale Gand. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about making it. We all know my track record with caramelizing sugar! But, I reeeeeeallllllly wanted to use sesame brittle and couldn't think of anywhere close by to buy some. So, I sucked it up and made it myself. And, it turned out great! The first time!!!
Now, I have to stop and take a moment here to wax poetic about this brittle. It. Was. Amazing. Seriously! I couldn't stop eating it! I'm not even a huge fan of sesame anything, but this brittle just blew me away. I'm telling you, people, even if you decide to never try this ice cream, do yourself a favor and make the brittle. It is THAT good!
By the way, I just realized that this is also my 200th post! Woo hoo! I didn't realize that I was such a chatterbox!
Toasted Coconut-Sesame Brittle Ice Cream (printable recipe)
Makes approximately 1 quart
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups coconut milk
4 ounces palm sugar or 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coconut rum
1 cup sesame brittle, broken into small shards or pieces (recipe follows)
1/2 cup toasted coconut*
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the cream, coconut milk and sugar to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add the rum and chill the mixture thoroughly.
Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Once churned, stir in the sesame brittle and toasted coconut and freeze until firm.
*To toast coconut, place in a small skillet over medium-high heat, and shake or stir until golden brown. But, be careful. A few seconds too long, and the coconut will start to burn!
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
Generously oil an 11x17 sheet pan with vegetable oil.
In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cream of tartar and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, boil the mixture until it reaches 340 to 350 degrees. The color should be deep golden brown.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, then mix in the sesame seeds and baking soda. Pour the mixture onto the oiled pan and spread it out a bit with the back of a wooden spoon, to about a 1/4-inch thickness. For thinner brittle, place a silpat on top and roll to desired thickness while it's still warm. Let brittle harden, uncovered, in a cool place for at least 30 minutes.
When completely cooled, break the brittle into pieces and put in a zip loc bag. Crush into tiny pieces with a rolling pin. Store in an airtight container.