Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Oh, readers.  I have fallen head over heels for this ice cream book.  Seriously.  I think it's the world's best ever ice cream book.  Ice cream books are definitely not a new phenomenon- from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop to People's Pops (a hipster ice cream/popsicle cookbook).  But this cookbook is brilliant in a different way.

The thing that stands out to me is the fact that every single recipe I see in this cookbook sounds delicious.  I would happily eat any of the (sometimes unexpected and strange) flavors of ice cream enclosed in this book.  But here's the thing, these recipes aren't just bizarre for the sake of being bizarre.  Oh, no.  You know those recipes that are written simply for the sake of shocking and grossing out a large portion of the population?  While this cookbook has some interesting combinations, they are well-thought out and inspired, not just weird.

This cookbook is written by Jeni Britton Bauer, who started a small collection of ice cream stores all across Ohio.  As the restaurants grew in fame, Bauer began trying more and more combinations of flavors and found that the public was actually thrilled with this new, inspired flavors.  Bauer is a strong supporter of the local food movement and so the recipes are very conveniently arranged by season.  So you're not going to be making a roasted strawberry ice cream in January.

The photography is breath-taking.  I am completely in awe of people who can photograph food well.  The pictures are all beautiful and well-lighted and make the food look even better than I ever could.  Now that I think about it, it's probably because they don't just shove the random bits of household junk to one side of the table and then forget to turn on any lights while they take a few dimly lit pictures of a bowl of food.  Ahem.  But back to the book.  Each recipe is accompanied by a beautiful picture of a spoon full of ice cream.

As I mentioned earlier, the flavors are genius- things that would never cross my head.  Take this list that I made of a few of the ice cream flavors in this book:
-Wild Berry Lavender Ice Cream
-Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream (peanut butter ice cream with cayenne pepper, coconut milk, and honey)
-Gucci Muu Muu (a chocolate ice cream with curry powder)
-Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream

I'm currently waiting for a small, 1-quart ice cream maker to come in the mail.  We have the big gallon crank that you pull out for family gatherings and make a whole bunch of vanilla ice cream.  But, honestly, you don't want a gallon of celery ice cream with candied ginger.  But if a family of four each gets a small bowlful?  Perfect!  So once that comes, I will be celebrating the end of summer with lots of ice cream.

I sat drooling over this ice cream.  You simply must read this.  It doesn't involve turning on an oven.  All you need is a pile of dairy products, a couple other ingredients and an ice cream crank.  I know that you'll like this book.


  1. Yum, these sound delicious. I'd better stay far away from this book. : )

    1. I really should have posted a huge warning at the start of this post :) It's times like these that I am very thankful that I'm a serious runner!

  2. So... I tried her banana ice cream flavor once, and it tasted like cheese.

    Part of Jeni's ice cream base is cream cheese, which she uses for texture. I think for most of her recipes, the flavors are so bold that it really doesn't matter much. But for my batch, I made plain banana, without whatever add-ins she recommended, because my sweetie doesn't like STUFF in his ice cream.

    I'd be curious to hear if other readers found her ice cream overly cheesy, when making the recipe exactly to her instructions?

    One useful thing I took away from the book was using tapioca starch instead of cornstarch ... I made that switch in my usual frozen custard recipe and have been very pleased.

    1. Good to know! I talked to a friend who has used this cookbook extensively and she didn't mention this, so I'm glad to hear about this. I made a recipe for the lemon frozen yogurt and cut out the cream cheese (just because we didn't have it). It turned out fantastically, just took a little longer to freeze. I'm not a texture snob, so the texture from the cream cheese isn't really something that I'm devoted to.