Friday, April 10, 2009

O, Happy Day!

It's here! It's here!

I finally broke down and bought a proper ice cream maker. While making it without a machine is easy enough, I was ready to graduate to the next level. After watching prices for an entire year, I snagged this baby for under $40! How great is that?

It took an overnight in the freezer to get the bowl completely frozen, which gave me time to consider what I wanted to make for it's maiden voyage. I wanted to keep it relatively simple, but not too simple. Y'all know what I mean!

I've obviously been thinking a lot lately about other, warmer places I've lived. Before moving back to my hometown in Central New York, I lived and worked in the Atlanta area for five years. Before that, five years in beautiful Key West, Florida. Even after three years here, the long, cold winters still bug me--I'm ready for spring by the end of February. Instead, it's been rainy and snowy. Thankfully, the weather forecast reports temperatures up to the mid-50s (F) today and seemingly above-freezing for the next ten days or so. Dare I hope that spring has finally sprung?

Even so, the furnace still runs overnight. I still need a jacket, socks, closed-toe shoes and often a hat outside of the house. It's getting me down, man! I miss the warm breezes of south Florida, palm trees and spring breakers riding around town beep-beeping on their scooters. I miss the conch fritters from the stand outside the Aquarium, and cafe con leche.

The old-timers in Key West made it best: strong espresso mixed with sweetened condensed milk for a tantalizingly sweet treat. I didn't drink it often, but every once in a while it was just the right accompaniment on a morning stroll.

That very flavor translates perfectly into ice cream: sweet, strong, milky coffee.

Cafe con Leche Ice Cream
makes about 1-1/2 quarts

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
(I used a sugar-free homemade variation; recipe below)

1 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and milk. Heat in 30 second intervals on high power until hot, but not boiling. Stir in instant espresso powder until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for several hours until cold.

Combine espresso mixture with remaining ingredients and process according to your ice cream maker's instructions. I processed for 30 minutes, then transferred to a container and froze overnight for a firm, but not hard, ice cream.

Sugar-Free Sweetened Condensed Milk

1-1/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar substitute

Combine dry milk powder with water and microwave on high power for 45 to 60 seconds. Add sugar replacer and stir vigorously to combine thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks. One recipe equals one can of sweetened condensed milk for recipes. Note: This does not thicken like the regular canned stuff!

Note: The pier photo above is of the White Street pier courtesy of kwbill and used under Creative Commons license.


Mary said...

You are amazing that you found that ice cream maker for $40! I'm stunned. And your ice cream looks really delicious.

Amanda said...! I was pretty stunned to find it at that price, too, Mary! That's why I had to jump on it.

I don't see the $39.99 price anymore--but I do see it at $48.49 right now.

Dragon said...

Congrats on your new toy! I have the same one and it never lets me down. :)

Sam said...

I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with this, I love mine.

Amanda said...

Thank you, Dragon and Sam! I'm practically bursting at the seams to try something else.

Any recommendations for a recipe to try?

SarahKate said...

I am jealous! An ice cream maker is one of those things I've always wanted but never been able to justify to my husband. Perhaps if he knew how little you spent he would change his mind!

Amanda said...

I completely understand, SarahKate. I had to find it at the right price in order to justify it to myself! I'm not a big fan of additional electrical appliances, but this is definitely an exception.

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