Honey Chai Nice Cream

Have you ever watched an episode of “Chopped” and think to yourself, “…damn. How do they come up with some of these creations?”

Well, I’m getting a mini-taste of that this summer, so to speak!

Candace and I have been doing a collaboration called the “YBC Ingredient Challenge!” Or, perhaps the younger generation might understand #SSxYBC better. (Ha!) But here’s the skinny: She wanted me to make three recipe posts for her site over the summer: June, July, & August. She mailed me nine ingredients, and I have to use three ingredients each month for each recipe. BUT! Here is the catch: I have to blindly pick them! I had a friend take out all of the ingredients, put them in a bag, and I videotaped myself blindly picking my first three for June’s recipe.

Luckily, I didn’t pick anything too outrageous on this first go-round: Vega One Vanilla Chai All – In – One Shake Mix, honey, and sea salt.

At the time I developed this recipe, I got a really nice summer cold – UGHHHH – and I was looking for something soothing to eat.

Hence, this nice cream! The flavor is really quite lovely; I had read some reviews of the Vega One mix online that were pretty polarizing, but I happened to love the flavor!

Be sure to check out the full recipe at Yoga By Candace! Be sure to check out her blog at the end of this month for the next recipe, as well! Who knows WHAT I’ll pull out of that bag…

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Honey Chai Nice Cream – for Yoga by Candace

 

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Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

Any true New Yorker eats ice cream year round – have you seen the insane amount of delicious artisanal shops around this city?! – and eating it at home is absolutely no different. In fact, I purposely don’t keep ice cream in my freezer because I know I’ll eat it.

I know, I know. That entire preceding paragraph was entirely nonsensical in a bevy of ways. Let us count them…

There are very few ways I take coffee – I’ve documented them well in my social media accounts – but caffeine and I are not friends. That caffeine buzz gives me the shakes times 1,000! It ain’t a pretty picture. However, at times, we can be cordial.

Every now and then, I do enjoy a dazzling affogato, espresso poured over vanilla ice cream, for the layman. The shock of the hot drink marries well with the smooth, cold, creamy ice cream below it.

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Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

I say, if you’re going to go hard, go all of the way. I’m a seeker of new flavor combinations, and I felt inspired to make this twist on affogato when I laid my eyes upon a bottle of Merquén Infused Maple Syrup from Runamok Maple. Merquén, a smoked chili pepper native to Chile, is delicious in this blend, the smoke hitting your mouth first before the slow heat files in.

This is definitely a nice treat at the end of a long day. Hell, this might even make its way to your holiday dessert table if you’re feeling unique and adventurous!

NOTE: Runamok Maple generously gifted me this bottle for review purposes. Thank you! Please support small business! Please visit their website and check out their amazing line of syrups!

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Smoked Chili Maple Affogato
(Serves 3)

Ingredients:
– 1 pint vanilla ice cream or gelato; you’ll only need 3 scoops!
– 2 ounces hot espresso or dark roast coffee
– 2 teaspoons Merquén-Infused Maple Syrup

Before We Get Started…

– If you can’t get this specific maple syrup, add a small dash of chili powder of choice to 2 teaspoons maple syrup. Taste before adding to espresso!

– Chill serving bowls before adding ice cream, if you prefer! I highly suggest it.

– If you do not prefer to make your own espresso or coffee, do what I did: go to the cafe around the corner and buy one. Ha! Shortcuts are your friend, y’all. (Thank you, Darling Coffee!)

Directions:

1.) Place one scoop of ice cream into three shallow serving bowls.

2.) Make espresso or coffee or buy your own. (Please see Before We Get Started…) Add in maple syrup. Mix thoroughly.

3.) Slowly pour (roughly; eyeball it!) .75 oz of espresso / maple syrup mixture over each scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with a little more of that maple syrup, if preferred! Enjoy immediately!

 

Banana Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream [VEGAN]

So, apparently, it might reach 100 in NYC this weekend.

Until a few years ago, I was this really, in hindsight, stubborn person. I didn’t want to use an A/C for the mere fact that I didn’t want my utilities to skyrocket from June – September. ConEd already has me in enough of a vice grip! Props to my old roommate Emily (my first out of two roommates named Emily!) that sold me her old A/C for $20 about three years ago. If there are two things I love on a hot summer day, it’s that antiquated yet lovely box of coolness, and this ice cream.

Who knew throwing a few old bananas in the freezer and blending them could whip up a dessert so similar to a good soft serve ice cream? I used to roll my eyes at food bloggers gushing love about their “nice cream”. Eh. I’ll give them their due credit. They’re right. It’s fantastic! It’s also incredibly versatile. I felt like going the peanut butter route, and I had no regrets! (Plus, I had to use up the rest of my 1/8th empty jar of The Bee’s Knees, soooo…)

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This is about as simple and guiltless as a good dessert can get. Well, unless you’re allergic to peanuts. Then perhaps you may want to switch to almond butter or consider my Strawberry Granita instead. Haaa. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered! No one wants to use their EpiPen post-dessert.

 

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Banana Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream [VEGAN]
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 2 small frozen bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen
– 1 tablespoon peanut (or other nut) butter, slightly melted

Before We Get Started…

– ALWAYS PEEL YOUR BANANAS BEFORE FREEZING. About nine times out of ten, I forget. My photos are indicative of that.

– Melt your nut butter in the microwave in 15 second spurts to get a smoother, runnier consistency that’s good for swirling.

Directions:

1.) Remove bananas from freezer and add to blender or food processor; blend until smooth.

2.) Pout into bowl and swirl in nut butter. Eat immediately or return to freezer to allow to set. Top with whatever your heart desires! (I love to glob on more peanut butter, myself.)