Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review: Spice Dreams

Summary: In Spice Dreams, Sara Engram and Katie Luber are back to transform desserts the same way they revolutionized spice cabinets with their two unique lines of organic spices: tsp spices and Smart Spice. In their previous cookbook, The Spice Kitchen, they gave us new ways to enhance everyday family meals with herbs and spices. Now they're spicing up everyone's favorite treat.

Discover how you can incorporate fresh and dried herbs and spices into your homemade frozen desserts with more than 50 recipes for ice creams, sorbets, sundaes, ice-cream sandwiches, and other frozen treats. Honey-Mint Ice Cream with Thyme and Basil, Chile-Orange-Chocolate Sorbet, Cardamom Snickerdoodle Cookie Ice-Cream Sandwiches, and Caramel Apple Sundaes are just a taste of the deliciously decadent desserts you'll find in this unique ice-cream book.

Beautifully designed and complete with full-color photography of these delightful desserts, Spice Dreams is a satisfying and wonderfully cool addition to the cookbook library for fans of ice cream, fans of spices, and food lovers everywhere. -- McMeel

SPICE DREAMS: FLAVORED ICE CREAMS AND OTHER FROZEN TREATS by Sara Engram and Katie Luber with Nancy Meadows and Kimberly Toqe is truly a one-of-a kind cookbook! Not only is it positively adorable with the pink cover and upside-down ice cream cone, but it really has some wonderful recipes. I think ice cream lovers will just "eat up" this cookbook (pardon the pun!)

I consider myself to be a lover of all things ice cream-related. And I especially love homemade ice cream. I admit that I could eat a bowl (or a vat as my husband lovingly calls it) of ice cream every day if I didn't have to worry about gaining weight. But alas, that is not possible if I want to fit into my clothes. While I've tried many different kinds of ice cream in my life, I must say that I've never tried ice creams that include spices!

SPICE DREAMS is chock full of frozen dessert recipes that are unique to say the least. Many of the recipes are actually kind of exotic (or at least exotic in my opinion); however, I have to say that almost all of them appealed to me! And even the ones that didn't jump right out to me did pique my curiosity. The authors of SPICE DREAMS have their own line of organic spices and seem to really know how to use spices in their cooking (or in this case, ice cream.) In SPICE DREAMS, they have actually incorporated a wide variety of spices into their ice cream recipes including some unusual ones like cardamom, cloves, turmeric, basil, anise, and cayenne.

SPICE DREAMS is broken down into chapters according to various types of frozen treats. There are chapters for "Ice Creams," "Sorbets and Frozen Yogurts," "Sandwiches, Sundaes and Such," and "Syrups, Sauces, Toppings and Other Goodies." My favorite chapter was, of course, the ice cream one; however, I also liked the topping chapter because there were so unusual and easy ways to "spice up" normal ice cream. There were also many important tips in this cookbook too!

There were loads of recipes that I wanted to try (and still do want to try), but I started with the first one in the cookbook -- Quick and Simple Spice Cream. It was so easy that I really don't consider it following a recipe, but I thought it sounded good. The recipes calls for you to take a pint of your favorite ice cream and add a teaspoon of your favorite spice. Some of their suggestions were vanilla and cardamom, chocolate and cloves, or strawberry and allspice. Since cinnamon is my favorite spice, I just added a little of that to some softened vanilla ice cream. It was delicious and much better than the store-bought cinnamon ice cream that I've tried in the past.

The second recipe that I wanted to try was for Chocolate-Chocolate Chip-Coconut Sorbet -- yum! While I am a huge fan of anything with chocolate and coconut, the real appeal of this recipe is that I can make it for Booking Son (even with all of his allergies.) Since he is allergic to dairy, it's not always easy for him when the rest of the family eats ice cream. This recipe starts with sugar, water, salt and cinnamon. Once you cook those ingredients together, you add the mixture to a bowl that contains coconut milk, mini chocolate chips, coconut and vanilla. It was extremely easy to make, but I did have some problems getting the sorbet to firm up in my ice cream maker. I know it was the fault of the ice cream maker (and/or the user) so I just put the mixture back in the freezer. I have to say that it tasted absolutely amazing!

Here's a recipe for Basil Ice Cream that sounds interesting (in a good way) to me!

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the fresh basil, dried, basil, and salt in a medium, heavy saucepan. Scald the milk mixture over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 1 hour.

Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sleeve. Return the milk to a clean, medium, heavy saucepan. Scald the milk once again over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

While the milk is scalding, whisk together the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until the eggs are light and fluffy. Whisking constantly, add a small amount of the hot milk to the egg mixture. Gradually whisk in the remaining hot milk.

Return the custard mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place in a bowl of ice water to quickly cool the custard. Let the custard cool, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

While the custard is cooling, combine the ice cream and the vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir in the custard mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and press the wrap directly onto the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. The custard may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freeze the chilled custard mixture in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours before serving -- From SPICE DREAMS/Andrews McMeel Publishing

If you are a fan of spices or ice cream, then I definitely recommend SPICE DREAMS. It's just an adorable cookbook with some fantastic pictures and yummy recipes!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this cookbook.

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Anonymous said...

Woohoo that basil ice cream sounds delish indeed! Must try it sometime when having dinner guests... it'll probably amaze them! :)

bermudaonion said...

I'm not an ice cream eater, but the rest of my family is. I bet Carl would love this cookbook!

Alee said...

Yum! Thanks for the review!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I don't know if I'd even want to try basil ice cream! Although I remember being skeptical about zucchini cake too and of course loving it once I tried it!

Anonymous said...

I love ice cream. Herb/spice ice cream though, I'm not sure.

Beth F said...

You know me. I think I would go crazy for this. I love herbs and spices and I love ice cream. I would go for an herb/spice flavor over chocolate any time. I have an ice cream maker and just may have to try some of these.

Oh you could match the ice cream to your main dinner flavors. I love this idea. (notice how many times I used the word love?)

Karlie said...

Yum! Two of my favorite things- ice cream and fresh herbs!