Jeni’s Spinalong #4 – Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy

halloween ice cream - wee eats

With the extension and expansion of our Jeni’s Spinalong project we’ve gone monthly! This gives us a much better grasp of being able to have a “month-centric” theme. For me, October is a lot of things. It is colorful fall leaves, brisk cool air (well, it used to be at least). Since October in Phoenix is apparently a high of 106 today, it’s hard to get into those “cool fall flavors” so I stuck with something that can be “October-y” wherever you are in the country – HALLOWEEN!

Meanwhile, Shannon over at A Periodic Table made a super alluring PB+J Sandwich with Milk Ice Cream Terrine because she wants me to die from excitement.

I didn’t go crazy and dye my ice cream orange, and I didn’t #PSL the place up, instead I took a bunch of Halloween candy, chopped it up, and threw it into some ice cream. Because who doesn’t find themselves with a pile of extra Halloween candy at the end of October?

I was going to spin these chopped up candies into the standard sweet cream base, but I’ve already used that base so many times before that I felt like I was cheating you guys out of a real new recipe. Instead, I decided to be daring and make the base out of one of Jeni’s custards. That means separating whites from yolks. That means tempering eggs. That means… being a little bit scared because there is a little bit more room for error than with her standard egg-free bases. BUT, fear not, because if I can do it then you can certainly do it too.

Additionally, Jeni’s “Salty Vanilla Custard” recipe offered the perfect amount of salt to balance and complement all the sweetness from the Halloween candy we were throwing in. I suspect that a ribbon of salty caramel sauce would also be great here, maybe even a ribbon of fudge, too, to keep that whole salty-sweet thing going on. But the ice cream is great without them, too. I know because that’s exactly how I ate it.

Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy


  • 2 ¾ cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 ounces (more or less) chopped up Halloween candy


    Make the base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the egg yolks and cornstarch; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the softened cream cheese, salt, and vanilla together until relatively smooth.
  3. In a large (4 quart) saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Whisk to combine and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, boiling for 4 minutes.
  5. Slowly stream 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs by pouring it onto the side of the egg bowl and letting it stream in, whisking vigorously the entire time. Repeat this process 1/4 cup at a time until you have mixed about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks.
  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula.
  7. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and strain through a sieve into the cream cheese bowl. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice water. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
  9. Once chilled, you can spin immediately or remove the bag from the ice water bath, dry it off, and throw it in the fridge until you're ready to spin your ice cream.
  10. Spin the ice cream
  11. When ready to spin the ice cream, pour the base into your ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer's directions.
  12. While the ice cream is spinning, chop your Halloween candy to the desired size. Note that the smaller you chop it, the easier it will be to scoop (but larger chunks are more recognizable).
  13. Add the candy chunks in the last 30 seconds of spinning.
  14. Transfer the ice cream to a container (a large Ziploc storage container works here) and freeze at least 4 hours until firm.

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]


Jeni’s Spinalong #3 – S’mores Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallow and Fudge Ripple

smores ice cream 1011

With the third installment of our Jeni’s Spinalong Series, Mrs. Table and I chose a nice, broad theme. Our original plan was a “back to school” theme, during which we discovered that we were creating quite literally the same. exact. ice cream. So, we decided to think bigger and broader with this month’s theme and went for a simple: “Welcome to Fall” theme, or -more accurately – our feels about fall. The recipe requirement? Gravel.

Everyone has their own ideas about fall and what it should entail. No doubt many of you equate the autumn season with pumpkin spice lattes and changing leaves. Shannon thinks about fall harvests and late summer bounties – she, being ever the adventurous one, churned out some crazy good buttermilk sage ice cream with toasted cumin honey and cornbread gravel. Like a delightful marriage of sweet and savory enveloped in creamy, tangy ice cream with crunchy cornbread gravel, it’s the kind of ice cream I can imagine seeing on the menu of my favorite fancy-pants restaurant.

But for me, autumn always evokes memories of backyard bonfires and pullover sweaters. The smell of burning leaves in my hair and the crisp, cool air, burning roasting marshmallows alongside friends and family and squishing them between two crisp grahams. So, for my ice cream, I took this warm, gooey treat and turned it into a firm, cool ice cream. Which is an especially good thing for me since we are still enduring triple digit heat here in Arizona and if I want to feel like I’m standing nearby (or inside of) a bonfire all I need to is take a few steps outside. Now I can finally enjoy my favorite fall treat without any of that ruthless desert heat.

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Serve it in a waffle cone, or as a sundae topped with a freshly-toasted marshmallow, or even turn it into ice cream sandwiches by pressing the ice cream comfortably  between to graham crackers (a quick dip into some melted chocolate doesn’t hurt, either).

Along with the unveiling of our third Jeni’s Spinalong is an announcement. When you take an over-achiever like Shannon and combine her with an indecisive person like myself what you end up with is a recipe list a million miles long and only 4 installments to shove them into. So, without further adieu, we announce that we will finish out 2015 with MONTHLY installments of the Jeni’s Spinalong series! Aren’t you thrilled?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go buy some stretchy pants.

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S’mores Ice Cream


    For the ice cream base:
  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped graham crackers
  • Mix-ins
  • 2 to 3 cups marshmallows, toasted
  • Salty Graham gravel (recipe below)
  • Chocolate shell (recipe below), syrup , or fudge sauce
  • Chocolate shell:
  • 12 ounces chocolate of your choice, chopped (Hershey's for authentic "S'more" flavor!)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Salty graham gravel:
  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers (about 13 crackers)
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fine seasalt
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted


    For the ice cream base:
  1. In a small bowl or ramekin, whisk 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the softened cream cheese with the salt until smooth.
  3. Fill a large bowl with ice water, set aside.
  4. In a large 4-quart saucepan, mix together the remaining mil, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring o a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch-milk slurry.
  6. Return the pan to the heat and return to a boil, stirring with a spatula, for about 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Be careful, it might try to boil over
  7. Carefully whisk a bit of the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining hot milk mixture and graham crackers and stir to combine Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes while the graham crackers dissolve.
  8. Working in batches, pour the ice cream through a sieve, pressing the graham crackers through with a spatula. Continue until all of the liquid has been pressed through the sieve. Transfer to a gallon-size Ziploc bag and close the bag.
  9. Submerge the bag in the ice water until cold, about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you may spin the ice cream, or dry off the bag with a towel and store it in the fridge until you are ready to spin (u to 1 day).
  10. For the gravel:
  11. Preheat oven to 275F.
  12. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  13. Combine everything except the butter in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  14. dd the melted butter and stir until large clumps have formed and the mixture resembled wet sand, ensuring all of the mixture is moistened.
  15. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and spread evenly.
  16. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the pan from the oven. Toss the crumbs with a spatula to break them into smaller pieces and return the sheet to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the gravel is golden brown.
  17. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  18. Make the magic shell
  19. Combine dark or white chocolate and coconut oil in a medium metal bowl; set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is almost melted.
  20. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted and smooth.
  21. **Or you can melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, but be very careful not to burn it!**Also, you can buy magic shell at the store because I mean, come on, you're already making everything else.
  22. Let cool slightly (if it’s too hot, it’ll melt your ice cream), 10–15 minutes.
  23. Toast the marshmallows
  24. Line a baking sheet with parchment and preheat your oven's broiler to high.
  25. Place marshmallows in one layer on the parchment and broil just a briefly until toasted.
  26. Set marshmallows aside to cool slightly.
  28. When ready, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream machine and spin according to manufacturer's directions. Once it reaches something akin to soft serve, you're ready to package it.
  29. **HERE YOU HAVE A CHOICE** I layered my chocolate shell, but it will be much easier to scoop if you drizzle it in during the last few seconds of spinning (you don't have to use all of it). This breaks it up into tiny flecks of ice cream that melt as soon as they hit your tongue. If you're using fudge or a liquid sauce, DO NOT mix it in, or it will just mix into your ice cream and not be swirled. Now, let's move on to packaging...
  30. Pour a bit of ice cream into your container (mine filled about 4 to 5 cups of space, so I used two containers). Top with a layer of graham gravel and some toasty marshmallows. Drizzle with your magic shell (unless you mixed that in at the last minute of spinning, in which case, good for you!)
  31. Add another layer of ice cream, gravel, mallows, and chocolate and end with a final layer of ice cream.
  32. Press a piece of parchment against the top of the ice cream and close with a tightly-fitting lid. Place in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours to firm up. Once firm, you can have more fun!


Want s'more cones? Pour a tablespoon or two of magic shell into the bottom of a sugar cone and swirl around to coat the inside of the shell. Place the cone upside down over parchment-lined baking sheet until the shell hardens. Then stuff some toasted marshmallows, graham gravel, and ice cream into the cone. Top with a scoop of ice cream and Macgyver a way to keep this contraption upright in your freezer (my contraption is a mix of foil and plastic wrap stretched tightly over a tupperware container. I poke holes in the foil and shove the ice cream cone in. It's not pretty but it sort of works. I have a bottom-style freezer so I usually forget to be gentle when closing and end up with ice cream smeared on the wall of my freezer anyway (oops?). ANYWAY, after about an hour in the freezer, remove the ice cream cones from the freezer and dip them into the chocolate shell mixture - two coatings is ideal. Sprinkle with some gravel and return the cone to your Macgyvered contraption for another hour or so.

Want a s'more ice cream sandwich? Smear bottom of your grahams with some chocolate shell (or don't!) and set aside to harden. Press some toasted marshmallow on the graham (or not, it's in the ice cream too, remember!) and add a scoop of slightly-softened ice cream. (If this is your main goal, maybe freeze the ice cream on a saran-lined baking sheet instead, and then you can cut it into squares? I've never tried it but it seems like it should work). Anyway, from here you want to gently press the second graham on top and quickly wrap it tightly in saran wrap, pressing again to try to form some good angles at the edges. Place back into the freezer for another hour or so, then remove for an optional dip into some magic shell. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (that will fit into your freezer) and return to the freezer another hour. Remove and wrap in plastic wrap and/or foil for storage. I recommend freezing them overnight before eating.

[ ice cream base & gravel adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

[ chocolate shell from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ Check out Shannon’s recipe here! ]

jeni’s mochi cake

When I first saw the recipe for Jeni’s mochi cake in her newest book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, I was instantly intrigued. Jeni chose this cake for her ice cream recipes because instead of hardening, the cake stays soft and chewy when frozen. At room temperature, the cake is springy, spongy, and delightfully chewy. Like the Japanese mochi, but in pound cake form.

You may recommend mochi from the toppings bar of your local frozen yogurt shop, or perhaps you’ve seen these glutinous chewy rice balls filled with ice cream at your favorite asian restaurant or grocer (Trader Joes even carries some that you can take home to try!). The rice flour keeps the center of this cake light and chewy while the sugar provides a gorgeous golden brown exterior, and the coconut and evaporated milks give the cake a wonderfully sweet, milky, almost tropical flavor.


If you have never had mochi, you may be a bit scared when you cut into this cake. It’s a bit on the “springy” side, in that you can even pull at it a little bit and it will happily spring back to its original shape. I mean, it’s nothing crazy but it’s fun to play with and see that tiny tug will serve to stretch the cake rather than break it into pieces. It definitely serves to show this cake’s appeal as an ice cream mix-in.

So whether you plan to cut this into cubes and throw it into some ice cream (I would recommend subbing it for the shortcake in this recipe) or simply topping it with a scoop of your favorite store-bought ice cream, it’s a great way to switch up your typical ice cream routine. Jeni uses it to make mochi cake croutons and even toasts it on the grill (which is what I also did, coming up in the next recipe!).


jeni’s mochi cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 9-by-5 inch loaf cake


  • 2 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment. (Parchment optional, but recommended).
  2. Sift together the rice flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredient.
  4. Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture into the well.
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until fully combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.


To make Jeni's mochi cake croutons: Cut mochi cake into 1 inch cubes. Melt 1 tablespoon unslated butter in a large saute pan and add the cubes. Allow the cubes to cook undisturbed until they are golden brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat on each side until all sides are browned. Serve along with fruit as an ice cream topping.

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]


jeni’s spinalong #2 – watermelon lemonade pops

watermelon popsicle 0747

I can’t believe it’s already been three months since our last Jeni’s Spinalong post. For this spinalong, we decided to go with the a “summer” theme, as it is rapidly approaching. We played it fast and loose with the base recipe, having only one requirement: that the base involve fruit of some kind.

As I was flipping through my Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams book for inspiration, I wanted something light, refreshing, and summery. One recipe in particular jumped out at me: Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet. It was like taking everything I love about summer and spinning it into a delicious dessert. What more could a girl ask for?

Shannon chose their Riesling-Pear sorbet and kicked it up several notches, turning it into grilled cantaloupe sorbet. She freaking grilled ice cream, people! That girls is a food wizard, people, I swear.

I immediately had visions of summer cookouts and pool parties, ice cold melon, refreshing lemonade, grillled things, and summer sun… I honestly couldn’t think of better recipes to welcome summer with. Since this watermelon-lemonade recipe was perfect as-is, I resisted my usual urge to tinker and made only one single slight modification: I made them portable. Because summer just screams “popsicles” doesn’t it?

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Some popsicle-making tips:

1. Don’t fill it all the way. Remember that water expands when it freezes, so leave about 1/4 inch or so at the top of your mold.

2. A lot of people will tell you to partially freeze your popsicles before adding the sticks, this has to do with them moving around when it begins the freezing process. While probably helpful, it’s not something I bother with because I’m the type of person who will forget to add the stick and end up with popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cubes instead.

3. Try to make sure the popsicles are level when they are freezing, or you may end up with lopsided pops. Still edible, but not as pretty.

4. To help ease the release of the popsicle from its mold, wrap a damp, warm cloth around the popsicle you would like to remove. After about 30 to 40 seconds, gently start to wiggle the popsicle stick to free the popsicle from its mold. Don’t be too aggressive or you might pull the stick out and end up with… a popsicle-shaped sorbet ice cube.

5. If you aren’t sure which mold to use, I have this one and have no complaints. They’re all about the same, what it mostly comes down to is what you want the shape of your final product to be.

watermelon lemonade pops


  • 2 1/2 cups watermelon puree - from 1 (3-lb) watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - from 2 to 3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup


  1. Puree watermelon (without the rind) and measure out 2 1/2 cups of puree. Pour puree into a a medium bowl. If you have extra puree, you could make some margaritas
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  3. Heat lemon juice, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Whisk the lemon mixture into the pureed watermelon and pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag. Close the bag and put into the ice water bath until chilled. Let chill at least 30 minutes.*
  5. Pour sorbet into your ice cream canister and spin according to manufacturer's directions until the sorbet reaches the texture of softly-whipped cream.
  6. Spoon sorbet into popsicle molds**, insert popsicle sticks, and place into the coldest part of your freezer. Freeze for 8 hours, or overnight.
  7. To release popsicles from the mold, wrap a damp, warm dish towel around the popsicle you would like to release. After about 30 seconds or so, begin to gently wiggle the popsicle until it releases from its mold. See notes below if you don't plan to enjoy your popsicles immediately.


* If you're not going to spin the sorbet immediately, dry off the bag and place it in your refrigerator until you're ready to spin your sorbet.

** This recipe filled my popsicle mold and still had about 1/4 to 1/2 cup leftover, which I froze separately just as regular sorbet.

*** If you aren't going to enjoy the popsicles right away, after releasing the popsicle from its mold immediately wrap it in plastic wrap and place into a gallon-sized freezer bag and return to the freezer. Repeat with other popsicles, wrapping individually in plastic wrap and adding them to the gallon-sized freezer bag for storage.

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ View Shannon’s Grilled Cantaloupe Sorbet here ]

thursday things

Hope everyone had a great holiday – it was rainy here in Phoenix. Hilarious that the one time it decides to rain in the past month or so was on the 4th of July.

My lemon tree definitely enjoyed the cooler weather (even if it was just for a day) and the humidity…. Unfortunately I’ve already killed all my baby lemons so it’s too little too late for that front.  Another score for my “black thumb”, reaffirming that this someecard was basically made for me:

I attempted to make “Red, White, and Blue” cupcakes for Independence Day, but I ended up hating the vanilla frosting. Since I was out of powdered sugar, I figured I would frost them with the leftover chocolate frosting and put on holiday sprinkles.

Turns out I didn’t have any red/white/blue sprinkles… I did, however, have dinosaur sprinkles. I ended up with vanilla cupcakes (half of them red) with chocolate frosting and dinosaur sprinkles… How patriotic. :) Sidenote: People are very confused by vanilla cupcakes that are red.

In other news, I finally tracked down the new Girl Scout Crunch Bars. I immediately tore into all three flavors. You know, for science. The verdict? They’re all delicious… Dare I say more delicious than the actual cookies? Big shocker, I know.

Despite Tagalongs being my favorite Girl Scout Cookie, I think Somoas took the gold in candy bar form.

The Tagalong bars were just so close to a Reese’s Sticks that it was almost not worth giving them a different name. But obviously being so widely popular, they had to make them. And since they made them, I had to eat them.

The Thin Mint one was so dark, chocolatey, and crunchy that I almost went weak in the knees. I don’t even care that much about actual Thin Mints, but these… yeah. Worth it.

Being “limited edition” I obviously had to go hoarder-style. Which kinda makes me feel awful about myself with a pantry full of Birthday Cake Oreos and a fridge full of Girl Scout candy bars… but yeah. Whatever. I do what I want. The Hershey’s was on sale 2-for-one… DON’T JUDGE ME!!!

I baked the round 1 recipe of the “Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake” contender, and ….. CAN’T TELL YOU ANYTHING ABOUT IT!

If it wins, you will get the recipe. If not…. Then it’s on to round two! I baked them and took them into work and forced my work people to fill out the survey, then forced my BF to fill out a survey…  I’ll probably submit my official feedback form today. I can provide you with frosting recipe, though. Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting.

Oh! Also, please check Jeni’s product locator as their ice cream just appeared in the grocery store right by my house!!! They even sell some of her ice cream cookies!!! None of the ice cream cookies I wanted, but I was still SO EXCITED!

I stumbled across this s’more-stuffed cookie that put my cookie-stuffed-cookies to shame. Pure shame.

I don’t remember exactly where. I assume it was on Pinterest. There is so much delicious on there… Judging by the fact that there is A S’MORE INSIDE OF THAT COOKIE, I’m guessing that is an actual salad plate. Salad plate sized cookies are always a good thing, right?