Black Peppered Vanilla Ice Cream

Hello from Caroline of Coeur De La!  Ice cream for me is always nostalgic. I think back to warm summer days where I spent hours outside swimming and picnicking with my family, and somehow, ice cream was always involved. I remember days where it was so warm we enjoyed ice cream inside the ice cream shop because if we were to go outside our ice cream would melt, a catastrophic event for a six year old.  The end of April is one of my favorite times as it marks a turn to warmer weather. I always seem to dust off my ice cream maker right around the same time every year. Last summer I put my ice cream maker to use and made batch after batch of ice cream flavors such as blackberry, peppermint, mint chip, dark chocolate caramel with sea salt (my personal favorite), and basil with a blackberry compote. I even made an apricot and coconut milk based ice cream. Whether ice cream is in a cone, served in a teacup, in a mason jar, or a colorful bowl, I like my ice cream homemade. So, I am excited to share with you an ice cream recipe that completely inspired me and it is perfect for April and May.

While paging through Molly Wizenberg’s “A Homemade Life” the latest of numerous times, I realized I had forgotten about her vanilla peppered ice cream. I have always been a fan of classic ice cream flavors but I love classics with a twist. Thus, this recipe was right up my alley and perfect for a spring day. Oddly, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen, brought out my ice cream maker from hiding, and got to work. The ice cream recipe is simple and straightforward. The pepper adds a nice kick to the vanilla ice cream that warms the pallet and will leave you scooping seconds. I used lowfat milk instead of whole milk as that is what I had in the fridge and the ice cream turned out just fine. So, if you have an ice cream maker and it has been collecting dust all winter, bring it out from hibernation and make some ice cream.

 photos © coeur de la
Black Pepper Vanilla Ice Cream
inspired and adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s 'A Homemade Life'

1 cup lowfat milk
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 pinches of salt
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons black finely ground pepper
(I added a bit more as I love pepper)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine your milk, 1 cup of the cream, sugar and salt.  Stir over medium heat being careful not to scorch your mixture. I love using a big wooden spoon for this part.  You want your mixture to be warm and not boil.

2. Separate your egg yolks and in a medium sized bowl whisk together your yolks.  Once your yolks are mixed, you will take the warm milk mixture that has been on the stove and pour half of it into your yolk mixture, tempering the egg yolks so they do not turn cook. No one wants scrambled eggs in their ice cream.  Make sure once you pour to whisk and whisk.  Pour this mixture back into your other half  of the milk mixture that is in the pot. Cook over medium heat being careful not to overcook. You will want to stir the mixture frequently.  Once your mixture can coat the back of your wooden spoon, your custard is done. A tell tale trick that most ice cream recipes call for including jam recipes is that if you can draw a line into the back of your wooden spoon and the mixture separates cleanly, your custard mixture is ready.

3. In another bowl, pour the remaining cup of heavy cream. Pour the mixture through the strainer and into the bowl with the one cup of cream. Whisk and whisk until smooth.  Place bowl into an ice bath and let chill for several hours. I seem to always rush this process as I can’t wait for homemade ice cream. So, initially when my ice cream comes out of my ice cream maker it is a bit soft. But, one night in the freezer and my ice cream hardens and turns out perfectly.

4.Leave your mixture in the ice bath for up to 6-8 hours in your fridge. Again, I let my mixture sit for an hour or two and then pour it directly into my ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions (pour into ice cream maker, it churns on its own etc.) Before the mixture goes into your ice cream maker add your vanilla and pepper. These ingredients are for flavor so it is up to you to decide how much or how little you would like.

5. Churn until ice cream is nice and thick. When ready take a spoon and have a taste or two. Now, because I put my custard in less of an ice bath I scoop out the ready ice cream into a large bowl, cover it in seran wrap twice, and keep in the freezer over night. Your ice cream can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And, if you are anything like me, straight out of your ice cream maker.

Summer Camp Style Wedding Weekend

I love this couple's departure from the traditional rehearsal dinner.  Rachael & Noah decided to host a "color war" competition last summer on the farm where their wedding was to be held. The events of the evening included a three-legged race, tug-o-war, splitting a log, catching a salamander in the pond, transferring water in small cups and even a game of pictionary.  A unique event like this clearly reflects the adventurous spirit of the the couple... what a great way to kick off a wedding weekend!

photos © meredith montague

Published | Littlies Magazine Feature

This post is long overdue (it's always hardest to make time to self promote), but it's an exciting one. Last month my daughter Caitlin's first birthday was published in print by Littlies Magazine of New Zealand.  Her party was given a full length feature which included my graphics & styling along with baked goods from Cakewalk Baking and photography by Sherry Heck.  I loved creating this theme and naturally because it was for my own daughter, it's incredibly special to see in print... it's going straight into the memory box to show her down the road.  If you missed this party on the blog, you can also check it out here, here, here and here.

A Foxy First Birthday

I instantly fell for this fox inspired birthday party, styled by Caroline Armelle for her son's 1st birthday. I had a chance to spend some time with her at Alt. in January and she is as genuine as she is kind. Her modern + whimsical style shines through in all her designs, from her jewelry collection to events like this one, which she was gracious enough to share with us today.  Be sure to check out her blog for details and other great inspiration.

photos © armelle blog

Three Cheesecakes

I've been spending a good deal more time cruising Pinterest since I began taking public transportation to work.  This is both very good for killing time and very bad for my diet.  Inevitably, each time I log in I come face to face with a visual deliciousness I cannot resist... cheesecake anyone?

images + recipes | chocolate beer cheesecake w. pretzel crust via the beeroness \\ raw meyer lemon vanilla bean cheesecake via roost \\ salted caramel vanilla cheesecake via the greedy gourmand

Vintage Meets Modern | Succulent Container Gardening

Hello again from the ladies of Geranium Lake! We're always looking for a way to “up-cycle” something… here we have taken miscellaneous, vintage containers and created mini gardens. Succulents are one of our favorite things to grow because they are so simple, but we also planted some lettuce just to be extra unique.

You can purchase succulents at any nursery and planting them is simple. Here’s a little “succulent 411”: A “Succulent” is actually any plant with thick, fleshy (succulent) water storage organs. Succulents store water in their leaves, their stems or their roots so they are relatively hardy. They love plenty of light, but can survive in colder temperatures too {as low at 40 degrees}. Succulents don’t have deep root systems so they are perfectly suited for petite containers. They will need to be planted fairly shallowly in fast-draining soil that's designed for cacti and succulents. Use this potting soil to fill your container and then dig a shallow hole for your succulent. Voila! You’re done.

During these winter months, when the plants go dormant, you can cut watering back to once every other month to avoid overwatering. In the summer, succulents should be watered generously. The potting mix should be allowed to dry between waterings, but do not underwater. Get creative! Try planting other herbs, lettuce, kales, or flowers in vintage containers.

photos © erica ann photography

CAKE. + Instagram

I haven't had much time for blogging lately, but that doesn't mean I've gone AWOL.  As a perk of the new job, I finally got an iphone, and thus... an instagram account.  I've been documenting my new adventures in San Francisco and would love to have you follow along via twitter.  And by all means, tweet me a note with your handle so I can see what you've been up to as well.

ps. while we're sharing, I've also been enjoying more time to pin during my commute... check out my latest finds!

photos (clockwise): miette \\ britex fabrics\\ louis vuitton\\ rifle paper a la gumps.

Get This | Kids Party Outfits at H&M

Have you heard? H&M just came out with a line of party clothes for kids... a sweet selection of mix + matches for little fairies, princesses, preppies and pirates.

photos via h&m

Bunny Scones for Easter

It’s Michele from Cakewalk Baking and I’m back to share with you one of my favorite Easter traditions – making bunny scones. One of my first college roommates introduced me to the idea (Thanks, Nicole!) and I have been making them ever since. I love having little traditions that my son looks forward to each holiday and this recipe is so simple we can make them together.

I like to serve these cuties with homemade jam and lemon curd and I think I may even attempt making clotted cream this year. It’s best to eat them the day they are baked, but you can reheat them for a few seconds in the microwave (if you have any left over!).

photos © cakewalk baking

Bunny Scones

2” - 3” bunny cookie cutter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cut the butter into ½” and keep in the freezer until needed. Combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter a few pieces at a time and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the egg and cream and pulse just until it comes together.
Transfer on to a floured surface and knead the dough together gently. Pat into a circle 1/2” thick. Dip your cookie cutter flour and cut out bunny shapes. Place them 2” apart on a parchment covered baking sheet. Combine the left over dough and cut out your bunnies (only re-roll the dough once as it will get too tough). Brush the tops of the scones lightly with cream. Bake at 425° for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly browned.