Cracker Jack Sundaes

Cracker Jack Sundae

Cracker Jack Sundae

I didn’t want my ice cream maker to feel neglected or that I was playing favorites with my ice-pops mold, so I decided to pull out all the stops and really make a fabulous ice cream and then use it to make these beyond fabulous sundaes.

I’ve made quite a few good ice creams in the past, but this one is so different from anything I’ve made before, that I just had to share it with you.   The ice cream is actually popcorn flavored.   The cream mixture is first steeped with popcorn before the base is finished and frozen.  As a result, the ice-cream is infused with popcorn flavor, making this frozen treat a little sweet and a little savory.  When you combine it with a handful of caramel corn and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce it makes a dessert that is both unique and memorable.     If you happen to be a popcorn/caramel corn lover, this could be kind of addictive.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!


Yield:   about 6 servings


For the ice cream:

  • 1  3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • about 5 cups prepared popcorn (1/3 cup unpopped kernels, if you make your own.)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

To serve:


In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream with the milk and 1/2 cup sugar.  Heat over medium heat until warmed and bubbles form around the edges.  Remove from the heat, stir in the prepared popcorn, and cover.   Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.

Return the pan back for the burner over medium heat.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Whisk until smooth.  When the mixture in the pan is warmed through again, slowly pour into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.   Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (170* -175*F on an instant read thermometer).  Pour the custard through a mesh strainer into a storage container.  Stir in the vanilla and salt.  Let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

To Make Sundaes:

Place a scoop of the popcorn ice cream in the bottom of a sundae glass/dish.  Drizzle with some caramel sauce.  Place another scoop of ice cream, and drizzle with more sauce.  Sprinkle on a handful of Cracker Jacks/ caramel corn.   Top with whipped topping as desired.   SIGH!!

Cracker Jack Sundae

Cracker Jack Sundae


SOURCE:  heavily modified from  Almost Bourdain, via Food Network


We All Scream!

A non-dairy ice cream that is rich and creamy.

A non-dairy ice cream that is rich and creamy.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, but not everyone can eat the traditional dairy version of ice cream.

Even though we love the full-fat dairy ice-creams, I have been experimenting with using other non-dairy ingredients to still get a creamy satisfying frozen dessert, with less fat and sugar.    I had not been aware until recently how many products are available and how rich and satisfying a dessert can be when using them.  This recipe today is for a wonderful chocolate hazelnut ice cream using coconut milk.  It also includes cocoa powder and maple syrup as a sweetener.  The hazelnut flavor can be intensified through the addition of about 1/4 cup Hazelnut liqueur, but that is optional.



Yield:   Makes about 4 cups or 1 quart


The main ingredients.

The main ingredients.

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico, optional

To make:   Pour all the above ingredients, except the nuts and Hazelnut liqueur,  into a blender container and process till smooth.  Pour into a covered bowl and chill overnight.

The next day, pour into the canister of an ice-cream maker and process as per directions.  In the last couple of minutes add the nuts and the liqueur, if using.   Alcohol products are added at the end of processing time so they do not interfere with the freezing process.  Freeze in an ice-cream container until firm.



Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

I know that the heat of summer is on its way — although we have been spared thus far–and I am ready for it!.  Summer is a lot more bearable when you know there’s a batch of homemade ice cream in the freezer.  I really love ice cream, and  just about any flavor will satisfy me when I have a craving,  so we only splurge once in a while.


Last summer I treated myself to an ice cream maker, and began to collect recipes for ice cream.  It’s amazing the variety of flavors that people come up with.  One of those flavors is lemon ice cream.  That in itself is not so unusual, but I usually associate lemon with sherbet, not ice cream, so I was very anxious to give it a go.  Also this recipe does not contain eggs, so there is no custard making involved.  What it does contain is a little cream cheese, along with half and half, some whipped cream, and milk, so the finished ice cream has a very smooth and creamy mouth-feel.  Not at all icy.  I particularly love it just as it comes out of the ice cream maker and it’s at the soft-serve stage.  That’s when you put it in a container in the freezer to further harden before eating it.  (If you can wait that long!)


The flavor of this ice cream reminds me of cheesecake which got me to thinking that if I make it again I would increase the amount of cream cheese to further enhance that “cheesy ” flavor.  And I mean that in a good way!!   Really, though,  I don’t think there’s anything you can do that would ruin this ice-cream.  You could increase the cream and decrease the milk, for a richer product;  or to decrease calories and fat, omit the cream and increase the milk.   This is one really “cool” recipe to play around with.


Yield:  Makes a half gallon

This is what you need to make it.

This is what you need to make it.


  • 3 ounces cream cheese (use reduced fat variety if you prefer.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 package lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 4 cups milk  ( 1 quart)
  • yellow food coloring, optional

1.  With electric mixer on medium, combine the cream cheese, sugar and gelatin.  Mix well.

2.  Gradually add in the half and half, lemon juice, zest, and lemon and vanilla extracts.  Beat until smooth.

3.  In another small bowl, whip the cream.  Fold into the lemon mixture.

4.  Add the milk and incorporate evenly into the mixture.  If you are using yellow food coloring, add a few drops, and mix in well.

5.  Transfer to the canister of an ice cream maker and follow maker’s instructions for whipping.

6.  Place ice cream in a freezer container to harder sufficiently before serving.

Please note:  This recipe makes a large quantity (total of about 8 cups ) and in my ice cream maker I could only process half of the mixture at a time.  Since the ice cream canister needed to refreeze between batches, I spread the process over two days, keeping the ice cream mixture cold in the refrigerator over night.  The second batch of it came out as good as the first.

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Cow Cafe

We had just parked the car along the street and were getting out when a woman walking by on the sidewalk said “have the Caramel Nut Pie a-la mode with Udder Pecan ice-cream,  it’s to die for.”  We looked at each other wondering what she was talking about, when we suddenly noticed we were standing in front of a window with a large black and white cow in it. A black and white Holstein awning shaded the window and the sign above the door said COW CAFE.

Holstein Cow in the window of Cow Cafe.

Realizing we were in front if an ice-cream shop, we held a mini-conference, took a vote, and unanimously decided to go inside for some ice cream.  I have to tell you that was one of the best decisions  we have ever made.

The overwhelming variety of flavors of ice-cream was mind-boggling, so I was very glad for the suggestion of the “woman on the street”, otherwise I might still be there trying to decide what to order.  Do you know how it is when you know you will only have one chance at something, and so you want desperately to get it right, and not be disappointed;  that it be the very best choice you could make?  That’s how it was.  So I took the woman’s advice, and ordered the “Caramel Nut Pie a-la Moo, with Udder Pecan Ice-cream.  My daughter ordered the same flavor of pie with Pumpkin Pie ice-cream.   We couldn’t have been more satisfied with our choices; it was indeed “to die for”.  Oh, and to the woman on the street, if you happen to be reading this, “thank-you, m’am”.

The pie was an apple pie with hugh chunks of nuts coated with crunchy caramel coating in a crust so flaky it fell apart on the fork. Caramel syrup was drizzled across the top.  The ice creams, both flavors, were  perfect accompaniments.

Caramel Nut Pie a-la Moo with Udder Pecan Ice-cream.

Caramel Nut Pie a-la Moo with Pumpkin Pie Ice-cream

As I sit here writing about it, my mouth is watering at the rememberance of it.  Reason enough to go back for another visit.   If I lived there I would want to go to this wonderful little spot, as often as possible, so its probably a good thing that I live so far away.

My husband, I don’t know how he can do this, but he ordered his usual  Hot Fudge Sundae with Vanilla Ice-cream.  He’s a “play-it-safe” kind of guy…however, he did request a taste of mine.:)

His Hot Fudge Sundae on the way to being devoured.

Our assessment of this little gem of an ice-cream shop?  It was an “utterly” unique experience.  Nestled in the cow country of New Bern, North Carolina ( or Moo Bern, as they say) Cow Cafe is the only “four-hoof restaurant ” in the world.  You will find it to be  a “mooving” experience.  They also serve sandwiches, wraps, salads and other light lunch items.  In addition, it includes a small gift boutique that features many bovine-inspired gifts.   You need not speak cow-language to enjoy a visit.


THE PLACE:       COW CAFE,  319 Middle Street, New Bern, N.C.

Peach Soda Ice-cream

My very first job as a teenager was in a dairy bar where ice cream in all forms was served along with burgers, hot dogs, fries, and sandwiches.  There I learned how to make sundaes, ice-cream sodas, milkshakes, banana splits, and so much more.  This dairy was very well known throughout the area, and on hot summer evenings and weekends it was packed with customers from morning till evening.  We hustled our butts off, BUT, the payoff was that we could eat our mistakes.  You can be sure we made a few, and funny, it always seemed to happen just before our break or lunch time.  My favorite “mistake” was fresh peach ice-cream with fruit salad topping and lots of whipped cream.   Oh Gosh, my mouth is watering just remembering it.

Well, the point of telling you all of this is to introduce my recipe for  Peach Soda Ice Cream.

Peach Soda Ice Cream

Just a few weeks ago I got an ice cream maker and since then I have made Vanilla, of course,( my husband is a vanilla man);  and strawberry which was very good, and now fresh peach.  Each recipe was a little different in its ingredients.  The unique thing about the peach is that it calls for Peach Soda.

This is a quick and easy version with just 3 ingredients plus the peach soda.  I  did a web search and found some at homer soda .com, and I purchased mine locally at Hosmer Mountain Soda, so if you know of a small specialty soda company somewhere near where you live or can find it on line, you’ll be glad you did–it’s the secret to awesome peach ice cream.


SERVINGS:   Makes about 8 cups


  • 1  14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 or 9 peaches, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 36 ounces peach soda


1.  Puree the sweetened condensed milk, peaches and sugar in a blender until peaches are in very small pieces; transfer to a large bowl and stir in the soda.

2.  Churn in an ice cream maker ( in batches if necessary).  Mine required 2 batches.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.   Oh, YUM!,  cool, creamy, and delicious.

SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine

White Peach Sherbet

White Peach Sherbet

Keeping with the subject of peaches, I decided to give this recipe a try for two reasons:  first, I have a new ice-cream maker and couldn’t wait to give it a whirl, and two, I have an abundance of peaches that are ripening too fast.  So here we go—-Peach Sherbet,  you can’t wish for a better summer dessert, as far as I am concerned.

Even though the recipe calls for white peaches, regular yellow peaches will do fine.  In fact, the peach flavor may even be a little more pronounced.  The amount of sugar required is given as a range, so taste your peaches to determine sweetness and use the amount of sugar that suits you best.  In my sherbet I used 3/4 cup sugar. The idea of putting fresh herbs in the mixture was intriguing to me.  I used basil.  However I did not note any taste of basil in the finished sherbet.  I would suggest that you muddle the herbs with a small amount of the sugar to release some of their oils before adding to the mixture.

You will notice that the recipe lists vodka as an ingredient.  You can omit this if you prefer.  In my version I used my peach liqueur.  The purpose of the alcohol is to keep the sherbet from freezing too solidly.  Lastly, note that  the liquid portion of the recipe is 1 cup of heavy cream, but you can use light cream, half and half, or milk, thereby reducing the fat content and calories.  This recipe leaves room to experiment so play around with it, have fun, and see what you come up with.  I’d love to hear about your ideas!


These pretty peaches are about to lose their skins.

SERVES:   Makes about one quart


  •  2 & 1/2 pounds ripe white peaches, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon  (2-3 Tbs.)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sugar  Adjust according to sweetness of peaches.
  • 2 sprigs herbs such as basil, lavender or mint
  • 1 Tablespoon Vodka or peach liqueur
  • 1 cup heavy cream ( or half and half, light cream or milk)


1.  Coarsely chop peaches,  then mash with a potato masher.

2.  Stir in lemon juice, sugar and herbs.  Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour.

3.  Stir in vodka, then cream.  Discard herbs.

4.  Freeze in an ice cream maker, as manufacturer directs.  Transfer to a chilled container and freeze for about 2 hours or up to 2 weeks.

This was cool, creamy and delicious.

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens, e-mail newsletter

Cobblers, Buckles, Slumps, and Grunts

What do all these words have in common?  They are all desserts made with a fruit base and a biscuit or cake-like topping.  I’m including one of these as my final Desserts for Dudes because my son and all the men I know seem to really like fruit-based desserts, and these names all have a very “manly” sound to them.  Although I had heard of these desserts before -and even eaten some-I was not clear about what their differences are.  So being the curious sort, I looked them up.

The term Cobbler is an old English word which was given to a baked fruit dessert that has dumplings or biscuits placed on top of the warm fruit base and baked in the oven.  As the toppings bake they enlarge and touch each other reminding folks of “cobbled streets”, thus the name cobbler.  A Buckle is made of a cake batter with fruits mixed in it, then oven baked.  It got its name because sometimes the whole thing buckled under the weight of the fruit.   Slumps and Grunts are a variety of cobbler, but cooked on top of the stove, usually in an iron skillet.  They acquired their unusual names because of the sounds they made while cooking.

I’ve made cobblers before using various fruits in season.  They are best served warm with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of heavy cream over the top, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Here then is a recipe for Praline Peach Cobbler.  When I served this still a bit warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, Mr. D. said “MMMMMMMM, Wow!”


Serves 12


  • 1 1/2  cups plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches
  • 2 cups self-rising flour***
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

***a substitute for the self-rising flour:  place 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup.  Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup.  Then add an additional cup of all-purpose flour.


In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.  Stir in water until smooth.  Add peaches.  Bring to a boil over medium heat;  cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish;  set aside.

In a bowl, combine the flour and remaining sugar; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk and stir just until moistened.  If needed, add additional buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clings together.  Turn out onto a floured surface; knead gently for 6-8 times.  Roll into a 12-inch x 8-inch rectangle.

Combine the butter, brown sugar and pecans;  spread over the dough to within 1/2 inch of edges.  Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side.  Cut into 12  1-inch pieces.  Place over peach mixture, cut side up.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.


Note:  all ingredients may be easily cut in half  to make a smaller size dessert.  Use a 9″ round pan, or an 8″ or 9″ square pan.  As pictured here, I made a half recipe for my husband and me and it easily made 6 servings.

SOURCE:   The Taste of Home Baking Book

Margarita(ville) Ice-cream Sandwiches

I found this recipe in a magazine last summer and I tucked it away in a “To Make” folder, not sure of when I would get around to making it.  Turns out this past weekend was just the right time as I made these ice-cream sandwiches for a Father’s Day family get-together.  They were a big hit with everyone.  This is definitely a Dessert for Dudes as the lime zest and coarse sea salt mimic the flavors of a margarita in this cool, refreshing, summertime dessert that kids and adults will love.


SERVES about 16


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 teaspoons grated lime rind, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon reg. salt
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups vanilla, reduced fat ice-cream, softened
  • 2 cups lime sherbet, softened


Place butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, 1 Tablespoon lime rind, and lime juice; beat another 2 minutes or until well combined.

Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon table salt;  stir with a whisk.  Add to butter mixture, and beat just until combined.

Divide dough into 2 equal portions.  Shape each into a 6-inch log.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap;  chill 3 hours or until firm.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Cut each log into 16 slices, ( about 1/3 inch thick), and place on prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle evenly with a mixture of remaining lime rind, turbinado sugar, and sea salt.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool for 2 minutes on pans.  Remove from baking sheets , and cool completely on wire racks.

Place vanilla ice cream and sherbet in a medium bowl;  lightly fold and swirl together.  Return mixture to the freezer to firm up before putting the cookies together.  Use a cookie scoop to place ice-cream mixture onto bottom of one cookie, and top with another cookie.  Squeeze gently to spread ice-cream mixture to the edges.   Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap;  freeze 4 hours or until firm.

SOURCE:  slightly adapted from Cooking Light