Friday, October 12, 2012

October 12athon: Travel Edition (RWB)

Happy 12th! I'm too tired to write anything exceptionally coherent at the moment, so here's a bunch of pictures with blurbs:

Sunrise/Sunset: 7:42am and 7:11pm in Columbus, GA.

Three Square Runs.

It occurred to me right after I left for my morning run right at 7:42 that I couldn't run 4 miles before 8am. Fortunately, Alabama is only an eight-and-a-half minute jog away, and it's an hour earlier there than it is in Georgia. Crisis averted!

Alabama wins the Fancy Sign contest.

Work-y, work-y!

I used the 'lunch' run to go to my afternoon rehearsal and the 'dinner' run to come back to the hotel between rehearsals. I'm staying a whopping 2 blocks away from the hall, though, so I didn't take a particularly direct route:

Okay, it's definitely past my bedtime now. See you all next month!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream Recipe

This is, I absolutely confess, the gimmickiest recipe ever. Ever.

Yeah, I admit it.

Anyway, so I, like everyone else in the country, love pumpkin spice lattes, and I also like making ice cream. So what better to do than to combine the two? And sure, I could probably find a recipe for pumpkin-spice-latte ice cream on the internet somewhere, but why do that when I could take an actual pumpkin spice latte and turn it into ice cream itself?

Yeah. Gimmicky. I know.

So. Here it is: How to turn your Pumpkin Spice Latte into ice cream.

This recipe assumes you have an ice-cream maker, probably of the frozen-bowl variety, like this one. If not, well, I found mine (Rival, not Cuisinart) for $4 at the local Goodwill, and you can almost always find one for $15-$35 on Craigslist. Or, well, I bet most of us in existence can call up an aunt--yeah, that aunt, the one who owns two Kitchen-Aid mixers--and borrow one. But I digress. Pre-freeze the bowl.

If you already know how to make ice cream, you're welcome to skip to the ingredient list. If not, I've helpfully included pictures. It's a tad complicated for a beginner but not un-doable.


(makes just over a quart)

  • 1 16-oz (Grande) breve pumpkin spice latte (that is, one made with half-and-half instead of milk)
  • 4 egg yolks (save the whites for meringue or throw them out; I don't care)
  • 1/4c white sugar
  • 1/4c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 3/4c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2c pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin-pie filling)
  • 3/4t cinnamon
  • 1/4t ginger
  • 1/8t cloves
  • 1/4c creme fraiche (or sour cream or more heavy whipping cream)
  • 2T coffee liqueur or Kahlua (I used Kahlua)


  • Candy thermometer
  • Hand mixer (or crappy stand mixer; I wouldn't do it with a Kitchen-Aid)
  • Whisk
  • Smallish bowl to go with hand mixer
  • Second bowl, and then a larger one it can nest inside of for an ice bath
  • Ice
  • Strainer
  • Small pot


  • Go to Starbucks, or your coffee joint of choice. I'm recommending Starbucks right now, because if you buy a mocha, you can get any other drink of equal size for free. That means if you buy yourself a 16-oz salted caramel mocha, you can have a pumpkin spice latte for free. Ask them to make the PSL a breve-no-whip, which they will cheerfully do.
  • Go home, and try not to drink the PSL as you do. That's what the salted-caramel mocha is for. About here is a good time to make the ice bath: Put some ice and a little bit of water (about 1/3rd of the bowl) into the larger of the two nesting bowls, and stick the smaller on the top. The smaller bowl should still be able to hold at least a quart of liquid.
  • Stick the candy thermometer in the PSL; if you're fast enough and you had a very eager barista, it might be hot enough to make the next step easy. It should be about 160-165 degrees on the candy thermometer; if it's less than that, pour it into the small pot and heat it up.
  • While it's heating, put the four egg yolks into the smallish bowl that goes with the hand-mixer and beat them for a minute or so at a very low speed. I've got a 3-speed hand mixer and I use the 1st setting; RWB has a 5-speed and uses the 2nd. Then add the white and brown sugar, slowly, and keep beating until you get what Julia Child calls 'light yellow ribbons.' They'll look a tad funny because of the brown sugar, but they should be ribbon-y. Careful for lumps in the brown sugar; you may have to de-pack it first.
  • Slowly--VERY VERY SLOWLY; a few drops at first and then a tad more--use the PSL to temper the eggs. That is, put a tiny, tiny bit in at a time and beat the egg mixture on the same setting as you do it. SLOWLY. This whole process should take at least five minutes or you're doing it too fast. I usually pour my hot-milk/PSL mixture into a measuring cup, and this time I discovered that I got about 14 oz of PSL. It's fine; I'll make it up later.
  • Return the whole mess back to the pot, and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes. DO NOT LET IT GET ABOVE 165 DEGREES ON THE CANDY THERMOMETER. Julia Child will beat you over the head if you do. It should thicken a bit. If you don't notice it doing so, don't worry about it. Also, there may be foam. That means you did a crap job at separating the eggs, and don't worry, I always do. It won't make a damn bit of difference. Ignore it.
  • Strain the contents of the pot (the custard, if you're being pedantic) into the smaller bowl in the ice bath. This will get rid of the cooked-eggy bits that just happen. Deal with it.
  • Add the whipping cream. If your PSL was exactly 16 oz, add 1/2 cup. If yours was a tad less, like mine (see below), add extra cream to make it so you have two and a half cups of half-and-half and cream.
  • Add the spices. If your cinnamon sucks as much as mine does, you may need to add a tad more. It might be a smidge overwhelming. That's fine; freezing will mute the flavors a bit. You will probably also need the whisk to get the spices in. That's fine, too.
  • Once the ice bath has done its thing and gotten the stuff in the bowl to room temperature or cooler, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge, or, if you're impatient like me, into the freezer. It'll take about six hours in the fridge or one in the freezer.
  • If you put it in the freezer, I have a few suggestions as to what to do with the hour you have:
    • Go for a run. This is ostensibly a running blog.
    • Watch an episode of Castle and then pace for the other 17 minutes.
    • Clean frantically for 30 minutes, realizing that your sister-in-law will be in town in 2 days, and then watch 3/4ths of an episode of Castle for the remaining 30 minutes, having de-cluttered three rooms and a hallway.
    • While watching Castle, start writing a blog entry about making gimmicky ice cream.
    • Pet a cat.
    • Frantically check the Minnesota Board of Legal Examiners website to see if they've decided to tell you if you've passed the bar or not early NO, DON'T DO THAT.
    • Wash the epic number of dishes you've created.
    • Guess which one (or more) of these I did.
  • Take the cold base out of the fridge or freezer, and add the creme fraiche (or sour cream, or heavy whipping cream), the pumpkin puree, and the Kahlua/coffee liqueur. This necessitated more whisking for me.
  • Strain the thing again, if you have the patience. Pumpkin is sometimes stringy. I got lazy and didn't do it.
  • Pour it into the ice-cream maker and freeze according to the machine's directions, yada yada. It was done in about 25-30 minutes for me but your mileage will probably vary.
  • You're going to want to eat it right now. You probably shouldn't, because it's the consistency of soft-serve, like all ice cream that comes out of a frozen-bowl maker. Put it in a container or two and put it in the freezer. Torture your spouse, if you have one, by letting him have a taste but not letting him eat the entire thing.

Mine tasted a bit smoky, due to the fact that I used a Starbucks latte; yours will vary if you use someone else's latte, I'd guess, or if you make your own.

Anyway! Enjoy.