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Posts Tagged ‘summer desserts’

Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jell-O


Jell-O always seems a bit like magic to me. Add water to the brightly colored, sugary powder and in no time it’s solid and jiggles like a good belly laugh. The problem is, the stuff in the box tastes like congealed, watered-down kool-aid. There is no actual fruit involved, just artificial color and flavor. But, it is so easy and fun to create a fresh fruit version. There really is nothing better (or more summery) than the taste of fresh strawberries. Take those gorgeous berries, puree them and add just enough gelatin to set the fruit in a fancy mold. Knowing how to work with unflavored gelatin properly means you can set a liquid, without having it bounce like a rubber ball. You want to use just enough to keep its shape, but still have a smooth, luscious feel. It’s a fun, all-natural and festive treat for any summer gathering.

Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jell-O Recipe

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Philadelphia: A Dream Destination for Ice Cream Fans

The Franklin Fountain's signature flavor: Franklin Mint Chip, featuring peppermint ice cream swirled with green creme de menthe and shards of dark chocolate from Wilbur Chocolate.

No doubt about it; I’m an ice cream lover. But lately, there’s been two things weighing me down about it — and not just the actual pounds stemming from my five-scoop-a-week summer diet (hey, there’s been a heat wave around here):

1) It is nearly impossible to get a ‘small’ in New York City for under $6.
2) Textures have been disappointing; iciness abounds where creaminess should rule.

So imagine how delighted I was to discover the phenomenal-ness (is that a word? It should be.) of Philadelphia’s ice cream scene. No $6 icy scoops here. Instead, a concentration of impeccable options – even just within downtown — that are lush, dense and under $5 for a single cup.

It makes sense, then, that this weekend Philly hosted its sixth annual Ultimate Philadelphia Ice Cream Festival at Reading Terminal Market. But you don’t need a festival to get your ice cream fix in the City of Brotherly Love. Any time is ideal for a self-led tour — so long as you bring cash (most don’t accept cards) and go before 1:30 p.m. to avoid lines. So where to go? Here’s the scoop:

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Summer’s Hottest Ice Cream Flavors

Coffee and Donuts Sundae: Fresh-Baked Cinnamon Donuts, Coffee Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce.

Summer’s here, and that means indulging in our favorite summer foods: burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, frosty cocktails and — of course — ice cream.

Every year, ice cream store owners across the country predict which flavors will most appeal to customers. As new flavors come on the market, proprietors weigh the pros and cons of swapping in a new option for a low performer from the previous year. This can mean hitting the jackpot with a hot new flavor, or sinking money into a dud that will sit around all season.

Nowhere is ice cream in higher demand than at the beach, including the Jersey Shore, a destination for New Jersey locals and visitors from nearby New York City and Philadelphia. Skipper Dipper has been a local, family-owned ice cream tradition for 35 years, a line of beach-goers often snaking out the door of its Long Beach Island, NJ location.

Store owner Dave Powitz shares the early ice cream trends from this summer.

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Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches

Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

I inherited my banana bread recipe from my future mother-in-law; it’s the only recipe my fiancé claims is worth making. I’ve made a few changes of my own to the recipe over the past few years, and now it’s the only recipe I claim is worth making. My secrets? I roast the bananas to bring out their natural sweetness (no need to let them rot on your counter). Both butter and a splash of oil keep the bread moist for days, and vanilla bean paste adds a certain something extra you can’t quite put your finger on.

Banana bread — especially this banana bread — is delicious all year round, but how ’bout a little summertime makeover? Think grilled banana bread ice cream sandwiches, a fun twist on an old classic! The best part? These are so simple you almost don’t need a recipe. I threw the bread on the grill to add a nice toasty flavor and to help it stand up in the freezer. When it came to choosing ice cream flavors, I got a little crazy. Vanilla made for a classic ice cream sandwich, but my favorite pairing was rich and creamy coconut gelato — such an amazing flavor combination. If you get really adventurous, try using your own homemade ice cream. (I went with banana. Oh my word.) Then the possibilities are truly endless!

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Ask Cooking Channel: Summer Desserts

A Zabaglione with Mixed Berries is a quick, easy summer dessert that will still impress guests.

Did you tune in to our first ever Ask Cooking Channel chat on Facebook last Thursday? We were thrilled by how many great questions on summer desserts came pouring in — so many, in fact, that we didn’t have time to answer them all. In case you missed it, here are some highlights and even answers to a few of the questions we missed.

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches for the Bacon Lover

Ice Cream Sandwich

If making ice cream at home wasn’t a family tradition growing up (like it was for Cooking Channel editor Kirsten Vala), making the good stuff yourself might seem like the tallest of tasks. But like any other goodie we’ve grown accustomed to ordering from over the counter, making the frozen treat at home is far simpler than most are apt to assume.

Well aware of this, Natasha Case from Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches (recently featured on Cooking Channel’s food-truck show Eat St.) took it a step further. Back in the fall of 2008 she began not only making ice cream, but baking cookies out of co-founder Frey Estrellar’s kitchen, too. Three years later, their irresistible ice cream sandwiches can now be found in Los Angeles where it all began, as well as Austin, New York City, and even the Hamptons.

It being National Ice Cream Month and all, we caught up with Natasha, who was kind enough to share two ice cream sandwich tips, and one of Coolhaus’ most popular recipes.

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