Cool treats you can make at home: Andrew Coppolino
From ice pops to affogato, here's some cold treats you can easily make at home
The dog days of summer demand cooling treats — and perhaps some easy and unique ones to make at home.
Here's a sampling of a few.
First, you can find your inner creativity with a few simple ingredients when tossing together a granita: water, sugar, a flavouring such as fruit juice, wine or another alcohol, perhaps coffee, sugar and a touch of salt.
Blend the ingredients together, spread them out on a parchment-covered sheet pan and put in the freezer.
Stir the mixture regularly to break up the mixture and create texture, then several hours later eat it on your back deck and imagine you're strolling a Roman piazza as the evening sun sets.
Amped-up ice pops
In another version of amped-up frozen goodness, Guelph-based culinary professional and cookbook author Charmian Christie says ice pops can be for both adults and kids — with or without alcohol.
While ice cream is stirred and whipped to prevent ice crystals from forming, ice pops are "quiescent" frozen; that is, there is no agitation, so ice crystals purposefully form.
Christie, who published The 3-Ingredient Baking Book last year, says using fresh fruit is a good place to start with ice pops.
"The simplest way is having your fruit, a little bit of sugar to prevent it from forming into a fruit ice cube and some creaminess like half-and-half or non-dairy milk. Puree it in a blender and pour it into ice-pop forms or Dixie cups with a Popsicle stick and freeze it four to six hours," Christie says.
She suggests three cups of fruit to one cup of cream. "You can up the fruit if you find that too creamy."
Remember, too, that icy pops can be made savoury with the use of cucumber, basil or mint.
Add a bit of alcohol, say a quarter of a cup for a large batch, and you can boost the flavour and texture even more, Christie says. "You can jazz up any frozen dessert with some alcohol. Look at something like rum, vodka or a liqueur." Wine probably doesn't have enough alcohol, she says. "It's the alcohol which can provide flavour and a lovely creaminess."
Coffee and ice cream: perfect partners
Another easy-to-make beverage that crosses the line into dessert territory is the affogato. A longtime favourite of mine, it's a cool treat with a touch of warmth that gets transformed into creamy deliciousness when you add a shot of strong espresso to a scoop of ice cream.
Affogato translates to something like "drowning" in Italian: the flavours, however, are not lost at sea when you enjoy this sophisticated but simple European treat — coffee and ice cream are such perfect partners — at a local coffee shop or at home.
If you're game to up your cocktail game, try a Jolly Roger blender-cocktail courtesy of Leah Franks at Grand Surf Lounge.
"Blender drinks are just delicious. In summer, I make them at home all the time," says Franks of the beverage that combines fruit and other ingredients in a few easy steps (see recipe below).
"Remember to use recipes you already know and spice them up with some new summer flavours."
Low lactose lemon-cream ice cream bars
A touch more elaborate but still simple is lemon-cream ice cream bars. Cheryl Haskett of Udderly Ridiculous, based in Bright, about 30 minutes from Waterloo Region, says their goat-milk ice cream can be a great alternative.
"Goat milk is great for people with lactose sensitivities. It has different properties with a structure that makes it easier to digest, as well as less lactose and 89 percent less casein, which really tends to effect people," says Haskett.
She suggests combining a few basic ingredients, either purchased or homemade, to make the no-bake bars.
"Basically, it's three layers. There's a lemon curd layer, there's a base layer of shortbread cookies and the lemon-cream ice cream in the middle," Haskett says.
The recipe is available on their website. It lists eggs, shortbread cookies, melted butter, lemon juice and zest, sugar and partially softened lemon-cream ice cream.
It's a simple snack or dessert that goes together quickly and with little fuss. The only equipment you need is a food processor.
"Put it in the freezer and it should be firm in two to three hours. Cut it into bars and serve," Haskett says.
"It's just a luscious summer-time dessert."
From Leah Franks, Grand Surf Lounge
A few mint leaves
4 ounces lemonade
2 pieces watermelon
1/4 ounce cardamom water ( found at high end grocers and stores like Aryana)
1 1/2 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce Triple Sec
1 cup of ice
Method: Muddle mint in the bottom of a glass. Mix ingredients in a blender until smooth and pour into the glass. Enjoy!