Daily Archives: May 10, 2008

Oatmeal Brittle in Brown Sugar Ice Cream

I’ve had a few requests for an oatmeal cookie dough ice cream and since I love oatmeal in all forms, I was only too happy to comply. I noticed a recipe for Oatmeal Praline as I was flipping through David Lebovitz’s gorgeous book, The Perfect Scoop. Oatmeal Praline is such a good idea, bringing out the best parts of an oatmeal cookie without any flour or egg or whatever to detract from the caramelized oatmeal crunch. But I know my ice cream audience, and I know they’d prefer something with a slightly lighter crunch (so it can be eaten alone) and maybe some cinnamon tossed in, too.

So I turned back a few pages to study the Peanut Brittle recipe and altered the Oatmeal Praline accordingly. A little baking soda to make the caramel base bubbly, maple syrup and fresh-ground cinnamon for that cookie flavor. Once the brittle was cooled, I crumbled it into a batch of brown sugar and cinnamon ice cream. The official taste test is this afternoon, but I should mention that I had an un-official test of the oatmeal brittle both on its own and in the ice cream. I wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity of the judging, but I have to say, confidentially, It’s good.

Oatmeal Brittle (adapted from The Perfect Scoop)

  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Toast the oats in the oven about 10 minutes at 350, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, set aside.

Put the sugar, water, and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan. Measure the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a small bowl and keep nearby. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer the oats to a bowl, keep these at hand, too.

Cook the sugar over medium heat until the sugar melts, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula to break up lumps. The edges will darken first, so swirl the pan to prevent burning. if the edges start coloring before the rest of the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to low and stir until the syrup is clear and all the lumps are broken up. Then turn the heat back up to medium. Very quickly the whole batch of caramel will turn dark amber and smell rich and dark. Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda mixture (it will foam), then stir in the oats. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and spread with the spatula. The mixture will thicken and cool rapidly, so if it doesn’t want to pour, use the spatula to press it into a thin layer. When the brittle is completely cool, break it into very small pieces with your hands or crush it with a rolling pin. Reserve about a quarter of the batch for the top of your ice cream, and mix the rest into the ice cream in its last minute of churning.

For the ice cream, I thinned 1c butterscotch pudding with 1c milk, stirred in 1/4c dark brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, and ran the results through my ice cream maker, but you could buy David’s book for countless wonderful ice cream recipes in which to use your oatmeal brittle.

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Filed under Recipe, Sweets

Sesame Rice Balls

Anyone who’s known me long enough to engage in a discussion of favorite foods (on average 10 minutes) has heard me wax evangelical about my favorite dessert: sesame rice balls in warm rice wine soup. They’re a sleek rice skin expertly stretched around a ball of sweet black sesame paste, bobbing with grains of sweet rice in a sweated rice wine broth. To someone who hasn’t grown up with these, a description of the flavors and textures might not make sense. I’ve found it easier to just introduce friends to this dessert in person. The little dumplings are sweet, nutty, liquid, chewy, and earthy; the broth is sweet, sour, floral, fruity. Even people who think they don’t like sesame are pleased to meet them.

There’s a long story about my love for these dumplings: our first meeting, a tragic restaurant closing, loss, despair, rediscovery, redemption, renewal. But really, all that matters is that I know where to get them again after a few frantic months of searching. Now all I want is to introduce as many people as I can to the sesame rice ball experience, if only to have company while I eat mine.

Sesame rice ball in soup (wine flavor)

Shanghai Cafe
100 Mott Street (bt Canal and Hester, New York NY 10013, (212)966-3988

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Filed under review, Sweets, Things I Did Not Cook