Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Autumn in Los Angeles

Autumn in Los Angeles is unlike autumn anywhere else. Some days it’s cold and pouring rain and my hair is out of control; other days, like today, it’s hot, dry and windy and my hair lies cooperatively against my head like a normal person’s. On the cold days I am sure my ice cream maker won’t make an appearance until well after Christmas. Then Mother Nature chuckles and bestows us with an 80-degree day. I know this is her way of telling me to make some ice cream.

It’s fitting that we’re having summer weather today, because the World Series starts in San Francisco tonight, and no matter how cold it gets during the Fall Classic, the World Series will always be a summer thing to me. I know, it’s called the Fall Classic and it’s actually played in the fall, but the whole thing starts in the summer, right? My beloved Yankees were dismissed by the Texas Rangers, so I will be rooting for the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are my second-favorite team, so unless they were playing against the Yankees, I’d be rooting for them anyway.

Whether you’re in the middle of a twister in the Midwest or in New York, where my sister, Wendy, tells me it’s raining again, you can bust out your ice cream maker and do some damage.  If you are in the middle of a twister, though, please wait until you’re out of imminent danger and your power’s restored before starting the ice cream. Yeah, I probably didn’t need to tell you that.

Toasted Almond Ice Cream
Makes a little more than a pint

When I was a kid and the ice cream man would cruise around my neighborhood in New York, I would go absolutely berserk. I loved the ice cream man more than Santa Claus because the ice cream man would always have Good Humor Toasted Almond bars. This ice cream reminds me of those hot, humid summer evenings when my pals and I would play an intense game of baseball after dinner and completely abandon the game no matter who was winning as soon as we heard the ice cream man’s bell. So, be prepared: Making this ice cream could cause people to spaz out completely.

1¼ cups reduced fat (2%) milk
Scant ⅔ cup sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous pinch of sea salt
½ cup raw almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Combine milk and sugar into large mixing bowl. Use hand mixer on low speed for 2 minutes or use whisk to dissolve sugar. Whisking takes more like 3-4 minutes for sugar to dissolve.
2. Mix in heavy cream and almond and vanilla extracts.
3. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions specific to your machine to thicken the ice cream. (Mine takes about 23 minutes.) Add sea salt to the ice cream right after you pour it into the ice cream maker.
4. Five minutes before the ice cream has reached desired thickness, pour in the chopped almonds. Let it work its magic, then transfer ice cream to a container and freeze for an hour or two. If the ice cream gets too hard, take it out of the freezer and let it soften for 10 minutes before serving.


  1. That's why I moved to Colorado -- zero humidity, perfect hair days, every day!

    The kids (boys) on our block TERRORIZED our poor ice cream man, Howie. I still remember his name; man, it was brutal. One kid would distract him with a dollar (big bucks) while two more would climb in the driver's side window and rob him blind. My sister and I would watch with pique and pity -- two little girls who just wanted their orange sherbet Push Ups.

  2. C, this made me shoot coffee out of my nose! Thanks for making my morning. When I was older and we moved to Dutchess County, the ice cream man experience was more like yours. I also dug the orange sherbet Push Ups--and the Cherry Bombs.

  3. This sounds absolutely divine. I will have to try it using coconut milk. You temptress, you.

  4. Karri, coconut milk sounds delicious. Let me know how that turns out!