Thursday, May 24, 2012

Secret Breakfast

One of Humphry Slocombe's most popular flavors is called "Secret Breakfast" which is the only flavor that is offered daily. It's also been featured a fair amount in the media and could almost be described as their signature flavor. While searching the internet for more information or backstory on the flavor, I did find this video from the cooking channel which features Jake making Secret Breakfast in the back of Humphry Slocombe: LINK

When I visited myself last year, I hadn't yet heard about the flavor, but when the flavor was described to me as "bourbon and cork flake flavored ice cream" I went for it. I'm glad I did because it was incredible and unlike any other ice cream I'd ever had. In many ways this recipe is the reason I bought the Humphry Slocombe cookbook, why I want to make every recipe in the book, and why I started this blog to document. 

Getting started. Yes, that's a bottle of Maker's Mark (I didn't know until later that HS uses Jim Bean) and a box of corn flakes:

I'm not planning on doing this for the rest of my posts (because it would become repetitive fast) but I thought I would do a better job documenting the basic first steps of the HS ice cream making process. Here is the first step. Setting up an ice bath which will eventually be used to rapidly cool our ice cream mixture:

Next the cream, milk, and salt are heated up in a saucepan enough to be hot, but not boiling:

Meanwhile, the egg yolks and sugar are combined into a bowl and whisked:

Into something that sort of resembles deviled egg mix:

Once the cream/milk mixture is warm enough, a little bit is added to the eggs and sugar mixture:

After adding about half of the cream/milk the mixing bowl contents are added back into the saucepan and heated up to the verge of boiling for a few minutes:

Once cooked, the mixture is strained into the ice bath bowl which was set up at the beginning of the process . It's then left to cool for a little bit before being placed in the fridge. Some people say that you can make the ice cream after the base sits in the fridge for only an hour, but I generally keep it stored for about a day in the fridge as I think it allows it to cool down significantly more and allows the flavors to develop.

The next day I set up my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and poured in my base mixture to let spin:

Now, the HS Cookbook states that the Secret Breakfast is one of its softest ice creams due to the alcohol content, so I was a little worried that the mixture wouldn't freeze. To combat that I left it in the mixer an extra 10 min or so to get it a little thicker:

What's the "secret" to the Secret Breakfast? When I searched around for recipes prior to the HS book being released, I saw quite a few that essentially just dumped corn flakes into the ice cream toward the end of the process. The problem with that is the corn flakes would quickly become soggy after sitting in the not 100% frozen ice cream. In order to ensure crispy "corn flakes" HS makes corn flake cookies, which are baked to the edge of burnt. Outside of the ice cream, they essentially taste like sugar cookies with corn flakes:

The cookies are then chopped up:

And then dumped into the mixing, nearly complete, ice cream:

After placing the ice cream back into the fridge for a little bit to solidify a bit more and to reach a more firm consistency, here is the final product:

I need to work on my scooping skills.


Pretty fantastic. The bourbon flavor is stronger than I remember, but is really good when mixed with the v@n*lla flavored ice cream and corn flake cookies. It's a pretty "light" ice cream in my opinion, and tasted really good sitting outside on a warm spring night after dinner. We ended up with way more cookies that we needed for the recipe, so we decided to freeze the extras and have them on hand for when this is make again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Harvey Milk & Honey

Source: Wikipedia

Humphry Slocombe created this ice cream in honor of the first Harvey Milk Day (May 22, 2009) in California. As many now know thanks to the 2009 film staring Sean Penn, Harvey Milk was the first openly gay official to be elected to a public office. This ice cream is still served on Harvey Milk day. 

Harvey Milk and Honey is a milk flavored (Vanilla is a word not spoken in the HS book) ice cream with a healthy dose of honey and graham crackers. The cookbook offers a homemade graham cracker recipe, but I blatantly cheated and bought store made crackers instead. 

Here are the ingredients ready to go:

When making ice cream, the first steps are pretty consistent and don't change much. Essentially, you warm up the cream and milk (and in this case some salt) in a large saucepan. In another bowl, you whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Then while whisking constantly, you ladle a little bit of the warm cream/milk base (about half of it in all) into the sugar/egg mix in order to "temper" the eggs. If you just dumped the eggs into the hot mix the eggs would quickly cook and you would have something closer to scrambled eggs than ice cream. 

After the tempering process you combine back into the saucepan and heat until ~175* for a few minutes over medium-high heat. The Humphry Slocombe book states that you can either tell its done by listening for your spoon scraping along the bottom of the pan, or you can just use a candy thermometer...which I set up below for a more accurate count:

The mixture is then strained into a large bowl set in an ice bath to rapidly cool. At this point, the honey (I used raw honey I had on hand) is mixed in. I placed the mixture into the fridge overnight to settle and cool completely. The next day it came out looking like this:

At this point I have to admit that I actually made this recipe twice. The first time I put the cooled mixture into our kitchen-aid ice cream attachment, which hadn't worked great the last couple times I had tried to use it, and when I mixed in the Harvey Milk and Honey mixture is barely froze and the consistency was horrible. So I decided to invest in a Cuisinart stand-alone ice cream maker (as suggested in the book) specifically for this project. Here is the ice cream maker in action just after the ice cream was loaded in:

After about 15 minutes the mixture started to thicken up:

Once the ice cream has thickened up considerably, chopped graham crackers are mixed in. I then moved the mixture into a Tupperware container and placed in the freezer to firm up a bit.

And here is the final product: 

The Verdict

Pretty fantastic. In my opinion this ice cream is all about the honey, which is really the prevalent flavor and fairly strong. I used a really high quality honey and I'm glad I did as I'm not sure the processed mixture from a bear shaped plastic container would of tasted quite the same. The graham crackers added some nice texture and were a nice addition although next time I think I will try to make them from scratch. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Welcome to Humphry Slocombe at Home

Welcome to Humphry Slocombe at Home.

Last year while visiting San Francisco, and after dinner at the nearby Flour + Water, I made the short half-mile walk down Harrison St. to the famed ice cream shop Humphry Slocombe. Despite it's reputation as a very busy destination, when my wife and I walked in we were the only customers there! The staff was terrific and nice enough to walk us through that day's selection and let us try a few different flavors before I settled on a couple scoops of "Secret Breakfast." What struck me about Humphry Slocombe was just how different it was from any other ice cream I've ever had. No plan vanilla, chocolate, and bright green mint ice cream here. No, take your pick between "Foie Gras" ice cream sandwiches, "Honey Thyme", or "Salt & Pepper." It was fantastic and a trip that I still talk about a year later. 

Just a couple weeks ago I saw that the men behind Humphry Slocombe, Jake Godby and Sean Vahey, were releasing a dedicated cookbook detailing their shops recipes and immediately ordered it on Amazon. The book is fantastic, detailing the shop and the owner's back stories with recipes and inspirations. 

I've made ice cream from scratch a handful of times, and understand basically how to make it. However, I was only able to make basic vanilla and chocolate so many times before the end result wasn't worth all the effort. Since I'm a half-day's flight away from Humphrey Slocombe and was only able to taste a few flavors while there in person, I thought it would be a fun summer project to cook my way through the book. Summer is only about 25 days here in Minnesota, so I'll have to cook fast.

The "cook the book" blog might be considered cliche now in the blogging world, but I've always enjoyed such blogs as The French Laundry at Home (Link) and Alinea at Home (Link). I plan on following a similar format. I don't intend on writing entire recipes or really even giving the reader exact measurements, just talking the reader through the process and my thoughts on each flavor. 

For the record, here is the LINK to purchase the book from Amazon. It's very inexpensive even new at $13 and well worth the investment.

Next up: Harvey Milk and Honey