No-Churn Cherry Ice Cream

Cherry Ice Cream

 February: National Cherry Month

There was a little ice cream shop behind the tall fence of our Illinois townhome. We would have to walk down the pathway and around the back of the businesses to get to the ice cream shop. Then we discovered a shortcut when the fence had a few broken planks. It seemed the fence was vandalized or worn from the extreme weather—or a combination of both. On our summer strolls, we would take the shortcut to the ice cream shop before the fence got fixed and were able to get to our destination quicker and enjoy our ice cream. We would order our favorite flavors (chocolate and butter pecan) often but cherry ice cream was a close second! On our way back home, we walked off the weight from our indulgences.

Now we do not have the convenience of walking to an ice cream shop nearby. So we make our own ice cream at home. When cherries are in season, we take advantage of the fresh fruit and prepare it in a no-churn recipe. This cool treat warms our hearts during the month of Valentines and is perfect during National Cherry Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bon Appetit) 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ – 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Wash and dry the cherries. Pit and cut each cherry in half. Place them in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and syrupy (around 8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and cool completely.

cherryicecreamsteps1

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk with the almond extract.

cherryicecreamsteps2

Gently stir in the cooled cherry mixture. Do not over mix; just fold until there is a ripple color effect and the cherries are distributed evenly in the cream. Place the mixture into a loaf pan or freezer safe container. Cover and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for a few minutes and scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Add a cherry on top (optional).

cherryicecreamsteps3

Notes

  • Eat cherry ice cream during the summer when July is also National Ice Cream Month.
  • Search our blog for other ice cream recipes.

 

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

February: Washington’s Birthday/Lincoln’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

The first president of the United States of America is often associated with cherries. George Washington chopping down a cherry tree as a child and admitting the truth that he did it is actually a myth. His name is also linked to the state that is the largest supplier of the fruit in the country. The close dates of the birthdays of Washington (February 22, 1732) and another great and reputably honest president, Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), are observed together annually as Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.

Pretty please, with a cherry on top, celebrate this national holiday with chocolate cherry cola cupcakes. We chose to make this dessert for this blog post because it is both National Cherry Month and National Chocolate Month as well. Two fabulous flavors, two presidential birthdays, one delightful dessert! Indulge!

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

For the chocolate cherry cola cupcakes

  • 2 jars of maraschino cherries (with or without stems)
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 cup cherry cola carbonated beverage
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 eggs

Directions

Drain the cherries, reserving some of the juice for the frosting recipe and also saving around 30 cherries for the topping. Chop the remaining cherries into little pieces and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and moisten with cherry cola.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Add the oil, eggs and ¼ cup cherry juice. Mix well. Fold in the chopped cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Scoop batter no more than 2/3 full into cupcake papers lining a muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 30 cupcakes.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

For the cherry buttercream frosting

  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon cherry flavor/extract
  • 4+ tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (reserved from above)
  • red food coloring (optional)

Directions

Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the cherry extract and mix well.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Tint to the desired shade of pink with a few drops of red food coloring (optional). Thin the frosting to spreadable/piping consistency with the cherry juice. Frost the cupcakes (or use tip 1M and a pastry bag to pipe swirls).

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

For the cherry topping and chocolate ganache drizzles

  • maraschino cherries, dried
  • 4 ounces chocolate (we used one bar of Baker’s brand chocolate)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Wash and dry the remaining 30 maraschino cherries, gently squeezing out the excess juice. Dry on paper towels. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the cream until smooth and well blended.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Allow the ganache to cool and thicken (this may take several minutes, depending on the room temperature; may speed up the process by refrigerating but watch carefully for the consistency). Pour a spoonful of the ganache over the chocolate and allow to drip down the sides. Top with a maraschino cherry.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes 

Notes

  • Many boxed cake mixes used to by 18.25 ounces. Nowadays they are 15.25-16.5 ounces. Add six tablespoons of flour to the cake mix to compensate for the difference.
  • Double the recipe for the frosting and ganache if decorating the cupcakes in a full and fancy style.
  • The reserved maraschino cherry juice could be substituted for the cherry cola, kirsch or water.

 

Cherry Pie Pockets

Cherry Pie Pockets

February 20: National Cherry Pie Day

As a teen (with great metabolism), Highlander would eat Hostess cherry pies during class breaks. Those pocket-sized snacks cost only a quarter back in the 1970s (currently they are about $1.50!). Now in his golden age, Highlander occasionally gets nostalgic for something similar—homemade cherry pie pockets. These cute but caloric confections can be created “as easy as pie” by using a mini lattice pie press from Williams-Sonoma (a $10 toy for Islander), refrigerated pie dough and canned cherry pie filling. Cherry pie pockets are perfect for snacktime and on National Cherry Pie Day.

Hostess Cherry Pie

Recipe

(Inspired by Williams-Sonoma)

Ingredients

  • 1 package refrigerated pie dough, thawed
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water
  • raw or turbinado sugar (we used Sugar in the Raw from Maui)

Directions

Unroll the pie dough on a slightly floured surface. Press out pairs of solid pieces and the lattice tops using the Williams-Sonoma mold. Put the solid side of the dough on the pie press. Place about two heaping tablespoons of the cherry pie filling in the middle of the dough.

Cherry Pie Pockets

Brush the edges with egg wash. Top with the lattice side of the dough. Press the mold down to seal.

Cherry Pie Pockets

Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and cherry pie filling. Freeze all pocket pies for at least half an hour. Remove from the freezer and brush the tops of the lattice with egg wash. Sprinkle sugar on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the filling bubbles slightly and the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the cherry pie pockets cool completely on a wire rack.

Cherry Pie Pockets

Notes

  • If not using the Williams-Sonoma mini lattice pie press, use a large cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough. Pair them up, place filling in the middle, brush the sides and tops with egg wash and seal the edges by pressing down with the tines of a fork. Cut a few slits on the top as vents. Bake as directed above.
  • Do not deep fry the lattice pie pockets. They may be deep fried if both sides of the dough are solid pieces.
  • Re-roll out the pie dough to make more solid pieces and lattice tops.
  • February is also National Cherry Month. Search our blog for more recipes containing cherries.