Category Archives: Ice Cream

Apple Pie Granita – Recipe

This apple pie granita tastes exactly like frozen apple pie, and it’s absolutely delicious. I served it as a palate cleanser for my 2020 Christmas Eve dinner, though it’s probably too sweet for that. It would work just as well as dessert. Everyone enjoyed it nonetheless.

I made it using Martinelli’s apple juice rather than “natural-style apple juice” like the original recipe called for, because that’s what I had at home. If I made it again using regular apple juice, as I did, I’d probably reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup or leave it off altogether.


  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • a dash of allspice


Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Transfer it to an 8″x8″ glass baking dish. Place in the freezer until the sides start to freeze, about 1 to 2 hours. Using a fork, break and mix and put back in the freezer for another 2 hours. Break again with a fork and transfer to small serving glasses. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

Based on Emerile Lagasse’s recipe at Food & Wine magazine.

2020 Christmas Eve Dinner

Marga’s favorite recipesMarga’s Party & Holiday Recipes

Maple Nut Ice Cream – Recipe

I wanted to make ice cream to go with the purported buche de Noel my friend Lola was bringing for Xmas Eve dinner. I wanted something creamy, refreshing, with a light flavor that would go well with the cake regardless of its flavors. I wanted it to be simple, and doable with whatever I had at home. My original plan had been to make this salted caramel ice cream, but I decided at the last moment that it was too complicated, and as I searched for other recipes the idea of making maple ice cream came to mind. I had loved it as a child, when my grandmother used to make it from the tiny bottles of maple extract she’d gotten during her last trip to the United States, before my birth, and for that reason it still holds a warm place in my hand. Plus, it’s very simple to make and I had maple syrup at home.
The following is the recipe I made, from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. It’s a great recipe, the results gave me a smooth, tasty ice cream which I loved (though not as much as granny’s).
Maple Nut Ice Cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Put eggs in a large bowl and whisk them until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar, a little at the time, until completely mixed in. Whisk in the cream and milk. Pour into the ice cream machine and process according to the instructions.
Two minutes before the ice cream is done add the maple syrup and then the walnuts. Finish processing, pour into a freezer safe container and freeze overnight.
Christmas Eve 2010 menu
Marga’s Best Recipes

Knudsen’s Ice Creamery – Castro Valley – Update

I originally tried (and reviewed) Knudsen’s Ice Creamery in 2004, soon after they opened. We went several times after that, but for some reason we hadn’t been back in a couple of years. We finally went yesterday (9/5/09) and, as usual, we had a great time.
Knudsen’s had not changed much since our last visit, it looks pretty much the same, but the food and service had improved, while the ice cream had gone downhill. Mike and I shared the sliders ($10), four little sandwiches, each with a different filling: grilled chicken (bland), angus burger (quite nice), bbq pork (very nice) and pot-roast (ok, also somewhat bland). It came with a small portion of fries (standard) and fried onion shavings (ok). The girls had the chicken nuggets ($3 – 5 per portion) and they enjoyed it. In Mika, my 7yo’s words, “they are better than McDonald’s chicken nuggets” (note, we don’t take her to McDonald’ s, but family members do from time to time).
I was disappointed by the ice cream, however. It’s now made in-house rather than by Fentons. I thought that the flavors were very mild. The maple nut we had was pretty good, but the peanut butter cup ice cream tasted as a malted chocolate ice cream, there was barely any peanut butter in it. Mika’s mocha almond fudge, in particular, had an off taste that I disliked. She was happy with it; her only complaint was that it wasn’t as creamy as the ones I make (but I usually follow Ben and Jerry’s recipes).
The hot fudge and caramel sauces, on the other hand, were quite good.
In all, we had a very pleasant meal at Knudsen’s, but I’m not super eager to return.
Knudsen’s Ice Creamery
3323 Castro Valley Blvd
Castro Valley, CA
(510) 582-2775

2004 review

2006 update

Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream – Recipe

Last night I made Reeses peanut butter cup ice cream, from the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book, which is great. The ice cream tasted just like Ben & Jerry’s, only better. It’s very rich, perfectly frozen (i.e. neither too soft or too hard, and not in the least icy) and in the words of my 7yo, Mika, “the best ice cream you’ve ever made”.

So here is the recipe. I used an egg beater to whisk everything, easier than a whisk and it gave it the right consistency. I used slightly less than the 3/4 cup of sugar, regular whipping cream, 1% milk and organic salted smooth peanut butter.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 8 Reeses peanut butter cups, chopped into largish bites

Whisk the eggs until light and frothy. Add the sugar slowly, whisking constantly to incorporate. Add the whipping cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into a separate bowl and add the peanut butter to that bowl. Mix well and pour peanut butter mixture into the cream mixture. Whisk in until fully incorporated.
Freeze mixture in your ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Two minutes before the ice cream is due to be done add the peanut butter cup pieces.
Pour into a tupperware or similar container and freeze until hard (it should take about 5-6 hours).

Ben & Jerry’s ONE Cheesecake Brownie

bj.jpgI think it’s been many years now since Ben & Jerry’s has come out with a flavor of ice cream I actually like. Meanwhile, they’ve gotten rid of many of my favorites, including the best flavor they ever had, Wavy Gravy. Still, I always try the new flavors they come up with, showing that I’m a pretty slow learner.

The latest flavor I tried was ONE Cheesecake Brownie, and seldom have I tasted a more flavorless flavor. The ice cream itself just tasted sour – no cheesiness, no complexity, just a note of sourness. The miniscule cheesecake brownie bits were also sour, though at least a bit chocolaty. They didn’t add much. In all, a complete failure of a flavor.

This ice ceam seems to be part of a campaign to “end poverty”, the carton doesn’t explain how, just directs you to a website. I personally find it deeply offensive when big corporate giants like Unilever (Ben & Jerry’s parent company), who themselves contribute to world poverty, by, for example, exploiting child workers, use the plight of poor people as a marketing scheme.

Dulce de leche ice cream redux

Yesterday I made dulce de leche ice cream again. This time all I did was mix two cups of cream with dulce de leche. I can’t tell you how much because I did it by pouring and tasting, but it was probably 1 1/2 cups. It was a little too much, though, but not much. The results were great. The ice cream is incredibly creamy and very dense – haagen dazs dense. Indeed, it tasted quite a bit like haagen dazs. It didn’t get hard on my freezer nor did it crystalize. But it’s too dense to eat much of, which is good as this sing is pure fat and sugar. The other problem it has is that it melts quickly at room temperature. But it’s soooo good.
Finally, making it is quite expensive – much more than buying ice cream at the store. But I’m glad I tried it. I’ll probably make it again, this time with chocolate flakes (I didn’t have any of those at home).


The other night we went to dinner at Grasshopper, and decided to skip dessert there and head to Leonidas instead. Leonidas is a Belgium chocolatier that produces and sells specialty chocolates. There are Leonidas shops all over Belgium, and apparently the rest of the world as well. My friend Adriana who lives in Belgium loves them, and I brought a couple of pounds with me after my last trip there (they are significantly cheaper in Belgium than in the States), but I’m less excited about them. Call me a plebe, but I prefer Sees Candies all the way.
While my friends were getting candy – and Eddie was nice enough to buy a piece for each one of our husbands -, I got some dulce de leche gelato ($3 for a small cup) and I was hooked. The gelato was almost as good as the one back home. It had a light, cool consistency, and yet was creamy and very flavorful. If you’re in Rockridge make sure you get some.
6311 College Avenue

Ice Creamery

I’m a little late with this posting but better late than ever, right?
Last April was Mika’s 4th birthday. We had a party for her the day after her birthday, but I wanted to celebrate the actual anniversary of her birth – so I invited our friends Desiree and Grant, and their kids Trent and Kali, as well as our friends Regina and Boris to meet us for ice cream at the Ice Creamery. The Ice Creamery is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in downtown Castro Valley, which serves Fenton ice cream in more informal surroundings.
We’ve been to the Ice Creamery many times before, when we want to treat ourselves or the kids, and this time it was a real treat.
I don’t know if they take reservations, we certainly hadn’t made any, and when we got there around 6 PM or so on a Saturday evening the place was hopping. There were no tables to be found. The hostess/waitress (it’s not clear who is whom there), however, tried very hard to accomodate us and was able to put some tables together as people left them so that we all got to sit together by the window. They were very efficient with the service, getting us menus and our orders in and out quite quickly, considering how busy the place was, and making a special effort to bring the kids ice cream first. Considering how antsy they were – 4 yo’s are not known for the patience – this was very welcomed. They even put a candle on Mika’s ice cream and everyone sang her “happy birthday”. At her age this was thrilling rather than embarrazing.
The kids were able to run around and play around and all in all had the most wonderful time. I think we will make going to the Ice Creamery a yearly birthday tradition.

Condensed milk ice cream

This recipe for a “base” for ice cream contains 2 ingredients and 1 preparation step. Still, I managed to mess it up on all counts. The results, however, where very interesting. This has to be the smoothest, richest ice cream I’ve ever tasted. There isn’t even a hint of iciness, it’s all velvety softness. It reminds me of the ice creams that are served in tiny scoops accompanying other sweets at fancy restaurants. Indeed, I think it would go superbly with something crunchy – perhaps toffee crumbs -, though given how sweet it is, something non-sweet may be a good idea. The taste was quite nice, though a bit too sweet. But if you like condensed milk, you’ll like this ice cream.
The original recipe called for combining 2 cups of light cream with 1 cup sweetened condensed milk, mixing it well and putting it into the ice cream machine.
I couldn’t find light cream, so I used 2 cups of heavy cream instead (thus the richness of the ice cream), and I didn’t read the instructions well so I used 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Finally I poured each ingredient into the ice cream machine, but realized my mistake and stopped to mix them. The original recipe is supposed to turn a very light ice cream base, clearly mine didn’t.

Ben and Jerry’s New Flavors

Ben & Jerry’s selling strategy must be based in introducing new flavors, as they do so quite regularly lately. We, of course, have to try them, though it’s been years since we found a new flavor we really liked. For the most part I stick to my old favorite Chubby Hubby and mourn the demise of Wavy Gravy.
So far, I’ve tried 2 of the many new flavors.

I really liked Fossil Fuel, a “Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Pieces, Fudge Dinosaurs and a Fudge Swirl”. It reminded me a little of the dearly departed Wavy Gravy, in that it was a light-flavored ice cream with a fudge swirl, alas it doesn’t have the nuts. B&J’s fudge is delicious, though, so I’m glad there is another ice cream that features it.
I wasn’t as excited about The Gobfather, a “Chocolate Ice Cream with Fudge Covered Almonds & a Nougat Swirl”. I’m not a huge chocolate ice cream fan to begin with, and I didn’t feel the almonds or nougat swirl contributed much to it. Indeed, the chocolate flavor is so strong that the nougat was completely drowned.
I also recently had chocolate peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough – a flavor I can’t find in their website – which I also wasn’t crazy about for similar reasons: the chocolate flavor overwhelmed the cooky dough flavor. I guess no more chocolate-based ice creams for me.