California has an abundance of produce, and the most beautiful berries come from the farms in California. We love to go berry picking every summer. There are a lot of U-Pick farms around in the bay area, that are pretty accessible and fun. This year we went to Watsonville for strawberries, ollalieberries and boysenberries. The latter two berries were new to us, and we had fun picking and tasting them! Ollalieberries are a cross between drewberry and blackberry and the color and shape is so pretty and so is the color! It is a deep purple. The taste is amazing and I loved the jam that I made, with ollalieberry and lavender. It is so fragrant and really tasty, and goes beautifully on a toast.
I froze the boysenberries and they will become a cobbler in the next month or so! I love making macarons as you already know! Last year when I was at Whole Foods, I saw macaron ice cream sandwiches. They were so small and each cost $4! My kids wanted them so bad and in my mind I was like, I am NOT spending $8 for 2 ice cream sandwiches, especially when I can make it at home! So I have been making macaron ice cream sandwiches at home. They are so fun to make, they are homemade, and economical at the same time! And I get the kids involved in making the macarons, or decorating the sandwiches with sprinkles which makes it fun for them too!
This year, I really wanted to make the Ollalieberry and Lavender Jam Ice cream. It turned out sooooo good and super delicious! This ice cream is so hard to resist and I wish I had made extra to have a tub by itself! I made strawberry macarons, with the freeze dried strawberry powder from Trader Joe’s. When you make slightly bigger macarons, you have to keep them in the oven for a wee bit longer, so that it bakes all the way through. The ice cream is placed on a jelly roll pan, with parchment paper, so that when you cut out the ice cream shapes, they come out easily with an offset spatula. It makes for clean cuts and even, same size ice cream sandwiches. I decorated the sandwiches with sprinkles, but you could decorate them with freeze dried strawberries or simply nothing! I love making them for my family, and my family enjoys eating them!
You can even make mini versions of this for a party and it would be a great idea for kids and adults! You can substitute the Ollalieberry with Blackberry or Raspberry too, and it would make a wonderful jam and ice cream! Be creative and it always makes the process fun.
Hope you all are having a great summer! My kids start school on Monday and I could NOT be happier LOL! MOM dance! It’s been a long summer and glad that everyone gets back to a proper schedule and routine come Monday. Wishing all parents, good luck with this new school year, and new ventures!
Strawberry Macaron Sandwiches with Ollalieberry and Lavender Jam Ice Cream
2 tablespoon culinary grade dried lavender(available on Amazon)
1 tsp flaky sea salt
!For the Ollalieberry and Lavender Jam:
In a medium pot, on medium heat, add all the ingredients and stir. Let it come to a boil – it takes about 5 minutes. Smash the mixture a bit with a smasher to break it down. Continue cooking the jam for about 7-8 minutes. It will start to look thick. Cook for another 2 minutes and switch off the gas. Immediately pour it into the bottles, close it and put it in the fridge to set. If you like a strained seedless jam, make sure you strain the jam first, and then bottle it. I made the ice cream using the jam as is without straining, and I loved it that way. If you do not like seeds in your ice cream it might be a good idea to strain the jam.
*For the strawberry macaron shells: *
Preheat oven to 310 degrees. Line baking sheets with the paper templates, and top with the parchment paper.
In a bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the confectioner's sugar with the almond flour and strawberry powder, until a fine powder is formed. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture three times into a large bowl. Set aside.
To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, scrap down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and the drops of pink color and increase the speed to high, whipping until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form for atleast 5-7 minutes. You can remove and turn the whisk and the meringue should hold.
To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture, one-third at a time, over the egg white mixture, and fold using a large spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated check for the correct consistency, the batter should be firm, have a glossy shine and drip smoothly from the spatula. Make sure that the entire almond mixture is incorporated. This step is very important. If you overwhip the batter will be too runny so do not over whip. It should flow like lava, slowly but form ribbons or a shape of 8 easily.
Trace 3 inch rounds with a pencil on two parchment papers, that are an inch apart. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag filled with a 1 inch plain round tip, and pipe 3 inch rounds on parchment-lined(pencil side down) baking sheets. Gentle tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Do this step atleast 7-10 times. If they have a tip, gently pat it down with your wet finger. Let stand at room temperature for 40 minutes atleast. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
TIP: If you are baking macarons in the winter, allow for atleast more than an hour rest time, because of the added moisture in the air(due to rains in the bay area).
Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 17 minutes.
Allow macarons to cool on the baking sheets for 30 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
*For the Ice cream: *
In a bowl, add in the milk, heavy cream and dried lavender and let it sit for atleast 4 hours.
Set a strainer over a medium bowl set in a larger bowl containing ice and 2 cups water. Heat the milk, dried lavender, cream, 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, , until steam appears and the milk is warm (about 175 degrees), about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until combined and pale yellow, whisk it vigorously. Whisk half the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined.
Whisk the milk-yolk mixture into the warm milk in the saucepan; Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until steam appears, foam subsides, and the mixture is slightly thickened or an instant-read thermometer registers 180 to 185 degrees. (Do not boil the mixture, or the eggs will curdle.)
Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set in the ice bath; cool the custard to room temperature, stirring it occasionally to help it cool. Once cooled, add in the vanilla extract and stir. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
Once, the custard is ready, pour the custard into the ice cream machine and churn, following the manufacturer’s instructions. After about 5 minutes of churning, add in the jam and let it churn for another 20 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to an small jelly roll pan, covered with parchment paper(stuck with non-stick cooking spray), and let it set in the freezer for atleast 3-4 hours.
Once set, you can use a 3 inch round biscuit cutter, and cut ice cream rounds. Put 2 macarons on each side. You can use sprinkles or strawberry freeze dried powder to coat the outside of the macarons or just leave them plain! Your discretion! Put the Macaron Ice cream Sandwiches immediately in the freezer to let it set for another hour before serving!