Cubist Coffee: or, Handcrafted Summer Mornings

Ahhh, Summertime! Where I live, it is very temperate and pleasant. But in many, many places it is just too darn hot! Especially for a hot beverage to start the day. So this Handcrafted Hack is in celebration of getting your caffeine, without having your eyes sweat. *It should be noted, before we even begin, as with so many handcrafted projects, this is not instant! The cubes will need to be frozen overnight (minimum of 8 hours. 12 is better) I saw a post on facebook about making coffee ice cubes, and decided to put the theory to the test. I decided to start sort of small, since it was an experiment. I brewed about 1/3 of a pot of very strong, lovely coffee.

start with strong coffee

start with strong coffee

Then, I used a clean, empty ice cube tray

clean tray

clean tray

I filled the tray pretty full, and let it sit on the counter for an hour or so, as I filled it hot. You could simply turn off the coffee pot and let it cool before you pour. Obviously, you don’t want to put anything hot into the freezer, as it puts all your frozen foods at risk of thawing.

cooling coffee

cooling coffee

Then, place the trays into the freezer, where they won’t be disturbed until the next day. Just a note, here, I stacked my 2 trays I made, and the coffee froze onto the bottom of the top tray, which, of course melted into dark coffee drips as I was taking it from the freezer, and using the cubes. There is a pretty significant potential for mess, here, so, maybe, don’t wear white while you participate in this process. The next morning, I pulled the cubes from the tray and placed them in my glass:

iced coffee on!

iced coffee on!

Now, because I was just having an “iced latte”, I simply added milk (cow’s milk, for this experiment, but, of course, you can use whatever you fancy), and was on my way. As the cubes have melted, the coffee is mixed into the milk. It has been a spectacular way to start the day.

Iced latte!

Iced latte!

It should be noted that this concoction could just as easily be a mocha (add chocolate syrup), or a flavored latte (add syrup) or a blended drink (drop the lot in a blender and whirl). The thickness of the blended drink is the coffee cubes, which do not water down a blended or on the “rocks” coffee drink. And, let’s don’t miss the obvious indications for both alcoholic additions and ice cream! I believe this idea could easily b adapted to a bunch of other applications, such as tea-cubes for your iced tea (in any flavor, or even herbal); freezing juice cubes, or adding your favorite protein/diet/supplement powder to the mix. So, today’s tutorial not only saves a fortune in coffee house prices, but sticks it to both Monsanto and Starbucks! Double bonus for Awesome America!

We all scream for ICE CREAM!!!!

Today’s experiment in the kitchen, Double Vanilla ice cream.

While I cannot honestly say this has been “hand”crafted (because the ice cream maker did all the work) it is homemade, and that is why I feel justified in including it, here.

To begin, you will need an ice cream maker (either hand crank or electric. I bore easily, so I am using an electric. So sue me.) a whisk, a mixing bowl,and a big rubber spatula.

For ingredients and implementation, you will need 1 bag of ice and a box of rock or ice cream salt. Also:

  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 pint milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 of one vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp table salt

Begin by slicing the vanilla bean lengthwise through only the top layer of skin. Scrape all the teeny, oily seeds into a 2 qt mixing bowl. They are kind of a mess, but sooooo worth the end result. Then add all other ingredients to the bowl and mix them together thoroughly.

Place the mixture into the “can” of the ice cream maker and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Then, assemble the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Add ice and rock salt in alternating layers around the can. Note: the smaller the ice cubes and the less salt used, the slower the churn, and thus, the finer the grain of ice cream product.

salt

salt

It is essential that your mixture fill no more than half the available volume in your can, as the mixture will expand to roughly double when complete.

Plug it in, or begin churning. Add ice, water or salt, as needed, as indicated by the directions for your machine. Keep the ice level up to the top to insure complete freezing.

I found that the addition of table salt kept the mixture from freezing “solid”. Not to worry. It is a necessary foil for the sweetness of the ice cream and makes a delicious difference to the finished product.

When the machine stops, or 50 minutes of freezing time has elapsed, turn out the ice cream into a freezer container, taking care to scrape all the yummy deliciousness from the paddle into your bowl or back into the can. It is ready to eat at this stage, but will have a consistency more like soft-serve. For a harder product, cure the ice cream in the freezer for at least an hour (2-3 is better).

Voila! The most delicious ice cream EVAH, with absolutely no carageenen, high fructose corn syrup or FD&C yellow #5. Ice cream will last up to one week in the freezer. But seriously, no it won’t!

Take that BigFood! What a delicious way to Stick-It-To-Monsanto. This mixture cost approximately half what a premium ice cream cost me to buy, and is all natural and contains no preservatives.

Now that is what I call some Summertime Awesome America!!!