After Eight ice cream sundaes

Sundae CollageIn the words of Perry and Bing and may other crooners, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Our tree went up at the weekend and suddenly the house feels transformed into a magical, sparkly wonderland. It’s the earliest  we’ve ever put it up. My husband doesn’t think we should have a tree until Christmas Eve, but I’ve been working on him over the years and, having been to the children’s school Christmas fair the day before, it just felt right for it to go up last Saturday.

We also made these After Eight ice cream sundaes at the weekend, which got us into the festive feasting spirit. Wow – they were good. Indulgent, rich and decadent, just like a proper sundae should be. Not of course, something you should eat every day though. But for a Christmas treat, these are just the ticket.

after eight sundae

I must admit, I haven’t eaten After Eight Mints for some years. I associate them with Christmas as a child back in the eighties. I can clearly remember being at my grandparents’ house in Lancashire for Christmas and having them at the end of a meal. As the grown ups were chatting, I pretty much worked my way through the box, and I couldn’t deny how many I’d eaten as the evidence was there in front of me in the form of a pile of those little black envelopes. I’d forgotten how much I like them. And my children seem rather partial to them to. It was a battle keeping the grubby little mitts off them so that I had enough to make this dessert.

The good people at After Eight sent me some of their goodies to experiment with: a box of After Eight Mints and their After Eight Collection, a selection of dark and white mint chocolates. The challenge was to come up with a dessert featuring their chocolate mints. As my children adore mint choc chip ice cream, an ice cream sundae was the obvious choice. 

These sundaes are very simple to make; more of an assembly job really. There are chocolate brownies at the bottom. Feel free to bake your own, but I made things easy on myself by buying some. Next comes a layer of forest fruits, which bring a touch of tartness to the proceedings. You need it to cut through all that rich sweetness. Then there’s the After Eight ice cream. Even if you don’t fancy making the whole sundae, do try making the ice cream – it’s a lovely take on the classic mint choc chip and really couldn’t be easier to create.

after eight ice cream

Melted After Eight Mints combined with a little cream conjure up a wonderful chocolate sauce, which is loving drizzled over the ice cream before topping with whipped cream for that extra level of indulgence.

after eight chocolate sauce

So there you have it – my simple After Eight ice cream sundaes. You’re welcome!

After Eight ice cream sundaes

Makes 4 large sundaes

Half a litre vanilla ice cream
300g box of After Eight Mints
4 chocolate brownies, cut into bite-size chunks
300ml double cream
250g forest fruits (fresh or frozen)
After Eight Collection chocolates for decoration

Place the ice cream in a bowl and allow to soften at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Chop half the After Eight Mints into small pieces. Fold the mint pieces into the ice cream, spoon into a plastic carton, cover and place in the freezer until it has re-frozen.

To make the sauce, place the remaining After Eight Mints and 100ml of the cream in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Stir until the chocolate mints have completely melted and the sauce has formed. Leave to cool.

Whip the remaining cream in a large bowl until stiff.

Place the brownie pieces at the bottom of four sundae glasses and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the frozen fruits. On top of the fruits place a couple of scoops of the chocolate mint ice cream and drizzle with a generous smothering of chocolate mint sauce. Finally, spoon whipped cream on top of each sundae and decorate with a pretty chocolate from the After Eight Collection. 

Dig in and enjoy to your heart’s content!

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by After Eight who paid me to develop this recipe and provided me with complimentary boxes of After Eight Mints and the After Eight Collection.

As this pudding definitely fits the description of a Festive Treat, I’m entering it into December’s Teatime Treats hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender & Lovage.

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And these sundaes would be great for parties, so I’m also entering them into Four Seasons Food hosted by  Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.

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My children adored the sundaes, so I reckon they would also make a good entry for December’s Family Foodies challenge over at Eat Your Veg, where the theme is Kids Christmas.

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Christmas pudding ice cream – the perfect way to use up your leftover pud

This is my last festive recipe before I take a short break from blogging for the Christmas holidays. It’s such a quick and easy recipe – quite frankly, it barely qualifies as a recipe at all – and is a great way to use up any left over Christmas pudding.

It isn’t the first time this recipe has featured on Bangers & Mash. It first appeared back in January, but those were very early days for the blog; days when I still thought I could get away with my own doodles instead of photography! But it is such a genius dessert, I think it’s well worth repeating.

I like the idea of Christmas pudding much more than the pudding itself. I love the flavours but the actual pudding is just too dense and stodgy. Mix it with ice cream and alcohol though, and hey presto! You have yourself a much lighter but equally festive dessert. You can use whatever spirit or liquer takes your fancy really. I went with a delicious apple brandy made here in my home county of Somerset. I also made an alcohol-free batch for the kids.

As this pudding features that timeless combination of booze and ice cream, I’m entering it into Kavey Eats’ Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge for December, the theme of which is, of course, booze – well, what else could it be this time of year?

no food waste challenge

I’m also entering it into the No Waste Food Challenge, where the theme is Christmas Dinner leftovers. This challenge is the brainchild of Kate at Turquoise Lemons and this month is hosted by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

Christmas pudding ice cream

1 small Christmas pudding
2 litres good vanilla ice cream
Slug of brandy (or whatever festive liquer or spirit you have around)

Cook your pud according to the packet instructions and allow to cool. Leave the ice cream at room temperature to soften a little before adding chopped up pieces of the pudding and brandy. Mix well.

Then simply pour into your container of choice and freeze for at least a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Here’s to a merrily delicious Christmas everyone. Peace and love to you and yours.

Black cherry frozen yoghurt

One day when I’m properly grown up I will buy myself an ice cream maker. Probably when I’m grown up enough to have a kitchen big enough to store an ice cream maker in.

But for now I feed my hunger for home-made ice creams with recipes like this, for semifreddos and frozen yoghurts, that don’t actually require a machine.

This is such an easy and delicious dessert; one you can rustle up with largely store cupboard ingredients. Although do bear in mind you’ll need to take it out the freezer every half an hour and whisk until it’s frozen, so don’t plan to go out anywhere until it’s done. Obviously we generally prefer our fruit fresh, but we always have some of the tinned variety (peaches, mandarins and in this case black cherries) lurking at the back of the cupboard for those ‘just in case’ pudding needs.

I like a little fruity texture to my frozen yoghurt so I puree the cherries in two batches. Feel free to puree all in one go if you prefer yours smooth.

Black cherry frozen yoghurt

2 x 400g tins of black cherries (pitted)
500g low fat Greek yoghurt
3tbsp caster sugar
juice and zest of half a lemon

Put two-thirds of the cherries in the food processor, along with the yoghurt, sugar, lemon juice and zest and puree until fairly smooth. Add the remaining cherries and whiz a smidge longer, just long enough to slightly break up the last lot of cherries.

Pour the mixture into a plastic container, cover and place in the freezer. Whisk the mixture well every half an hour until it is just frozen. This will take about two to three hours.

The frozen yoghurt is ready to eat when you can’t whisk it any more, and is best consumed within two to three weeks.

If you like this, you might also like…

Raspberry, lemon and mint semifreddo

Christmas pudding ice cream

Raspberry, lemon and mint semifreddo

Semifreddo is a wonderfully easy ice-cream to make for anyone who, like me, doesn’t own an ice-cream maker. Usually it is made from eggs and whipped cream but this version uses condensed milk instead of eggs, making it even more of a doddle. It looks really rather impressive though, so no-one would ever guess it only took 10 minutes to make!

I got the idea for a semifreddo made from condensed milk from Kavey Eats. The theme for her Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge this month you see just happens to be condensed milk, and I was intrigued.

The recipe I’ve come up with to enter the challenge is a light and summery combination of perfumey raspberries with zingy lemon, lifted further still by the addition of chopped fresh mint. It’s loosely based on a recipe I saw on the Carnation website.

And as the recipe also features lots of lovely mint, I’m also entering this semifreddo into Lavender & Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday challenge.

Raspberry, lemon and mint semifreddo

1 can (405g) sweetened condensed milk
juice of 3 lemons
grated zest of 1 lemon
300ml whipping cream
200g fresh raspberries
large handful fresh mint, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the condensed milk, lemon juice, zest and whipping cream. Whisk until you have soft peaks.

Carefully fold in the raspberries and fresh mint.

Spoon the mixture into a 2 litre loaf tin lined with clingfilm, covering the top with more clingfilm. Freeze for at least four hours or preferably overnight.

Simply slice and serve.

Christmas pudding ice cream

Every year, we always find ourselves stuck with a Christmas pudding at the back of the cupboard long after the festivities have ended. It generally ends up in the bin since it’s not something we can really cope with eating at any other time of year.

I’m not sure why I bother buying one, since I’ve never been a big fan. I think it’s just one of those things you’re supposed to have. It’s always there in case one of our many visitors suddenly has an urge to consume pudding on top of everything else we’ve already fed them.

So when I saw a recipe idea in the December edition of Red magazine for Christmas pudding ice cream I had a feeling it might come in very handy. And indeed it did. It’s a much lighter dessert with a lovely hint of Christmas. You get all the festive flavour but without the dense stodginess.

I didn’t bother putting the ice cream in a bowl lined with cling film, nor turning it out before eating and decorating with walnuts and chocolate-dipped orange peel as the magazine suggested, although I’m sure this would look wonderful. Just the ice cream on its own was lovely, and one people find irresistible even if they don’t like Christmas pudding normally.

So if you’ve still got a pud lurking at the back of your cupboard, why not give this a whirl?

Ingredients

1 small Christmas pudding (or whatever you happen to have left over)
2 litres good vanilla ice cream
Slug of brandy (optional)

Cook your pud and allow to cool. Leave the ice cream at room temperature to soften a little and add the broken up pudding and brandy (if using). Mix well.

Pour into your container of choice (lined with cling film if you want to turn out for serving) and freeze for at least a couple of hours.

Decorate with nuts and fruits before presenting to your guests or, like me, simply serve on its own straight from the tub.