Bake the Book: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts

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[Photograph: Kelsey McClellan]

It doesn't seem fair to call Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts a follow-up book, even though that's technically what it is. In 2011, Jeni Britton Bauer, owner and operator of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, released her first cookbook, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. The book earned her, and her inventive creations, a 2012 James Beard award.

Two years later, Jeni has blessed us with a second book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. But it's much more than a supplement to her first book. It's one thing to present a collection of recipes, meant to be replicated as-is, with most of the work done for you. It is entirely another to provide an audience with the tools to craft their own ice cream-based creations, and that's exactly what this second book is all about.

It just doesn't look like that on the surface. Open to any page, and something is dripping seductively, gleaming with chocolate, or crumbling into a sloppy pan of jewel-toned fruit. These are whole, complete recipes, replete with images. Your artistic license is earned once you look past what is, and see what could be.

Take the Peoria Corn Fritters, for example. Everyone knows what a corn fritter is, and if they don't, it can be deduced from the name. But have you ever had them served alongside ice cream? What if you took the corn fritter, replaced the corn with chopped strawberries, split it open and smushed a scoop of Creme Sans Lait inside? That recipe isn't in the book, but both the ice cream and fritters are.

The easiest way to reveal the plastic nature of the book is to think in layers and textures. Use the recipes for cakes, hand pies, and cobblers as bases for ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, or vegan ice cream, then select from a variety of gravels, sauces, and syrups to complete your vision. Think of the finished recipes in the book as inspiration; don't stop where they end.

Of course, choosing only four recipes was a challenge. In order to do the book justice, we've selected one vegan ice cream (the Creme Sans Lait), whose mild flavor is a canvas for myriad additions. There's also one non-vegan ice cream, Moonshine & Corn Syrup Custard with Pecans, a punch in the mouth that is still highly customizable (see the recipe feature for suggestions!). Moving away from ice cream, we've got Blueberry Cobbler and the aforementioned Peoria Corn Fritters, which we'll be making with corn and more.

The only thing you don't have to worry about is quality. The recipes are solid, and have been specifically formulated to be easily reproduced at home, with a home cook's ice cream maker. Trust Jeni and her team's expertise, as they trust your creativity to take their creations to another level.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Artisan, we are giving away five (5) copies of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts this week. All you have to do is tell us which dessert you'd improve with the addition of ice cream.

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