Sometimes I plan my cooking around what I want to eat each week. Other times, my plans are based on what ingredients I need to use up before they go bad. This week, I had an excess of buttermilk that needed to be incorporated into my food plan.
I basically only use buttermilk for desserts. It can be a great ingredient for savory cooking as well, especially as brine for chicken. However, I tend to use it almost exclusively on the sweet side, especially in cakes. I absolutely love using buttermilk in cakes. I think buttermilk helps create moisture in cakes and adds a slight tang. Since I don’t use buttermilk outside of baking, I tend to have a surplus of buttermilk whenever I make a cake.
This was especially true after I made my friend’s birthday cake the other week. I can normally find a small container of buttermilk in the grocery store, but I was only able to find a half gallon on this occasion. A half gallon is a ton of buttermilk. I didn’t want to waste it, so I tried to think of some other ways to use up this buttermilk before the sell-by date.
I found a recipe on Bon Appetit for roasted strawberry buttermilk sherbet that looked worth a try. This recipe was especially intriguing because you don’t have to take the extra time to make a cool a custard like you would with ice cream.
The sherbet was easy to pull together. I started by roasting a container of strawberries with some sugar and vanilla. I just used vanilla extract and not vanilla bean, because I couldn’t find vanilla bean easily and really didn’t want to waste money on that ingredient right now. The strawberries were swimming in sugary juice when I took them out of the oven. They looked delectable.
The base for this sherbet is made in a blender once the strawberries cool. The recipe says you can put the base straight into an ice cream maker, but I decided to let it chill in the fridge for awhile. The colder my ice cream base is when going into to the ice cream maker, the better the results have been.
I am still amazed how my well my ice cream maker works. I turn it on to churn and come back about 25 minutes later with a bucket full of ice cream. It absolutely needs more time to harden in the freezer, but the ice cream consistency is there every time. This time was no exception. The strawberry sherbet is sweet with a little tang. It is undoubtedly more delicious than store-bought sherbet, which I find to taste fake and too sweet.
I thought about making another batch of this ice cream using blackberries. I imagine the strawberries could easily be replaced in this recipe for another berry. However, I broke my freezer bowl when it fell out of the freezer. I will have to try that after I get a new freezer bowl. I am curious to see how that will work. I am glad I found this recipe, which was so easy to make. If I am ever in need of an easy way to use up buttermilk, I am going to turn to this recipe again.
I did not stop at this sherbet though. With all that extra buttermilk, I had to think of another way to incorporate it into my week. I had Monday off for MLK day, which was the perfect time to do some baking. So, I made cupcakes for my co-workers. My office mates have been ecstatic every time I have brought in baked goods to work. Baking for my co-workers has become a good way for me to improve my baking skills without having to eat everything I make. I know they will gladly help with that part.
I made this recipe for vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Once Upon a Chef. I gave them a little winter spin though. I added some blue food dye to my cream cheese icing to give it a light blue wintery look and topped them with snowflake sprinkles.
I knew I shouldn’t have eaten one of these, and I did try to resist. There were still a couple cupcakes left at the end of the day. I took this as a sign that it is okay if I eat one. I did not regret my decision. This was a delicious treat. The cake was soft and moist with a hint of flavor, and the creamy icing melted so smoothly in my mouth. My office mates seemed to be pleased, too. I got a slew of compliments, as usual.
I have plans to make more cupcakes soon, so it looks like more buttermilk will be in my future again. Maybe, I will just have to make some more sherbet.