The Cold Shoulder

July? Already? Each new month always seem to sneak up out of no where, unannounced and premature, startling me out of my never-ending daydream and back into the present moment. Somehow, the arrival of July doesn’t feel quite so jarring this time around, and yet there’s considerable dissonance between the calendar date and the weather at hand. Oh, it’s been gloriously sunny, aside from the average fog-smothered mornings, but never has a mid-summer month run in with such a cool breeze on its tail. San Francisco summers are unlike any other; I came prepared with plenty of layers, but I still doubted that I would need my autumnal leatherette jacket this late into the year. Thank goodness I suspended that disbelief at least long enough to pack it, since it’s become a constant companion on my brisk campus-bound commutes.

While the rest of the country prepares to celebrate our independence with the standard round of backyard barbeques, pool parties, and fireworks, I’m still struggling to get into a properly jubilant mood. How could anyone think of stripping down to a bathing suit when the thermometer barely registers in the low 60’s on some days? Where do city folk all hide their grills, and how do they not set off the fire alarms every single time a tofu pup hits the searing metal grates? Furthermore, how do I make it back home from the fireworks when the Muni is guaranteed to become missing in action, just in my moment of greatest need? While my plans remain up in the air, it’s clear to see that they’ll end up falling on the more nontraditional side of the tracks.

One thing that can never be altered about any proper 4th of July party, even for a party of one, is the ice cream. I don’t care if I found myself in a freak snow storm come early July- There would still be ice cream on my menu. Trouble is, what with all the festivities and rampant jubilation, it can be tough to find yourself anchored by an unwieldy cupful of frozen confection. This is a job that calls for bite-sized, chocolate-covered, flavor-filled ice cream truffles.

Inspired by a generous gift of shelled pistachios straight from the nutty experts at Diamond of California, these glorious green gems couldn’t be simpler to prepare, and are the prefect offering for a party of any size. Best of all, they can be made well in advance, so all you have to do on the day of celebration is bust them out and look like a total ice cream-churning pro. The creamy emerald interiors are sophisticated enough to suit the most discerning palates, while the shatteringly crisp chocolate coating adds sweetness and whimsy that is sure to appeal to a younger generation of food critics in training.

Pistachio Ice Cream Truffles

Pistachio Ice Cream:

2 Cups Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1 Cup Shelled, Toasted Pistachios
1/3 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach, Packed (Optional, for Color)
1/3 Cup Light Agave Nectar
2 Tablespoons Arrowroot
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/8 Teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilla, or a Tiny Pinch of Orange Zest

Chocolate Coating:

6 Ounces (1 Cup) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

To prepare the ice cream base, simply drop all of the ingredients, except for the two extracts, into your blender or food processor. A high-speed blender is your best bet for the smoothest texture, but with enough patience and a bit of straining, any model can make do. Blend on high for 5 – 6 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister if necessary, until the mixture is thoroughly pureed, without a single fragment of pistachio to be found.

Pour the smooth mixture into a medium saucepan and set on the stove over moderate heat. Whisking frequently, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent anything from sticking and scorching, bring the liquid up to a gentle boil. Once bubbles begin to burst on the surface with increasing regularity, turn off the heat. Stir in the vanilla and Fiori di Sicilia last. Let the base cool to room temperature before moving it into the fridge to chill thoroughly; about 3 hours.

Churn the cooled base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the soft ice cream into an air-tight container, and let it “cure” in the freezer for at least 3 more hours before scooping out your truffles.

Use small ice cream scoop to make neat little rounds of ice cream, placing them on a silpat- or parchment paper-lined baking sheet that can fit easily into the freezer. Scoop all of your truffle balls and quickly move the whole baking sheet back into the freezer. You want the interiors to be solidly frozen before attempting to dip them, lest they melt once they hit the hot chocolate coating. Allow at least 3 more hours (yes, again!) or let them chill overnight before proceeding.

Finally, to finish the truffles, heat the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe container for about 60 seconds. Stir thoroughly until all the chips have completely melted. Use a fork to quickly submerge the frozen ice cream balls into the liquid chocolate and pull them out again, working as fast as you can. Place them back on their silpats and immediately return the baking sheet to the freezer upon finishing. They can be eaten immediately, or stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.

Makes a Scant Quart of Ice Cream; 2 – 3 Dozen Truffles

Printable Recipe

21 thoughts on “The Cold Shoulder

  1. Oooh, yes, please! I wish you were going to be here for the 4th. We’d go to the Hollywood Bowl for music and fireworks, sitting outside on the warm summer evening.

    1. Aw, now you’re just teasing me! That sounds like the most amazing, perfect 4th of July ever, and I would give anything to be there. :( I wonder how late I would be able to snag plane tickets though… *goes off to search*

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, Hannah. Sorry you’re getting the chills in San Fran. We’ve had a fair bit of heat and humidity in the ‘burbs of Chicago, but we’re getting ready to go to France while you celebrate on the Fourth, so I don’t mind. Just trying to get all the packing done. So if I miss a few posts, you’ll know why. But you can follow, as always, on my blog. I imagine we’ll have some decent food and a photo or two.

    Happy (and warm) Fourth,


  3. These are so cute, and I bet delicious. Pistachio is the best ice cream flavour!
    Funny it’s a little chilly in San Fran. I always thought it would be warm over there. Or maybe it’s just the adjustment from Hawaii…

  4. What are you doing to me Hannah! That just looks too good. I’m drooling over my iPad right now…. As for the weather; it’s been on and off here too but this weekend is supposedly going to be really not!

  5. Sorry the weather has been so cool but really I would love that any day instead of dealing with stifling tropical heat of Asia. I love post atop icecream and love your vegan version even better. Sending warm thoughts your way

  6. If July means you post more recipes like this, I hope it’s July every month. I can’t wait to try these. Would it be possible without an ice cream maker, do you reckon?

  7. Muchos NOM! No 4th of July celebrations here however I am willing to start celebrating it if I can have these at least once a year ;)

  8. I know the feeling, I can’t believe the month July flew by so quickly, I can’t even remember what I did few weeks ago. Gosh, these pistachio ice cream truffles remind me of mochi ice cream – I love salted pistachios and snack on them sometimes, but the greenish color from the pistachios is gorgeous inside. ❤

  9. its the same in seattle. 60s last week and now 80s this week and it will get to 60s again. i like the 70s, 60s is too cold and 80s gets too hot to stay in direct sunlight for too long. and there are only a few 70s days.
    these truffles in the fridge however will not help me fit my swim suits and skirts!;)

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