Happy 2015, everyone!
I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday and that your new year is off to a great start so far!
As much as I’ve been looking forward to this post, the very first of 2015, I’ve also been avoiding it just a teeny tiny little bit.
Yes, there’s the whole “I’m a procrastinator” thing, and no amount of good-intended resolutions are going to change that 🙂 But my other excuse is this:
After all the excitement of the holidays, I always struggle to get my groove back in January. I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of, “Well, now what?”
Don’t get me wrong; it’s exciting to have a clean slate, but it’s also a lot of pressure. The New Year always brings with it the highest of expectations to set on a personal journey of reinventing oneself, making me feel like I need to make public proclamations about how I’m going to be better/healthier/nicer/thinner/bolder/<insert self-improvement aspirations here>. It can be quite overwhelming.
After much thought, I’ve decided that rather than go on and on about making resolutions that I probably won’t keep anyhow, I’m just going to keep it simple and choose an overarching “resolution theme” for my 2015.
Cop-out? Maybe. But in an effort to increase my chances of successful self-improvement, I thought I’d try something new.
This year’s theme is going to be all about risk; about taking chances and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Easier said than done, I know, but I figured at the very least I can start here, in the comfort of my blog-home.
And, to start my blogging year off with a bang, I’m going to make something that I’ve never made before here on ITSF.
A frozen yogurt.
Yep, I said it! Frozen yogurt.
In the past, I’ve shied away from making frozen yogurt for several reasons. One, my experience with frozen yogurt has been limited to chain fro yo shops, where the product comes out of a giant machine with a pull-down lever and it just sort of sits there, staring up at you like a sad little blob of wannabe-food that needs a variety of toppings just to make it remotely interesting. It’s all very uninspiring, and just not the type of frozen dessert experience we need here on ITSF.
And then, there’s…you know. That “H” word.
I know I say that like it’s a bad thing, but health in general seems like it might conflict with the chubby-chasing activities that I conduct here on my ice cream blog, so I’ve avoided it at all costs. Until today, that is.
Now, I see that my ignorance and misconceptions have been holding me back. Because you know what I realized this week? Healthy doesn’t have to be boring, and neither does frozen yogurt. In fact, it can be downright decadent. Just look:
This fro yo is creamy, tangy, sweet and salty, and shockingly much more ice cream-like than I ever would have thought possible. The secret ingredient? Greek yogurt.
(I know! Trust me, I was skeptical at first too. But would I ever steer you wrong?)
Not only is this stuff delicious, but it’s incredibly easy to make. And unlike ice cream, you don’t have to start planning a day (or two!) in advance. There’s no eggs, no cooking, and virtually zero prep time. It’s like ice cream’s lower maintenance little sister.
(But don’t tell ice cream I said that).
When making frozen yogurt, the general rule of thumb to follow is 4 parts yogurt to 1 part sugar. To make this recipe healthier, (and tastier), I swapped out some of the sugar for honey, which resulted in a super rich base. Because I used nonfat yogurt, I added some cream to help ensure a more pleasing texture, but you could also add milk instead. The addition of candied walnuts really takes it over the top and adds a nice crunch, but if that’s not your thing, you can merely roast the walnuts in the oven for a few minutes (but be warned that they won’t be nearly as crunchy as their candied counterpart).
This fro yo is ready to eat straight out of the ice cream machine (unless you want a harder texture, then freeze for a few hours. But remember to leave time to let this stuff soften slightly; fro yo tends to freeze much harder than our good friend ice cream). Drizzle some extra honey and sea salt on top, or accompany with seasonal fruit. You really can’t go wrong!
I’m not quite sure where 2015 will take me, but I do know one thing: I won’t be buying fro yo at a chain shop anymore when it’s this easy and delicious to make at home.
I must say, this is one risk that’s definitely paying off!
I hope you enjoy this fabulous fro yo recipe, and may all your spoons be full in 2015 🙂
Salted Honey Frozen Yogurt with Candied Walnuts
Yield: About 1 Quart
You will need:
- 4 cups Chobani Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (One 32 ounce container)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
For the candied walnuts:
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- Large pinch of sea salt
1. In a medium sized bowl, combine yogurt, heavy cream, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk vigorously until combined. Cover mixture and set in the refridgerator to chill until you are ready to churn.
2. Make the walnuts: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and let it get hot. Toss in the walnuts; cook for about 4 minutes, or until the nuts become fragrant. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the nuts, and cook for an additional minute or two or until the sugar is melty and dark brown and the walnuts appear caramelized.
3. Remove nuts from the stovetop and spread onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Once the nuts are cooled completely, break them apart and give ’em a rough chop.
4. Make the fro yo: add chilled yogurt mixture to the base of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Add nuts during the last minute of churning so that they are evenly distributed, or, alternate layering fro yo and nuts in your storage container for a cool swirled look once you start scooping (I prefer the latter, because it increases the amount of walnuts in each bite).
5. Enjoy immediately for a divine soft-serve texture, or let freeze for a few hours for a firmer, more ice cream-like texture (just be sure to let it thaw for a few minutes). Enjoy! 🙂