Swirls of local blackberry sauce ripple through this cinnamon-scented ice cream. A touch of mascarpone in the ice cream base makes it extra creamy and velvety!
Today we celebrate my little fish by licking cones of homemade Blackberry Ice Cream! Everett completed his first set of swim lessons at the old Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and this mommy could not be more proud. Coincidently, this was his first ice cream cone too. Cheers to you, big boy!
When I signed Everett up for swim class several months ago, I bet the parks department didn’t anticipate all the anxious thoughts that came flooding to my brain. By the time this mommy remembered to sign up, every single class at the “nice” pool had an over-flowing waitlist and all that was left was a combo class at the oldest pool in town. I was seriously kicking myself over this and couldn’t believe how far behind I was compared to all of the other “good moms." How could I forget to sign up? What else have we been missing out on? It’s bad enough we never enrolled in baby sign language, and now my poor babe is stuck in the least-popular class in the whole city…
When I signed Everett up for swim class several months ago, I was hit with a wave of emotions. If I sign him up now, will he be a world-class swimmer? Will he hate every minute of it or will he want to head to the pool every day? If we don’t sign up this year, will he ever stand a chance at becoming the next Michael Phelps (minus the drug use, of course)? If we start too early, will he burn out and hate swimming all together one day? Again, I bet the parks department didn’t anticipate all the anxious thoughts that came flooding to my brain just from filling out an entry form…
Being a parent is one crazy ride. A majority of my days are filled wondering how my parenting skills today will affect his future. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a first-time mom, let me tell you. Like, if we don’t take swim lessons this summer, will he be afraid of the water his whole life? Okay, I know that’s an extreme, but it does make you think. What if it does come down to those early lessons in order for him to be on a collegiate team later in life? I mean, those child prodigies must start their vocations around this age, right? And if not a swimmer, I wonder what else my curious, creative, thoughtful boy will become? Will he take after his father, grandpa, and great-grandpa and be interested in numbers and computers? Will he want to be like daddy and start coding classes soon? Or will he want to explore his creative side and pick up music or photography like Uncle Ryan? He already pretends to cook with my in the kitchen, so I wonder if he could be a chef? Or will he want to do something completely different from all of us and become a doctor or pilot or even a bear whisperer? I look into his big, dark eyes and think, “the world is yours, baby boy.”
Last week, this other mother tagged me in the most touching Instagram comment. Posted below an image of a young girl holding a copy of my book, it read, “My daughter and I enjoy reading and dreaming through this book…Loving learning about baking and teaching my girl it’s never too late or too early to learn a new skill.” Reading this quote brings tears to my eyes! And you know what, she is absolutely right. All this worry over what activities we sign our kids up for, or if they get on the wait-list for the top pre-school or not, or how one swim class at 18- months will look on their college application and I didn’t even start baking until I was 20, haha. My own mother enrolled me in all of the right classes and I went to the best schools, but I didn’t event pick up a camera and set-forth on my current career until age 28. And it’s not just me, Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40 and Julia Child didn’t release her first cookbook until age 49! Instead of worrying if the class I enrolled Everett in was the best/worst in town or if starting too early or too late will have a dramatic effect on his entire future, I should just focus on what inspired me to sign him up in the first place: for the experience.
When I look around at the other mothers and caregivers trying to change a wet baby out of a wet diaper in the family locker room, I know everyone else is there for the same reason. We are all trying to do our best for our kids. It might be the old, crappy pool and our kids probably won’t remember a thing from this summer, but damn it if we aren’t trying our best! In no way is it "fun" for us moms to drag out littles down to the pool twice a week, convince them that the water is fun and safe, dunk them underwater against their will, then struggle to change our squirmy babies (and ourselves) into dry clothes and make it home in time for nap. But every time Everett jumps off the edge of the pool into my arms or finds even just a second of peace during his dreadful backfloats, then I know it was a good idea that I signed him for swim lessons all those months ago….
Congrats to you, kiddo! You did it!
On a side note, I’d LOVE for you all to take a few minutes to fill out this READER SURVEY. It is super quick and easy, I promise! This way, I can make sure that I am creating and sharing the kind of content YOU want to see. Thank you!
Blackberry Ice Cream Recipe with cinnamon and mascarpone
slightly adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon corn starch
¼ cup mascarpone, softened
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
Blackberry sauce (recipe to follow)
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the mascarpone, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla bean seeds. Heat over medium-high and bring to a boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, practically fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water to create an ice bath. Set aside.
Slowly temper in a small amount of the hot cream into the cornstarch mixture. Add everything back to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan back over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring back to a boil for about a minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat and gradually whisk the cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture. Place the bowl over into the ice bath and refrigerate until cold. Mean while, make the blackberry sauce (recipe to follow).
Once cold, pour into an ice cream machine and churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Once done, pack and layer in the ice cream with the blackberry sauce into a loaf pan or other freezer-safe container. Cover with a piece of wax paper and freeze until solid.
1 ½ cups fresh blackberries
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
Place the berries and sugars in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high until the mixture registers about 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Place a mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Strain the seeds from the blackberry sauce and discard. Refrigerate the sauce until cold.