Beat the Heat with Ice Cream! (N&R July 2012)

This summer it seems everyone is looking for a break from the heat.  So, what did I do to entertain my friends and their lactose-intolerant international visitor on one of the hottest days of 2012? I took them for a high-noon hayride and creamy frozen treat at our local dairy farm, Homeland Creamery.  It turns out; when it’s more than 100 degrees on a sunny summer day just about anyone will scream for ice cream!

About 20 miles south of downtown Greensboro, past several wandering llamas and vacation bible school signs, you’ll find the Bowman family’s seventh generation dairy farm in Julian, N.C.

My friends and I joined 35 parents, grandparents and children on a tour of the Creamery complete with hayride, baby heifers and a sweltering visit to the milking facility.  Our sassy tour guide Diana, a retired insurance agent who lives near the farm,  spends her days herding more children than heifers. Homeland Creamery gives two farm tours per day until Thanksgiving.  And despite the heat during National Ice Cream Month this July, it is a perfect way to connect your children to the milk they drink each morning.

The century old farm is home to 400 Jersey-Holstein crossbreed cows.  This unique breed makes Homeland products special, as they produce milk higher in butter fat than a typical cow.  Not only are these local cows extraordinary, they are given no artificial growth hormones and the farm utilizes sustainable practices, allowing the cows to graze freely on their land.

Homeland cows are milked twice a day producing three to four gallons per sitting.  All of this counts up to more than 200,000 gallons of milk per year that reaches grocery stores and markets throughout central North Carolina.  And during the summertime, Homeland uses the milk and cream to produce around 800 gallons of ice cream a week.  Their 21 flavors of ice cream range from double dark chocolate to peach, peanut butter and pineapple.

I made two like-minded, ice cream-loving friends on the hayride.  Avery and Tyler Edwards didn’t mind the heat as they chugged bottled water in anticipation of the ice cream conclusion of the tour.  The shy, blond-headed and rosy cheeked girls were visiting the Creamery with their grandmother.

Homeland Creamery is one of only three North Carolina dairy farms to bottle their own milk.  The family secret is in their practice – from farming to pasteurization.  And, in my opinion, you can taste the difference.  You can find Homeland Creamery products throughout the Triad at Fresh Market, Wholefoods, Best Way and both Farmer’s Markets.

Homemade ice cream sandwiches are always a hit at my summer gatherings.  You can make them in all varieties with your favorite cookie recipe and local ice cream. My Margarita Ice Cream Sandwich was big hit for my family’s summer get-together.  These non-alcoholic sweet and savory treats are perfect for a mature pallet but will please anyone young at heart.

After all, ice cream is for kids of all ages.

Margarita Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 gallon Homeland Creamery Lemon Cream Ice Cream

Combine flour and 1/2 tsp sea salt in medium bowl and mix well. Cream butter in mixer for one minute and add 3/4 cup sugar. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat for 2 more minutes. Slowly add flour and salt mixture and mix on low speed until dough comes together.

Combine the lime zest, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a shallow dish or plate for rolling.

Roll the dough into a 2 1/2 inch diameter log then roll in the sea salt mixture. Roll log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to over night. Line cookie sheet with parchment. Slice 1/4 inch think and bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until just lightly browned on the bottom. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute and transfer to a wire rack.

Once completely cooled, scoop one ball of Homeland Dairy Lemon Cream Ice Cream in between two cookies.  Place on a cold cookie sheet and freeze the sandwiches for an hour or until served.

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