Coffee Ice Cream with Rosemary Shortbread

Coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I’m a dedicated coffee drinker. I was very loyal to illy for a time, while Costco carried it, but now my heart belongs to LavAzza. Many of you recommended it to me, but honestly I never tried it until I went to my friend’s bakery. At the Salty Tart Michelle creates pastries that inspired Andrew Zimmern to say it is the “best bakery in the World!” The coffee she serves is LavAzza. The coffee is excellent, worthy of her treats and good enough to make me switch from illy!

So when I wanted to make coffee ice cream I used Lavazza beans and a recipe from David Lebovitz, which I found in a recent copy of Fine Cooking magazine. The coffee flavor is so deep and intense that it almost has a bittersweet chocolate taste to it. If you’ve ever had Vietnamese ice coffee, this ice cream is reminiscent. That rich flavor just begged for something bright, so I paired the coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread. A new addiction is born!

Coffee Ice Cream by David Lebovitz from Perfect Scoop:

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans, slightly crushed, but not ground fine. (I put them in the coffee grinder and pulsed several times just to break them up. If they are too fine they will absorb too much of the cream and the ice cream may be bitter.)

5 egg yolks

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, inspired by Emily Luchetti’s recipe in A Passion for Desserts:

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons rice flour (rice flour has no gluten so it would make the cookies more tender. If you don’t have rice flour, you could substitute cake flour.)

pinch salt

1 teaspoon finely chopped Rosemary, more whole needles for the top of the cookies.

1 teaspoon orange zest

To make the ice cream:

Preparing ice bath for ice cream custard | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Prepare an ice bath to cool your ice cream custard. Place ice in a large bowl, fill that bowl 1/2 way with cold water. Place another bowl into the ice water. Make sure the bowl is big enough to hold all of the ice cream custard.

Steeping coffee beans in heated cream and milk mixture for ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a medium sauce pan gently heat 1 cup of the cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla bean and coffee beans. Allow to simmer for a moment and then remove from heat and cover. Let the coffee and vanilla steep in the cream for at least an hour, but up to 6 hours. I let mine go a long time to get a really intense flavor. It worked!!!

Drizzling coffee custard into egg yolks for ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once you’ve allowed the coffee to steep long enough, bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer. Place your yolks in a medium sized bowl and whisk so they are smooth. While whisking, slowly drizzle a cup of the hot cream over the yolks.

Combining egg yolks and custard mixture for ice cream | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

When the yolks feel warm add them back to the pot of cream and cook on low heat, just until

the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of your spoon. Immediately remove from heat.

Place the remaining cup of cream in the bowl over your ice bath. Strain the custard into the cream. This will help to cool it down quickly.

Push the cream out of the coffee beans with a rubber spatula. Cool the custard in the ice bath until well chilled. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is even better to achieve the smoothest texture.

Pouring ice cream custard into ice cream maker | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Freeze the custard according to the Ice Cream Maker manufacturer’s directions.

Ice cream mixing in ice cream maker | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The ice cream should be set up, but still soft like ice cream from Dairy Queen. In other words don’t let it spin so long that it is hard enough to scoop. If you let it go that far it may get grainy and a little bit greasy tasting. Transfer it back to the lidded container and freeze for another couple of hours. This may seem like a long time to wait, but the texture of ice cream you get will bring you to your knees! 😉

While the ice cream is setting up you can prepare the rosemary shortbread!

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment place the cold butter, sugar, flours, salt, rosemary and zest. Mix until the dough just comes together in a smooth dough. This can take 5-8 minutes, more if your butter is very cold.

Form the dough into a 2-inch thick log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Can be made the day before.

Slicing rosemary shortbread dough | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Cut the dough 1/8th-inch thick slices.

Rosemary shortbread dough slices on baking sheet | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Press more rosemary in the cookies that are placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until the edges are golden brown.

Coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Serve the coffee ice cream with rosemary shortbread, but be warned that you will become addicted! The ice cream would also be amazing with cajeta or chocolate cake!

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35 thoughts to “Coffee Ice Cream with Rosemary Shortbread”

  1. Oh my! That ice cream sounds so good! I think I would have to put some hot fudge and toasted almonds on it. The cookies sound interesting. Sort of like something you would be served at a fancy Southern tea. Nicely done!

  2. Wow, you have me on both desserts. Planning on buying my ice cream maker this week and this just may be my first choice. It has been scorching temps here in Umbria this week and a scoop of ice cream would be ideal after a long, very hot day.

    I also love any fresh herb dessert so have bookmarked this to make the shortbread as well. We have wild rosemary growing all over our property.

  3. The Rosemary Shortbread cookies makes you want to pop them straight into your mouth!

    All the best for the dinner at the Walker Art Centre..wonder what dessert you will make..hope to see them on your blog.

  4. I’m splat with my face next to the screen Zoe. I’m a huge COFFEE person & this ice-cream is sensational. Steeping must have made it come alive & kicking! The pairing with shortbread juts makes it even more indulgent…YUM!!

  5. What an inspired pairing of flavors!

    My first love is deep, dark chocolate ice cream but this recipe could certainly make me think twice!

    Shortbread is a favorite of mine and your recipe sounds delightful.

    Thank you!

  6. Oh the ice-cream looks amazing. I used to drink a lot of Illy and Lavazza, but these days our household drinks more locally roasted stuff.

  7. Love the Perfect Scoop. Haven’t tried this one yet, it is on the list. Love the rosemary cookies, I am for sure making them and soon!

  8. What a great combination! Love the look of the rosmary shortbread – and it’s easy to make, too. I’m just thinking of a different version: Some shortbread crumbles in the ice cream. Would that work?

  9. Zoe, again we’re so in synch! My signature holiday cookie is rosemary shortbread — I even send it out in my Christmas card one year. I’ll have to try it again with rice flour, as well as your lovely presentation. In the meantime, here’s my recipe:
    Hope your urban farm is giving you great success. My veg garden at the weekend farm is particularly humbling lately.


  10. gorgeous brown edges but no info on oven temp or time to bake??? I guess butter dough is touchy stuff!

  11. Hi Margie,

    THANK YOU so much for pointing out my omission! I didn’t mean for you to have to guess at the baking! 😉 I’ve now added the temp and time to the post!

    Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi Zoe,
    yesterday i went out and brought the exact same ice cream maker as you have and this morning i attempted to make your wonderful recipe.
    I froze the bowl overnight and cooled the ingredients and turned it on and it just went to a sloppy soupy mush and stayed that way. i kept it going for 20 mins, then 40 mins and For the life of me i couldn’t get it to freeze. Is there a special trick to these machines that is not in the manual? am i doing something wrong? please help.
    kind wishes, Sarah.

  13. Hi Sarah,

    Did the bowl of your ice cream maker feel as though it was frozen? Did the ice cream base at least freeze to the sides when you first put it in? It sounds like the bowl wasn’t frozen enough??? I just borrowed this machine from a friend so I will ask her if there was something unusual about getting the bowl to freeze, like needing it to sit in the freezer longer.

    Thanks, Zoë

  14. Oh, Zoe, if you love this coffee ice cream, you must try Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Nib Ice Cream in her “bittersweet” book. It is to die for.
    I’ve been making lots of shortbread lately, too. I hadn’t thought of adding rosemary. Next batch! Thanks for sharing all of your great recipes and wonderful photos.

  15. ahh you were right Zoe, my freezer wasn’t cold enough! i turned my freezer up and rested the bowl at the very back near the wall and it now works a treat! thank you for your kind advice and reply.

  16. Mmm, this coffee ice cream sounds fantastic! I love soft ice cream. And I bet it pairs absolutely beautifully with those wonderfully herby rosemary shortbread. Fantastic!

  17. What a wonderful pairing of flavors!

    On the coffee/espresso front, I’m partial to Kimbo. I’m pretty sure they make regular coffee beans as well. As a lover of Illy and LavAzza, you must try it at least once.

  18. Wow both of these desserts sound so wonderful time to go buy whole coffee beans.

    Shortbread sounds so good do you think I could substitute rice flour for tapioca flour?

  19. Hi! The ice cream truly sounds addictive. What can be substituted to make it egg-free? Would appreciate a response. Thanks.

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