Star Anise with Candied Fennel Seeds Ice Cream
I've got another private cooking class on Saturday night. They want to learn how to make dumplings...perhaps inspired by the upcoming Chinese New Year? Anyway, we won't have time to make dessert together, so I offered to bring green tea ice cream as a little extra to end the meal on a sweet note. As I was contemplating the menu further I thought why serve green tea ice cream when there's got to be a million other Asian-inspired flavors out there that aren't being plopped down in front of people as they finish their meals in whatever Chinese restaurant they're dining in with the check? Am I right?Say hello to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home! She's a chef from Ohio that started what's now a chain of ice cream shops (and I believe offered at some groceries too) around the US. If you can get your hands on her creative cookbook do. It was from here that I pulled the recipe for Star Anise with Candied Fennel Seeds Ice Cream...but I ran into a bit of trouble finding the multi-colored fennel seeds the recipe called for here in Beirut. Instead, I've decided to make them at home and if you're looking for a creative sprinkle to top off your desserts or an after-dinner breath freshener or a just a less processed version of the original, try making these at home. They couldn't be easier!Candied Fennel Seeds1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup water1/2 cup fennel seedsIn a small saucepan mix together the sugar and water over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is disolved and it's syrupy and quite vigorously bubbling. Now add the fennel seeds and continue to stir continuously until the mixture crystalizes (which will happen all the sudden). The fennel seeds will almost look dry at this point. Now place them on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry further and cool completely before storing.