I’ve mentioned my love of good ice cream on the blog before. I ADORE ice cream. Not just any ice cream though, I have been spoiled by very good ice cream in my life. I spent 15 years in Columbus, Ohio where Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and Graeter’s are simply part of the culture. I grew up in Northeast Ohio where Handel’s and Toft’s Dairy serve up rich and creamy cones of deliciousness.
I’ve sat beside Trevi fountain while enjoying some of the best gelato in Rome and I’ve strolled the streets of Oslo wearing a coat to keep myself warm while slurping up creamy delicious ice cream eaten by Nobel Prize candidates.
I like ice cream ok? And I’ve been exposed to some darn fine ice cream in my life.
But I’d never tried to make it. Because to me…home made ice cream is that slightly soupy vanilla smush that comes out of a hand crank freezer filled with rock salt and ice.
In other words, not worth the effort.
Then I heard that Jeni Britton of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams had released a cookbook touting ways to make her delicious creations at home. While reading the reviews on Amazon, I stumbled across David Leibowitz’s book “The Perfect Scoop.”
It dawned on me. I might be able to whip up a worthy pint or two of my favorite treat right here in the test kitchen.
Unfortunately, I did not have an ice cream maker, nor do we have the disposable income right now to justify buying one. So I put it out of my mind.
Until my birthday rolled around and I opened the card from my in-laws.
And I looked at the size and shape of the box and realized…these people are no dummies. They know exactly what’s going to happen if they get me an ice cream maker.
Oh yes…our household is now in possession of our very own Cuisinart ICE-21 ice cream maker.
And boy has that thing been earning it’s keep. So far, I’ve cranked our dark chocolate peanut butter, brown butter pecan, orange dreamcicle, goat cheese ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and triple berry lambec sorbet.
Thankfully, I’ve had three parties during that time, so it hasn’t all gone to my waist. I’ll be sharing all of the recipes on the blog in the coming weeks…but I had to start off with the one that started it all.
Dark chocolate peanut butter.
I have spent much of my adult life on the quest for the perfect ice cream. Toft’s Dairy in Sandusky, Ohio came close with the now discontinued “White Lightening,” a delicious dark chocolate ice cream streaked with a thick vein of peppermint filling. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream ranks toward the top of my list with their smooth and creamy “Salty Caramel” and Handel’s Ice Cream in Northeast Ohio serves up a deeply rich chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream that has absolutely captured my heart.
So when it came time to hunt for my first recipe, dark chocolate peanut butter made the top of the list.
After taking the time to read through half a dozen recipes, I settled on one from the Scrumptious and Sumptuous blog. (With a blog name like that, how can you resist?)
I had all the ingredients on hand, so I went to work. I only made a few slight changes to her original recipe and the results were…well, dare I say it, simply the best dark chocolate peanut butter ice cream I have ever eaten in my life.
Remember last week when I talked about my reaction to the Mongolian Beef? It was something like that. In one week’s time, I made two of the best recipes I’ve made in my entire life. (Cause that’s how I roll…yeah…that’s why…)
I’m not sure I can even think of the words to describe this one. I’ve never had a good chocolate peanut butter ice cream that didn’t have a swirl of peanut butter visibly running through it before. This one doesn’t…because you mix the peanut butter with the ice cream base, and then mix it all back in with the ice cream. But it works, trust me it works. And the results are wonderful!
(WARNING: this recipe does contain raw eggs…I’m ok with a little risk in life, but if you aren’t, you’ll either want to use pasteurized eggs or bypass the recipe.)
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(Adapted from Scrumptious and Sumptuous Blog)
- 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I just used two Baker’s squares)
- 1/3 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate over medium heat. (Or, if you are like me, chop it up and toss it in your Wilton Pro Chocolate Melting Pot because you dip stuff in chocolate SO often that you have a special pot for it.)
Whisk the cocoa powder into the milk and pop it all in the microwave for about 60 seconds to warm it up a bit. (You don’t want your melted chocolate to seize up when you pour something cold into it.) Slowly add the milk mixture into the melted chocolate, stirring as you go until it’s all smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and set in the fridge to cool down a bit.
In a metal bowl, whisk your eggs together until creamy, (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment) then slowly add the sugar while continuing to whisk until everything is sort of light and frothy.
Add the cream and vanilla and continue to beat until everything is well incorporated. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture in and continue mixing until everything is all happily swimming together and frothy.
Pour the mixture into a gallon size Ziplock freezer bag and submerge in an ice bath for 30-45 minutes. (Or, put it in the fridge overnight, but who on earth wants to wait that long for things to cool? I just loaded up my sink with cold water and ice and gave the bag a few squishes every 15 minutes.)
When you are ready to make the ice cream, measure out about half a cup of peanut butter into a bowl. Pour one to two cups of the ice cream base into the bowl and whisk it together with the peanut butter. You want it to be a “pourable” consistency.
Set up your ice cream mixer and pour the rest of the base into it. As the mixer is turning and the ice cream starts to chill, (about 5 minutes after you turn it on) slowly pour the peanut butter mixture into the maker. As the ice cream swirls, it will blend everything together just right.
When the ice cream has finished mixing (about 20-25 minutes in mine) transfer it to a freezer safe container and pop it in your freezer. Mine was edible immediately, but it wasn’t properly scoopable for about 3-4 hours.
I’ve already had to make a second batch because we went through the first batch in about a week’s time. This stuff is going to be a regular fixture in our freezer this summer.
To note, it’s a self-protecting ice cream. You really can’t eat more than a scoop of it. (and I have a very high ice cream tolerance.) That makes it the perfect option for a super decadent dessert that you don’t WANT to go hog wild on.
Keep an eye out for plenty more ice cream recipes to come. I’m already looking at options to use the fresh mint that grows along our creeks, and a few ways to use up the gallons of blueberries and the quarts of black raspberries that come from my mother’s and my yards.
Now to develop a work-out plan to counter balance all this…