What do you crave during winter when there is snow on the ground? It doesn’t happen very often in Seattle, particularly in our area, but we managed to have a mini snowstorm that kept us indoors for a bit.
My husband had an ice cream craving, which seemed really odd to me when it is so cold out. But, he doesn’t often make specific food requests, so I decided to give it a go. I began with a cookies and cream recipe I found online. Since then, I did my own version of the America’s Test Kitchen basic ice cream recipe.
You start with a custard base . . . the original recipe used equal parts whole milk and heavy cream, but since we usually have 1 or 2% only, I modified it a bit.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk (1 or 2%)
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 Tablespoons instant coffee
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon vodka
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
You heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat, along with 1/2 cup sugar and the coffee and cocoa powder, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches 175 degrees and starts to steam (about 5 minutes), you are ready to proceed.
Whisk 1/4 cup sugar with the egg yolks until smooth. You have to add some of the steamed milk to the eggs and temper the eggs before dumping it all in the saucepan. Continue to cook until it reaches 180-185 degrees. For me, it’s almost immediately, so I give it a couple extra minutes to make sure it’s all cooked. Stir in the vodka and vanilla extract
Then, strain the custard into a bowl that is chilling (literally) in ice water. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, then cover and put in the fridge.
Once it’s in the fridge for 3 hours, you are ready to churn it. Follow your manufacturer’s directions.
Between the time of putting the custard in the fridge and churning it, you should figure out what mix-ins you want, if any. I made brownies and tore them into itty bitty pieces. You should chill the mix-ins in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
After the ice cream is done churning, put it in a bowl and stir in your brownies, cookies, whatever. Make sure you either keep the pieces small and/or soft. Everything hardens, and the vodka only does so much to keep the ice cream softer. Now, freeze the ice cream in an airtight container for a few hours until it’s hard enough for your liking!
My major issues with making ice cream was having issues making it less icy and being more soft for serving. After doing some research, I discovered that the big ice cream makers use preservatives to keep ice cream “creamy”. Since I didn’t want to use fancy preservatives or gelatin (not good for vegetarian friends), it left alcohol! Vodka works best because it’s flavorless, but you can add flavored ones to complement your ice cream flavors. If you want to add fruit to your ice cream, there were some added steps included in the ATK cookbook, but I haven’t made that kind yet. Maybe next time?