cookie dough ice cream

As you may have noticed I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately, though surprisingly I hadn’t previously attempted making my favorite kind of ice cream so I decided it was high time I changed that.

6.30.13 001

I started by making a vanilla custard base by slicing open a vanilla bean and scraping the seeds into sugar and then rubbing them together to infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar.

6.30.13 007

Then I stirred egg yolks into the vanilla-infused sugar while heating up whole milk and heavy cream over the stove to the point of steaming but not boiling.

6.30.13 008

Then I whisked the milk mixture with the egg mixture and returned them both to the stove and threw in the empty vanilla bean pod (why not!) to continue heating until it thickened.

6.30.13 014

Once the mixture thickened I strained it into a bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water to help cool the custard down.

In the meantime I prepared the cookie dough for the most important part of the ice cream.

6.30.13 018

I had a little help.  My friend’s daughter Zakiya makes an excellent kitchen assistant.  (Don’t worry, I made her wash her hands like twenty times before rolling the dough balls.  [Or maybe I’m the only person whose first thought upon seeing a child holding food I may later consume is “I hope they washed their hands…])

6.30.13 021

She was so helpful and eager to learn that I for sure will be using her assistance again in the future.  And her cookie dough balls were perfectly round!  Mine were lumpy.  No comparison.

Allow me to digress for a minute here upon this amazing little creature of a person.  Below is baby Z, around a week old.  She was born right before I moved to New York.

baby z

Here she is not quite a year later, entertaining as always.

z toddler

Two and a half-ish.  She loved that whistle.  The girl knows her accessories…

toddler z 2

Four.  She was pretending to be a bee at Eastern Market.  Her idea, not mine.  I just asked her to stand in front of the pretty flowers and smile.

z as bee

She’ll be eight in a few weeks and I’m not sure where the time has gone.  Surely I haven’t aged any!  Okay, back to the ice cream…

6.30.13 020

After the custard has completely cooled and churned in an ice cream maker and after the cookie dough has chilled properly in the freezer you stir the two together.  The custard should be about the consistency of soft serve.  After they’ve been stirred together they need to be moved to a freezer-safe container and chilled for several hours more in the freezer before serving.

6.30.13 022

In a word, divine.  I wolfed it down in a couple of days which means I will never again make it unless I have guests to share it with.

Thanks to Z for her help and her mom Tracey for snapping some of the photos!

Cookie Dough Ice Cream (custard from “Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book” by Jake Goodby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi; cookie dough recipe from www.joythebaker.com)

Cookie Dough:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes in the machine. Beat in yogurt along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using hands, roll bite-sized balls and then place on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer overnight or until frozen, at least three hours.

Custard:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fill a large bowl or pan with ice and water.  Place a large, clean bowl in the ice bath and fit the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer.

In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, split the vanilla bean lengthwise.  Using the tip of a small, sharp knife, scrape out the insides into a medium bowl.  Add the sugar and rub it all together with your fingers to incorporate and evenly distribute the vanilla seeds.  Get all the last bits from the bean (save the pod.)  Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat.  Slowly pour about half of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture and return it to medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and being sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, until the liquid begins to steam and you can feel the spatula scrape against the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the custard from the heat and immediately pour it through the strainer into the clean bowl you set up in the ice bath.  Tuck the vanilla bean pod back into the custard.  Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

When the custard has totally cooled, cover the bowl and let steep and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  When you are ready to freeze the custard, remove the vanilla bean, transfer the custard to an ice cream maker, and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  When custard looks to the texture of soft serve, remove from freezer bowl and stir in cookie dough balls.  Eat immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, cover, and freeze for up to 1 week.

strawberry ice cream

I went strawberry picking!  It was humid and sticky and then I got rained on in the midst of it, but I managed to pick 6 pounds of beautiful berries two Sundays ago.

6.14.13 004

It’s so nice to see strawberries that are the shape and size strawberries are supposed to be, not those giant things you sometimes find in the grocery store.  I’m going to make it my mission to pick as much fresh fruit in-season this summer as I possibly can.  Next up: raspberries.  But until then, here is THE BEST strawberry ice cream recipe I have ever tasted.

6.14.13 021

I’ve been on an ice-cream-making kick lately so it didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted to do with some of the berries when I got home.  This recipe from the Humphry Slocombe guys is especially easy as it does not involved egg yolks and therefore does not need to be cooked over the stove to thicken the batter before mixing in your ice cream mixer.  You simply puree up some strawberries and then mix the puree with heavy cream, sweetened condense milk, a little sugar, a little salt, and a touch of balsamic vinegar.  (Trust me, it works.)

6.14.13 011

It makes the creamiest ice cream you ever did have.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I highly suggest you run out to purchase one right now and then make this the first thing you create in it.  So simple and so delicious.

6.14.13 031

Here’s Your Damn Strawberry Ice Cream (adapted slightly from “Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book” by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi)

  • 1 pint fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Put the strawberries in a blender and process to a smooth puree.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds or leave unstrained (I did not strain).  Transfer the strawberry puree to a large bowl; add the cream, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, salt, and vinegar; and whisk it all together until the sugar is dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Eat immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, cover, and freeze for up to 1 week.

mascarpone gelato, like vanilla, only creamier

It’s been in the upper 80’s for the past few days which prompted me to bust out my ice cream maker– hot weather = ice cream time. So many flavors to choose from, so many mix-in options, but I was wanting something simple and straightforward, something that might go well with pie. I found a recipe I had cut out from a 1994 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (apparently even as a young teen I was a Martha fan) for mascarpone gelato. Winner!

11.22.12 008

Mascarpone is a soft Italian style cheese that is similar to cream cheese, though smoother and more fresh tasting. The rest of the ingredients for the custard base were exactly what they would be for vanilla gelato (vanilla bean, whole milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, and sugar) and the mascarpone is added at the very end when you chill the custard to prepare it for your ice cream maker.

11.22.12 001

The resulting gelato tastes like the best vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had, except creamier and richer. Ah-mazing. Will definitely pair nicely with the rhubarb pie I’m planning to make this weekend!

5.19.13 022

Mascarpone Gelato (from 1994 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mascarpone

In a medium saucepan, heat milk and vanilla bean and scrapings. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Steep for 30 minutes.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a simmer.

Remove vanilla bean. Add half the milk to egg-yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Stir into remaining milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon.

Remove from heat and immediately stir in cream. Pass mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl set over an ice bath to chill. Whisk in mascarpone until completely blended, then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store in a plastic container.

peanut butter curry ice cream

A few months ago I made a day trip to San Francisco for work (I don’t recommend this if you live east of the Mississippi as I do…) and after the business portion of the trip was complete I was able to meet up with a good friend of mine who lives there for dinner.  Dinner was great and we were chatting along so that time was passing by quickly and all of a sudden I could see a lightbulb go off in his head: he suggested that we try to go to a place in the same neighborhood for ice cream before it closed.  This being a good friend of mine he knows that ice cream is my favorite so we walked as quickly as we could to the ice cream joint with what sounds like a man’s name, Humphry Slocombe.

Unfortunately we were too late, they had already closed for the day, but I peeked in to see what I was missing: flavors with names like Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Secret Breakfast, and Malted Dulce de Leche.  I knew someday I would return to sample these delicious-sounding flavors in person.  In the meantime when amazon recommended their cookbook to me based on past purchases I added it to my wishlist and was generously gifted it for my birthday last month.

I knew which flavor I wanted to test first.

If you’ve looked at this blog before you’ve maybe noticed that I like Thai food and curries of any ethnic origin in general.  Peanut sauce is the bomb.  Peanut butter curry ice cream?  What a great idea!

It sounds like it might not work, but it totally does.  It’s sweet, but not overly so and the curry gives it a nice punch.  So until I can make it back to San Francisco I look forward to at least trying more of Humphry Slocombe’s recipes!

Peanut Butter Curry Ice Cream (slightly from “Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book” by Jack Godby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder (vadouvan curry, finely minced, if you can find it)

Fill a large bowl or pan with ice and water.  Place a large, clean bowl in the ice bath and fit the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer.

In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, milk, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot but not boiling.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla until well blended.  If you’re using curry powder (not vadouvan), whisk that in now, too.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat.  Slowly pour about have of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.  Transfer the yolk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture and return it to medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula and being sure to scrape the bottom of the saucepan so it doesn’t scorch, until the liquid begins to steam and you can feel the spatula scrape against the bottom of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the custard from the heat and immediately pour it through the strainer into the clean bowl you set up in the ice bath.  If you’re using vadouvan, stir it in right now.  Let cool, stirring constantly.

When the custard has totally cooled, cover the bowl tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.  When you are ready to freeze the custard, transfer it to an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Eat immediately, or transfer to an airtight container, cover, and freeze for up to 1 week.

4th of July: Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

It has been way too hot to bake lately and I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking either.  Trying to conserve energy– both my own and that of the electricity in my apartment.  I don’t have central air and my little window unit only does the trick for about a third of the apartment and the kitchen is not in that third.  No matter.  I decided it was a good excuse to buy myself a new ice cream maker (as if one needs a good excuse!).  The freezer bowl on my old one started leaking blue fluid everywhere which I’m guessing is not a good thing at all.  It had to go.

I bought some lovely strawberries at the market last weekend and they looked and smelled like strawberries ought to and while I generally think that ice cream should always involve chocolate in one form or another I have occasionally been known to choose strawberry as an alternative flavor.  It just sounded refreshing in this heat.

And man was that a wise decision.  I could have slurped up the batter when it was more like a thick strawberry milk and skipped the freezing step where it turned into ice cream.  It’s that good.  The addition of buttermilk really melds nicely with the strawberries– makes it  little richer.

I hope everyone enjoys their July 4th and manages to avoid the heat!  It’s going to be a sticky one today…

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

  • 3 cups strawberries, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl combine the strawberries, ½ cup of sugar, and lemon juice.  Stir gently and then set aside for 30 minutes to 2 hours to let berries macerate.  Strain the berries, reserving juices.  Mash or puree half the berries.

Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and remaining ¾ cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, heat milk and whisk in egg-yolk mixture over low heat.  Stir constantly, until mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat and immediately stir in heavy cream.  Pass mixture through a strainer into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice bath until chilled, stirring from time to time.  Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, and juice from strawberries along with the mashed strawberries, then freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Five minutes before mixing is complete add the reserved strawberry slices and let mix in completely.  Transfer to plastic container to store.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Do your Sundays fly by as fast as mine do? I just don’t know where the day went… and it doesn’t help that I live next to a church whose bell rings on the hour, every hour, reminding you exactly how fast the day is going. Ding, ding… it’s two o’clock already? Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. What??? Five o’clock? No way. I swear only 5 minutes passed between the time the bell struck six times and when it struck seven. It felt like that shot in an old black-and-white movie where the hour hand just flies around the clock to illustrate the passing of time. (Why doesn’t time fly like that during the work day?) On the very bright side, today I made black sesame ice cream.

I first encountered black sesame ice cream years ago at a dessert restaurant in NYC called Kyotofu and then consumed it on a frequent basis several years after that when I lived mere blocks away from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It’s good stuff. It’s got a toasted, nutty flavor to it, not totally unlike peanut butter but I would even say better than. And I live on pb.

This ice cream is so good I daresay that if it were legal to marry ice cream in the state of Wisconsin I would march down to the county clerk and get myself a permit straight away. It’s that good. And I was afraid whatever I could make at home couldn’t live up to what I’ve had in the past, but you know what? It was even better. For reals. I can see this ice cream and I enjoying a lovely summer together…

Black Sesame Ice Cream (loosely adapted from “Black Sesame and Orange Ice Cream” found on www.seriouseats.com by Ethan Frisch and Max Falkowitz)

  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Toast sesame seeds in small skillet, stirring frequently, until fragrant and nutty, then set aside to cool.

Transfer seeds to a blender and blend on high till seeds are crushed. (I don’t have a blender so used my coffee grinder to pulverize the seeds and then transferred them to a food processor for next step.) Add two to three tablespoons heavy cream and blend till smooth. Add remaining heavy cream and milk and blend on high till well combined, about two minutes. Seeds will not be completely pulverized, which is fine. Large chunks can always be strained out.

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk yolk and dairy mixtures in a heavy-bottomed three quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly while custard thickens. Custard is done when it coats the back of a spoon and a swiped finger leaves a clean line.

Remove from heat and pass mixture through a strainer into a medium mixing bowl set in an ice bath until chilled, stirring from time to time. Stir in sesame oil and salt till well combined. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic container to store.

salty caramel ice cream

I love ice cream.  It has been my most favorite food ever since I was a kid and in fact one of the first things I remember wanting to be when I grew up was an owner of a Dairy Queen.  True story.  My very first job was at a Dairy-Queen-like place in my hometown and I can easily ramble off some of the best places to get ice cream across the country off the top of my head (Herrell’s in Northampton, MA, Cones in New York City, Shatila in Dearborn, MI, Babcock Dairy in Madison, WI, see?)  I would add Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH to this list only I have never actually been there.  If I ever find myself in Columbus you can bet I will be stopping by, but until then I plan to work my way through Jeni’s cookbook.  (Is it still called a “cookbook” when it’s all about ice cream?)

I decided to start with her Salty Caramel ice cream which is apparently her most popular flavor.  I am always a fan of salty and sweet together so dove in even though the first step is to burn raw sugar in a saucepan which I found slightly daunting.  I shouldn’t have.  It was easy!

Jeni’s recipes don’t involve egg yolks which was a first for me when making ice cream and suited me just fine since it is easy to start to cook the egg yolks while making the custard and that is no bueno.  No one wants a cooked egg bite when eating ice cream.  Yick.

This ice cream is divine.  You can taste the burnt sugar caramel-y goodness with the hint of the sea salt.  It is creamy and smooth and all the things you want ice cream to be.  It was also fantastic when paired with the gluten-free brownies I made earlier in the week– especially if you heat the brownies up a bit first!  Mmm…  Going for a jog now.

Salty Caramel Ice Cream (from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” by Jeni Britton Bauer)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color.  Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: it will fizzle, pop, and spurt.  Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir.  Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.  If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the vanilla and whisk.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour into frozen ice cream maker canister and spin until thick and creamy.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.