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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…])

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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

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.


  • 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.

before and after, home edition

If there are two things I’m a sucker for they are before and after photos (doesn’t matter whether it’s of people or places) and home tours.  There’s nothing quite like peeking into how others live and particularly how they design their living spaces.  This post is a little of both.  It’s intensely personal since it’s my home, but since most of you reading this are family and the rest of you friends and I’m not personally on the Facebook, this is how the photos are getting disseminated.  For the two of you reading this who I do not know personally, well, I hope you enjoy before and afters and home tours as much as I do.

I’m renting an old house which has a lot of character like I like, but also had some paint choices that I didn’t so much like so I’ve spent a month of weekends re-painting it.  Below is the entryway and stairs leading to the second floor with carpet that as my friend Mary would say is “special.”  Since I’m renting and not wanting to invest too much, the special carpet stays.

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The living room has a working fireplace and some great wood trim details but I wasn’t too fond of the almost army green walls and floral window treatments…

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…so I painted the walls gray and put up some store-bought curtains and took down the dirty blinds.  Those things are impossible to keep clean!

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A little goth vignette over the fireplace.  The fake crow was a prop used in some Halloween store windows I helped put together years ago and I’ve always loved the way vintage silhouettes looked so it went from there.  Found the crow print at an estate sale in Wisconsin for like $1.  Gotta love that kind of art.

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Since the walls and woodwork are fairly dark I made throw pillows in vibrant colors and put up a bright vintage travel print I picked up on the MoMA website for like $3 years ago.  It cost a heck of a lot more to get it framed, but I digress.

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Yes, I color code my media.  It pleases me.

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The dining room was the least offensive room, color-wise, but the two-tone yellow paint accented the fact that there are two different shades of trim (chair rail is white and crown moulding is cream) and so it had to be painted over…

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…to a nice shade of taupe.

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The other side of the entryway, which fortunately I did not have to paint as the walls transition nicely with what’s going on in the dining and living rooms on either side of it.  Love the old light fixture.

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The solarium was my least favorite room of the house at first because it was dingy and the windows drafty and oh those floral window treatments…

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But it’s amazing what a little white paint, curtains, and some plants will do to change a room.  Now it may very well be my favorite room in the house.  Still would like to get a large area rug to cover up the grungy berber carpet but it somehow looks cleaner now that the walls have been painted.

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The family that lived here clearly had a daughter as one of the bedrooms was painted a pale pink that I actually could have lived with were it not for the butterfly and American Girl motifs painted on a few of the walls.  (Oh, and notice that both the crown moulding and the ceiling are also painted pink.  Yeah.  That was fun to paint over.)

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Now it is a light tan and serves as a guest bedroom.

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Clearly the family also had a son as the other small bedroom was painted blue and the son appears to have carved his name into the bedroom door.  Awesome.

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I chose a nicer, Robin’s egg blue and turned the room into my office/studio/extra guest bedroom.

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The master bedroom was painted coral and not just coral, but CORAL in ALL CAPS.  The photo below doesn’t do it justice but I swear to you it was almost neon.  It was hard to relax at night and fall asleep in a room that color.

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I sleep much better now that it is a soothing gray.

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Since the kitchen is where the magic happens I wanted to include it, even though there’s not much to it.  I’ve had larger kitchens, but I’ve definitely had smaller too.  All of the kitchens I’ve lived in have been pretty kitschy and this is no exception.  The wallpaper is interesting as are the window treatments but I left them up as I figured it would be nearly impossible to find another fabric that would match remotely to the paper.  I did a little painting in here but neglected to take a before photo.  Just imagine the lower half of the wall painted in a celery green.  Special.

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spring has sprung

My sincerest apologies for the long delay between posts, though a lot has happened over the past two months: namely, I left Wisconsin and moved to Indiana for a new job.  Though I never previously imagined myself as a resident of the state of Indiana it puts me exponentially closer to my home state of Michigan which is very exciting.  Also, I’ve already identified a handful of very good restaurants in the greater Fort Wayne area.  Who knew.




sweet potato and sage butter casserole

“No one who cooks cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”  Laurie Colwin from “Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen.”

This came from the foreword of a book my mom gave me for my birthday last year and even though I haven’t read further than the foreword yet I know I am going to love the book already based on this line alone.

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Today I share with you this simple and quick (and delicious) recipe for a sweet potato casserole featuring one of two herbs I’ve managed to keep alive in my apartment: sage (the other being rosemary.)  It comes from a cook who is often with me when I am alone in my kitchen: Martha Stewart.

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Sweet Potato and Sage Butter Casserole (recipe found at

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 ounce (2 tablespoons), melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from 3 slices white bread, crusts removed)

Place sweet potatoes and potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water, and season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 9 minutes. Drain; pass through a ricer into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1 stick butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add 2 tablespoons sage. Stir butter mixture and milk into potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. (Mixture can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

Combine breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter and remaining 1/2 tablespoon sage. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Top potato mixture with breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling around edges and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. (If browning too quickly, tent with foil.) Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

a belated Happy New Year to all!

Happy belated holidays!  I took a little time off and I hope you did too.

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My holiday break started with one whale of a storm in these parts of Wisconsin.  The snow started falling at about 8 at night and kept going for a good solid 24 hours after that.  It was really beautiful.

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Until I had to shovel, of course.  But even then I didn’t mind so much, especially because I knew it was likely the last bit of exercise I would get before the total glutton-fest that are the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s.

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Below you can see my handiwork and also get a better picture of just how much snow there was.  That was two weeks ago and it looks pretty much the same now except I threw out the wreath as the sun managed to dry it out.

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But on to the glutton-fest, beginning with my Aunt Sarah’s famous cinnamon rolls that she only makes this time of year.  She gave me her top-secret recipe and I plan to share it with you in the coming weeks.

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I did a little bit of cooking over Christmas– a couple of soups for my dad who wasn’t feeling great, including my first attempt at chicken noodle soup (pretty darn good once I got the salt amount right) and a pumpkin bread pudding for Christmas day brunch.  Mostly though I ate the cooking/baking of family members whose talents in the kitchen are immense.  In addition to the aforementioned rolls, highlights were my cousin Erica’s corn pudding, cousin Wendi’s peanut butter balls, Aunt Dianne’s vegan potato casserole, and my brother’s girlfriend’s outstanding German New Year’s Eve meal which concluded with the below pictured mango-peach chocolate torte.

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I swear she made it herself and didn’t buy it from one of those fancy bakeries.  And it tasted as good as it looked!

I will be back soon with the regularly scheduled programming but in the meantime would like to mention that in addition to following this blog I am also follow-able on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest should you be on any of those.  My username is baxterandmain on all and while I did not update the blog or Facebook over the past few weeks I was at least tweeting, instagramming, and pinning.  So I wasn’t completely blog-neglectful…

Hey!  Look out for the icicles.

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