Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Scream, You Scream

In case you were wondering, I have a sweet tooth.  Maybe a few of them.  And one of my favorite sweet treats has got to be ice cream.

Several years ago we bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker as an anniversary gift to ourselves.  At that time, I did all kinds of research, finding recipes for flavors I thought we would enjoy.  Most of the recipes included egg yolks, but because I've never been comfortable (or good at) tempering eggs, we generally used pasteurized egg whites.  This yielded results that were okay, but the ice cream was never as creamy as one can get from Edy's (known as Dreyer's out west) Slow Churned (my personal grocery store favorite).

But then I discovered Jeni Britton Bauer's Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which details recipes from ice creams made at her artisan-style creameries based in Columbus, Ohio.  The great thing about Bauer's recipes is that she doesn't use eggs.  She relies on cornstarch and corn syrup to thicken her concoctions instead.  Needless to say, I had to try this method.

My first outing with this new method was a Madagascar Vanilla version of Bauer's Ugandan Vanilla Bean.  I'm generally not a huge fan of vanilla ice cream, but I figured it was a good place to start, especially since I already had some vanilla beans left from my homemade vanilla project (a post on that is upcoming).  The result?  The BEST vanilla ice cream I have EVER tasted.  Thick, creamy, rich, fabulous.  So I moved on to The Milkiest Chocolate in the World, before trying The Buckeye State (peanut butter and honey ice cream) and Gooey Butter Cake.  Each one of them was phenomenal.  Jeni Britton Bauer is my new hero!

One thing I really liked about Bauer's book was the ice cream base recipe she included.  It was very basic, and allows the ice cream creator to add flavors to his or her taste.  As she did not have a recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor, I decided that I would try that as my next attempt at an "original" flavor creation (the first was Birthday Cake -- yellow cake flavored ice cream with chocolate frosting mixed in -- a huge hit with my favorite 8-year old).  I tracked down a recipe for egg-free cookie dough (because what good is egg-free ice cream if there are eggs in the dough?) and I was good to go.  The result, of course, was amazing.  And now you can make some, too.  

Warning:  While this ice cream is lux, it is definitely not light!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Allrecipes.com
Printer-friendly copy

Cookie Dough
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla, milk, salt, and baking soda, combining well, and then mix in the flour.  Add the mini chocolate chips and mix thoroughly.

Place the dough into a Ziploc bag or other freezable container and freeze overnight.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions and place the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker into the freezer to ensure it is completely frozen for mixing later.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk for the ice cream with the cornstarch in a small bowl, creating a slurry.  Set aside.

Whisk together the cream cheese and salt in a medium size spouted bowl or measuring cup (a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup works well).  Set aside.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla in a 4-quart saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring as necessary to keep from scorching, and boil for 4 minutes.

Reduce heat slightly and stir if necessary to keep the mixture from boiling over.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Return the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and cook about 1 minute, stirring until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat and gradually whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture, stirring until smooth.  Then pour the liquid into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag.

Submerge the sealed bag in a large bowl filled with ice and water and allow to cool, about 30 minutes.  Add more ice as necessary.

After the mixture has cooled completed, clip one of the corners of the bag and drain the creamy blend into the frozen canister of an ice cream maker.  Allow to process until thickened, about 25 minutes.

While the ice cream spins, remove the cookie dough from the freezer and break into bite size chunks.

The ice cream and the cookie dough will alternate layers in a 1 1/2 quart freezable storage container, so place the first layer of cookie dough in the container at this time.  Pour the finished ice cream into the canister in layers with the dough, ensuring the layers are evenly spaced throughout.  Do not fill the container too full, as the ice cream will expand as it hardens.  Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the ice cream and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart
Calories: 229 calories per 2 oz. serving
Serves about 13

I also found Scoop by Ellen Brown, which includes many egg-free ice creams, along with traditional recipes that include egg yolks.  I'm definitely going to try making the Amaretto Peach ice cream and the Mango Mimosa Sorbet.

On another note, the cookie dough in this recipe is super yummy.  Some reviewers on Allrecipes said they mixed some up and kept it in the freezer just for snacking.  Not something I would recommend personally, but it's a thought!

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