Monday, June 15, 2020

Peanut Butter & Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

A few weeks ago I made some brownies for part of a dessert I made for a private dinner for two.  Since it would have been more work to calculate the amount of batter needed for a tiny pan than it was to just go ahead and make a normal sized batch, I did the latter.  This also gave me a few brownies for my own consumption.  I tucked those extra brownies into the freezer so I could consume them in a controlled manner…at a leisurely pace.

A few days later I wanted to have one after my lunch…and I didn’t particularly want to wait for it to thaw (so much for control…and a leisurely pace…).  I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I ate it while it was still mostly frozen.  And it was delicious—with a nice fudge-y and chewy texture.

I must have been extra hungry because I immediately started thinking about how delicious it would be to fold some of those brownie chunks into some ice cream.  Some peanut butter ice cream…  At that point I pretty much set aside my plans for the rest of the afternoon while I worked out a formula for peanut butter ice cream.  By lunch the next day I was enjoying my first scoop. 

I suppose you could use any brownie recipe for this ice cream.  In general, brownies have so much sugar, that unless they happen to be one of those super-dense brownies, they will tend to have that nice fudge-y and chewy texture when frozen.  I used a favorite from my childhood:  the “Dinah Shore Brownies” I posted many years ago.  You can make the recipe as I posted it (using 70% chocolate), or do as I did for the brownies I put in my ice cream and use unsweetened chocolate (the conversion is in the “note” at the bottom of the recipe). 

The ice cream itself is simply a variation on my standard French custard ice cream.  I just replaced part of the heavy cream with peanut butter.  The ice cream as I made it was very peanut buttery (perfect, in my opinion).  If you would like a slightly less intense version, you can reduce the peanut butter by a third.  And if peanut butter and chocolate isn’t your thing, you can make vanilla…or coffee...or fresh mint…or maybe Bing cherry…and fold your brownie chunks into that instead.  Any one of these will be sure to hit the spot when you start to crave something cool and creamy as the summer heat settles in.

Peanut Butter & Brownie Chunk Ice Cream

1 1/2 c. (363 g.) whole milk
3/4 c. (174 g.) Heavy Cream (see notes)
6 T. (75 g.) sugar
6 (120 g.) egg yolks
1/4 c. (85 g.) honey
3/4 c. (198 g) Peanut Butter (see notes)
300 g. fudge-y brownies, frozen and cut into small cubes (see notes)

Place the milk in a medium-sized, non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. While the milk is heating, pour the cold cream into a chilled bowl, set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale yellow. When the milk boils, temper the egg yolks by gradually whisking in about 2/3 c. of the hot milk. Stir the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thickened and forms a path when you draw your finger across the back of the spoon. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl of cold cream. Add the honey and the peanut butter and stir until they have melted into the warm custard.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, add the frozen brownies and fold in.  Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. Makes about 1 quart ice cream.

  • This quantity of peanut butter makes an intensely peanut buttery ice cream. If you prefer a lighter peanut butter taste, reduce the peanut butter to 1/2 cup (132 g.) and increase the cream to 1 cup (232 g.).
  • If you make “Dinah Shore Brownies” …and cut them into 16 squares…you will need 6 brownies. For this ice cream I made the brownies with 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate and 1 1/2 c. of sugar (instead of 6 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and 1 c. of sugar) as described in the notes of the recipe.
  • When I cut the brownies, I crumbled up a few of the cubes to add varied texture to the ice cream…some large and some fine bits of brownies.
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