Monday, October 24, 2011

A Not-So-Random Act of Tremendous Generosity

I was out with some friends the other night and the subject of my homemade ice cream project came up. More specifically, that the endeavor met a premature demise thanks to yet another busted ice cream maker. I'd pretty much settled on throwing in the towel on the ice cream project when one of my friends objected that he'd never even gotten to sample anything I'd made. And then, out of nowhere, he offered to buy me a new one. In exchange, for the first batch I had to make his flavor of choice. I was a little reluctant - I never accept expensive gifts very well - but he really seemed to want to buy it for me, so I let him. It arrived late last week, complete with a spare bowl so that I can make consecutive batches of ice cream without having to wash and refreeze the bowl.

To be honest, this gift came at a great time. Work had me pretty bummed out last week, and I was in need of a pick-me-up. I got to work on my friend's requested flavor, peanut butter ice cream, right away. Surprisingly, there's no shortage of recipes for peanut butter-flavored ice cream on the internet. They were all no cook (eggless) recipes, so the base isn't a true custard, but the flavor is great, so who cares? Below is the recipe I used, slightly adapted.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Yield: approx. 1 quart

3/4 c. creamy peanut butter (I used Simply Jif, which has less sugar than other varieties)
3/4 c. plus 2 T. sugar
2 2/3 c. half-and-half
Pinch of coarse salt (I used kosher)
Dash of vanilla extract (I used about 1/2 t.)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender* and puree until completely smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When the mixture is chilled through, remove it from the refrigerator and stir with a whisk to recombine all the ingredients (mine separated slightly while still in the fridge). Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions, then transfer to a container and continue to freeze to desired firmness.

*The original recipe called for either a blender or a food processor. I don't have a blender, so I went with my trusty 7-cup food processor. This was a mistake. The ingredients fill the food processor bowl more than halfway, and when you blend it and turn everything to liquid, it leaks out through the hole in the center of the bowl and all over the counter, down the cabinets, onto the floor, etc. So, um, yeah... stick with a blender. Trust me.

Let the ice cream sit in the freezer overnight to really develop the flavor, and you get this:


Since it's not a true custard, it's not quite as smooth as other ice creams. One option would be to swap out the half-and-half and substitute 2 parts cream to 1 part whole milk - this might make for a smoother base. But the taste is spot on. It reminds me of a peanut butter mousse - light, creamy and not overpoweringly peanut buttery. If you're a fan of peanut butter - and if you're not, what's wrong with you? - then this is definitely a recipe you need to try. I'll be making it again (perhaps for a good friend's upcoming birthday?), but I'll be borrowing a blender when I do.


Crystal R. R. Edwards said...

That looks great! And how generous of your friend!

My husband and I are peanut-free, but we can have almonds and cashews. Given how oily those nut butters are, do you think it would be a simple substitution, or would we have to adjust all sorts of other things? We have a small ice cream maker I want to play with more.

Erin said...

@Crystal -

I think you could make the substitution, but probably only with one of the more processed brands that doesn't separate and require stirring. Otherwise, you'd probably have an even worse separation problem in the fridge, and just end up having to reblend the whole thing after chilling, which would incorporate more room-temperature air, raising the liquid's temperature and necessitating chilling again - a vicious cycle ;).

This recipe's proportions would probably be perfect for your small ice cream maker - it only made 1 quart, unlike the 1 1/2 to 2 quarts many recipes make.

Good luck, and let me know how your experiment goes!


fortunecookiejunkie said...


Erin said...



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