Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I recently made a life-altering discovery: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. Jeni Britton, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has developed a recipe for ice cream that is creamier and more scoopable than I've ever made before! Her technique is different from previous recipes I've tried. Her secret? A cornstarch-and-whole-milk slurry that gets added into the cream base, and cream cheese that gets whisked in at the end!
I have now made this peanut butter chocolate chunk ice cream recipe twice, and both times the ice cream was inexplicably, undeniably, bafflingly creamy. My husband says this is the ice cream of his dreams! (It doesn't hurt that it's peanut butter and chocolate either!) And I've made several other recipes by Jeni that use the cornstarch and cream cheese elements and they came out equally creamy. I'm convinced, from testing and retesting, and receiving consistent results of creaminess each time, that this method is a true winner!
I also love Jeni's ice bath technique, which is a game changer for me! Instead of putting the ice cream base into the fridge for at least 8 hours before churning like I've always been taught to do (ugh!), I can simply chill the base in an ice bath as soon as I've made it and then churn right away! I can have ice cream the same day I make the base! Instant gratification for impatient sweet tooths!
Make this ice cream and let me know what you think! May your peanut butter and chocolate dreams be fulfilled as sufficiently as my husband's!
Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe by Jeni Britton Bauer in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted natural peanut butter (Skippy or Jif will do if you can't find natural)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (add less salt if using salted peanut butter)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces dark chocolate of your preference, chopped
In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt until smooth. Make sure that medium bowl will ultimately be able to hold all of the ingredients. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Set aside.
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and honey, and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes, watching to make sure the bubbles don't go over the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until slightly thickened and lightly coats the spoon or spatula, about 1 minute. Immediately, but pouring slowly, add this hot milk mixture into the medium bowl that has the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt and whisk constantly until smooth.
Add ice cubes or lunch box ice packs (I find ice packs work really well and I always have them ready even if I am out of ice!) into the large bowl of cold water to create an ice bath. Pour the ice cream mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag that is partially submerged in the ice bath and seal the bag. Then fully submerge the bag in the ice bath, using ice packs on top of the bag to weigh it down. Let stand, adding more ice or ice packs, until chilled, about 30 minutes.
To churn the ice cream, cut off a small corner of the plastic bag and pour the ice cream base out into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn that delicious liquid!
While the ice cream is churning, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (but watch the microwave closely to make sure you don't burn the chocolate). Allow the chocolate to cool down to tepid but make sure it is still fluid enough that you can pour it. When the ice cream looks thick and creamy and only has a few more minutes of churning left, slowly pour the melted chocolate down the ice cream machine's opening at the top and you'll witness magic! The chocolate will solidify as it hits the cold ice cream, and be forced to break up into tiny pieces as the ice cream machine continues pushing the ice cream around inside. Turn off the machine after about 2 minutes of breaking up chocolate bits.
Transfer the ice cream to an airtight storage container and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until it has firmed up enough to serve. This usually takes about 4 hours. Enjoy!