July 3rd, 2010
Brian’s family loves ice cream.
When we go to his parent’s house (which is somewhat often, though less often than you might expect considering they live no more than a couple hundred yards away) I have never seen less than three cartons of ice cream in their freezer at any given time. They are ice cream people.
Me? Ah – it’s not that I don’t like ice cream. I do. But I rarely crave ice cream. So really it’s my perfect dessert. One that I will eat and enjoy, but not feel the necessity to return to the carton to for seconds, or sneak bites from shortly before midnight when I am double checking all the doors, Jonathan, lights, the oven, etc. etc. before I drop into bed.
Except I’m presently a bit concerned about my previously ambivalent relationship with ice cream.
For Father’s Day this year, I thought, “What would be a better gift than an ice cream maker for someone who inherently adores ice cream?”
I can make Brian ice cream till his heart is content, all the while not having to worry about my own over indulgence (selfish – eh?), since I normally have no problem passing on ice cream if my shorts are feeling a bit snug that day.
The problem is, no one told me how much better homemade ice cream is than regular ice cream!
We are loving experimenting with different flavors, and I made this banana, caramel, peanut butter, and toasted almond concoction to take over to Brian’s parent’s house tomorrow for the 4th. It took less than an hour total to prepare and I’m already having a hard time walking by the freezer.
Happy 4th of July!
Banana ice cream with sea salt caramel and peanut butter maple almond swirl
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt (1/8 teaspoon)
1 recipe for peanut butter maple almond swirl (see below)
1 recipe for sea salt caramel (see below)
Combine heavy cream, half and half, sugar, banana, pinch of sea salt and vanilla and stir until sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker and process according to the ice cream maker directions. When ice cream is frozen and of a medium to firm soft serve consistency pour slightly cool caramel and room temperature peanut butter mixture on top and using a knife or spatula, gently swirl into the ice cream, pulling the bottom ice cream to the top on all sides once to evenly distribute caramel and peanut butter. Do not completely combine – allow swirls and separation between the ice cream, caramel and peanut butter mixture. Freeze completely (2 + hours) and serve with reserved caramel sauce. Makes 2 quarts.
Peanut butter maple almond swirl
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (if your peanut butter is already runny, start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed)
1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
sea salt (my pb was already salted, but if yours is not, I would add a pinch of salt to taste)
Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
Sea salt caramel
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons organic heavy cream warmed slightly (not boiled) or at room temperature
1/4 + 1/8 (3/8) teaspoon sea salt
Have all ingredients out, measured and within reaching distance of your cooktop. Caramel gets very hot, so use oven mitts, be mindful of your arms and eyes, and keep all little ones away for the few minutes this takes to make.
Distribute sugar evenly in a large, even heating saucepan or pot (to allow room for hot caramel to foam up) and begin heating over medium high heat. Keep an eye on the sugar, as when it begins to caramelize, it is a quick process that will need your constant attention.
Within a few minutes, the sugar will begin to melt and caramelize. As large patches of sugar turn to liquid puddles in the pan, stir only often enough to aid even caramelization (because sugar is comprised of crystals, it tends to clump together as it is melting and stirred). As soon as all of the sugar has turned to liquid (aside from any stubborn clumps that will dissolve later or can be strained out) and resembles the color of copper, and is just starting to think about simmering around the edges, remove from heat and immediately add butter and sea salt, stirring vigorously. Add cream and stir until completely combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of caramel to serve alongside the ice cream. Cool the remaining caramel to slightly cooler than room temperature before adding into ice cream (you can put it in the freezer or fridge for 10-30 minutes to accomplish this).