Ice cream, I did
LUCKILY, though the magic of knowing me too well, one of my birthday gifties was a little bit of dough (the money kind) to buy an ice cream maker for myself.
This wasn't my first ice cream maker. When I was someone in the single-digit ages, 6, maybe 8, one of my brothers gave me a Snoopy ice cream maker for Christmas. I was pretty happy, even though cooking or any type of food making was still far from my list of fun things to do.
My mom was the one who really hit that heightened glee point, though. Always experimenting and loving new flavors and gadgets and experiments, it wasn't long before she was churning out pint after pint of frozen concoctions. I think I quickly lost interest as an entire half of my body started to burn from the agony of churner's elbow. But my mom, who had the upper body strength of all home cooks who cook three meals a day, every day, for seven people, churned out ice cream as if she were spinning straw into gold. Thus, my brother and I would fall into giggle fits when we'd open a reused margarine of cool whip container in the freezer, only to find avocado ice cream, using fruit from one of our many avocado trees, or a soft cream-colored ice cream, whole kernals of corn dotting the surface. I enjoyed it, though. I was well on my way to becoming an ice cream addict. Frighteningly, by college, I could tell by taste and texture what brand I was eating.
I think a lot of it was fueled by fond ice cream memories. My parents would pie cones of Thrifty's ice cream for us, and I'd almost always get pecan praline, or else the chocolate chip, with the thin, crisp flakes of chocolate laced throughout. My college best friend and I would flee the Arizona heat under the local Dairy Queen's covered patio--I'd always get peanut butter cup blizzards, and she'd get chocolate chip cookie dough. Later, we discovered the ice cream vending machine in the math building, and there'd be comedic times when we'd find ourselves trying to fulfill our ice cream fix there, scrabbling for coins that had rolled under the machine when we found ourselves short for some generic ice cream sandwich or sugar cone.
I think it was my fear of lack of willpower, and later, straight up lack of funds, that kept me from ever getting my own ice cream machine. True to my nature, a week after I bought the thing, I've made ice cream three times.
What do you do when you have leftover hazelnut praline paste? You buy some ripe white peaches, toss them in some orange juice, roast them a bit, heat some cream and milk, process the peaches into it, sweeten the whole pot with honey, and drizzle and fold that paste right in.
Okay, back up--don't get your nose into my ice cream, buddy.
Want a bite?
The basic process comes from Alton Brown's Burned Peach ice cream, but I changed a lot of the ingredients.
White Peach and Honey Hazelnut Praline Ripple
(or, Peach Praline Ripple)
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
3 white peaches
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup hazelnut praline
1. Halve and pit the peaches, and toss the peach halves in the o.j. and roast them at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, til soft, but not obliterated.
2. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and reserve them, and puree the peach flesh, leaving a few yummy chunks intact. Then set it aside.
3. Combine the dairy and peach skins in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to just boiling, about 170 degrees.
4. Remove from heat and strain into a container.
5. Stir in honey pureed peaches, and combine well.
6. Cool mixture in an ice bath, then chill in refrigerate.
7. Pour mixture into ice cream maker's bowl, making sure you get all the honey out if any of it sunk to the bottom of the bowl (miraculously, none of mine did).
8. Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to instructions.
9. During the last few minutes, squeeze in half the praline paste. I used a piping back to stream it in.
10. When you stop the machine, you can fold in the other half of the praline paste.
If you want to harden the mix, harden the mix in the freezer until it reaches the desired consistency. This ice cream stayed wonderfully scoopable, unlike my first batch of ice cream. Which is another story for another day. Probably next week. ;)
I know, I know, you want chocolate. The third recipe I tried, which I saw over at the kitchn, was Joy the Baker's Double Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream in its many variations has always been one of my all-time favorites, and this one's definitely a keeper! It's super easy, has no eggs to fuss with, but is still wonderfully rich. The only part that requires any skill is getting the peanut butter in at the end, just right, so you get chunks and ribbons of it here and there.