Every couple of months, I amass enough Membership Rewards points from American Express to redeem them for the only thing I ever want: gift cards for Williams-Sonoma. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to get with these gift cards, and sometimes it takes me a little while to decide.
This time, I didn’t have any idea when I redeemed the points, but by the time the card arrived, I had made up my mind. I wanted an ice cream maker, with extra freezer bowl, no less. The weather here had started to remind me that summer was on the way. I figured this was the perfect time to get one.
I have never made ice cream before, so I ordered a few cookbooks, including David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop.” I tried to narrow down the choices for my first batch. I didn’t have any vanilla bean, so the classic vanilla was out. I was drawn to mint, chocolate mint, and coconut, which I thought Mike might like. But in the end, I went with peanut butter, which is not only one of my favorite flavors, but also was done “Philadelphia-style,” meaning with no egg custard, just cream. I thought that was not only appropriate, but the easier option.
Ice cream making requires some advance planning. You have to put the canister in the freezer for at least 24 hours, and you need to make the…batter? Can you call it a custard if there is no eggs? The stuff that will become your ice cream a day in advance as well, to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.
So on Saturday, I put my canister in the freezer. On Sunday, while the Artos was rising, I blended together some ingredients. Here’s 180 grams of smooth peanut butter.
And 180 grams of sugar. I knew this was going to be good when there were equal amounts of peanut butter and sugar.
Added 2 and 2/3 cups of half and half.
The recipe says to add a “pinch of salt.” I have already gone over how I need exact recipes to cook from or else I start to hyperventilate, right? Well, here is another piece of proof:
That’s right. I have a spoon to measure out pinches. I do not trust myself enough to pinch properly. Nicole at Pinch My Salt (our BBA Challenge leader) would probably be disappointed in me.
I also added 1/8 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I have Tahitian vanilla extract from Trader Joes.
Are Tahitian vanilla beans better than other kinds of vanilla beans? I don’t know.
Then I blended it in my blender. Interestingly enough, my blender will only work on one of the outlets in my kitchen. I don’t know why this is so. I do know that it means my blender was sitting on the floor.
So I put this concoction into my refrigerator to chill overnight. All next day at work I think about how I am going to come home and churn my ice cream up. I get home and immediately set everything up to churn. And, as those of you who are following my Twitter or Facebook status know, it was a huge failure. I churned for 30 minutes, and it looked exactly the same.
I had frozen and chilled everything that needed to be frozen and chilled. So what went wrong? I thought it might be the temperature of my freezer was not low enough. I turned down the thermostat and moved my thermometer into the freezer from my refrigerator. I put the other bowl into the freezer, the “custard” back into the fridge, and figured I would try again.
Today I got home from work and checked the freezer. My thermometer said that it was a nice -10 degrees in there. So I set everything up again, and with no small amount of trepidation, started to churn. Within five minutes I started to see crystals form. By 20 minutes, there was real ice cream in my bowl. And after 30 minutes, I had this:
People, this is really, really good stuff.
I might have licked this beater. Oh, who am I kidding? I TOTALLY licked this beater.
My spirits were only slightly dampened when I sat down to figure out the calorie content. I forgot that adding peanut butter is adding an ingredient that is higher in calories than either the cream or the sugar by themselves. It seems that I will be eating this ice cream in 1/4 cup servings. But it really is worth it.