If you've been following along on facebook, you know that the past few days were full of Cat Trauma. Lester got bitten in the face by a copperhead (he's fine), and when we were driving to the emergency vet's to pick him up after his overnight stay, we found a wee injured kitten in the middle of our street, so we scooped him up and took him with us to the vet. I called them to let them know that we'd be both picking up and dropping off. After a few days of touch and go for the little dude, he is with us again as a foster kitten. We already have a beautiful big orange foster in the guest room who refuses to come out from under the couch, so we're hoping to put the wee kitten, now named Benny, in with Mr. Orange. It's really hard to tell what his name is since he has been under the couch since he got here.
On Saturday, while Benny was still at the vet and Lester was well enough to leave, we took a quick overnight trip up to Black Mountain, NC to see the brilliant 14-year-old musician Ian Ridenhour play, and also to hang out with the rest of his wonderful family, Jamie, Gwyn and Eva. Ian was opening for a singer/songwriter named David LaMotte, and now I'm a fan of his too. It was a short but great trip. When we got home on Sunday, I was able to go pick up Benny, so the weekend ended on a Welcome Back Benny note.
Since I usually cook up ice creamy goodness on weekends for Ice Cream Tuesday, I was rushing around a bit trying to figure out what to make. I have a whole list of ideas I've generated, but I really wanted to make something that I wouldn't have to go shopping for. No water buffalo mozzarella-galangal ice cream this week, friends. I had to use what was in the house.
And what was in the house was half and half, malted milk powder, and brownies.
Most of my ice creams use a quart of half and half. Once I add in the rest of the ingredients and layer in swirls and mix-ins, the batches generally fill a 9"x5" loaf pan. So I tossed a loaf pan in the freezer and whipped up a Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream-esque base of half and half, sugar, salt, egg yolks, cream cheese, corn starch, vanilla and malted milk powder. Pretty easy.
I had three leftover strawberry balsamic swirl brownies from last week, so I cut those up into wee cubes, and I had my mix-in.
And now for the swirl.
One of the best things about culinary school wasn't the learning from textbooks. It was the everyday life-in-the-kitchen, how to make it work tips from some of the instructor's that were really priceless. Tips and tricks learned or created in a burst of inspiration when getting it done "soon" wasn't soon enough.
I'm going to share one of these tips with you now. To make a chocolate ice cream sauce on the fly (spur of the moment, gotta have it now), heat together equal parts of corn syrup and heavy cream. Whisk in chocolate chips until you like the consistency. Not elegant maybe, but it works, and it tastes good. Since it is based on corn syrup which is an invert sugar and impedes crystallization, I figured this on-the-fly sauce would make a perfect mix-in, and I was right. It freezes into a chewy chocolate swirl.This ice cream is super scoopable, sweet and malty and kind of chewy in a very good way. The base, the swirl and the brownies are all chewy. You can burn some serious calories eating this ice cream. It is pretty excellent.Let this be a lesson to you all. Always, always have brownies on hand. Know that you're only about 15 minutes away from a cooked ice cream base (plus chilling time), and remember that simple sauce. It's a good one to have in your back pocket. And no, you don't have to measure. Eyeballing it is just fine.
All ounce measurements, unless otherwise specified, are weights and not volume.
- 4 oz malted milk powder
- 3 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
- 1 quart (32 oz) half and half
- 9.5 oz granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 Tablespoons corn starch
- ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- Use your favorite brownie recipe. You will need about 1 cup of cubed brownie pieces
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup (more or less) bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped. You can also use good quality chocolate chips
- pinch kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
- Put the malted milk powder, the cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, bring the half and half, sugar, yolks, corn starch and salt to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Mixture will thicken up quite a bit. Let boil for about 15 seconds, and then pour into the bowl holding the rest of the ingredients.
- Let sit for a minute or two, and then whisk until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this if you'd rather.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl set in an ice bath and cool and then chill to no more than 40F.
- Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Place the cubed brownies in the freezer while the ice cream is churning.
- Heat the corn syrup and cream together until hot. It does not need to boil; it only needs to melt the chocolate.
- Whisk in enough chocolate so that the sauce coats your finger in a thick-ish, sauce-like manner.
- Season with the salt and vanilla.
- Pour into a small zip-top bag and chill while the ice cream in churning.
- Fold the brownie pieces evenly into the ice cream base.
- Snip the tip off the zip-top bag and squiggle some in the bottom of your container.
- Top with about ⅓ of the ice cream.
- Squiggle on some more sauce.
- Layer in more ice cream, more squiggles, the rest of the ice cream and then top with moore squiggles of sauce.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream and freeze for several hours or overnight. This ice cream stays beautifully scoopable. You are going to be so happy.
And guess what? My wonderfully talented friend Kathy of Healthy Slow Cooking is playing along today, and she might even play all summer long! She has made a delicious Banana Avocado Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Cocoa Nibs that sounds like just the thing. Sweet, creamy, flavorful, and a very pretty color! And it's vegan! Hooray for Ice Cream Tuesday!
Before I go, I thought you might like to meet Benny the very lucky foster kitten. Say hi, Benny.