Monday, May 10, 2010

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream

There's no place to go but up...when it comes to taking pictures of ice cream.  I hope that in the coming months as summer decides to gently sneak into our lives with its long days and hot sun that I churn out quarts and quarts of ice cream.  I have every expectation of licking clean many spoons, bowls, scoops, and spatulas in the process.  And throughout it all, hopefully I will learn how to take a picture of ice cream that appropriately captures the beauty of home-churned ice cream.

Unfortunately, pictures can't capture how delicious ice cream is that was just churned thirty seconds ago.  This ice cream was some of the creamiest I've ever had and it melted unlike any other I've ever seen.  The sides of the bowl were cakds with a rich chocolatey sauce that didn't just pool at the bottom - it clinged to every inch of the bowl (until I licked it).  I added in some "peanut butter patties," which are really just chunks of peanut butter mixed with a small amount of powdered sugar and then frozen so that they stay in chunks.  I'm a big fan of peanut butter, especially with chocolate, and those peanut butter chunks brought this ice cream to an even higher realm of bliss.

I chose not only one of the best sounding ice creams to start off my foray into ice cream making, but it also happens to be one of the easiest, because you don't have to carefully cook any eggs or melt any chocolate.  All you need is half-and-half, salt, sugar, dutch-processed cocoa powder, and peanut butter.  And if you are making the peanut butter patties to go in the ice cream, you will also need powdered sugar.

I was excited to find what is supposed to be some of the best cocoa powder out there, Valrhona, at a specialty food store.  It really did have the richest scent of any cocoa powder I've ever used, though if you aren't interested in splurging, any dutch-processed cocoa powder will work.  (For more info on dutch-processed cocoa, read here.)

I have also fallen even more in love with my scale, by the way.  Not only do they say it makes for more accurate measurements, but it's actually much easier than scooping and leveling anyway.  Cocoa powder is such a fine dust that it can be hard to accurately measure.

You need 1/4 cup or 25 g of cocoa powder.  It may not sound like a lot, but it makes for some wonderfully rich chocolate ice cream.

To a large sauce pan, add 2 cups half-and-half, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup (100 g) sugar.  

Whisk everything together (use a regular whisk, not one used to scape gravies and such) and start to wonder if I lead you astray since the cocoa powder seems to look a little out of place in the half-and-half.

Heat over medium heat and voila - the chocolate dissolves (?) properly and the mixture starts to look quite tasty.  While whisking for bit every minute or so, you will want to bring it to a boil, which will not go without notice, as it will foam up almost in an instant.

Remove the pan from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup (130 g.) peanut butter.  Using a scale is especially nice for things like peanut butter, which are always somewhat frustrating to smash into a cup only to remove it seconds later.

Move your chocolate-peanut butter concoction to a bowl and either put in the fridge or put (covered!) into a large bowl filled halfway with ice water.
When your mixture is thoroughly chilled, add it to your ice cream maker.  Each ice cream maker is different, so follow your machine's instructions for churning ice cream.  Mine churned for about 35 minutes.

Until it couldn't churn no more!  It literally got stuck.

And because peanut butter-flavored ice cream wasn't enough for me, I also decide to add in some peanut butter chunks.  Mix 6 tablespoons (90 g) peanut butter with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

Cover a dinner plate with plastic wrap and using your (clean) hands, pinch of 1/2 teaspoon-sized pieces onto the plate.  Mine were more globs than patties, but try not to judge.  (Judgey wudgey was a bear.)

I may or may not have licked my fingers after this exercise.

Now place your plate in the freezer and wait at least a couple of hours for them to freeze.  When they are frozen they will pop off of the plastic wrap easily to be mixed into your ice cream.

Remove your ice cream from the machine and toss in some peanut butter chunks as you go.  This will assure an even spread of peanut butter chunks throughout.

Ice cream out of a machine is much softer than when it has been frozen in the freezer.  So if you prefer hard ice cream, feel free to stick it in the freezer when you are done mixing.

But I had no intention of waiting, and dove right it.  And when I tell you I dove right in, please picture Scrooge McDuck diving into his roomful of gold coins.  That's pretty much how it went.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop By David Lebovitz

2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (130 g) smooth peanut butter

Whisk together 2 cups half-and-half, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, whisking often, until it comes to a boil (and starts to foam up).  Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter until well-blended.  Chill the mixture for a few hours in the fridge, or use an ice bath to start the chilling process and then finish in the fridge.  Freeze and churn in your ice cream maker according to machine's instructions.  Eat as-is or mix in peanut butter patties for extra peanut butter flavor.

Peanut Butter Patties
Makes about 40 half-inch patties

6 tablespoons (90 g) peanut butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Mix 6 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Line a large plate with plastic wrap.  Use your fingers to pinch off small pieces of the peanut butter mixture and place about 1/2 teaspoon pieces on the plastic wrap.  Place the plate in the freezer until patties are frozen.  Remove frozen patties from plate and stir into just-churned ice cream (preferably a chocolate variety).


  1. AWESOME! i can't wait to try some of your homemade ice cream when i come to visit. this is very exciting. can't wait to hear of other flavors that u will make!

  2. I don't know why you're knocking those pictures, they definitely have me drooling all over my computer!!! PLEASE make me some when I come visit! That's my fave type of ice cream!!


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