As I do most weeks, I talk with my good friend Emily about what I should bake for the blog. One day she was like, “I’ve got it! You need to make ice cream sandwiches!” I loved the idea but realized that before I made the whole shebang, I really wanted a good ice cream recipe in my repertoire. So I began searching for a recipe that would work for me. The biggest issue that I had was that I don’t own an ice cream maker or an ice cream attachment for my mixer. Luckily, I stumbled upon an article from the Kitchn.com featuring Jeni Britton, from Jeni’s ice cream, all about how you can use your food processor to make ice cream. So I followed the instructions for her method on how to make the ice cream, but I really just winged it for the recipe. I felt like I looked at so many recipes that I had the general idea about what I wanted to make. I knew I didn’t want to make the no churn ice cream recipe made with sweetened condensed milk and whipping cream (but I might try that one next). So I threw together a custard base, similar to the ones that I have used for pastry cream or chocolate mousse and I am more than pleased with how this ice cream turned out!
The ingredients for this ice cream recipe are, 3 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 cup of brown sugar lightly packed, 1 teaspoon of course sea salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste and 6 egg yolks. I also mixed in crunched up McVities dark chocolate digestives, but you can mix in any cookie or other add-in you want at the end.
In a large 4 quart sauce pan, I added my cream, milk, vanilla and salt. I put it over medium-low heat until steam began to rise from the pan. Then, I pulled the pan off of the heat. I made sure to watch it so that it did not boil. In medium bowl, I whisked together my eggs and brown sugar. I added a scoop of the hot milk mixture to my eggs and sugar and whisked it very quickly. I then added one more scoop and mixed it again. Next, I poured the egg and sugar mixture back into the pan with the rest of the hot milk and whisked it all together. I put the pan over medium heat and used a spoon to constantly mix the liquid to try to keep the eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pan and cooking. Once I noticed that the mixture began to thicken, I checked to see if it was finished by running my finger over the back of the spoon. As you can see, it left a line where I ran my finger, so I knew that my mixture was thick enough to take off the heat.
I poured the custard over a fine mesh strainer and into a bowl. If you look closely you can see the over cooked bits of egg that my strainer caught. I left the mixture in the bowl to cool on the counter for 30 minutes, but I did whisk it every 5 or so minutes to keep a skin from forming on the top. Then I poured the custard into an XL ziplock bag that I used some binder clips to attach to the size of a container to make sure my bag didn’t slip while I was pouring. After all the custard was in the bag, I zipped it and flattened it onto a cookie sheet and placed it in the freezer for several hours. You can leave it overnight, but I was impatient.
Once the mixture was all frozen solid, I pulled it out of the freezer and cut the ziplock bag off of it. Then, I broke it up into large pieces and placed it my food processor. Looking back, I should have done this in 2 batches. I had some difficulty getting all of it smooth and I ended up taking out the half that was smooth and putting it into my loaf pan and then processing the rest until it was completely smooth. I layered in some roughly broken pieces of dark chocolate digestives and then swirled the whole thing together. Finally, I covered the top with foil and placed it back into the freezer to firm up.
I waited as patiently as I could, but I absolutely snuck some bites before it was totally solid again. The next morning though, this ice cream scooped into these beautiful, creamy scoops. I love the way rich, custardy, ice cream tastes. It has a silky texture in your mouth, the brown sugar and vanilla just take the flavor to an elevated and unexpected place. I am so glad that I added in the cookies because when you get one in your bite it is a nice little surprise that adds crunch and a little bitterness from the dark chocolate to cut through the sweetness of the sugar. I can’t wait to make this ice cream again, and continue to experiment with different flavors. The food processor trick is a game changer and totally solidifies to me that I don’t need an ice cream maker to make amazing summer treats. Ice cream sandwiches might be on the menu soon!
Recipe: Brown Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
- 3 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1 teaspoon of course sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 cup of brown sugar lightly packed
- 6 egg yolks
- Any mix-ins of your choice
- In a 4 quart sauce pan set over medium-low heat, bring heavy cream, milk, vanilla and salt to the just steaming stage. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil. Take it off the heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix your egg yolks and brown sugar. When the milk mixture is ready, spoon about 1 cup of the mixture into the eggs and sugar and whisk the whole time. Mix in about 1 more cup and whisk constantly. Then pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan with the rest of milk mixture.
- Put the sauce pan back over medium-low heat and heat the mixture until it begins to thicken. Be sure to stir it constantly with a wooden or silicone spoon. Once the mixture is thick enough to leave a line after your finger is dragged across the back of your spoon, take the pan off the heat.
- Pour the mixture though a fine mesh strainer placed over a heat safe bowl. Leave the mixture to cool on the counter for 30 minutes, be sure to whisk it every 5 minutes to keep a skin from forming.
- Once it is room temperature, pour the mixture into an XL ziplock bag. Lay the bag flat on a baking sheet and place the whole thing in the freezer overnight or until it is frozen solid.
- Cut the ziplock bag off of the mixture and break the frozen ice cream into chunks. Working in batches, place the chunks into the food processor and process until it is smooth. Pour the smooth ice cream into a loaf pan. Repeat until all of the chunks are now smooth ice cream.
- Mix in any fun things you would like in your ice cream. Cover with foil and place the loaf pan into the freezer to firm up for several hours. (be sure to sneak a few tastes while it is firming up – especially if you like soft serve ice cream)
- Scoop it into you favorite bowl or cone and Enjoy!