Peanut Butter Bliss
Peanut butter is a staple around our house. Both Chris and I favor peanut butter over any other nut butter (and that’s saying a whole bunch for me!) and I cook with it in both savory and sweet dishes. Since purchasing my ice cream maker a month ago, I’ve had my mind set on making peanut butter ice cream. I got the extra push when Chris asked me to make him some “real” homemade ice cream (using dairy, not coconut milk), and I knew exactly which flavor I was going to make…so creamy and decadent, this ice cream is a definite treat.
Although I sweetened the base with coconut/palm sugar instead of refined white sugar, this is by no means considered “healthy” ice cream where you’d want to sit down and enjoy the whole freezer bowl. It’s a healthier alternative but still indulgent! After all, I was making this for Chris’s birthday and he wanted “the good stuff”. He couldn’t tell that I used coconut sugar instead of granulated white or brown sugar though…I love it when he can’t tell the difference :)
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
1/2 cup coconut/palm sugar
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup creamy, unsalted peanut butter (I used the natural version, just nuts)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used whole but 1% or 2% should work)
1 2/3 cup heavy cream/whipping cream (could sub half and half)
pinch of sea salt
4 egg yolks
Extra unsalted creamy or cruncy peanut butter for swirling in, optional (you could even sweeten it first if desired with honey or agave) – works best if it’s runny and slightly warmed
Chopped roasted peanuts, optional (for garnish OR mixing in if you want a chunky version)
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine milk, coconut sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, cream and salt and cook until sugar is dissolved, mine took about 8 minutes.
2. Take 2-3 Tbs of the warm cream mixture and stir it into the egg yolks – this will raise the temperature of the yolks, so they don’t become scrambled eggs when you add them to the pan. Slowly pour the eggs into the remaining cream mixture while stirring constantly. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold (overnight is preferred).
4. Once chilled, add mixture to your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions (Mine took about 30 minutes) If you want a peanut butter swirl (optional), add ice cream to a shallow container and drizzle in peanut butter and fold into the ice cream. Either serve immediately (will be more like soft-serve) or freeze for firmer texture, then scoop away and enjoy!
Variations: Add chocolate or carob chips to make a peanut butter chip variety. For an “PB & J” ice cream, swirl in strawberry or raspberry preserves. Toffee chunks or frozen banana would also be yummy additions!
I plan to make a non-dairy version using full-fat coconut milk in place of the milk and cream, which I assume would work nicely.
*If you do nut eat peanuts or are allergic, sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) would be a delicious substitute for the peanut butter.
For Chris’s birthday, I wanted to make him something more than just a bowl of homemade ice cream (I like to bake!) and I found a recipe online for a small batch of chewy cookies that I slightly tweaked. Since these were for Chris-only, he prefers cookies with all-purpose flour instead of a gluten-free blend*. Instead of making mini muffin-cup cookies that the original recipe called for, I baked four large cookies and spread the batter out evenly. I also replaced half of the white sugar with brown sugar for more “chew”, used milk instead of water and baked them for about 10-11 minutes. After baking the cookies, I let them cool slightly and then cut out the centers using a large biscuit cutter so they would be soft all-around and uniform (I am
fun finicky like that).
When cookies were completely cool, I used a slightly smaller biscuit cutter to form the “filling” out of the peanut butter ice cream — this is where the shallow container comes in handy when storing the homemade ice cream. I placed the filling between two cookies and created two large ice cream sandwiches. One I rolled in mini chocolate chips for variety but crushed nuts, sprinkles or crushed toffee would all be pretty. Then I froze the sandwiches to reharden a bit until it was time for serving :) Chris LOVED these!
* If you wanted to use a chewy gluten free cookie for ice cream sandwiches, my vegan teff spice cookies would be delicious! For a flavor that would better compliment the peanut butter ice cream, I would eliminate the ginger and cloves from the recipe (keeping the cinnamon!), use honey as the sweetener and substitute peanut butter for the almond butter :)