As you may know, my sweet Daddy is dying. Death is hard. As a self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl, I’m finding it hard to breathe. I’m doing what I can and now that August Cook the Books has begun, I wanted to make him some really good ice cream. You see, my Dad loves ice cream. Really, really loves ice cream. Good. Bad. Fake. Real. He really loves it all. And he likes a lot of stuff in his ice cream. For a long time he has been a big fan of “the tracks ice cream,” such as Moose Tracks and Bunny Tracks. The various brands/forms consist of varying forms of chocolate, caramel, and peanut butter mixed into vanilla ice cream. His latest is the Bunny Tracks with chocolate-covered peanuts, peanut butter-filled chocolate bunnies, a chocolate fudge ribbon and a peanut butter caramel ribbon.
Now, I’m an ice cream snob so, while I appreciate the realm of mix-ins, the ice cream itself is lackluster at best. I am firmly in the if-you-are-eating-ice-cream-make-it-premium camp. I can’t find the point to low-fat or fat-free ice cream. You find yourself eating something in hopes of it be something else. So you end up eating more and more to satisfy a craving that will likely never, ever be satisfied by the imposter. Because (newsflash!) the imposter isn’t actually a real food. It is a frozen pile of sketchy-at-best additives and chemicals held together by some form(s) of dairy-ish product.
So, Dad and I discussed the base (vanilla? chocolate? malted?) and potential mix-ins. He rattled off things that are in the vein of the assorted Tracks. Peanut butter, chocolate, caramel, and peanuts would all be welcome in his ice cream. So, I went to the bookstore, grabbed a copy of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, and snapped a picture of the recipe for basic vanilla ice cream and for the peanut butter fudge swirl ice cream. I figured since I already own the book, so this tactic was legit. And, if not totally ok…then, well, dire circumstances people. I’m making ice cream for the most lovely dying man. Screw it.
I went with crunchy peanut butter, chopped mini reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped mini kit-kats, and some dulce de leche. (Yes, I traveled with a carry-on jar of very liquidy dulce de leche from last month. And, security didn’t care. Because TSA is completely, and ridiculously, arbitrary. Though, I’ll spare you that little tirade.)
I’ve made a fair amount of ice cream in the past. Some were just ok-passable, but not memorable. Others were pretty decent. But, really, you want more than decent when you are making ice cream right? Sometimes they are too eggy. Or too heavy cream-ish. I don’t know…the proportions usually seem just slightly off the mark from what I am after. Of course there have been exceptions. Alton Brown’s chocolate ice cream comes to mind and is pretty close to perfection in my book.
For Dad’s ice cream, I followed the recipe for the vanilla ice cream base, but after cooking the base I ended up following the remaining directions for the peanut butter fudge ripple ice cream. Without the ripple. The cooked ice cream base is poured into a bowl with the peanut butter and stirred in while the whole mess of it is on an ice bath to start the cooling down process. The result was a vanilla-peanut buttery base with areas of small peanut butter bites that didn’t get thoroughly mixed in (which was my goal). Near the end of the churning I tossed in the the chopped peanut butter cups and kit-kats. Lastly, I twirled in some dulce de leche. I was hoping for dulce de leche swirls, but it ended up getting mixed in. I’ll check out how best to accomplish that once I have my book in my hands, though I imagine letting it firm up a bit before hand-stirring it is the way to go.
First foray into Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones? A resounding success. Creamy. Perfect balance of egg-cream-sugar. Most definately rich. Personally, I would prefer it with a more natural peanut butter (sans additional sugar), but I was making for my Dad so I used the Crunch Jif that he loves. I’m talking happy, blissful moans and sighs from my Dad.