Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ever since I got my ice cream maker, I've kind of been obsessed. I've only done two blog posts so far, but I can't tell you how many times I've already used this thing. Once you fail (which you will, unless you are some kind of ice cream savant), especially a couple of times, you become obsessed with perfection. I think I finally found a fool proof, go-to base recipe that I will probably use for most of my ice creams though, so I can't start experimenting. 

When I worked at the confection studio at Sucre, I noticed we never used egg yolks. But after doing a ton of research on the web, I couldn't really find any recipes that didn't start with some form of custard (which means using egg yolks to thicken the milk, almost like making lemon curd or the filling of a berry tart if you have ever done that...) Well doing this is extremely temperamental and can go wrong at a number of different stages in the process. And the worst part about that is, many times you don't exactly know where you went wrong. Did I curdle the milk? Did I not whip the egg yolks enough with the sugar before adding it to the milk? Was my flame too hot or too low? There is so much going on at once, and so many things that could go wrong, I really needed something a bit more foolproof (heavy cream doesn't grow on trees you know...).

On a random slowish afternoon at work, my lord and saviors walked through the double glass doors dressed as a thin, hipter-ish, middle aged man and his wife. The ones that kind of remind you of your old music teachers and almost always leave a tip (people from the city - and definitely my people working at the uptown sucre know exactly what kind of people i'm talking about. Actually I bet people from certain parts of new york know what i'm talking about too...but I digress...). We started chatting about our amazing gelato and how it doesn't have eggs etc. He also turned out to be a dabbler in the homemade ice cream world as well and he suggested I try Jenni's best ice cream base, which uses cream cheese instead of eggs and a timer rather than candy thermometer (thus excluding the two things I dread about making homemade ice cream).

Obviously I went home and bought the cookbook right away. Of course I will continue to try the traditional custard based ice creams, but for now, HOLY COW this stuff is incredible! Its creamy, rich, and pretty much fool proof. You can even trade out the 3 tbs of cream cheese for marscarpone...which obviously I will be doing very very soon.... 

Homemade ice Cream Sandwiches, made with Jeni's Best Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

The "Cake-y Sandwich Part" Recipe 
which I found on this website

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt

10 x 15 inch (25 x 38 cm) rimmed baking sheet
Parchment paper

Preheat your oven to 350. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugar. 

Then whisk in the egg and vanilla. 

Then add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until incorporated. (since there is no leavening agent, you can't over-mix it - refreshing, huh?) 

In you parchment lined baking sheet, pour in the batter and spread out a thin layer using a offset spatula. - If you don't have one, get one. They are super cheap and come in handy for a million different things. 

Bake for 10 minutes, rotating half way through to ensure even baking. It should be done when the cake is no longer shiny and it has begun to separate from the paper along the edges. 

Let it cool completely and then remove the parchment from the pan to cool even more. If you don't your ice cream will melt and both will be ruined! 

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream 
2 cups milk
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 ¼  cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 vanilla Bean, both seeds and pod, separated 

Before you start cooking, set up your stations:

(a.) In one small bowl, wisk together 1/4 cup of milk and the cornstarch

(b.) Place the 3 tablespoons of cream cheese in a bowl and set aside.

(c.) Open plastic bag with edges folded over set over a large bowl filled with ice (the ice should melt a bit during the cooking. you can add a bit of water to it later if it isn't ice bath ready by the time you are ready to cool your ice cream)

(d.) In a 4-quart sauce pan (at least - believe me I made this mistake and it was a hassle trying to switch pots in the middle of everything...pictures to follow...) Add the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, salt and vanilla bean and wisk together until somewhat incorporated (it should turn a very faint green - the color shows up more during the cooking process)

(e.) 4 minute timer ready to go

NOW you can start cooking (and this is actually the quick part)

1. Over medium high heat, cook the mixture until it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for exactly 4 minutes.

2. Pour in the cornstarch slurry and mix well. Bring back to a boil and cook for 2 more minutes then remove from heat. Remove the vanilla bean.

3. With your small measuring cup, scoop out about 1/4 cup or more of the hot mixture and pour into the cream cheese bowl. Mix very well and then pour it back into the main pot. Stir well until thick.

4. Pour the hot cream into the plastic bag over the ice bath. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or until completely cold. If you don't want to freeze right away, you can also put the plastic bag in your fridge for up to 3 days.

5. Freeze according to your ice cream makers instructions (I do it for about 25 minutes)

Yeah you know you want a bite....

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