After a couple of failed attempts at making ice cream (I used half and half as the base - and it didn't set. A working theory is that half and half doesn't generally include actually one-half cream, and hence it's not enough fat for a working ice cream). When I buy heavy cream and mix it with milk according to the recipe, it works much better. The recipe I'm featuring here this week is for peanut butter cup ice cream, with fudge and peanut butter swirl.
(Left: Inspiration and Right: Ingredients)
First I made the chocolate sauce, followed by the peanut butter swirl.
(Left: Chocolate sauce. The chocolate clumps did dissolve eventually, I promise, I just forgot to take another picture. Right: Peanut butter swirl).
For the ice cream to set properly in the bowl, it needs to be very cold, and I didn't want to heat the base and then wait for it to cool. So instead of adding sugar, I used agave nectar as the sweetener. Not only would it be a liquid sweetener (no melting or dissolving needed!), it also should be better for you, although I don't know much about the science behind whether it is better or not. My taste buds are extra sensitive to Splenda (sucralose), NutraSweet (aspartame), and Sweet 'n Low (saccharin) and they really taste horrible to me, but agave nectar doesn't. Maybe I'm just a sugar snob, but I tell myself that it must be better for me since it doesn't taste as bad! While we were watching Star Trek (yes, I am a geek) I started the vanilla base churning in the machine, and came back to thick yummy ice cream.
And then, it became really difficult. The recipe called for layering 1/3 of the ice cream followed by spoonfuls of the chocolate and peanut butter sauces, repeat, but the ice cream was melting much too quickly for my comfort. Instead, I ended up throwing everything in really quickly while the ice cream machine was still churning, then scooped it all into a bowl. Heh, oops. At first the ice cream is a soft-serve like consistency, but after a few hours in the freezer it was all set!
It was just like licking a pole when it's cold outside. After attempting to pull the towel off (which resulted in a bare spot in my towel), I decided to let it defrost overnight, and the towel came off just fine. Lesson learned...
In other news, I just got back from a conference in Ventura, CA. Pictures and stories to follow - Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!