Monday, July 2, 2012

Peanut Butter Ice Milk

I almost served ice cream for dinner last week. But wait... It's not as bad as it sounds. It's actually ice milk--the main players are peanut butter and milk. That didn't seem too sinful to me. The sugar is fairly minimal and if you're brave you can jazz it up with some spices such as cinnamon or cayenne. If you're not brave you can jazz it up with, ahem, chocolate chips. In the end, the reason I did not serve it for dinner is that, even though I considered it fairly virtuous, I didn't want my kids to start to believe that muffins and ice cream are dinner foods (I may or may not have had muffins as part of dinner the night before). Instead we added chocolate chips and had it for dessert.

I felt kind of good about that--like we were eating a healthy-ish, dessert and nobody knew. But here's a confession (because I think it's a rule that every post have one): If I make it again and don't serve it for dinner, I'll probably add a bit of cream--probably 1 C cream and 2 C milk. Not because it wasn't creamy. The cornstarch gives it plenty of creaminess. But because I think cream has a more sweet, rich, complex flavor, and I missed that.

A Few Notes: The cornstarch keeps this from getting ice-crystally in the freezer. However, it also thickens it a bit. That can be hard on low-end ice cream makers. On mine, the outside part froze up while the middle was still pudding-like. My recommendation is to not let it get even close to boiling after you add the cornstarch. If your ice cream maker still struggles, don't worry--we froze ours up by mixing the frozen sides into the unfrozen middle and soon enough it all evened out (which surprised me). Incidentally if you don't have an ice cream maker, you could freeze this into ice cubes and then blend those cubes into ice cream.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
adapted from Sweet As Sugar Cookies
makes 1 quart
Prep time: 20 minutes (and then you'll need to cool it off before making it in your ice cream maker)
Mix time: 10 minutes
Cost: $1.05
milk: .40, peanut butter: .50, sugar: .15

3 C milk (we used 2 %)
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 C chocolate chips, chopped up a bit

Combine 2 Tbsp milk with cornstarch. Set aside.

Pour rest of milk into a saucepan. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, and spices if using. Whisk together over medium heat. Bring it almost to a boil.

Now add your cornstarch mixture and whisk it in well. If your ice cream maker is weak, take it off the heat here. Otherwise, heat it until it's thickened slightly. Whisk in the vanilla.

Chill this thoroughly. If you're in a hurry, put it in a bowl over a bigger bowl that is filled with ice and stir it ever few minutes. If you're not in a hurry, put it in your refrigeratore.

When you're ready, freeze it according to the instruction's on your ice cream maker. (Or freeze it into ice cubes and then blend it.)


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