Spring has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier.
Yesterday my kids spent almost the whole day playing outside in the sunshine. I’m loving our new house because we have a lot of options for where to play. While we have a huge front yard with a swing set as well as a fenced in side yard, we also have a very private deck in the back with a sliding door right off the living room. I can just let the kids run around out there while I nurse a baby on the couch or prepare dinner and I can still see them the whole time. We were definitely ready for the warm weather, and what says warm weather better than ice cream?
A couple of months ago I purchased a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream at the grocery store in a moment of weakness. I very rarely buy packaged treats, but I think I’d had a bad day and was looking to reward myself (definitely the way you should handle your problems – NOT). Holy moly, that is a delicious flavor. I went looking for it again last week (no longer having a bad day, just needing that amazing treat again) but they no longer had it. This gave me just the push I needed to make a (probably healthier) version at home.
This was my second adventure in ice cream making (you can read about my first here). I’m still learning what kinds of ice cream recipes yield my favorite flavor and texture. The biggest choice to make is whether or not to include eggs in the mixture. I’ve tried it both ways now and what I can tell you is this: ice cream with an egg (custard) base is thick, rich, and creamy. Ice cream without eggs is, well, icier. The texture isn’t quite as creamy and the mixture tastes a little milkier. This ice cream base also came to a “soft serve” consistency quite easily.
While I usually prefer a rock hard ice cream, I was really glad I used this milky base here. The ice cream melted easily around the cookie chunks, creating a sort of milk-and-cookies situation. The cookie chunks are chewy without being rock hard frozen into the ice cream. I also love the warmth of the cinnamon in the coolness of the ice cream. Seriously, everything here is winning. I didn’t end up using the entire cookie recipe in the ice cream. It made just enough to set up an awesome chunk ratio (you know you always go for the chunks) but I still had some left over for the inevitable taste testing as well as snacking with a cup of tea.
For the Cookie Chunks:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
For the Ice Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
To make the cookie chunks, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix again until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix until just combined. Add the oats and pulse until just combined again.
Spread the cookie dough in an even layer about 1/2 inch thick on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges and set in the middle. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Break the cookie into bite sized chunks and transfer to a freezer safe container. Freeze until ready to incorporate into the ice cream base.
To make the ice cream base, prepare an ice water bath and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture just begins to foam around the edges and the sugar has dissolved, about ten minutes (do not boil). Add the cream, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and set gently in the ice water bath. Stir occasionally until cooled, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Stir the mixture slightly then pour into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Add the frozen cookie chunks (I used about 3/4 of the cookie bites) in the last two minutes of churning or fold in gently with a spatula. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze at least 1 hour and up to four days.
Ice cream base adapted from Erin's Food Files originally from Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake