My original plan to post five or six ice cream recipes may have to fall by the wayside. Per usual, the last few days have gone faster than I planned. Instead I'll focus on the best of the best and get as far as I can before I leave on my trip.
When I asked Charlie what type of ice cream he wanted for the ice cream party we had a couple of weeks ago his immediate response was Cookies & Cream. This is an easy enough ice cream to make. You just crunch up Oreo cookies and mix them up with softened vanilla ice cream. Of course, I needed cookies and vanilla ice cream to do that so I set about finding recipes. I've made vanilla ice cream a couple of times this summer, and I've used fresh vanilla beans for a super fresh flavor and the little black specks that I like so much. This time I opted to go another route and use vanilla extract because it's cheaper, and I believe the subtleties of the vanilla bean ice cream would be lost with the addition of the cookies. I made a basic Philadelphia-style Vanilla Ice Cream.
Philadelphia-style ice cream (also called New York Style) is super quick and easy. Unlike custard-based ice creams (also known as French-style), it doesn't contain eggs and requires no cooking. Milk, cream, and sugar are combined, then churned, and that's it! This recipe makes a great base for a variety of ice creams. Try adding fresh fruit, various extracts, nuts, chocolate chunks, or crunched up cookies.
Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 3 - 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with ice cubes and enough water to cover them. Place the bowl with the ice cream mixture into the larger bowl and let cool for 30 - 45 minutes. Remove the bowl with the ice cream mixture and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. This prevents the formation of a skin on top of the liquid and will keep the ice cream smooth when churned. Refrigerate until mixture is very cold, about 3 hours.
Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Place the churned ice cream in a plastic storage container, cover with plastic wrap (again, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream), and freeze until ready to serve. The ice cream will keep for up to a week but is best eaten within two days of churning.
This is a good, easy ice cream recipe. I really like it as a base for Cookies & Cream, but if I were going to make a vanilla ice cream to serve on its own I would go with a custard-based recipe that uses real vanilla beans.
And now for the glamourous part -- homemade Oreos. These were so much easier to make than I anticipated. In fact, these were some of the easiest cookies I've made in a while, and I think the results are pretty impressive. They would be really great with a simple glass of cold milk and would be just lovely for a picnic.
The recipe originates from Retro Desserts by Wayne Brachman.
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed add the butter and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter (it won't look like enough but will spread when baked) and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough.
Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, spread teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
I really wish I'd taken more pictures as they were very pretty. Unfortunately, I crunched up half the cookies for the ice cream, served a number of them, and gobbled down all but the two pictured before photographing them. The two I had left were a little wobbly and uneven, so expect yours to be prettier than those pictured.
And now, for Cookies & Cream! Crush up about 10 cookies and gently fold them into softened Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream. Serve with a whole cookie.