The (Next) Best Thing I’ve Ever Made

(I can’t believe this never got posted! I think I was waiting on a picture, which sadly never happened.  I’ll post it now for your enjoyment.  Consider it a flashback to warmer, more relaxing times this summer…an apt description on a chilly, grey September morning.)

If the cherry chocolate chip ice cream I made earlier this summer was the best thing I ever made, this might be second best: peanut butter swirl ice cream. It’s rich, smooth, with just a little bit of stickiness from the peanut butter added at the last minute and little crunches of semisweet chocolate.

As with the cherry ice cream, it’s not for the faint of heart. It involves a fair amount of heating, tempering, heating, cooling, custard-making, peanut-butter-adding, and mixture-straining before you set it in the fridge to freeze. But it’s deliciously worth it.

I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe, and I would do the same next time. First, I omitted the chopped peanuts altogether.  Second, I like my peanut butter better with chocolate. So I tried the same trick that I learned with the cherry chocolate ice cream: I melted 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate over a double broiler, then slowly drizzled it in about 5 minutes before the ice cream was done churning.  Third, instead of mixing the peanut butter in after the machine stopped, I took the lazy route and dumped it in right before turning the machine off.  I let it swirl a bit and used a spatula to break up any giant clumps, then scooped the mixture into containers to freeze.  It might not have achieved quite as much of a “swirl”–it’s a little too blended in to be called a swirl–but it is fabulously peanut buttery.

Here’s the original recipe: Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

The Best Thing I Ever Made?

ice_creamLarge chunks of fresh, sweet, dark cherries–the really good ones that you can only find for about two weeks at this time of year.  Thin, crisp shavings of dark chocolate.  Luxurious, creamy texture.

No kidding, this might be the best thing I ever made.

For one thing, it was quite an impressive undertaking.  Chris and I pitted cherries the night before. I cooked them down that morning, then made a simple custard. Then I stuck that custard in an ice bath. Later, I used a double-boiler to melt chocolate. Then I stuck it all in our (brand new!) ice cream maker. It was an involved process, but each step was really necessary to creating the balance in the final product–plus, I got to feel really accomplished when I listed all the things I did to get that perfect bowl of ice cream.  So yes, the recipe took me a decent chunk of a day.

And yes, it was so very worth it.

Here’s the link to the recipe I followed:

Black Cherry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream via Sweet Pea’s Kitchen