I’m continuing to search for the perfect recipe for homemade ice cream. Today, it’s peanut butter ice cream. And I’m really not sure why I didn’t attempt this sooner, because there were days when I left Target near tears when they were out of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup. This one is pretty close, even if I do say so myself
I have to thank browneyedbaker for the homemade peanut butter ice cream recipe that inspired my own. I tweaked it a bit, but she deserves credit for the original recipe.
My version of homemade peanut butter ice cream
I always tweak homemade ice cream recipes because I never have milk in the house. Nobody drinks it often enough to use it up before it goes bad. Half-and-half and heavy cream last forever (although I don’t like to think about why that is), so I always use one of the two in place of milk. After that, the barn door is wide open, and it becomes an educated free-for-all (and I say “educated” because I’ve learned that messing with the fat content can be a recipe for disaster).
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup peanut butter (The type is up to you. This time I used creamy peanut butter with a swirl of white chocolate. Next time I’ll probably use crunchy.)
1 teaspoon vanilla (you can adjust vanilla to taste)
Pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
Mini peanut butter cups for mix-ins
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- Warm half-and-half, heavy cream, brown sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt in a heavy pan. Heavy, enamel- coated cast iron like Le Creuset is ideal, but any heavy pan is fine. The heavier, the better, to keep the custard base from burning.
- Stir in peanut butter and cook over medium-low heat until the peanut butter is melted. You should see a few bubbles around the edges, but if it’s anything more than that, turn the heat down to keep the custard mixture from burning.
- Whisk the egg yolks and white sugar in a small bowl. (The sugar coats the egg proteins and helps keep them from curdling.) I separated them by hand the first few times I made ice cream, but that gets messy when you’re separating that many of them. So I bought this cute little gadget, and it makes all the difference.
- Temper the egg yolks by stirring in about half of the warm custard mixture, a cup at a time, to keep the eggs from curdling. Then pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the custard mixture, and continue to stir. The mixture is done when it sticks to the back of a spatula. If you want a bit of reassurance, use an instant-read thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 170°.
- The next step is to cool the custard mixture quickly, so that it stops cooking from residual heat (providing extra prevention against curdling). Most recipes tell you to use an ice bath, but I just put the mixture into a bowl and stick it in the freezer for an hour or two. (If you have more than one freezer, put it into the one with the most available space. Otherwise, the heat emanating from that hot bowl could cause other items in the freezer to become too warm.)
- If you’re not in a hurry, move the custard to the refrigerator after a couple of hours and let it sit overnight. If you want to rush things along, you can leave the custard in the freezer. Just check it frequently to make sure it’s not getting too solid. (I’ve tried to use frozen custard in my ice cream maker, and it didn’t turn out well.) If it does freeze, let it sit out on the counter until it has more of a batter-like consistency.
- When you’re ready to churn the ice cream, follow the directions for your particular ice cream maker. However, if you have a KitchenAid attachment like I do, put the custard in before you start it. If you follow the directions and try to start the ice cream maker with no custard in there, the attachment pieces are likely to come apart.
- When your ice cream maker has done its job, stir in the peanut butter cups. (Depending on the size of your peanut butter cups, you may want to cut them in half.)
If soft-serve is your thing, you can dig right in to your peanut butter ice cream! If you like your ice cream harder, freeze it until it reaches your desired texture.
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