Do you love chunky ice cream? Are you thinking of whipping up some homemade ice cream with shards of fresh cookies or blocks of brownies? Here are three tips for getting great flavor and texture from your mixed-up ice cream.
One of my family's favorite kinds of ice cream is called Sugar Daddy, from Jeni's Ice Cream. This is a seasonal flavor of cheesecake ice cream with rich, fudgy brownies mixed in. They were heartbroken when the brief season passed for this treat (what's seasonal about brownies? my brother demanded) so I recreated it for them. It's not hard, but mixing brownies or crumbly cookies into ice cream should usually happen in these three steps.
1. Cut up your mix-ins. I feel personally that a mix-in should be no larger than 1 inch to a side. So I cut brownies into small cubes, and cookies or crackers like the chocolate-covered peanut butter crackers above into half moons or wedges.
2. Freeze your mix-ins solid. Spread your cut-up brownies or cookies in a pan and put them in the freezer for about 1 hour to freeze. Many baked goods will be crumbly and crumb-y if stirred in at room temperature, leaving you with brownie crumb ice cream, instead of creamy ice cream with chunks of brownie. You want to freeze the cut-up pieces into hard, tough chunks. They will relax and soften once stirred into the ice cream, so don't worry about them being too hard.
3. Fold baked goods into ice cream by hand. The final step in mixing your ice cream with brownies or cookies is to fold in your frozen pieces in by hand. Adding baked goods to a churning ice cream maker usually results in crumbs or smears of brownie or cake — not the discrete chunks you're after.
Freeze the ice cream as directed in your ice cream maker, then scrape it out when finished into a large bowl. Add the frozen pieces of cookie, brownie, or cake, and fold in gently with a large spatula. Transfer to a freezer container, cover the top with plastic wrap, cover and freeze.
That's how I recreated that ice cream with big, chewy chunks of fudgy brownie. (A little extra cream cheese added to the basic ice cream recipe gave a great cheesecake flavor.)
What are your favorite ice cream mix-ins, and have you made a chunky ice cream lately? If you'd like to try, we suggest starting with this base recipe:
(Images: Faith Durand)