I remember when I started baking in earnest and was asking my mother for all sorts of crazy things (like a KitchenAid mixer, or a springform pan – I know, totally crazy), she was obviously quite confused. First, the woman can’t bake or cook to save her life. The first time she made my father a “home-cooked” dinner it was pea soup. Except that her soup turned out gray. My father, though not the most adventurous eater, ate it. This a true testament to how much my father loved my mother, despite her ineptitude in the kitchen, because I have tried to re-create gray pea soup, and am resolutely convinced it’s not possible. Bless his soul it didn’t kill him and I am here to tell the tale.
Second, my mother was convinced that all these items I was asking for are only found on a wedding registry. Perhaps she was confused because I was not (and am not) engaged, but still I was asking for a KitchenAid mixer. She would complain for hours, “But Aislinn, what are you going to put on your registry?” I told her not to worry, I still wanted a champagne saber and a kitchen blowtorch and those are surely things one finds on a registry. I also recently found out that REI has a wedding registry, and that’s pretty cool too, so I think I’ll probably just register there, since my kitchen will already be filled to the brim with equipment.
Imagine how surprised I was then, when Christmas 2008 rolls around and I get a KitchenAid mixer. Not just any KitchenAid mixer, the PROFESSIONAL grade mixer. Hell yeah this baby can make you a brioche that takes 4 years to knead and the engine won’t burn out. I mean this thing is heavy-duty. Probably the coolest part about this gift, was that it came with ANOTHER free gift! When you bought the professional grade mixer you had your choice of two attachments: the meat grinder or an ice cream maker.
I guess the people at KitchenAid thought this would be a pretty difficult decision for folks. I mean c’mon! Who doesn’t want to grind their own sausage and stuff it into pork intestine linings for next winter? I know I do. Imagine my disappointment when I got the ice cream maker attachment. Let me tell you a secret: that disappointment over not having a meat grinder disappeared pretty quickly after my first batch of homemade ice cream.
Now here’s the thing about homemade ice cream. It takes patience. I’ve heard patience is a virtue, but I’ve never claimed to be a virtuous person, so making homemade ice cream can be somewhat tedious to me. However, all that aside, if you can muster the patience, go for it. Because it will knock your socks off.
I make my ice cream in the “French” fashion, because I am classy like that. It basically means you make a custard, which you chill overnight and then churn in your mixer. Custards scare people, and honestly I don’t blame them. Tempering eggs so they don’t scramble first and making sure they’re cooked enough so you don’t poison all your friends is a lot to handle. But I come from a generation where eating raw cookie dough with eggs in it was no big deal. Usually it tasted better when you dropped it on the floor and got dog and cat hair on it first. I call that seasoning. It makes us stronger.
But seriously, making custard is easy-peasy. Just take your time, make sure you know what you’re doing in the instructions and attack with relish. If you’re super paranoid about scrambling the eggs, do what I do. Use the smallest ladle you have, or pour some of the hot milk into a measuring cup with a pour spout, and pour it in a tiny trickle into your eggs while whisking like your life depends on it. Don’t worry if your bowl is whipping around the counter, as long as the eggs don’t spill out, you’re fine. I also always test the sides of the egg bowl to make sure they’re not cold still before I pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk. It’s just an extra precaution to make sure nothing scrambles. And if it does, no big deal. You’re going to strain the mixture anyway so all those scrambled bits won’t be in the final product and it will still taste amazing.
This recipe is just a base vanilla ice cream that I use for making other flavors (like my favorite Carnival flavor from the ice cream shop where I grew up). In this one I added crushed Oreos for cookies and cream. I wanted to make Carnival again, but in a weak moment I ate all The BFs cookies and cream ice cream (with Bailey’s drizzled on top, and sometimes I made a float of it with Dr. Pepper, don’t judge me) that I felt bad and decided to replace it for him with a homemade version.
I toned down the vanilla flavor a bit because I wanted it to be more like a cream than a vanilla flavor. Be forewarned, if you crush your cookies to itty-bitty bits and pour in cookie dust, you will get that bluish-gray ice cream color that mine got. If you want the bigger chunks that you find in the grocery store varieties, I suggest you chop the cookies, not smash them to smithereens with a wine bottle rolling-pin. Either way, it tastes delicious.
- 2 cups whole milk
- pinch of salt (about ⅛ tsp)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split length wise (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 row of Oreos, about 12 cookies, crushed or chopped
- In a medium saucepan heat 1 cup milk and the heavy cream until steaming (you will see little wisps of steam rising from the pan and small bubbles around the edges, and the top will look slightly foamy). Scrape in the vanilla bean seeds and add the pod as well or scrape in the bean paste. Allow to infuse for about 15 minutes with a lid on top.
- In the meantime set up an ice bath, use a large bowl filled with ice and water about ⅔rds full and set a smaller bowl in it. Pour the remaining milk in the smaller bowl in the bath and set a small fine-mesh strainer over top.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a separate bowl until pale and ribbon-y, this takes a little elbow grease and make sure you hold the bowl still or it will whip around the counter.
- After 15 minutes are up remove the pod from the milk and re-heat the mixture until steaming.
- Take a small ladle-full of milk or pour about ¼ cup into a measuring cup with a pour spout and drizzle a very thin stream of milk into the eggs while whisking constantly – this is called tempering. Tap the edge of the egg bowl to make sure it’s not too cold still, if it is whisk in a little more milk mixture. The egg mixture should get a little foamy.
- Once the eggs are tempered pour them back into the milk mixture in a thin stream while whisking constantly. Continue to stir the mixture with a spatula over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. This can take a while, have patience, if you cook it too fast you’ll scramble your eggs. You will know the custard has thickened enough when it coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line through it. It takes anywhere between 10-20 minutes.
- Once the custard has thickened pour it through the sieve into the milk in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture to cool it for about 3-4 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled place plastic wrap on the surface (to prevent a skin forming) and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Once the mixture has chilled pour it into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for processing. About 10 minutes before the ice cream is finished, but it is still soft, pour in your crushed/chopped cookies for the remainder.
- When the ice cream has finished processing pour it into a plastic freezable container and put in the freezer for about 1-2 hours to set.