Words & Photography
by Erica Park
This dessert is a conglomeration of the things I loved in childhood, mainly ice cream and peanut butter. Which are actually still things I love. In fact, I declared my devotion to these two just five recipes into my blog.
The love likely stems from the fact that the two things are strongly tied with memories, so many memories. Like getting a wee bit tipsy, wheelbarrow-style walking down Mass Ave. after dinner, then smashing half a jar of peanut butter and making (forcing?) Andrew and his roommate watch Korean pop videos on their TV. That was in the early months of our relationship, mind you.
And ice cream? Well there are the numerous nights in Bloomington heading to my favorite shop with my lady friends to see the attractive man scooping ice cream (affectionately nicknamed HHG = Hot Hartzell's Guy), and the nights of grabbing Jiffy Treat with the sister when she knew I was feeling low. There are the birthday ice cream cake celebrations with the family and sneaking into garage to stick our hands into the ice chest and eat a Drumstick cone before dinner. And I guess to come full circle, there's the time when I got mad reflux on the first date and made Andrew make a pit stop to Meijer to grab a pint of mint chocolate chip...and Pepto Bismol. So romantic, I know.
So besides the fact that this tastes great, it evokes some pretty hilarious memories too. I love when food is more than just what we put into our stomachs. It can awaken other senses besides taste and connect us with our former selves. Make us laugh a little if we need something to brighten up the day. Let us think a little more deeply about how we've grown from the last time - ice cream has been associated with tearful times as well as joyful ones here.
All this to say, I simply took a highly acclaimed ice cream base and added to it the flavors that I love, for reasons beyond the taste. If you enjoy creamy, rich scoops that taste just like peanut butter with crunchy cookies, this is the recipe for you. But if not, the base is infinitely adaptable. Make it something that gives you memories of happy times.
Peanut Nutter Butter Ice Cream
adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn
2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
5 teaspoons cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter - don't use all natural in this case, I used Jif and it worked quite well!
7-10 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
1. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch together with 1/4 cup of milk until smooth.
2. In a second small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then whisk in an additional 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. In a saucepan, whisk together the remaining 1 3/4 cup milk, heavy cream, sugar, and honey. Bring this mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
4. Whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk into the cornstarch slurry. Then, pour this milk-cornstarch mixture back into the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return to the heat and cook until it comes to a boil, whisking frequently when doing this. Boil for about 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the cream cheese mixture and then the vanilla extract and peanut butter.
5. Chill this ice cream base for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge.
6. Once chilled, churn the ice cream base according to your ice cream maker's instructions.
7. At the end of the churning process, mix in the Nutter Butter cookies - you can do this by hand if you don't want to add it to your ice cream maker. Pour the ice cream (it will be soft somewhat) into a 9x5 loaf pan and cover with aluminum foil. Place in the freezer and let it freeze for 2-3 hours.
8. Scoop your ice cream, add extra cookies if you have some on hand!