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no. 3 Mooose Tracks

11 Oct


I would trade everything to re-live  three specific moments in history.

1. The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I.  Besides the complete political, social, and religious climate change that resulted from Elizabeth taking the crown, I dream of standing in awe of the sheer opulence of her ceremony at Westminster and admiring my favorite historical backbone draped in Tudor roses. Elizabeth is the beautiful but biting woman that I aspire to be. I constantly reflect on her quote, “Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind.” Lizzie, you animal, I love you.

2. V-J Day in Times Square – Yes, the famous soldier/nurse NYC kiss. Put me in line behind every other girl in history who’d dream to be that nurse or dons this poster on the wall of their college dorm room, I don’t care. Just save my spot. There’s a reason the photo is so popular, it’s brilliant . (Sidenote: Why are people so quick to cast aside something once it becomes popular?)  Not only does the contrast between the sailor’s dark uniform and the nurse’s bright whites symbolize the end of the dark days of war and the dawn of a peaceful homefront, but it also serves as one of many examples of the magic that happens in Times Square and its surrounding finger streets. These two lovers, if even that, are two of the millions of couples who have shared a kiss under the blinding lights of New York City. No where else in the history of the world has one place served as the epicenter for so many beginnings and endings whether  wordwide events or milestones in our infinitesimal lives. I’m open to hear suggestions though.

3. The blending of chocolate and peanut butter. Didn’t see that one coming, huh? I don’t know when it happened, don’t know where it happened, but it happened.  Though the ancient American civilizations discovered cocoa beans before christ, peanut butter wasn’t patented until anno domini. Actually, I don’t know how to say this in proper Latin but like way anno domini in 1884. And not by George Washington Carver but by a Canadian, Marcellus Gilmore Edson! So, maybe MGE knew what was up and smeared his peanut butter onto some French Canadian chocolate. But however it happened, sometime in the last 100 years, someone invented the combo and men, women and children everywhere applaud in gratitude.

Now, as further proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, we have ice cream. So I took a page out of that canadian’s book and brought chocolate and peanut butter to my ice cream.  I made this batch with my fresh cream from the Kilby Farms and Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups. I wonder if Trader Joe knew George Washington Carver?  They seem like they’d hit it off. Upon completion, it was delivered it to my folks at work who need a little happiness in their life becauseworkisterribleandineverwanttotalkaboutit.

I was going to call this batch “This and baked goods are the only thing that get me through my work day.” but that cant fit that on my chalkboard cow, so it’ll go by its common name



(makes 1 – 1.5 quarts)

(Prep time: 35 minutes)

(Inactive time: 3 hrs)

Spice it up: Add a peanut butter swirl, use a chocolate base, double up on pb cups, or add nuts/marshmallows

Take it down: Use store bought fudge or syrup, use plain chocolate or peanut butter chips

1 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups fresh heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp. good vanilla extract

1 cup (plus a little) Trader Joe’s mini pb-cups

Fudge Ripple (recipe below)

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the heavy cream over medium heat until your mixture reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit (about 5 minutes).  Slice and scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean and add both them and the bean to the milk mixture.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let the ingredients seep for about 30 minutes.

(Side note: Vanilla beans can be the gem of an ingredient list but are rather intimidating for first-time users.  There are some great tutorial videos on you-tube for how to properly slice and pair the bean.  Instead of tossing the shell, I drop it into my sugar canister to enrich the flavor. I usually forget I do that, though, and scream bloody hell the next time I use my sugar, thinking it’s been infested with stick bugs.  Don’t be an ass like me.)

While the milk mixture cools, prepare your ice bath. Take a large bowl and rest it atop of a bowl of freezing ice water. Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into the bowl. In a separate bowl (lotta bowls going on), whisk the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the milk mixture from the stove into the whisked egg yolks.  I ladled a bit of the milk at a time into the eggs and whisked immediately to avoid scrambling. Once complete, heat the entire mixture to about 175-180 degrees (7-8 minutes).

If your mixture seems “eggy,” strain the custard into the chilling cream.  If not, let the mixture chill until cooled completely.  You may choose to let it refrigerate (covered) overnight.  Once cool, remove the bean, add the ¼ tsp of vanilla extract, and freeze in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Usually about 30 minutes.

In the last few minutes of freezing, add your peanut butter cups.  I store mine in the freezer so they’re perfectly frozen but more so I don’t eat them off the counter.  If you don’t have Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups, you can also chop reeses.

To create the ripple, add a few scoops of your ice cream into your container, drizzle a tablespoon over the cream and repeat.  Don’t stir or your product will look muddy.  When the ice cream solidifies in the freezer it will come together perfectly.

Fudge Ripple

(Prep time: 10 minutes)

Warning.  This yields a lot of fudge.  You may choose to halve the recipe or save the remaining for toppings, future ripples, or chocolate milk.

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk sugar, corn syrup, water, and cocoa in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until boiling. Stir frequently to avoid scalding.  Boil for one minute.  Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Cover. Refrigerate. Steal a taste. Destroy the evidence. Re-cover. Re-refigerate.


After a few hours in the freezer grab a BIG bowl, a LITTLE spoon, a GOOD friend and ENJOY.

Happy Scooping!




no. 2 Brownoffee Brittle

4 Sep


OR…Brown Butter Ice Cream with Toffee Peanut Brittle.

I discovered Jenna during my Junior year at college in Washington, DC. Unfamiliar with the concept of food blogging, I trolled through months of her posts during my first sitting.  Eventually, I found myself checking the blog daily for updates.  The creativity and honesty was shocking. I’d try to explain how cool blogging was to my roommates and friends, but no one seemed as interested as I was.  Why would you spend time cooking in the communal dorm kitchen when there was free pizza at the cafeteria?


Eventually Lauren figured it out.  I met Lauren during a Freshman Prayer Retreat the first weekend of college.  I was wearing a Keith Urban T-Shirt and trying to make new friends and Lauren, miss cardigan and flats, was searching for ways to deepen her faith.  In six years, not much has changed.  Except now instead of awkward ice breakers and whereyafroms, Lauren and I talk incessantly about  butter, heavy cream, garlic, scones, and anything and everything surrounding food.  Lauren hopped on the blog bandwagon and now we discuss JennaJess and Katy and Abby as if we’ve known them for years.  I knew that for her 25th birthday, I’d need to make Lauren something up to par with the recipes of our “friends.” After her first bite she declared “Jess would love this” and I knew I had a winner…


I started making the Toffee Peanut Brittle at 7 am on Thursday morning because, quite frankly, I’m 50 shades of crazy. I’m pretty sure my housemates want to lock me in a closet.  I was a bit disappointed, initially, thinking I had burnt the peanuts (because I was spending too much time texting Lauren in between stirring) and nearly called the whole thing off.  By the time I came home, the brittle was fine and I powered through the base.  I had begun to grow tired of waiting over night for my bases to cool, so I took a more aggressive approach with this recipe and created an ice bath for the mixture.  In reality, I wanted to wrap this recipe up in a day so that I could eat it whilst my lump was the couch watching Married to Jonas the BBC.

The recipe seems a tad overwhelming, but really, it’s not. One of the funniest parts of making ice cream is that everyone thinks you’re some sort of culinary goddess when in fact you boiled some crap and put it in a machine.  Your secret’s safe with me 😉

Go get em.


Brown Butter Ice Cream with Toffee Peanut Brittle

For the Brittle:

  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. peanuts (I used unsalted but would switch to salted next time ’round)
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup water <– only thing you’ll see here w/o calories.
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of toffee bits (sold near the chocolate chips at the grocery store)
  • Candy thermometer

1. Get yourself together. Seriously, the recipe moves quite quickly and you’ll want to have everything laid out and measured so that you feel like a wizard while making it.

2. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

3. Bring your sugar, corn syrup, salt and water to a boil. Stir in peanuts. Continue to stir frequently until your candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This took about 10-15 minutes which is why I got bored, started texting and nearly ruined everything. But just keep stirring.

4. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and butter.  You’ll feel like you’re making a 7th grade science project because the mixture takes on a life of it’s own at this point.

5. Transfer to the baking sheet and use a fork to spread the brittle to about the width of the sheet.  Sprinkle your toffee evenly before the brittle hardens.

6. After 30 – 60 minutes, break the brittle. Set aside 2/3 c of finely chopped brittle for the mixture.

7. Smack the hands of anyone who picks at it.

For the ice cream:

  • 3/4 stick (6 tbsp. unsalted butter)
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 1/3 c/ dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 c. peanut brittle

1. In a small skillet, melt the butter and stir occasionally for about 5-7 minutes or until the mixture turns a dark amber color. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Bring your heavy cream and milk to a simmer, about 140 degrees on the candy thermometer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Whisk/blend your egg yolks, sugar, and salt for about 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens.

4.  Add the brown butter to the egg mixture and whisk.

5.  Slowly add your cream mixture to the egg mixture taking caution not to scramble the eggs.  To avoid ruining the entire mixture, I use a ladle and ladle one scoop of the cream into the eggs at a time and then whisk to blend.  Speaking from experience, scrambled egg ice cream does not taste good.

6. Heat the entire mixture to 175 degrees, stirring frequently.

7. At this point you can either let the mixture refrigerate over night, or create an ice bath.  I added ice and water to a large bowl and let the base rest in that for about 45 minutes. Once cool, stir in the vanilla extract to intensify the flavor.

8. Once cooled completely, transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze per your manufacturers instructions.  When there is about 2 minutes left in the cycle, add your toffee peanut brittle.

9. Get a spoon

Spice it up: Instead of peanut brittle you might try cinnamon, caramel or chocolate covered pop corn as mix-ins

Take it down: substitute the whole milk for skim milk and the 6 egg yolks for one whole egg to lighten your base.  Keep in mind that this may result in a more icy-consitency because you are lowering the fat content of the base

Happy Scooping 🙂