What do you eat when you’re alone? Seems like a funny question, but I imagine I’m not the only one who eats differently when I am by myself, versus when I’m cooking for others. Are you a stand at the counter no dishes kind of person? Perhaps a certain dish calls out to you – a giant bowl of popcorn? Peanut butter out of the jar with or without anything to go along with it? Toast topped with cream cheese, pickles, and lots of ground pepper (hey now, this is delicious even though it is almost guaranteed to result in people asking if you’re pregnant)? Kettle Chips by the bagful?
When I am home alone in the middle of the day, chances are I’ve spent a good majority of time washing dishes. I don’t want to make or eat a single thing that will require me to wash more dishes. Sometimes I cave; I’ll scramble eggs in one pan, add some salsa and cheese, then eat it straight out of the same pan, with the same fork that did the scrambling. Sometimes this apprehension for dishes means I’ll eat a banana, yogurt, and then granola by the handful. Or chips with salsa or hummus that is in the fridge. No dishes required. Then there are times we have just the slightest bit of ice cream left in the freezer. The only requirements: a spoon and my face. TOTALLY DOABLE.
We have had this ice cream lingering around for a little while. In part because after I made it, fed three kids, my husband and I some the day it was made, I hid it in the back of the freezer so I could come back to it whenever I wanted without having to share. (Guiltless confession!) I have a weird thing about crunchy things in my ice cream. When I was a kid, rocky road ice cream meant I’d eat everything except the nuts, which I’d spit out immediately. This lack of desire for crunchiness in my ice cream extends (but absolutely is not limited to) chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, nuts of any variety, candy pieces that aren’t soft or melty, etc., etc. The dilemma is certain flavors of ice cream I really do love – like mint chip. I just don’t like the chips. When I discovered Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream, I immediately fell in love. The cookies soften just enough within the ice cream to leave chunks of chocolate goodness, while the minty ice cream balances them out. This homemade version is equally delicious and easy enough to put together!
Mint Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream
Yields approximately one quart of ice cream.
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
a small pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped
4 egg yolks
one 9-ounce package Newman-O’s, chopped roughly
1 tablespoon organic peppermint extract
Warm the milk, sugar, salt and half of the heavy cream in a small pot over medium heat. Once the milk is warm, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk mixture. Add the whole bean pod, too, along with the peppermint extract. Cover the pot and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining heavy cream into a small bowl (steel is preferable if you have one) then set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed egg yolks and milk back into your small sauce pot.
Over medium heat, stir the egg/milk mixture constantly, scraping the bottom of the pot while you mix. Continue stirring and cooking the mixture until it thickens and can coat the back of your spoon or spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer, into the remaining heavy cream, being sure to remove the vanilla bean pod. Place the custard into your refrigerator until it’s thoroughly chilled, occasionally stirring.
Once the custard is completely cold, you’re ready to churn the ice cream. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream reaches a soft-serve consistency, add in half of the chopped up cookies, allowing them to churn into the ice cream as well.
Layer the mixture in a lidded container, alternating layers with more of the remaining chopped cookies. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the ice cream, pressing it directly onto the ice cream, removing any trapped air. Cover the container with its lid as well, then allow the ice cream to harden in the freezer until it reaches a scoop-able consistency (1-2 hours or so).