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Jun 04, 2024

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There's something incredibly satisfying about crafting your own creamy, dreamy scoop of ice cream from scratch, and this recipe from developer Taylor Murray makes it easier than you might imagine. Traditional, tempting, and packed with the nutty goodness of peanut butter, this ice cream recipe is a surefire way to wow your taste buds and impress your family and friends.

Imagine the rich, creamy texture of whole milk, the sweetness of sugar, the luxurious depth of egg yolks, and the undeniable allure of peanut butter, all harmoniously blended together, then churned to perfection in a traditional ice cream churn. The result? A homemade peanut butter ice cream that's unrivaled in flavor, with a taste that store-bought versions simply can't match.

No need to shy away from the prospect of making ice cream at home. Yes, it's a bit of a culinary adventure, but the steps are straightforward and the required equipment is easy to use — just be careful to avoid the common pitfalls. The beauty of homemade ice cream is the freedom to control your ingredients and flavors, ensuring a quality and taste tailored to your preference.

The base ingredients for this ice cream are whole milk, sugar, and egg yolks. For the yolks, if you happen to have some on hand (after making meringue, perhaps), then great. If not, there are a few tricks for separating eggs.

If you can, opt for organic for the milk and eggs. The quality of these base ingredients will greatly affect the final flavor and texture of the dessert. For this specific recipe, you will also need peanut butter. This recipe was developed with smooth peanut butter. If you try and swap for chunky, you may have varied results.

Add the milk and half the sugar to a medium pot. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Be careful not to let your milk boil over! This part of the recipe is known as scalding the milk. It serves a few different purposes: one, to dissolve the sugar, and two, to heat the milk in preparation for tempering the eggs.

The next step involves tempering the yolks. "This stage is crucial to the recipe and the part that many people are intimidated about," says Murray, "but it's really quite simple."

Start by ladling a teaspoon or two of hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture while whisking. Gradually increase the amount of milk you add into the mixture, while whisking constantly, until a full cup has been added. This action slowly increases the temperature of the eggs so that they incorporate into the hot milk without scrambling.

Return the yolk and sugar mixture to the pot and whisk it all together. Turn the heat back to medium and bring the mixture up to 170 F. The final texture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, which is known in French as "nappe."

At this point, this mixture is known as crème anglaise and can be used as a dessert sauce. Technically, this can serve as a vanilla ice cream base too, but the texture may be slightly off since this ice cream base has been specifically developed for peanut butter ice cream. Many recipes for ice cream bases use heavy cream to increase the fat ratio, but this recipe relies on peanut butter to add that fat

Spoon the peanut butter into the hot, cooked base. Whisk until it is fully incorporated, making sure no chunks remain. Strain the base into a clean container.

Chill the base, covered, overnight. This step is known as aging the base. Generally, the aging process involves chilling the ice cream base in the refrigerator for a period of time, typically between four to 24 hours. While it's possible to churn the base immediately after it's made, taking the extra time to let it age can result in a superior end product. It's one of those small steps that can make a big difference in the quality of homemade ice cream.

During the aging process, the fat in the mixture undergoes partial crystallization. This contributes to a smoother, creamier texture in the final product. Aging works on the proteins in the milk and cream, allowing them to absorb some of the water in the mix. This reduces ice formation when the mix is churned and frozen, leading to creamier, smoother ice cream.

On the flavor front, the time that aging provides allows the ingredients in the ice cream base to fully meld together. This marriage of flavors can significantly enhance the overall taste of the ice cream. Especially for those flavors that require infusion, like vanilla or steeped herbs, aging proves to be a game-changer.

Prepare the ice cream churn per the manufacturer's directions. In these photos, the attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer was used.

Once the ice cream is ready, scoop it out of the machine into a clean container. This could be a plastic food storage container, a loaf pan, or any other kind of container. If you have noticed that some of the ice cream has melted back into a liquid by the time you have scooped it all into the container, leave the melted base out. This will freeze into an icy texture.

After scooping your ice cream into the desired container, quickly get it into the freezer and chill until firm, which should take about two hours. You are welcome to sneak a bite of the ice cream at this stage, but you will find that it is quite soft and close to the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Chilling it until firm will allow you to scoop it just like store-bought ice cream, making it perfect for sundaes or cones. After the two hours, you can serve the ice cream or continue to keep it frozen until ready to eat. If waiting more than a few hours to serve it, make sure the ice cream is covered to prevent the absorption of freezer flavors.

Serving this peanut butter ice cream can be as simple as taking bites of it straight out of the container. You can also use it to make a decadent sundae, topping it high with chocolate sauce, chopped peanuts, and whipped cream. It can even be used to make a creamy milkshake.