The first challenge was to pick the flavor. I was going to try the Cardamom Honey, but when it was time to print out the recipe, it had been removed from the testing list. (Kieran updated the list so too many people didn't do the same flavor.) Perhaps if I wasn't the most talented procrastinator in the known universe I could have tried that one. Oh well. If only the sky wasn't blue or the grass green...
I looked over the list and saw the deliciousness that would be my own: Cookies ice cream. (That's Cookies 'n' Cream for us Americans.) Mmmmmmm...yummy.
Second challenge: gather the ingredients. It took me three stores and two separate trips, but I managed to obtain the whopping six ingredients. Interesting to note, this was my very first purchase of a vanilla bean. I have to admit the glass test tube holding the shiny, black beans made the experience all the more special. Seriously, my whole family was impressed by that glass cylinder. I was more impressed with the price. ($11.99 for only two beans! ouch.)
Fast forward to "the making of". Challenge #3 - Follow the directions. Yeeeaaah. Right. Sounds simple enough. But then again, it always sounds simple, because it normally is simple, to everyone else that is. Okay, cut the vanilla bean, check; milk to simmer, i think so, check; beat sugar and egg yolks, check; beat milk in, check; mixture into pan, stir until 60C, check; let custard cool; check. Problem! Tricia apparently can't read instructions. I was supposed to stir the custard until it was thickened. On the recipe it was noted that the temperature would probably be around 60C, not that I was supposed to cook it only until it reached that temperature. Okay, now what do I do?
My choices were as follows: do nothing and hope all goes well or reheat and hope it thickens. It hadn't cooled too much so I popped it back on the burner. As I was stirring I realized that it really was thicker than before and I didn't really know enough about custardy things to know if reheating would even work. Sooooo...I took it back off the burner and hoped for the best.
Next, I was instructed to whip the cream a bit. As far as ice cream recipes go, this was the first time I had seen that. No big deal, just another step that I could somehow mess up, yet amazingly didn't. After folding the custard and partially-whipped cream together, I put it in the fridge to get nice and cold. Note: that's not part of the recipe, that's just something we always do.
The next step was by far the easiest. I put the mixture into the ice cream maker, turning the switch to 'on'. Woohoo! Success! About thirty minutes later there was one last ingredient to add: the cookies. I put four Newman-O's (Think Oreos without the hydrogenated oils.) in a baggie and beat the poor little guys with my rolling pin. Poor them, happy me. I dumped the little chocolatey pieces into the machine, watching them follow the river of ice cream flowing around and around.
There it was, a frozen bucket filled with the perfect mixture of cookies and milk. The heavens opened up, a beam of light flooded the room as it rested upon the evening's creation. Angels sang and a loud voice resonated for all to hear, "This is Cookies Ice Cream, in which I am well pleased." Well, maybe it didn't happen quite like that, but it sure felt like it.
The fourth and final challenge was putting the finished product into the freezer for a couple hours so it could firm up. I failed, my husband failed, my kids failed. Don't give me any of your talk of patience, you would have been a failure, too if you had been there.
We all got a bowl with a scoop of ice cream. It was delicious. Smooth, rich, creamy, and did I mention, delicious? I'd pay money for a scoop of that stuff. (Well, I guess technically I did.)
So what do I have to say about the recipe? (Remember, this was all for testing purposes.)
- As far as the recipe goes, it's pretty straightforward. The only tricky part is determining custard thickness. I would put a section in the book dealing with that specific aspect of the process, just for clarity's sake, since most, if not all, recipes use the custard method.
- It tastes a little different from a standard tub of store bought cookies 'n cream. But that is mainly due to the fact that we are talking grade A quality home made ice cream. I doubt anybody is adding a vanilla bean to their mass-produced varieties. You can definitely taste it. The recipe mentions that the bean is optional, which I'm sure would lend a more generic flavor to the ice cream (something worth noting). But would omitting that delicious bean be wise? I think not.
- The whipping of the cream is an excellent addition to homemade recipes. The final product was smoother and lighter (not in the caloric sense, mind you) than any other recipe we've tried. It lacked that almost butter-like texture that a lot of homemade ice creams have.(You know, that tongue-coating feeling. Blech.)
- All in all, excellent and, need I say it again, delicious! Thank you, Kieran for Cookies Ice Cream!
As I am finishing this, I just realized that the deadline of the 25th is technically over in Ireland. Darn it! One more aspect of this entire ordeal I've screwed up on. Oh well. Maybe Kieran will be merciful. I mean, I finished with twenty-one minutes to spare here in Oregon, USA! (That's early, according to the Procrastinator's Handbook!) And that's one more thing going for this recipe. If I can do it, anybody can!