Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream with Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

35 Comments
reeses_pieces_ice_cream

Dark chocolate cups encasing rich peanut ice cream & studded with peanut butter pieces

If I ask you to describe your most memorable ice cream experience, what immediately springs to mind?

To start off, you might want to put it in context – a European holiday, the lazy heat of a summer’s afternoon, a long queue snaking down the street as you wait patiently for the ice cream van or a stolen after-school treat, still solid from the freezer and stuck to its flimsy paper packaging.

Flavour is likely to come next on the agenda. You might be a plain vanilla kind of person, a die-hard chocoholic, or someone with a preference for all things fruity. The ice cream in question might be smooth and simple, or packed with bits – chocolate, nuts, flakes of this, flecks of that and swirls of sticky sauce.

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Smooth dark chocolate with a soft peanut butter centre

The vessel is also an important part of the memory. Licking the jagged edges of an ice cream as it drips from its precarious position atop a cone has always been one of my favourite things about Italian holidays, but you might prefer a cup with its tiny plastic spade for a spoon.  Your experience might involve a single, perfect scoop (David Lebovitz springs to mind), or an enormous sundae bowl with frosted edges, filled with different flavours and topped with scribbles of sauce and cloudy pillows of whipped cream. You most memorable ice cream might even have been unceremoniously stuck on a stick.

All these variables may be unpredictable, but moving on to the taste and texture, the same set of adjectives will inevitably appear; soft and sweet, silky and smooth, rich, creamy and cold. This is ice cream after all; of course cold comes into the equation. But not too cold. You don’t want to experience that rapid constriction and swelling of blood cells that results in the excruciating, if momentary, sensation also known as an ice cream headache. Unless you’re my Mum, who claims never to have had one, citing a wide, low palate as her in-built bodyguard, you’ll have encountered the particularly unpleasant form of pain often referred to as ‘brain freeze’. It’s understandably not very nice, and is unlikely part of your most memorable ice cream eating experience (unless you’re remembering it for all the wrong reasons).

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Honeyed peanut ice cream with creamy chunks of peanut butter cup

But what if you could make something so smooth and creamy, so lacking in crystals of ice that it actually felt less cold than a more traditional ice cream?

Enter Jeni Britton Bauer, the incredible alchemist behind possibly some of the best ice cream you will ever eat. Jeni’s self-styled ‘splendid’ ice creams are formulated with scientific accuracy, incorporating small amounts of corn flour to absorb any additional water in the mix, rendering it soft, smooth and – bizarrely – less cold. The overriding experience when eating one of her ice creams is of smooth texture, slow melting butterfat and rich, round flavour; an altogether more gentle – and genteel – experience.

Unfortunately Jeni’s seasonal and signature flavours aren’t available in the UK – she has numerous shops across Ohio and a thriving internet delivery business but is yet to crack our country – but her book of recipes is. After working my way through the Ben & Jerry’s bible and David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, I wanted to try some new techniques and flavours, and Jeni’s book delivers on both. All her ice creams are egg-free, instead incorporating unusual ingredients such as corn flour and cream cheese to achieve the desired texture. Her flavour combinations are unusual and exciting, from those featuring a hint of spice to exotic fruit and vegetables, as well as classics including some of my all-time favourites; chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel and, of course, peanut.

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The perfect combination of chocolate and peanuts

The recipe below uses one of Jeni’s ice creams as a base, but also incorporates an adaptation of David Lebovitz’s peanut butter patties, placing the whole concoction in a giant chocolate case for a bit of fun and a play on the classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It’s rich and nutty, soft and sweet, and studded with pieces of smooth peanut butter patty which contrast wonderfully against the snap and crack of dark, bittersweet chocolate. All these attributes make it an ice cream worthy of any adult palate, but with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, it’s really just a big kid’s treat masquerading as something more sophisticated.

So grab a spoon, get stuck in and eat as much as you like. I promise it won’t give you a headache (except, perhaps, of the sugar-induced variety).

Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream with Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

For the peanut butter cups
(will make more than you need for the ice cream, but I can’t imagine a few spares are going to go to waste)

Ingredients:

200g smooth peanut butter
50g unsalted butter, softened
50g soft brown sugar
200g icing sugar
300g chocolate (milk or dark, to your preference)

Method:

Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar over medium heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the icing sugar a little at a time. Stir until completely combined then set aside to cool.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie. Using a teaspoon, pour a small amount of melted chocolate into the bottom of each lined muffin cup. Pop in the fridge to cool for 10 minutes.

Use a teaspoon to take balls of your peanut butter mixture out the ball. Roll them smooth, then flatten slightly and place one ball in each muffin cup on top of the melted chocolate. Pour more melted chocolate over the peanut butter ball until completely covered with a smooth top, then set aside to cool and harden completely.

For the chocolate cups

Ingredients:

400g tempered chocolate (milk or dark)

Method:

Pour your chocolate into paper muffin cases or silicone muffin moulds, then using a pastry brush, brush it up the sides. Hold them up to the light to check there are no translucent spots, then pop in the fridge to set. After about 20 minutes repeat the process to ensure the chocolate shell is thick enough to withstand breaking.

Set aside until ready to serve.

For the ice cream

Ingredients:

500ml full fat milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornflour
3 tbsp cream cheese
130g crunchy peanut butter (try to use a version with no added sugar or salt)
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (unless using salted peanut butter)
300ml double cream
150g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp runny honey

Method:

In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour to make a smooth slurry.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, peanut butter and salt until smooth.

Fill a large bowl (or the sink) with ice and water to make an ice bath.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, agave nectar and honey in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over a medium-high heat and allow to boil for exactly 4 minutes (set a timer as soon as it starts to boil).

Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cornflour mixture, then bring back to the boil over a medium-high heat and cook until slightly thickened, stirring with a heatproof spatula – this should take about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk your hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until combined. Set the bowl of mixture in your larger bowl (or sink) of iced water and whisk until cooled – about 15 minutes. You could churn your ice cream now, although I prefer to allow it to chill completely overnight in the fridge.

Once completely chilled, churn in an ice cream maker. When the ice cream is ready, turn into a container folding through chunks of your peanut butter patties as desired.

When the ice cream has firmed up slightly, set your pre-prepared chocolate cups out on a flat worksurface. Using an ice cream scoop, fill your chocolate cups with scoops of the peanut ice cream. Put the filled chocolate cups on a tray and put them back in the freezer.

Remove your ice creams from the freezer about ten minutes before serving to allow them to soften slightly. Enjoy!

35 RESPONSES TO Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream with Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

  1. Kavey -

    You are the ice cream QUEEN!
    This is fantastic!

  2. I love this combination of sweet and salty and crunchy, it looks just divine!

  3. Skye -

    This really has to be heaven in an ice cream. Truly. I want one. Now.
    Personal question – what ice cream machine do you have/use?

  4. I think I might have to purchase an ice cream maker in order to make these. I am literally sat here salivating looking at these pictures!

  5. I am gone a few days and look at the delights you come up with!

  6. That ice cream looks divine and I’m fascinated by her book! I must get my hands on a copy-thanks so much for letting us know about her! :)

  7. Lisa -

    That book sounds so amazing because the techniques you described that she uses is exactly how I love my ice cream. Will have to pick up a copy, especially after seeing your take on her Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream. The peanut butter cups look so good – so so so so good!

  8. I am impressed you have managed to find someone who makes ice cream using such a different technique. Cornflour and cream cheese, have to try it just so curious!
    I adore David Lebovitz too so have faith in your abilities and skill in ice cream making, if your photos are anything to go by, it will be divine :-)

  9. Reading your post took me on a fun ice-cream nostalgia trip. I hadn’t realized just how many happy memories I have that relate to ice cream. Thank you.

    But now I want new memories to attach to your concoction here. Wow! Peanut ice cream and homemade peanut butter cups… yes please!

    -Erin

  10. It’s really hard to leave a comment when your mind has been blown by the content. (long pause) Yup. Really hard.

    • Kavey – haha thank you. Roll on ice cream wednesday 2012!

      Kathryn – sweet and salty desserts are pretty hard to beat.

      Skye – I have a Cuisinart double bowl ice cream maker – it always works really well and is great if you want to make more than one flavour at once!

      Vanesther – an ice cream maker is definitely an investment you won’t regret :-)

      Nuts About Food – :-)

      Lorraine – my pleasure! There are some really exciting looking flavour combinations in there.

      Lisa – homemade peanut butter cups are awesome.

      Laura – ah, thank you, what a lovely comment :-) It does sound bonkers, but somehow the cream cheese and corn flour do work.

      Yummy Supper – so pleased to have taken you on a trip down memory lane :-)

      Movita – I’ll take that as a compliment! :-)

  11. twila -

    Oh wow – just came across your blog *from baking mad competition site* after being a bit nosy – looks lovely – this peanut butter ice-cream treat – I was going to say shame my other half doesn’t like choc Peanut butter but what am I saying…..all the more for me! I am so going to trial this one out! Thanks for sharing!

  12. these look amazing!! all my favourite ingredients – I love peanut butter and dark chocolate. It’s like you read my mind as I was going to make chocolate cups for my low fat banana ice cream – the vessel is definitely very important!

  13. Amy -

    I agree with Kavey– you are most definitely the ice cream queen. Because, holy cow, this looks incredible!! I put this on my to-make list, but I’m wishing I could just have a scoop of it already. Peanut butter + chocolate = the best thing in the world (spoken from a true American ;) of course!)

  14. Anita -

    Yum yum yum!!!! Love the photos and your descriptions. I’m quite interested in trying some non-egg-based ice creams, so this dessert just might feature on my dining table :)

  15. I’m going a bit bonkers, if I have to be honest, after reading four of your recent posts, starting with this…..I want them all, and now, preferably! You have nailed me to the gluttony coffin with these cups. I adore PnB with chocolate and have done so many variations on the theme, but not quite this way. Delicious, decadent and dangerous! Keep ‘em coming! :-))

  16. Sally -

    It looks absolutely gorgeous….except…can I confess…I don’t really like ice-cream or peanuts! I can feast with my eyes though.

  17. I think you’re going to have to rename your blog Little Ice – you make such perfect ice-cream. These look and sound so fantastic, I just love the flavour combinations and just the sound of “honeyed” has my mouth watering.

    • Twila – thank you, and hope you’ll be back again soon!

      Michelle – :-)

      Baking Addict – making the ice cream cups sounds a bit labour intensive but it’s worth it for that extra chocolate hit!

      Amy – ah, thank you. I love Italian gelato, but sometimes the big, gutsy American flavours are all that can satisfy certain cravings!

      Jennifer – you should try them out!

      Anita – do have a look at the ice cream index on my blog, there are a couple of egg-free recipes there too.

      The Patterned Plate – so pleased you like the posts! Think I’ve got some good ones up my sleeve for the next few weeks too…

      Sally – haha, probably not the dessert for you then! But thanks for your lovely comment anyway :-)

      Choclette – I do seem to be making a lot of ice cream at the moment…

  18. beti -

    I really want to make those chocolate cups! such a perfect idea, they look heavenly

  19. What a great blog post – not only do they look amazing but I’ve just absorbed some very interesting info on icecream! Wish I’d read this before I made icecream today!

  20. Skye -

    Thanks for the tip – an ice cream maker is currently top of my birthday list, so grateful to have a recommendation from someone who clearly knows their ice cream :)

    • Beti – heavenly is the word!

      Becs – ah, thank you. I’m sure the ice cream you made was wonderful too :-)

      Skye – definitely put it to the top of the list, they are such a good present and I guarantee you’ll use it all the time.

  21. That looks heavenly!!! I am a huge peanut butter and chocolate fan and this is perfect.

  22. They look like too much work to do but I so want to taste them!! :D

  23. I made homemade pistachio butter cups a while back and looooved them. I adore the PB and choc combination, will have to make them again. Guess what? I must be the only other person in the world besides your mom who has never had a brain freeze…and I consume pretty large amounts of ice cream!

  24. This looks and sounds amazing! Like everything on your site, I only drop by once in a while because I don’t want to be drooling all over my computer.

    • Asmita – thank you.

      Mondomulia – they are a bit of work, but 100% worth the effort, I promise!

      Nuts About Food – pistachio butter cups? Yum! And my Mum will be so pleased to hear there’s someone else out there who’s never had brainfreeze :-)

      Ute – haha, thanks for stopping by :-)

      Baker Street – me too!

  25. :O
    I may have to resist making my own peanut butter cups. It is a slippery slope that will assuredly end with a wall of my house being removed to crane my body out.

  26. This entire post is like PB heaven!!! I def dont want my healthy lunch now haha

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