Rich chocolate ice cream with a peanut buttery surprise in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup bits, and a peanut butter swirl to boot!
Sometimes I feel like there’s nothing quite like a weather spell to make your mind wander. When it’s too cold you dream of a nice cosy setting; where you’re all bundled up in puffy knitwear before a crackling fireplace, with some hot cinnamon-spiced chocolate in hand. Or in your mind’s eye you’re frolicking on the beach all day long; playing beach volleyball in the morning, then sailing out into the open sea in the afternoon.
When it’s too hot– which is about 330 days out of my normal year– you dream of bathing in a pool of icy lemonade. You occasionally wonder what it’s like to live inside the freezer. Or maybe you’ve already imagined yourself in another part of the globe, either enjoying the full bloom of spring or the symphony of rustling autumn leaves.
Regardless of the weather though, I find that there is one thing that’s incredibly easy to fit into any situation– ice cream! It’s a great antidote for a sweltering day, and somehow when it’s cold outside ice cream kind of helps warm me up. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but isn’t it strange!
Typically my preference for ice cream veers towards the way of sorbet, just because it’s more refreshing to eat during hot weather. But when you present me with chocolate ice cream, and I mean REALLY GOOD chocolate ice cream, I get all wobbly in the knees.
Chocolate ice cream is just so versatile. I feel like you can add anything into it, from the typical like chocolate chips to more interesting things like chili and candied bacon, and it would still be scrumptious. I have actually made a Chili Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe and it was most excellent! This time around we’re going the sweeter route with this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream recipe.
The chocolate base for this ice cream is a David Lebovitz recipe, which means it’s perfection as far as homemade chocolate ice cream goes. If you want to just make the chocolate ice cream, please, by all means, do it! But if you, like me, are a big fan of the chocolate-peanut butter combo, then adding Peanut Butter Cups is a great way to get that fix.
This ice cream is just slightly over the top. Aside from crushed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, this recipe goes all the way with some added Peanut Butter Swirl that starts out as a thick syrup. Half the syrup will probably end up as a “sauce” on the side because adding all of it might be a bit too much. While this swirl really did add more of a peanut butter kick, it also added a lot of sweetness too. So I decided to make it optional in the recipe below, depending on your tolerance and preference for sweets.
If you’re just after a bit of a peanut butter flavour, then the crushed Peanut Butter Cups will be enough. However, you might want to make half the amount of the peanut butter swirl syrup to add as a rather pleasant topping for the ice cream. It can also be great for other sundaes so either way, you win!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart ice cream
For the Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 145 grams 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 pieces regular-size peanut butter cups, chopped (to be used when churning)
For the Peanut Butter Swirl (optional)
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- Remember to prepare your ice cream maker ahead of time according to manufacturer's instructions before making this recipe!
Make the ice cream base
- 1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder until thoroughly blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 seconds more, whisking constantly to avoid burning.
- 2. Remove from heat and add in chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible. Place the large bowl over an ice bath and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.
- 3. In the same saucepan, mix together the milk, sugar, and salt. Set over medium heat to warm up the mixture. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.
- 4. Once the milk just starts coming to a boil, take off the heat and slowly pour into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly all the while. Be careful not too pour too much of the milk or you might end up with scrambled eggs.
- 5. Once the yolks have been tempered and mixture is uniform, return the mixture into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the back of the spoon. To test for readiness, run a finger down the back of the spoon. If a clear line is left through the custard then it is ready.
- 6. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add in the vanilla. Stir until cool over the ice bath, then transfer to an airtight container and pop into the fridge to cool further for at least 8 hours, up to overnight.
Meanwhile, make the peanut butter swirl, if using
- 7. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the peanut butter, heavy cream, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Transfer to an airtight container and chill thoroughly alongside the ice cream custard.
Churn the ice cream
- 8. Take the ice cream base out of the fridge and whisk to return it into a pourable consistency. Freeze the ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. During the last two minutes of churning, add in the chopped peanut butter cups.
- 9. Once ice cream is ready, pack into a container, alternating layers of the ice cream with peanut butter swirl. End with a layer of ice cream on top. Freeze for at least 6 hours and enjoy!
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