Hi. I had a baby. Is that enough of an excuse?!
7 months into motherhood and I’ve finally found some time to breathe. As it happens, I am lucky to have one of those babies who doesn’t really like to sleep (until this past week…what a weird kid…), so my “free” time is usually the hour or so of cooking and cleaning up when James is able to relieve me. I’m not complaining, though. Babies are incredible and no one can prepare you for how much you’re going to love your child. Just as cliche as it is true.
During my last trimester of pregnancy, my doctor asked me to limit my sugar intake due to high numbers on my 3-hour glucose test. Although I didn’t have outright gestational diabetes, the warning from my doctor was enough for me to cut out sugar almost entirely. I thought there was a chance I’d lose my sweet tooth during this time, but I was very wrong. After the peanut was born, I was ravenous for sugar (but then I had to cut out dairy…a story for another day!). One of the first things I went for postpartum, aside from Portillo’s, was Trader Joe’s cookie butter ice cream.
Have you had cookie butter? Probably. The brand name version of this product is called Biscoff spread. It’s made from crushed up speculoos cookies and it’s insanely delicious. Trader Joe’s offers much cheaper versions of both the cookies (Speculoos) and the spread – and if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, don’t worry, Amazon sells them both! Their cookie butter ice cream has a vanilla base with crushed up speculoos as well as swirls of cookie butter. Unsurprisingly, it’s GOOD. The only thing I thought could been a teensy bit better was the vanilla ice cream. I’m a sucker for super rich, egg yolk filled ice cream, as you may have noticed from my chocolate ice cream recipe.
Naturally, I got out my ice cream maker and got to work. For the vanilla ice cream I slightly adapted the vanilla ice cream recipe from The Perfect Scoop, subbing vanilla extract for vanilla beans. I’ve tried it both ways and they are both excellent options. I’d suggest going all out and getting vanilla beans if you’re having the vanilla ice cream shine by itself, but if your planning on mix-ins, the extract works great.
Next up, I crushed up a half of a box of speculoos and swirled in a healthy amount cookie butter. Mmm, it’s out of this world, you guys. Making your own ice cream involves a little extra effort, like most things that are homemade, but it’s worth it! If you really want to be fancy, you can make your own speculoos and cookie butter, but let’s be realistic on how much time we all have in a day, shall we?
Cookie Butter Ice Cream
yields: approximately 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk (yes, you can use less fatty milk, but the ice cream is creamiest with whole)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
In a medium saucepan, warm 1 cup of heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt over medium heat. Do not let the mixture boil, you just want it warm enough to temper your eggs.
While the mixture is heating, whisk together the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside. In another medium bowl, ideally set over another bowl of ice (ugh – sorry for all of the dishes!) pour in the remaining 1 cup of cream and place the finest mesh sieve you own over the bowl. Set aside.
Once the milk-sugar-cream mixture has warmed, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once combined, immediately pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Use a spatula to constantly move the mixture while cooking it over medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture is thickened and reaches a temperature between 170-175F. It should cover the back of a spoon/spatula. Do not let it boil! Unless you like scrambled eggs in your ice cream. To each their own.
Cover the back of the spatula
Once the mixture is thick, pour it through the fine mesh strainer into the reserve cup of cold cream that is sitting over an ice bath. Keep stirring until the temperature comes down to about 100F. You can ballpark this – you just don’t want it to be hot. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to chill overnight. You do not have to put the ice bath in the fridge with it! Now would also be a good time to make sure your ice cream maker bowl is in the freezer.
Once the mixture is chilled give it a stir and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In a small loaf pan, layer the ice cream with crushed speculoos and dollops of cookie butter. You can swirl each layer with a butter knife if you really want speculoos flavor mixed into every bite. Cover the loaf pan tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least a few hours, ideally overnight so the speculoos get nice and soft.
Use it up!!
Egg whites – try your hand at French macarons on a rainy afternoon
Speculoos – dunk in your morning coffee or crush them into crumbs and store in the freezer. You can use the crumbs in lieu of graham crackers for a different spin on your favorite cheesecake.
Cookie butter – eat it straight from the jar. Duh. 😉
Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz