Friday, January 25, 2008

World Peace Cookies+ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream=Heaven

I've never been very good at math, but this equation is easy to compute. Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies are delicious, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is delicious, so how could world peace cookie dough-vanilla ice cream not be exquisitely, doubly, fantastically delicious? Smooth, sweet and creamy, crunchy, chocolatey and salty-frankly, it doesn't get much better than this!

Recently I purchased some vanilla online and so this weekend, for the first time in my life, I found myself the proud possessor of about 20 bourbon vanilla beans that smelled so richly of vanilla that the scent had wiggled its way past the tight packed molecules of food grade, air tight plastic surrounding the beans and permeated the air around the package. I had to do something with them immediately-they just smelled too good to ignore. Coincidentally, I had a whole log of World Peace Cookie dough sitting in the freezer and had been considering its potential as a luxury ice cream add-in. To that end I had already taken the plunge and conducted several field tests to determine if the raw cookie dough was indeed edible. After several tastes just to make sure, I stuck the log back into the freezer before I ate the whole thing.

I have been messing around with Mercede's "lower fat" key lime pie ice cream recipe and using it (minus the key lime juice and graham cracker crumbs) as a basic ice cream recipe for other flavours. I know. It's January. It's cold out. In fact, it was frigid out there when I was walking to work this morning at 7:30 AM. Brrr...and it doesn't help that my Mom loves to send me emails this time of year talking about tropical breezes and palm trees. But back to the ice cream. Many people seem to believe that ice cream should only be eaten when its warm out. This opinion was bantered about at work just the other day. I disagree-after all, if you are lucky enough, as I am, to have an apartment with a heater, once you are inside (where the ice cream is, I might add), the difference between winter and summer is negligible.

So with that in mind I decided to adapt the basic recipe for key lime pie ice cream, which is based on a mix of sweetened condensed milk, regular milk and only two eggs, to create a low fat vanilla ice cream that I could then spike with definitely high fat world peace cookie dough. For those of you who refuse to eat raw cookie dough for fear of salmonella, world peace cookie dough is conveniently egg free. It must be a sign.

In the end I came up with two versions of Vanilla World Peace Ice Cream. Those who are familiar with brioche will probably recall how the versions with the most butter are often referred to as "Rich Man's Brioche", while a "Poor Man's Brioche" has significantly less fat. I decided to do the same thing with the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. As always, please try to use organic, free range ingredients. Dairy is especially prone to being full of hormones and antibiotics unless certified otherwise.

Vanilla World Peace Ice Cream (Rich and Poor Versions)

Rich Version
1 1/2 cup full fat sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup milk (depending on how rich you want it, it can be full cream, skim or somewhere in between)
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
1 vanilla bean

Poor Version
Approximately 205 calories per 1/2 cup serving. If making plain vanilla ice cream, without the world peace cookie dough, the calorie count is about 110 calories per half cup.
1 cup full fat sweetened condensed milk
2 cups low fat milk
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
1 vanilla bean


1. Whisk the milks together in a saucepan until the sweetened condensed milk has dissolved.

2. Scrape the vanilla bean pod seeds into the milk and add the split pod to the pan. Heat until almost boiling.

3. If you are making the rich version, beat the egg slightly in a bowl and while whisking slowly pour in a little of the hot milk mixture. Then add the egg/milk combo back into the pan, whisking all the while. Whisk until the mixture thickens slightly and then turn the heat off and let the vanilla bean steep in the hot custard. If you are making the poor version, skip the whole thing with the egg. Just bring the milk almost to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the vanilla bean steep.

4. In both cases, after half an hour (or more if you are watching Scrubs and forget about it), strain the milk mix into a bowl (to remove the vanilla bean and any skin or other unsightly mess that may have formed), and place the bowl of strained custard/milk into the fridge. Don't waste the leftover vanilla bean: pat it dry on paper towels and then toss it in a small container full of sugar to make some lovely vanilla sugar. For more details on how, check out Baking Bites entry on the topic.

5. Let the milk mixture cool until well chilled. If you are in a hurry you can put it in the freezer, just make sure it doesn't start to get icy around the edges.

6. Pour into your ice cream maker and process. Once the ice cream is nearly set, pour in 1 cup of finally minced (or crumbled) raw World Peace cookie dough. I put it in still frozen, so that it didn't mess up the consistency of the ice cream.

7. Eat! This makes a great sundae too, with some chocolate syrup and maybe banana if you like such things.

This is one of my favorite ice cream recipes so far, right up there with my tropical paradise ice cream, although very different in flavour. The crumbly, slightly salty, chocolatey chunks of sugary cookie dough add the perfect distraction to a sublime vanilla bean richness that permeates the frozen cream. The poor man's version sets up slightly harder than the rich man's, which tends to stay a bit soft, but neither freeze rock hard like fat free frozen yogurt is wont to do. Both stay scoopable and creamy although if you want a creamier mouth feel the rich man's version is probably the one to go for. Personally my favorite part is the little black specks of the vanilla seeds, which remind me of the fact that the vanilla bean is the seed pod of a climbing orchid, whose hundreds of thousands of tiny seeds, when fermented in the pod, give us one of nature's most wonderful scents and flavours. Thank goodness for vanilla!


Brilynn said...

It's always ice cream season, I don't care how cold it is.

And I've definitely added world peace cookie dough to ice cream, it works very nicely with chocolate too.

KJ said...

Ooh what a terrific idea.
All I can say is YUM.

Kiriel du Papillon said...

Mmm... I can just imagine how great that must taste! And isn't home made vanilla icecream just the most wickedly decadently vanilla-y stuff in the world?

Madam Chow said...

This looks FANTASTIC! So hard to stay on a diet with posts like this!

Lyra said...

Brilynn: knowing your love of From My Home to Yours, I figured you had tried this out already. Its definitely a great combo!

KJ and Kiriel: It is delicious. Well, its gone, so I guess that is proof in itself.

Madam Chow, very true, which is why I haven't made any more desserts lately. That and 500 pages of reading preventing me from doing anything but the most rudimentary cooking. I promise I will post something healthier soon:)

Sagari said...

that looks wonderfulll

Cynthia said...

I agree with Brilynn, it is always ice cream season :)

Lyra said...

I'm glad you guys think so because I've been messing around with frozen blueberries and yogurt and I think I feel another frozen recipe coming on....

Dana said...

Oh wow, this sounds GREAT. Plus, anything with vanilla bean *has* to be good!