My husband said to me just recently, “You are obsessed with food”.
It’s actually no recent revelation on his part. I must have been going on and on about food…again. We are currently on a trip; my senses are alight from the sights, smells, sounds but my taste buds are the most lit up of all.
In a short amount of time I have feasted twice on grilled sardines, one of my favorite seaside treats. I’ve also had my fair share of grilled prawns, mussels, sea bream– but it hasn’t been all surf and no turf. I’ve enjoyed a steak or two, as well. But my absolute favorite? This no-breakfast girl can’t wait to have her baguette with butter and jam each morning.
I have been looking forward to each meal and try to plan my days accordingly. It’s no wonder my husband’s eyes tend to glaze over with my talk of food. I do obsess about it. If I come across a dish that makes an impression on me, I will want it for weeks at a time. At one time or another I have been temporarily obsessed with bolognese ragú, linguine con vongole, creme brûlée, Caesar salad topped with fried calamari (haven’t gotten over this one), but more recently it was a cinnamon-cookie ice cream that caught my attention. I came across the ice cream flavor at a local ice cream shop and I had to return for more. The young girl serving me one day kindly informed me that they blend in a type of cookie mix to a vanilla base to make the ice cream. I’ve been meaning to try it but haven’t quite figured out how I would successfully recreate the it at home.
As it happened, I found the opportunity to combine two desserts when I ended up with a batch of brownies I wasn’t happy with. The flavor was not to be criticized, heavy on dark chocolate with cappuccino chips I threw in at the last minute. However, I wasn’t pleased with its cake-like texture. I’m more of a fudgy brownie girl (I have a few recipes in the archives). After giving half the batch away to a friend (he really liked it) I was inspired to experiment with the rest. Instead of making a cookie-flavored ice cream, I thought a variation on the classic brownie-vanilla ice cream pairing was worth trying.
I added brownie chunks to a vanilla ice cream base during the latter part of the churning process thinking the former would hold their form. In the end, the pieces fell apart and completely blended with the latter. Not what I had in mind but I was happy nonetheless. The ice cream was gelato-like in texture, creamy and not too firm with prominent brownie flavor and some vanilla thrown in. Brownies and vanilla ice cream do go well together, even this way. Now I have something new to obsess about.
* I used low-fat/nonfat ingredients because it’s what I had but feel free to use full fat but reduce the sugar.
- **For the ice cream**
- 11 ounces fat-free condensed milk (one can is 14 oz but I used 3 oz)
- 2 cups milk (I used 2% milk)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- Add in: 2 4-5 inch brownie squares
- Warm the condensed milk, 1 cup milk and sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and set aside to cool slightly.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup milk in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by adding ½ cup of the warm mixture, whisking constantly. Add another ½ cup and whisk. Then add back the egg yolk mixture into the sauce pan with the remainder of the warm mixture.
- Stir the mixture over medium heat with a heatproof spatula. My mixture didn't thicken so after a few minutes I whisked 2 teaspoons of corn starch. It still didn't thicken but I had to continue cooking for another couple of minutes to make sure the corn starch would cook through.
- Place a strainer over the bowl of remaining milk and pour the warm mixture over it. Chill the mixture for several hours or overnight.
- Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. About 20 minutes in, I added the brownie chunks into the churning mixture and continued to let it churn for another 10 minutes. Chill for a few hours before serving.