As a graduate student with a meager income, I have to responsibly decide which of my whims to indulge. Be warned though–my brain can twist pretty much anything into a “responsible” purchase.
For example, my most recent whim was an ice cream maker.
I convinced myself I needed it because (a) it was a Valentine’s Day gift to myself and (b) I bought it with the intention of making ice cream with Dan for our Valentine’s Day dinner!
And, if you read my last post, I mentioned my desire to print a certain collage and hang it in our house. So, yesterday, guess what I ordered as a 15 x 40 inch canvas to hang above our couch?!?!
Yep. It’s going to be completely fantastic, and I know Dan is SO EXCITED to see it hanging up!
Actually, I don’t know why he puts up with a lot of my nonsense, but I do appreciate it! And because I appreciate him so much, I try to do nice things like making ice cream for us.
We both love mint chocolate chip ice cream, so we decided to make our own version of it and add some fudgy, homemade brownies into the mix! Ice cream is the ideal vessel for many different mix-ins, making it perfectly customizable to your own tastes. It is also so easy to make when you have an ice cream maker; all you have to do is mix some dairy products with your desired flavorings and pour it into the machine! And, 15-20 minutes later, you have creamy soft-serve ice cream!
I always feel a little guilty making brownies from a box, so I went ahead and make my own. I took a standard, one-bowl brownie recipe and, after my huge success adding coffee to this chocolate cake, added a little bit of instant coffee into the mix to enhance the chocolate flavor.
The brownies alone were deliciously dense and fudgy, with enough flavor to stand up next to the peppermint in the ice cream. (Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take any photos of the brownies, sorry guys!) I chopped up the brownies and added them to the ice cream along with a good handful of mini chocolate chips.
After the ice cream maker does its job, the ice cream will be very soft. At this point, we stuck ours in the freezer for a few hours to thicken up before we served it. And, because I’m a little bit ridiculous, I served it up in a mug shaped like a cat.
It made everything perfect.
Peppermint Brownie Ice Cream
makes 1 1/2 quarts
1 cup half and half (any milk will work if you don’t have half and half)
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup brownies, chopped into small pieces
Read the instructions for your ice cream maker before you begin. Oftentimes they call for freezing the ice cream bowl for 24 hours before use.
In a large bowl, combine the half and half, heavy cream, sugar, and salt, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add in the vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. At this point, sample the mixture and continue to add peppermint extract until your desired flavor is achieved, keeping in mind that the flavor will intensify slightly as the ice cream sits. Refrigerate the mixture at least 1 hour, then pour in to your ice cream maker. Let it mix until thickened, about 15-20 minutes, then add the chocolate chips and brownie bits, letting the machine stir until combined. The ice cream will be quite soft, so, if desired, transfer it to the freezer for a few hours to chill.
One Bowl Brownies
makes 16-20 brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8 or 9-inch round pan with foil. In a large, microwavable bowl, melt the butter for about 30-45 seconds. You don’t want the butter to get too hot; you just want to melt it. Whisk in the eggs, instant coffee, milk and vanilla, stirring until the coffee dissolves. Whisk in the sugars until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and stir until well incorporated. Add the flour and stir until just combined. Spread the brownie batter in the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs (but no batter). Let the brownies cool completely in the pan.