Friday, September 5, 2008

Not-so-chunky monkey

: Gratutious baby shot ahead. Advance with caution.

It's starting to feel like fall--school starting, leaves falling. Even the hot days are bracketed by chill. And for some reason, as fall descends, bananas and walnuts seem just right. They've replaced the berries in our ice cream and the peaches in our pancakes.

This is my simple riff on the Ben & Jerry's favorite. Not quite the same, but I served it to a room of Chunky Monkey lovers and haters (something about the way the big chunks of walnuts get soggy), and everyone ate plenty.

I use my basic formula, doubling the berry recipe.
Smooth Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate and Nuts

3 cups milk and heavy cream, in combination
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

1 handful chocolate chips, chopped
1 handful walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 overripe bananas, smashed into puree with a fork

Mix milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla and store in fridge until cool. Process milk mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions until you have a slushy almost-ice cream. Put the chocolate, walnuts, and bananas in the freezer while you do this, so they are nice and cold. Then add them to the machine and run until you have ice cream that is pretty thoroughly frozen.

I've had problems with slushy ice cream that then hardens into a rock in the freezer. I prevent this by
  • making sure the ice cream maker's bowl( I have one of those small Cuisinart ones) has been in the freezer for at least a couple days,
  • chilling all the ingredients thoroughly,
  • running the machine way longer than the instructions say,
  • and scooping the ice cream immediately into a chilled container and popping it into the back of the freezer as soon as humanly possible.
I resist the temptation to scrape every last bit off the stirring bit while the bulk of the ice cream gets more and more melty. A little haste and waste pays off here.

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