I love — I mean LOVE — a dark chocolate ice cream. Add some peanut butter to that though, and I am in heaven. There’s really no better way to describe this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream.
Why Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream?
I have had a favorite store-bought chocolate peanut butter ice cream now for about 15 years. If you’re in the New York area, go to any Whole Foods or Fairway and check out Adirondack Creamery ice cream. Earl’s Chocolate Peanut Butter is the one you’re looking for. Absolutely DELISH! If you don’t find yourself in the New York area, you can order yourself some directly from Adirondack Creamery. I admit that I am friends with the owners (who are awesome people!), but I loved this ice cream long before I ever met them. Their Earl’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream was part of my inspiration for this recipe.
The other part of the inspiration for this recipe was that I recently bought myself a gift — this awesome Cuisinart ice cream maker!!!* I broke it in the day that it arrived. I was craving a chocolate peanut butter something or other. Hence, the birth of this recipe.
Let’s first talk about my new toy. The Cuisinart ice cream maker is awesome! I love it because I can just make an ice cream base and churn it without pre-freezing the bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I have and love my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment. My only issue with it was remembering to make room in the freezer and being sure to freeze it for at least 48 hours before using it. My new toy is just plug in and churn! So important when in the midst of a homemade ice cream emergency!
As for this recipe, I was craving a deep, rich chocolate. So I went for it. I used good quality, bittersweet chocolate with Dutch process cocoa. I love how the chocolate contrasts with the smooth, yummy peanut butter.
How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Making ice cream is actually quite simple and does not require much active time. Here are a few tips to follow when making ice cream:
Prep your ingredients
Most importantly, separate your eggs. (Save the whites for an omelet or another sensible pastry product like meringues, a chiffon cake, an angel food cake…) For a quality ice cream, use quality chocolate. Seriously. No, I mean seriously. Don’t just read this and then go grab some generic, cheapo brand. You will not have a quality product if you use inferior ingredients. #truestory
For this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream, I used Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate and King Arthur Baking Company’s Double Dutch Dark Cocoa. (As an alternative, you can just use all Dutch Cocoa or use part Dutch cocoa and part Black Cocoa. I include these easy substitutions in the Notes section of the recipe below.)
Whisk the yolks with half the sugar
I usually get this started before I heat up the liquid ingredients to get a head start on it. This can be a bit of a workout, but it is an essential step to a creamy ice cream! You want to whisk the yolk/sugar mixture until it is thick and pale yellow in color and forms a ribbon when dripped on itself. (Nerd alert: We use part of the sugar here because it helps strengthen the proteins in the yolks to hold small air pockets that result in a creamy ice cream.) If you’re feeling lazy, you can always let the mixer do this work. For pictures of the yolks whisked with half the sugar, check out my Cinnamon Stick Ice Cream post.
Heat the liquid ingredients with the cocoa powder
In a large saucepan (I use a 3 quart one), heat the milk and cream with the remaining sugar, the cocoa powder and the espresso powder, if using. (The espresso just enhances the chocolate flavor.) You want to take it just until it starts to simmer. If it actually reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and let it sit for a minute or two before tempering the eggs.
Whisk the liquid with eggs
You need to whisk the heated liquid mixture into your beaten egg/sugar mixture. This is called tempering. To do this, it is imperative that you continuously whisk the egg/sugar mixture from the time that the first drop of the heated liquid ingredients comes into contact with the egg/sugar mixture. (Or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!)
This step is probably easiest with another set of hands to hold the bowl of the thick yolk/sugar mixture. If no one else is around (no one ever is when I make ice cream), place your yolk/sugar mixture bowl on a rubber mat, or wet a dishtowel and wrap it around the base of the bowl so that it does not move while you whisk. (Swaddle that baby!)
Just whisk in about half of the heated liquid mixture. Then pour the tempered egg mixture into the pot with the remaining liquids. Continue whisking and cooking (likely will take less than one minute) until you reach the required temperature. Whisk in the melted chocolate and the rest of the chocolate ice cream base ingredients.
Strain and chill
It’s always a good idea to strain the mixture just in case a little of the egg started to scramble. It’s best to do this over an ice bath so that the mixture cools down quickly (usually takes about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes) so you can get it into the refrigerator. Once cooled, cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. (I usually let it sit overnight and churn it in the morning.)
While you could go right ahead and churn it in your ice cream machine once it is at room temperature, it’s best to let it chill in the refrigerator so that the flavors have an opportunity to incorporate and further develop. I also find that, with home ice cream makers, the base churns better when it is refrigerator cold as opposed to a room temperature. Once refrigerator-cold, the base will have a loose pudding consistency.
Churn and Swirl Your Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Once the ice cream is churned, dollop the peanut butter mixture as you pour the ice cream into your freezer container and swirl with a metal spatula or a knife.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream Base
- 170 grams chocolate (semi sweet or dark) (6 ounces)
- 550 grams whole milk (2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons)
- 255 grams heavy cream (1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon)
- 150 grams sugar, divided (¾ cup)
- 43 grams Dutch process cocoa powder (½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)
Peanut Butter Swirl
- 195 grams smooth peanut butter (¾ cup)
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
- pinch fine sea salt (or table salt)
- Fill a large bowl half way with ice. Pour cold water over the ice so that the bowl is no more than ⅔ high. Place a clean bowl on top of the water bath. Place a strainer over the empty bowl.
- Fill a pot with approximately an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over the pot, and add the chocolate to the pot. Stir frequently until the chocolate is fully melted. Remove the bowl from over the pot, wiping the bottom of the bowl with a towel to avoid any water from getting into your ice cream base.
- In a large saucepan (3 quart is ideal), combine the milk, cream, half of the sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder (if using). Over low to medium heat, stir the mixture occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves. Heat to a simmer.
- While the liquid heats up, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. You want to whisk it until the mixture turns pale yellow, becomes thick, and forms a ribbon when dripped on itself. (You can use an electric mixer with the whisk attachment if you are feeling lazy.)
- Once the liquid mixture comes to a simmer, turn the heat off and let it sit for a minute or two. With the bowl holding the egg/sugar mixture secure on the counter (if no one is around to hold it, place it on a rubber mat or wet a dishtowel and wrap it around the base of the bowl), slowly pour half the heated liquid mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once incorporated, pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan. Over a medium-low heat, stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until it reaches 185°F or a line holds when you drag your finger across the back of the wooden spoon. (It should only take a minute or two to reach the correct temperature.) Remove from heat.
- Whisk in the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt until fully combined.
- Pour the cooked mixture through the strainer into the empty bowl sitting in the ice water bath. Stir the mixture as it sits in the ice bath every 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture has completely cooled. This usually takes about 10 minutes.
- Pour into a container. Cover with plastic wrap directly over (touching) the mixture. Cover and place in refrigerator for 4-24 hours. Once refrigerated, the consisency will resemble a loose pudding.
- Follow your ice cream manufacturer’s directions to churn the ice cream.
- While the ice cream is churning, in a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, cream and salt.
- Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container, adding dollops of the peanut butter mixture as you fill the container. Swirl with a metal spatula or knife. Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface. Cover container and freeze.
- For best chocolate flavor, I recommend using King Arthur Baking Company's Double Dutch Dark Cocoa. You can also use any Dutch process cocoa, or combine 30 grams of Dutch process cocoa with 13 grams of black cocoa. You can also use natural cocoa powder, but the chocolate flavor will not be as deep.
- Espresso powder is optional. It helps enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Use a quality, smooth peanut butter such as Skippy or Jif. I have not tried this with natural peanut butter.