Sometimes you find you have lots of half-and-half left over from some other project, and you ask yourself, “What should I do with this?  Use it in tea?  Make alfredo sauce?  Or, most delicious-sounding of all, make some ice cream?”  And if you’re me, let’s be honest, the answer is pretty often gonna be ice cream.  :-)

This particular ice cream originally started off as a peanut-butter-only recipe, and I suppose there’s nothing stopping you from making it that way (just leave the cocoa powder out completely), but we always added chocolate syrup so consistently that we decided it would be a better idea to just cave in to the clear affinity of chocolate and peanut butter and make chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream.  This is why I suggest such a wide range for how much cocoa powder to put in — it just depends how strong you want the chocolate taste to be, relative to the peanut butter, in the ice cream itself.  Two tablespoons of cocoa powder will add chocolatey goodness as a nice grace note, leaving the peanut butter on center stage; a quarter cup of cocoa powder brings them more into balance, if it doesn’t just nudge the peanut butter into second billing.  It all depends exactly what version of ice cream you want to make.  :-)

But, no reason to make life any more complicated than it has to be.  Let’s make ice cream.  :-)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter Ice Cream

Yield:  Somewhat less than a quart

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 – 4 T cocoa powder, depending how strong you want the chocolate taste to be
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the peanut butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla (in other words, everything but the half-and-half), until well combined.

2.  Add the half-and-half, and mix on as high a speed as you can manage without splashing any liquid out of the bowl.  The resulting ice cream base might not look completely smooth, but that’s okay, especially if you have an ice cream maker to help smooth out the mixture in a minute.  Just run the mixer till you’ve whipped in as much froth as you can.

3.  Pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and run it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I give instructions on how to make ice cream without one in this post.)  Once that’s done, the ice cream will be at a good soft-serve consistency, which is where I think it’s at its best.  :-)  If you want it creamier and/or harder, though, just put it in the freezer in a sealed container for a few hours or overnight, and dig in then.  :-)