Home-made Peanut Butter Ice cream with Mini Marshmallows and M&M’s

bannerleftOne thing I know for certain about almost every single child in the world: they love ice cream. And come the hot summer months, there will be a lot of begging and pleading for said icy confection. I’ve seen it too many a time and when it’s sooo hot outside and they’re just begging sooo hard, it almost feels like bad parenting to refuse to buy them a scoop.

Let me put another proposition about children forward: they love to act like adults and make things. Therefore they love tinkering about in the kitchen, usually making a mess, in an approximation of what a grown adult does in the kitchen. My mother feared our culinary attempts so much that she convinced me at age 7 that wholemeal Lebanese bread would do as an Apple Pie Crust. It doesn’t in any way, shape or form and I still recall my disgust at seeing my slowly and carefully peeled and sliced apples in the wholemeal crust. It scarred me for a good 15 years. I digress…

 

Let me put through a proposition about parents throughout the world, they’re all trying to: cut down on additives, keep the kids amused and save some money. This is bizarrely where I’ve found a soft serve ice cream machine comes into play. I had some hungry boys to feed one weekend and I had to keep them amused for a short period of time while I was minding them. I’ve witnessed their mum spend a small fortune fueling their growth spurt with ice cream so I figured this was the best way to amuse them, amuse me and to feed them.

 

I decided on a Peanut Butter ice cream as it’s a kid’s (and adult’s) favourite flavour and one that would go well with the mix ins. Assembling the unit wasn’t too hard, but what I needed to do was make sure that my freezer was at least -18c or colder. If it wasn’t then it just wouldn’t work. It required a quick defrosting of the freezer but it was about time that it was done and I set the bowl inside a plastic bag and checked the temperature. -24c, excellent!
The next day (although you could do it a minimum of 12 hours later) I filled in the mix ins and made the ice cream mix and put it in the fridge to remain cold. The mix ins had to be a certain size, mini M&M’s were ok but full sized ones weren’t. Hundreds and thousands and other miniature sized sprinkles were the go. Skittles are fine but probably best saved for a fruity ice cream.
With everything ready, I removed the rock-hard, freezing bowl from the freezer, shaking it to see whether it had any liquid sloshing around (which means that it’s not frozen enough). I slotted it in the machine, snapped the lid on, turned it on and started pouring the mix in.
The kids were delighted, it was like a science project coming to life only better as they got to eat it. We waited 15 minutes while it churned and it was fairly firm but not quite right. Then at 23 minutes it looked about the right consistency. They devoured it hungrily, one even briefly getting brain freeze. Their mum was inordinately impressed when she came to pick them up as there was no more whimpering for ice cream and they got a box of it to take home with them (with a warning that they weren’t to get it all over the car).
I tasted some too and it was sweet and creamy, if anything I’d add a little salt into the mix to make it more Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup-ish. I also preferred it when it was harder (which you can easily do just by leaving it to churn for longer and then scooping it out instead of using the soft serve dispenser).
I got excited about the possibilities, not just for kids but for desserts like the Tetsuya’s Green Apple Sorbet I had bookmarked in his cookbook. So whilst this amused and delight the kids to no end, it will also do the same for me and my grown up dinner guests.
Pros: very cheap per batch of ice cream (although there is the initial outlay for the maker), healthy, no additives. easy to understand instructions and easy to put together, mix ins have a very cool way of being dispensed into the ice cream. Kids love it and for the cost of buying 1 child a $5 scoop of ice cream you can feed 8 or 9 kids a scoop.
Cons: A few nooks and crannies when cleaning and mix ins have to be very small. Can make one flavour at a time with 12 hours in between.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
• 350g smooth peanut butter
• 2/3 cup of caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 3/4 cup milk
• 3/4 cup of cream
1. Whisk peanut butter and sugar in a bowl until combined
2. Whisk in milk and cream until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. You can make this ahead of time and cover and keep in the refrigerator.
3. When ready to use, remove from fridge and pour into frozen bowl via the top opening. Churn for 15-25 minutes depending on how soft or hard you want your ice cream.
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