Cookies and Cream: Two Ways

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By now, you probably know how much I love baking. But let me tell you a little secret: I don’t really love baked desserts. I could make pie crusts and buttercream ’til the cows come home (side note: where did this expression come from?), but my heart has always belonged to ice cream.

While I’m happy to take a bite of someone else’s slice of pie, pull a crumb off a crumb cake, or lick the batter off a spoon, I’m only ever really craving the cold and velvety perfection that is ice cream. I know plenty of people who don’t scream for this frozen dessert, but I truly have a hard time understanding it. It is my ultimate treat, the thing I reach for when I need to eat my feelings, a decadent and satisfying indulgence. Oh my.

I have yet to find a flavor that I don’t like, but whenever I’m at an ice cream shop, I always gravitate towards one kind: cookie dough. I love how vanilla ice cream gets a major upgrade with those chewy chunks of dough and crunchy chips. But this week, I had a strangely strong hankering for another classic cookie/ice cream combo: cookies and cream.

I also knew we would be having family over this weekend with young kids, and I figured this flavor would be a hit with little ones. So I started looking up recipes and brainstorming how I would make it (Ice cream or frozen custard? Regular Oreos or double-stuffed?) and I remembered seeing coffee ice cream with Oreos at a few local shops. It had intrigued me each time I saw it, but I always ended up giving in to the familiar allure of cookie dough. I decided it was finally time to give it a try.

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I was shocked when I typed “coffee cookies and cream” into Pinterest and got very few results—only one or two recipes for no-churn ice cream. Now, I don’t have anything against no-churn (well maybe I do, but let’s not go there), but I have an ice cream maker that is doing me no good sitting in the pantry collecting dust. So I went with this classic, custard-based coffee ice cream recipe from Baked by an Introvert as a starting point and incorporated about 2 1/4 cups of lightly crushed Oreos during the last five minutes of churning. The other little change I made was using instant espresso powder instead of instant decaf coffee, only because I didn’t have instant coffee (and I’ve NEVER said no caffeine). The result: smoothy and rich coffee ice cream loaded with chocolate cookie bits and streaks of cream. Seriously, delicious.

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As I stood in the kitchen “testing” spoonful after spoonful of my new favorite flavor (you can never be too sure, am I right?) I realized kids may not love coffee as much as I do. So I cleaned the ice cream maker and whipped up some regular cookies and cream to be safe. I used this recipe from Chew Out Loud, which was super simple (no custard = no egg-cracking or heating or yoke-tempering) and still tasty. I did double the amount of Oreos it called for though. You can’t add too many cookies to ice cream, right? My thoughts exactly.

I will definitely be making these flavors again, especially the caff’d up version. I hope you give one (or both) a try! Happy summer!

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