Friday, May 11, 2012

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Nutella, Cocoa and Peanut Butter

Having received my ice cream maker for Christmas, I began experimenting with recipes when it was too cold out to really enjoy them, and I just realized that now that the weather has turned warm and lovely, I hadn't yet made any ice cream this spring.  There was also a half-carton of buttermilk in the fridge which was nearing its expiration date, as well as leftover cream, and my mind started to wander to the possibility of a buttermilk ice cream.

And why not?  Buttermilk, although pretty funky on its own, in my opinion, tasting like weirdly thick, sour milk, is so fantastic in pancakes, waffles, bread, muffins...  I wondered if it would simply lend a nice tang to the ice cream, like frozen yogurt, while providing a creamy rich texture.

While I would have loved to mix some fresh fruit into the ice cream, especially peaches, it's not peach season yet, and the thought of going to the grocery store at that very moment, when I wanted to make ice cream right now, wasn't very appealing.  So, I poked through the cupboards looking for ingredients.  I found an almost-empty jar of Nutella, and another of creamy peanut butter.  Then rummaged around for vanilla, cocoa powder and espresso powder, and of course, salt and powdered sugar.  And started mixing.

I tasted my concoction and began to suspect that I was a sweet genius.  Although, usually when I start to feel too confident in the kitchen, I do something completely retarded, like leaving out a crucial ingredient, turning on the wrong burner, or forgetting something under the broiler until I smell it burning...  Like when Bridget Jones cooks her birthday dinner for friends, believing that she's suddenly going to become a genius in the kitchen, but ends up with blue soup and some other weird, lumpy green pot of goop.

Sometimes I would like to freeze in time those perfect moments and forget all the other stuff, but all that other stuff, the mistakes - those are good things, too.

When you taste this ice cream, you can taste the chocolate-nuttiness of the Nutella.  The creamy peanut-buttery-ness.  The tangy buttermilk.  The slight bitterness of the cocoa and espresso powder.  All in a smooth, creamy, sweet mouthful.

It's mysterious.  Complex.  It leaves you wanting more.  Having just seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I might even say it's the Daniel Craig of ice creams.

Buttermilk Ice Cream with Nutella, Cocoa and Peanut Butter
printable recipe

  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups low-fat (2%) buttermilk
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Note:  You can go much heavier on the Nutella and eliminate the peanut butter if you like, or even use just peanut butter, and the recipe will still turn out great; I just used what I had on hand.

Possible add-ins that would be delicious in this could be salted and toasted peanuts or hazelnuts, and bittersweet chocolate chunks.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the Nutella, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine the salt, espresso powder, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Add the dry ingredients and 1 cup of buttermilk to the mixing bowl; mix on low to combine, then on medium for 2-3 minutes to blend thoroughly, scraping up the bottom of the bowl several times.  Add the rest of the buttermilk and the cream, and whip for 4-5 minutes until light and frothy.  If any lumps of undissolved cocoa powder remain, you can pour the mixture through a mesh strainer for a smooth ice cream base.

Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions on your ice cream maker, then transfer to a container and freeze until firm, 4-6 hours.

Yields about 1 1/2 quarts

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen