Growing up, I was rarely allowed to get ice cream from the ice cream truck. Not because my parents were afraid of the ice cream man selling me drug-laced ice cream bars. It was mostly because we usually had some kind of frozen treat in our freezer already, so why should they shell out even more hard earned cash so I could pay for one sundae cone what they could pay for a whole box of them over at the grocery store? Clearly they did not appreciate the allure of chasing down a musical van filled with Tweety-Bird-shaped popsicles.
I remember specifically that our ice cream truck sold candy cigarettes, and my dad forbade me from ever having them, on the rare occasions I was allowed to splurge on the ice cream man’s goods. I was so jealous of my friends walking around with their sugar sticks (which, I believe, came in Spiderman-themed boxes at the time). A friend once offered me a candy cigarette, and despite my D.A.R.E. training on just saying no to peer pressure, I soon found myself fake-puffing on one. My dad caught me in the act and informed me that I was only allowed to eat them, not to simulate smoking.
I thought my dad was being such an overly dramatic killjoy at the time, but as someone who is now about to embark on parenthood, I kind of see his point. Surely, they don’t sell candy cigarettes out of those trucks anymore, right? I mean, back when I was a kid, Joe Camel was still on billboards. Nowadays, advertising smoking to children is considered “immoral,” I guess. Like, come on. It’s not like smoking ever killed anyone. Geeze.
Anyway, one of the best ice cream truck treats that did not promote drug use was the ice cream sandwich. No muss, no fuss, just vanilla ice cream smashed between two thin slabs of cakey chocolate cookies that stick to your fingers and in your molars. There are round ones and thick ones, but I didn’t know about other variations on ice cream sandwiches until my early 20s, when my friend Alicia mentioned that she couldn’t wait to pick up a Chipwich from the gas station after work. What, I asked, is a Chipwich? And then she imploded my world. Ice cream. Between two. chocolate. chip. cookies. BOOM.
Since then, I have become kind of a dessert aficionado, but I had never made an ice cream sandwich of my own until this weekend. Armed with last week’s Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies, I succumbed to the pleas of my sister and cousin, who pointed out that I have literally zero peanut butter + chocolate recipes on Sift & Whisk so far. Clearly a tragic oversight on my part. This peanut butter ice cream is amazing and creamy as all get out on its own, and it has a cayenne kick. Sandwich that between two delicious chocolate cookies and roll the whole thing in spicy honey-roasted peanuts? They’re maybe more addictive than candy cigarettes.
- 2 cups (480 mL) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 mL) whole milk
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup (140 grams) creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookies, frozen*
- Spiced Honey Peanuts, chopped (optional, recipe below)
- In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk, ½ cup (100 grams) sugar, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 3-5 minutes. Ladle ½ cup of warm cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking with your other hand, in order to temper the egg yolks. Add the tempered yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the cream.
- Return saucepan to medium-low heat and stir until mixture has thickened slightly and has reached about 175°F (the mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon and leave a path when you run your finger through it). Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and stir until the peanut butter has melted and the mixture is combined.
- Transfer custard to a clean bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
- Churn custard in an ice cream maker** according to your manufacturer's instructions until it has reached soft-serve consistency. Transfer to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.
- When ready to assemble ice cream sandwiches, scoop slightly softened ice cream onto the flat side of one frozen cookie. Press another cookie on top of the ice cream, allowing ice cream to squish out to the edges of the cookies. If desired, roll the sides of the ice cream sandwich in chopped Spiced Honey Peanuts. Serve immediately, or wrap each sandwich individually in foil and return to the freezer.
- *Because these cookies are so soft & chewy, I found that it helps to harden them up in the freezer before squishing the ice cream in between them. That way they don't break when you press down!
- **This is the machine I use and love, but I do get commission if you buy it through this link!
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cups raw peanuts
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine honey and cayenne pepper. Heat for 30 seconds in microwave. Add peanuts and toss to coat. Stir in brown sugar and salt.
- Spread nuts onto your baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes until nuts have browned, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning.
- Cool on the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle with sugar and stir the nuts again to coat with sugar. Allow to cool completely before serving.