If you’ve ever heard a holiday song–and I’m talking winter holidays here–blaring from some sacrilegious corner of the bus in the middle of August, chances are that one of your eyebrows will quirk up. You’ll probably roll your eyes as you try to ignore the strains of “Last Christmas” wafting in on the public transportation air behind you. After two choruses and a bridge, when the song reaches that really annoying part where the singers are warbling the title over and over again with as much grace as a shrieking fence-posted cat, you’ll most likely sigh really loud to let the person know, with a certain level of passive-aggressiveness, that they’re irking you. You will probably even shoot glances around you at your fellow passengers to confirm that they all have the same exasperated looks on their faces, and give them the knowing look when you guys make eye contact.
Got anything we can throw at Christmas Song Freak back there without being sued? their and your expressions will clearly say. And you’ll both shrug helplessly, caught in a state of mutual and lingering frustration, until Christmas Song Freak finally gets off at the second-to-last stop. Of course, you had to be going to the last.
Chances are also that that Christmas Song Freak is me. I mean, how many of us could there be in this world?
I love the winter holidays. I love everything about them–the holiday spirit, the holiday decorations, the holiday smiles and hugs, even the holiday-inspired-laughter-at-disgruntled-shoppers that I frequently indulge in. I’m generally a very easygoing person, and winter is just my season.
Summer is my season though, too. I love everything about the summer holidays–the summer reads, the summer beach runs, the summer weather, the summer outings, the summer nights spent in shorts and sleeveless shirts, the summer guys and dates…I’m generally a very easygoing person, and–yup, you guessed it–summer is just my season. I’m not super picky, really, as long as I’m having fun.
The only real plus in my humble opinion that summer wields over winter is the ice cream. Let’s face it–there’s no better way to come out of hibernation mode and shed that winter coat than with a huge bowl of homemade ice cream. Okay, so maybe ice cream isn’t exactly the best way of shedding a winter coat…but summer only happens 25% of the year and that means we need to celebrate it while we can, right? Right. Plus I get to use my Mickey Mouse ice cream scoop.
Part of me, though–and this is the Christmas-music-playing-on-the-summer-solstice part of me–doesn’t think it’s fair to the winter holidays to let summer have all the claim to frozen treated glory. I mean, winter has its own set of gems: warm gingerbread from the oven, the cup of hot chocolate that your mom makes for you when you’ve battled a storm of Frosty the Snowmen home from school. I’m making most of this stuff up. We don’t have snow where I’m from, but you see where I’m going with this. Winter has its perks, too.
So when I was in the kitchen whipping up these homemade ice cream batches for the August National Eat Dessert First Month Challenge I’m hosting here, it occurred to me that I should probably choose. And it seemed natural, considering that it’s the smack dab middle of summer right now, that I should choose ice cream.
So that was summer. Done.
No, not done! I love winter, too.
Winter it is.
No, I’m pretty sure it’s winter that’s her favorite. (At this point in the mental conversation, the voices in my head were referring to me in the third person.)
She likes summer best!
And so on and so forth. Imagine this going on for a good four or five minutes as I stood in the kitchen with my mixing spoon in hand with a fairly bemused look. I started thinking about whether I should just put on a Christmas soundtrack and forget about the whole thing, when it hit me.
Bam! Like a bus rammed into me. Probably because I was the person playing that annoying holiday music.
Why not have both?
And that’s how the recipe for cookie butter chunk ‘n swirl cinnamon ice cream was born. A hefty dose of Christmas-in-a-jar cookie butter swirled into a lightly spiced homemade vanilla ice cream, and topped with sweet cookie butter chunks. Genius.
I also made these into frozen ice cream sandwich bon-bons by adding graham cracker crusts and coating the whole shebam with chocolate. Shazam! Christmas-time in a summer style? Done.
As for the coffee dark chocolate chunk ice cream, I just like coffee flavors. Fun fact about Ala, though: I can’t drink coffee. I’ll get a massive headache for about 1.283 days and be a massive grouch. Boo.
Anyway, hope you all get a chance to make these–I’d love to hear how they turn out, or if you decide to try out any fun variations! I do have to say, though, that the cookie butter chunk ‘n swirl cinnamon ice cream was an instant hit–so don’t be scared away from trying it! Grab that cookie butter jar and go, go, go!
I’m off to play “Last Christmas” on my iPod now as I get a scoop of cookie butter ice cream. Oh, and if you’re wondering, there aren’t any bon-bons left–the girls at the book club gobbled them all up.
Happy reading, and happy eatings!
For the recipe and photo-cipe:
Basic Ice Cream Recipe
Basic Ice Cream Recipe adapted from Cannella Vita.
- 2 cups (or 1 pint) heavy whipping cream
- 1 (14-oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup liquid (varies according to ice cream flavor; see notes below for each recipe)
- Pour cream into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, whip cream until it is very thick and forms stiff peaks (about 4-5 minutes).
- In a separate large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, vanilla, butter, and liquid. Mix thoroughly.
- Gently fold the condensed milk mixture into whipped cream. Make sure not to fold too harshly, or the air in the cream will be pressed out.
- Add toppings and gently stir in (see recipe variations for ideas).
- Pour into a shallow pan (you can use a 9×13-inch baking or glass pan if you’re making the entire recipe). Freeze for at least 6-8 hours, then transfer to a container that can be tightly sealed. Scoop, serve, and scarf it down!
Cookie Butter Chunk ‘n Swirl Cinnamon Ice Cream Recipe
- 1 basic ice cream recipe (see above)
- 1 cup cookie butter (What is cookie butter?)
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- Graham cracker crumbs, crushed (optional)
- Using instructions for ice cream recipe, substitute 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%) for the unlisted “liquid” ingredient (Step 2 of Basic Ice Cream Recipe).
- Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon into ice cream (Step 4 of Basic Ice Cream Recipe).
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine cookie butter, syrup, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, then remove and stir mixture thoroughly. Add half of the mixture immediately to
the ice cream mixture and swirl very gently through. (If you overmix, you’ll lose most of your swirls, so be careful!) Leave the other half of the mixture out to cool for a few minutes; when it has clumped into a fairly solid mass, break cookie butter mix into small chunks and drop into ice cream. Top with crushed graham crackers if desired.
- Finish freezing as instructed.
Coffee Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Recipe
- 1 basic ice cream recipe (see above)
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chunks
- Using instructions for ice cream recipe, substitute 1/2 cup brewed coffee for the unlisted “liquid” ingredient (Step 2 of Basic Ice Cream Recipe).
- Add 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chunks for unlisted “toppings” (Step 4 of Basic Ice Cream Recipe).
- Finish freezing as instructed.
Ice Cream Sandwich Bon-Bons
Tools: Candy or bon-bon molds–I used these silicon mini cups:
Ingredients: (I’ve left quantities unlisted on purpose–this “recipe” is pretty freeform, and can make as many/few bon-bons as you need!)
- Ice cream, slightly softened
- Milk chocolate chips
- Graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and white sugar
- Heat milk chocolate chips and a small pat of butter in microwave for 30 seconds on medium-high power. Remove, stir, and return to microwave. Heat for another 20 seconds, or until chips melt when stirred vigorously. Spoon a small amount into each mold and spread until the entire mold is coated in a thin layer of chocolate. Make sure to get it to the very top! Freeze until chocolate is firm, or at least 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and white sugar. Your ratios should be 5:2:2 for graham crackers: melted butter: sugar. Adjust depending on the amount of bon-bons you want to make. (So if you started with 5 cups of graham cracker crumbs, which would be INSANE, then you’d have two cups of butter to melt and 2 cups of sugar. Clear? I hope so!)
- Fill each mold with a dab of the graham cracker mix, followed by softened ice cream, and then another bit of graham cracker mix. (That’s your ice cream sammy!) Be sure to leave a bit of room at the top so you can fill with chocolate and seal! (Note: If you have too many filling ingredients, your chocolate topping won’t seal to the bottom properly, and you’ll just have two hardened chocolate halves.) Freeze for 10-15 minutes, until ice cream is firm.
- Pour thin layer of melted chocolate to completely cover the tops of the bon-bons. Smooth out tops as necessary (I should have done this more patiently, but I was actually in a hurry to finish these for a book club meeting!) Return molds to freezer for at least another 15 minutes. Then gently pop them out of the molds, and voila! Ice cream sammy bon-bons!
- Decorate as desired. I used sprinkles, but you can go wild–chopped nuts, chopped chocolate, sliced fruit, and anything else you can think of is all fair game!
Ice Cream Photo-cipe:
Pour cream into a bowl and prepare your electric mixer.
Whip cream on medium-high power for at least 4-5 minutes.
When your cream is thick, heavy, and forms stiff peaks, you’re good to go! Now set that stuff aside for a moment.
In another bowl, pour in sweetened condensed milk.
Add in melted butter, vanilla, and liquid (depending on your flavor) (not pictured). Mix thoroughly, then fold into whipped cream.
Add toppings–that’s dark chocolate chunks for the coffee ice cream…
That’s maple syrup, cookie butter, and cinnamon for your cookie butter swirl ‘n chunks mix! Christmas in a jar, indeed.
Drop and give me 20! Actually, give me 1,000, I don’t care–the more cookie butter chunks, the better, in my opinion.
You’ll also want to add half of the cookie butter mixture straight from the microwave so that it keeps that nice swirl-able texture. Be careful not to over-mix!
Pour it all into a shallow pan and freeze for at least 6 hours. Here’s the coffee dark chocolate chunk ice cream…
…and here’s some of that delicious cookie butter chunk ‘n swirl ice cream! Top with crushed graham cracker crumbs if you want.