Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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Homemade Cream Cheese Ice Cream with Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce and Blackberries


As much as I love summer—the heat, the vacations, the heat—I also kind of hate it. With warm weather comes a certain pressure: If I'm not outside, soaking up the sun, perfecting the tan I won't have for the other eight months of the year, I feel guilty and unappreciative. Irresponsible, even. But sometimes I just want to be lazy and sun-avoidant, to spend my weekends lounging by my oscillating fan, precisely positioned for maximum cooling in front of my window unit. 

       This Sunday, I indulged my desire for AC gluttony—and felt only moderately bad about it. Why? Because I made ice cream, which, to me, is one of the most gratifying (and essential) parts of summer. 

       Since I don't have an ice cream maker—I hate kitchen appliances that have only one purpose—I had to whip the ingredients into a frenzy every half hour, thereby excusing me from going outside. (And leaving me free to spend guiltless hours reading The Social Animal and HGTV Magazine in my bed.)

       This was my first time making ice cream, so I started with something simple: a cream cheese ice cream recipe from Southern Living. Half the battle of food blogging is photography, and let's be honest—a lump of white ice cream may taste delicious, but it's not the most visually enthralling dessert. So, I made a sweet, bourbon-based sauced, crumbled up graham cracker crust, and bought fresh blackberries to top it all off. 

        The whole process was a little laborious, but the payoff was big. The ice cream was incredibly creamy—I didn't even miss the candy mix-ins that most supermarket ice creams rely on—and the sauce was reminiscent of caramel, with an extra layer of warmth from the whisky. It was the perfect foil for the freshness of the berries.

Homemade Cream Cheese Ice Cream with Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce and Blackberries
From Southern Living

What you need

Cream Cheese Ice Cream
3 cups half-and-half
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 (8 oz) packaged cream cheese, softened and cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract
Butterscotch-Bourbon Sauce
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup butter
 ¾ cup whipping cream 3 tablespoons bourbon  Toppings Fresh blackberries Graham cracker crust, crumbled* * You can crumble a pre-made crust, or make your own and crush it. I combined 2 cups graham cracker crumbs with 3 ½ tablespoons melted butter, and baked at 350°F for 10 minutes.   

Put it all together  
  1. To make the ice cream, whisk together the half-and-half, powdered sugar, and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it thickens slightly. 
  2. Remove from heat, then whisk in the cubed cream cheese and vanilla extract, until the cream cheese is completely melted. The mixture should be smooth, without any clumps of cream cheese. Cool completely, about an hour, stirring occasionally. 
  3. If you have an ice cream maker: Place plastic wrap over the mixture, and chill for 8 to 24 hours. Then pour the mixture into the freezer container of a 1.5-quart ice-cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturers' instructions. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container, and freeze 4 hours before serving.
  4. If you don't have an ice-cream maker: Follow these instructions from David Leibowitz: chill your ice cream mixture (from step 2) over an ice bath, then transfer to a bowl that has been chilled in the freezer. Check it after 45 minutes. When it starts to freeze near the edges, whisk it vigorously, breaking up any frozen sections. Repeat every half hour for the next 2-3 hours.
  5. To make the sauce, combine the brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the butter is melted and well-combined with the sugar. Gradually add the whipping cream, and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir constantly for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the bourbon. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. (Note: If you refrigerate this sauce, it will become firm and difficult to pour.) 
  6. Top a scoop of ice cream with graham crumbles and blackberries, drizzle with sauce, and serve.  
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