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Be Like Ben & Jerry: Make Core Ice Cream

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Kelsey Tenney of Appeasing a Food Geek shows us how to make ice cream that's good to the core—literally. 

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Ben and Jerry are definitely a couple of crush-worthy guys. Not only do they run a socialially- and environmentally-conscious food business, but they also create some of the best ice cream in the freezer aisle. I dare you to think of a more creative selection of pints. And as someone who makes it her business to load up on things decadent and fun whenever possible, you can only imagine how much I enjoy a spoonful of cookie dough or Phish Food—straight from the container, of course.

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But Ben & Jerry’s has really outdone itself lately. Behold its collection of core ice creams: Two divine ice creams sandwiched together with a center of silky fudge, jam, caramel, or cookie butter. Now that’s a mind-blowing creation. Want to blow that summer detox diet and create core ice cream at home? Well now you can—no ice cream maker required.  

More: How to make a no-churn ice cream cake.

In the spirit of some of my all-time favorite flavors, I crafted a sweet and salty treat: Butterscotch vanilla and salty chocolate pretzel ice creams split in the middle by a brownie batter core. Feel free to experiment with your own flavor combinations!

No-Churn Ben & Jerry's-Style Core Ice Cream

Makes 1 pint 

Special Equipment:

1 pint container
1 piece cardboard
1 piece wax paper
Tape, as needed
1 zipper bag

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 big pinch sea salt, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, divided
4 ounces dark chocolate, divided
1 handful pretzels
1 egg
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

To prepare the pint container, cut a rectangle of cardboard so that it fits across the center of your container. You want it to fit snugly against the sides and bottom and reach the top. To make this easier, measure the diameter of the container from the bottom to determine the width of your cardboard before cutting.

Next, cover the cardboard piece with wax paper, securing it down with tape. Place it in the center of the container, dividing it in half. To keep the divider in place, place a zipper bag into one side of the container, pushing it into the bottom edges, then fill the zipper bag with something malleable to weigh it down (I used sugar) to keep the divider up for when you pour ice cream into the other side later. Set aside.

To make the butterscotch-vanilla ice cream, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, the brown sugar, and one big pinch of sea salt. Stirring constantly, allow the mixture to come to a low simmer, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

While you wait, in a small bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the heavy cream into stiff peaks. Set aside.

  

In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled brown sugar mixture with 2 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the large bowl and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold the rest of the whipped cream into the brown sugar mixture. Transfer the mixture into a glass measuring cup.

Use one hand to stabilize the cardboard divider against the zipper bag while you pour the brown sugar ice cream mixture into the other half of the container. Cover the container with the lid and freeze for 6 to 8 hours.

Once the half-pint of ice cream has solidified, remove the sugar-filled zipper bag from the container. Peel the cardboard divider from the ice cream and discard it. If any ice cream mix crept through to the other side, use a spoon to scrape it from the edges and/or sides. Return the container to the freezer while you make the chocolate ice cream.

In a small bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the heavy cream into stiff peaks and set aside.

In a small bowl, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk with 2 ounces of dark chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until melted, or in a double boiler. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the chocolate mixture as well as 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Stir to combine.

Using your hands, crush the pretzels into small chunks and add them to the chocolate mixture. Whisk 1/2 of the whipped cream into the pretzel-chocolate mixture until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the rest of the whipped cream into the brown sugar mixture. Transfer the mixture into a glass measuring cup.

  

Pour the pretzel-chocolate mixture into the empty half of the pint container until level with the butterscotch ice cream half. Freeze for 6 to 8 hours.

Once the ice cream is firm, use an apple corer or swivel peeler to create a cavity in the center of the two ice creams. Depending on how large of a core you prefer, you may choose to continue this process to make the center core as big as you want. (The recipe for the brownie batter center will yield leftovers so there will be enough to fill almost any size core.)

To make the core, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter with the remaining 2 ounces of dark chocolate in a small or medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Set aside. Crack 1 egg into a bowl and whisk briefly to scramble it.

Once the chocolate and butter are melted together, remove from the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Temper the egg by very slowly adding 3 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to it and stirring to combine.

Allow the remaining chocolate mixture to cool for another 5 minutes then add the tempered egg to the saucepan and whisk quickly to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and whisk to combine.

Return the saucepan to medium-low heat and stir constantly, scraping across the bottom and edges for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, the remaining 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and the flour. Mix well to combine and let cool.

Once cooled, pour the brownie batter into a piping bag and pipe it into the core you created in the ice creams. Freeze for 4 hours. Store any remaining brownie batter in the refrigerator for later use.

Once the core is solid, the ice cream is ready to eat! Spoon it directly out of the pint or serve yourself a double scoop.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by Kelsey Tenney

Tags: small batch, core ice cream, ben & jerry