Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Chocolate and Peanut Butter are swirled into the creamy vanilla ice cream, then topped with a sprinkling of Reese's peanut butter cups, making an indulgent sweet treat.

Can we acknowledge the way that fall keeps creeping earlier and earlier in the year?

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The schools started it, with their ridiculous beginning of August start dates.  Labor day and the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte kinda added to the general feeling that it was time for boots and chunky sweaters. But can we take just a moment to acknowledge that it is still freakin’ HOT outside?

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I mean, I still break a sweat walking to my car.  My poor baby’s head is soaked every time I pull him out of his car seat, and my bright-eyed four year old still claps his hands dramatically over his eyes every time we walk outside to block out the piercingly bright sun.

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And while the mornings may be turning crisp and we don’t need air conditioning both without and within to withstand the suffocating heat, there is still enough heat in the day to make ice cream a welcome, even necessary way to cool down.  Hence this chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream, which is really just a giant Reese's peanut butter cup mixed into creamy vanilla ice cream.   Peanut butter and chocolate are “in” no matter the season, and as far as I’m concerned, ice cream is just as welcome in December as in July.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream

Recipe by Rebecca Neidhart
Makes a little over 1 quart of ice cream
Active Time: 30-40 minutes || Resting time 12-24 hours

For the Vanilla Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk

  • A pinch of salt

  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

  • 2 1/2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Swirl:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate (chopped or chips)

  • 2 Tbsp. corn syrup

  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 3 Tbsp. white sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Swirl:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • 2 Tbsp. whipping cream

  • 1 Tbsp. corn syrup

  • 4-5 Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired.

For the Ice Cream: Beat the egg yolks in a medium sized mixing bowl and set them aside.  In a medium sized stock pot, combine the milk, 2 cups of the whipping cream, sugar, and salt.  Heat and stir the milk and cream until gently simmering, then gradually pour it into the egg yolks, whisking as you pour. You are tempering the eggs with this step, or slowly bringing them to a similar temperature as the warm cream so that they don’t scramble when they are poured into the warm pan.

Return the entire mixture to the pan, then heat over medium low, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent it from burning and clumping.  Do not let it come to a boil, as this will likely make the mixture curdle.  Heat until it is thick enough to coat a clean spoon without dripping off.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with a layer of clingwrap directly on top of the custard, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24.  

For the Chocolate Swirl: In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, sugar, salt and whipping cream.  Melt the mixture over medium low, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from burning.  When the mixture has melted completely and is smooth and cohesive, stir in the vanilla and transfer to a disposable zippered bag.  Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, but not too stiff.

For the Peanut Butter Swirl: In a small mixing bowl, beat all of the ingredients together until thoroughly combined and place in a disposable zippered bag.

To prepare the Ice Cream: Whip the remaining 1/2 cup of whipping cream until it reaches medium peaks (when you pull out your beaters, the points they leave behind shouldn't fall over, but should still look soft).

Churn the custard according to your ice cream maker's instructions. Pour the custard in, then spoon in the whipped cream immediately.  Cut a corner off of each of the bags with the chocolate and peanut butter swirl in them. Once it has reached soft serve stage, scoop 1/3 of the ice cream into the container you are going to store it in, then squeeze in about half of the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures over it in a zig-zag pattern. Sprinkle a few pieces of peanut butter cup over it.  Add another third of the ice cream, and repeat the drizzling process with the rest of the chocolate and peanut butter swirls, and top with the rest of the ice cream.  Using a table knife, run it through the container a few times.

Place the ice cream in the freezer and allow to harden completely.  This will entirely depend on how cold your freezer is.  It will freeze faster at the back rather than near the door.