Monday, May 15, 2017

Buttercrunch Toffee Chunk Ice Cream

After a five month vacation from blogging, I was inspired to post today by a new book by my super-talented colleague, pastry chef Dana Cree. I am convinced that Dana’s new book, Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop (Clarkson Potter, 2017), is destined to be a classic on the subject of frozen desserts. 

It covers lots of science (but not so much that you begin to nod off), information that is key in creating frozen desserts with the ideal flavor and texture. For example, Dana tells us how to make proteins (eggs, milk) work for your ice cream, how the amount of sugar in your base affects your ice cream’s texture, and how stabilizers 

(bad reputation aside) work to assure textural perfection. And then there are the recipes – ice cream (custard as well as eggless Philadelphia style), sherbet, frozen yogurt and a panoply of add-ins, including Cookie Butter Bits, Pretzel Toffee Chunks, Gooey Butter Cake (!), and Creamy Caramel Ribbon. Makes me want to drop what I’m doing, race to the kitchen, and make every blessed recipe in this incredible new book. Thank you, Dana (I think!). Here’s her recipe for a Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream with Buttercrunch Toffee Chunks added. I ate half of the batch in two sittings – research, you know.

Buttercrunch Toffee Chunk Ice Cream
From the fabulous new book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop (Clarkson Potter, 2017) by Dana Cree

Buttercrunch Toffee Chunks:
½ cup (120 g) unsalted butter
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50 g) glucose or light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ½ ounces (100 g) dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 70%)

1. Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or lightly grease it.
2. Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, glucose (or corn syrup), water, salt and vanilla. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula to prevent scorching, until the toffee is 300°F on a kitchen thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Pour the molton toffee into the prepared pan, and quickly assist the hot oozing toffee with a spatula to spread into an even layer about ¼ inch thick.
4. Immediately scatter the dark chocolate over the hot toffee, and let it sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. When all the chocolate has melted, spread it evenly over the surface of the toffee. Let the toffee cool completely at room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. If the chocolate isn’t completely set but the toffee is cool, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to finish hardening the chocolate. Remove the toffee from the pan and chop it into bite-size chunks. Transfer the toffee chunks to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream:
3 tablespoons (20 g) milk powder
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
2 cups (380 g) heavy cream
2 cups (400 g) milk
¼ cup (50 g) glucose or light corn syrup
Texture agent (see Note below)* (I used the xanthan gum, which you can find at any health food store)
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla paste or extract

*Note: This can be either 1 teaspoon (3 g) commercial stabilizer that is mixed with the sugar before it is added to the dairy; or ¼ teaspoon guar or xanthan gum that is whirled in a blender with the ice cream base after it is chilled in the ice bath; or 2 teaspoons tapioca starch that is mixed with 2 tablespoons (20 g) cold milk and then whisked into the ice cream base after it is finished cooking; or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch that is mixed with 2 tablespoons (20 g) cold milk and then whisked into the simmering ice cream base and cooked for 1 more minute.

1. Combine the milk powder and sugar in a small bowl.
2. Place the cream, milk and glucose in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching, until it comes to a full rolling boil.
3. Whisk the milk powder mixture into the pot. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue cooking for 2 minutes, whisking to prevent scorching.
4. Immediately pour the ice cream base into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Working quickly, fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way with very icy ice water. Nest the hot bowl into this ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down.
5. When the base is cool the touch (50°F or below), strain it through a fine-mesh sieve and stir in the vanilla paste or extract; cover with plastic wrap.
6. Transfer the base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
7. Place the base into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is ready when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of the Buttercrunch Toffee Chunks and process just to combine (or fold them in by hand with a rubber spatula).
8. To freeze your ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your ice cream immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.