In case you can't tell from the picture, the cookie dough I've inherited came in industrial tubs, rescued from a dumpster behind an upscale grocery store in Truro. If that sounds kind of gross, well, it is and it isn't.
They do this every year—chuck out whatever's left in the store come Labor Day—and the fishmonger has learned to dumpster dive before anything starts to melt or de-refrigerate in an unsanitary way. This year, he saved an unopened box of Dove bars, not to mention the cookie dough: a whole case. Until just recently, however, they were safely tucked away in the freezer of his store. Then came cleaning day, and he willed it all to me.
Unfortunately, it seems the good always comes with the bad, and in this case it was accompanied by a trip to the dentist. I have a cavity. This really shouldn't come as a surprise, given the way I feel about sweets, but I'd never had one before. I feel sort of like I did after I got my first speeding ticket, like I wish I could just rewind a few minutes, and wipe the record clean. Not to mention avoid the trip back, for the terrific filling event. Mouths and drills should not go together in my opinion.
As I wallow in this discovery, I have decided it is best to comfort myself in the way I am familiar with. Namely, by eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and drinking a cup of black coffee. Surely (?), this will bring back the glory days for my teeth.
The ice cream, I should say, didn't come without a bit of trial and error. The first recipe I tried was from Ben & Jerry's, and the base had far too much heavy cream in my opinion, and not nearly enough egg, and simply refused to freeze. It was very stubborn, that recipe. But it didn't matter too much, as all I really needed once I had the instructions for adding the cookie dough (you have to freeze it in chunks first, and then throw it in at the very last minute, according to the ice cream gurus) was a good recipe for vanilla. I learned that from Alice Waters ages ago.
Basically, you just make a nice, thick, eggy custard, let it cool down in the fridge for a bit, and then whip it into a creamy, delightful freeze. It's actually a lot like making the pastry cream for the apple tart I showed you the other day, only you go on to put the whole mess in an ice cream machine. Provided you have that, it's really no fuss at all.
So here's the recipe. I have to go upstairs and brush my teeth.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM
adapted from Alice Waters, the Art of Simple Food
This recipe uses a lot of eggs, but I have found that for truly excellent ice cream that is the key. Don't worry about wasting the whites: simply save them for a fritatta the next morning. If you whisk one whole egg into 6 egg whites and bake it with some veggies and cheese, no one will know the difference.
If you have unhomogenized milk, use it instead of half and half. Don't shake it up: just pour the creamy part off the top. This will result in a fat content that is almost the same as the half and half you'll find in the store.
Also, Waters calls for a vanilla bean, but I just stir in extract at the end. You can tweak this recipe to make anything—mint, etc.—that's the beauty of it. And the best part is, if you're making homemade cookie dough, you will likely have enough to make a batch of cookies, too. Which means ice cream sandwiches, in my book.
1 and 1/2 cups cookie dough
1 and 1/2 cups half and half or unhomogenized whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
Cut cookie dough into chunks, pile into a bowl, cover, and put it in the the freezer to harden up.
Separate eggs, saving whites for another project. Whisk yolks just enough to break them up, and set aside. Pour half and half or milk into a heavy bottomed pot along with sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat until steaming and very close to boiling, but don't let it actually begin to roll. Whisk a little of the hot milk into the egg yolks to temper them (in order to warm them up, so they won't cook immediately when they hit the pot and get chunky and not thicken properly), then whisk the egg mixture back into the milk in the pot.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. This can take anywhere from 2 minutes to maybe 10, depending on how hot you let the milk get initially. Just be patient, and if it seems like nothing is happening, gently turn up the heat. When it coats the back of a spoon and has the consistency of custard, remove from heat, stir in heavy cream and a bit of vanilla to taste (maybe a teaspoon or two) and pour into a metal bowl. Chill thoroughly.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker, leaving room for the cookie dough. (Depending on how much your machine holds, you may want to adjust the ratios of custard to dough.) When the cream is thick and stiff, add the frozen cookie dough chunks. Allow the machine to churn for just a minute or two longer, then transfer the ice cream to the freezer and let it harden a bit more before serving.