Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Growing up, I thought ice cream trucks were a concept from movies, widely seen in theaters, but rarely present in reality. Ice cream trucks were as mysterious to me as superheros, talking animals, or something going smoothly for the main characters in a movie just once. Along with the other remnant misconceptions from childhood, my disbelief in ice cream trucks held strong into my teenage years. A truck overflowing with popsicles, ice cream, and frozen treats seemed too good to be true; it must certainly be another trick that parents and television producers played on their children.

It wasn't until I saw an actual truck ambling down my very own street, loudly playing such hits as Turkey in the Straw and The Entertainer, that I began to accept that perhaps ice cream trucks were not as fictional as I once thought.

The ice cream truck rolled down the street earlier this week, calling the children over with a round of Oh! Susanna. Even though it was just before dinner, and a few of the parents were grumbling about the timing, the children still ran around, eating popsicles and chasing each other down the road.

Even though I didn't get to enjoy these things when I was younger, I'm happy to watch the neighborhood children get excited about it, dragging their parents by the hand to pay for a little piece of happiness.

Cookies and cream ice cream seems to fall distinctly into the realm of childhood desserts. Even so, I don't believe that should stop the adults from partaking in the fun. After all, no one grows too old for a good cookie. This particular version is dairy-free, made with coconut milk instead of a combination of whole milk and heavy cream (though certainly those ingredients could be substituted in to make a more traditional ice cream). While the coconut flavor is noticeable on the first bite, it seems to hide from then on, as your palate adjusts to the cookies' sweetness.

This ice cream was a dangerous one to keep in the house. I could never seem to forget about it and often stole spoonfuls before breakfast and dinner.

As a side note, I will be in France(!) for the next two weeks as I spend time in Paris, travel through Provence, and end in Nice. I will be posting pictures and stories throughout the trip. If you'd like to keep up with my adventures, you can follow me on instagram, twitter, or facebook for updates! 

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream is a sweet dessert to enjoy any time of the year. The cookies soften in the ice cream, helping the ice cream retain a smooth texture. The flavor, however, is quite pronounced in each and every bite. For best results, allow the ice cream to thaw on the counter for 10-15 minutes before servingβ€”the rest time transforms the texture from icy to smooth and creamy.

One Year Ago: Mint Sugar, Frozen Strawberry Bars, and Coconut Sorbet (a personal favorite!)
Two Years Ago: Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Nutmeg Pudding, and Lavender Lemonade
Three Years Ago: Citrus Roasted Rhubarb, Roasted Cherry Dark Chocolate Brownies, and Honey Peach Bubble Tea
Four Years Ago: Margaritas, Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, and Mocha Frappuccino

Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Yields about 1 quart

28 fluid ounces (828 ml) full-fat coconut milk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (112 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
15 chocolate sandwich cookies (180 grams), lightly crushed*

In a large saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer over medium-high heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. When the milk is simmering, add a small amount to the eggs and whisk quickly to incorporate. Do this a second time to temper the egg yolks. 

Transfer the ingredients back into the saucepan and simmer over medium to medium-low heat until the milk thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate mixture until cold.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. In the final minute of churning, add the crushed cookies and shut off the ice cream maker when incorporated. Transfer ice cream to a plastic air-tight container and freeze for 3-4 hours before serving.

* Use a dairy-free sandwich cookie, like Oreos, to keep the ice cream dairy-free.

Vanilla Ice Cream Cake from Judi & Nicole of Some Kitchen Stories

Vanilla Ice Cream Cake | Judi & Nicole of Some Kitchen Stories on Pastry Affair

Some Kitchen Stories came into my life a year ago. Judi, the writer, and Nicole, the photographer, work together to create this beautiful, passionate space. With each post, Judi shares a fictional story that weaves through the recipe while Nicole manages to capture the essence behind her lens. This duo keeps me on my toesβ€”each time I visit I find myself in the mind of someone new and in the kitchen of someone familiar.

Helen was a nervous sort of creature and had always been so. For the most part, that was okay. Nerves meant good manners and good grades. Usually.

She stopped on the sidewalk and pulled the paper from her bag and stared at the curved C at the top, the bottom of the letter just touching the H in her name. How could the daughter of a renowned biologist come home with a C in science?

Her mother would have to see it, she knew. Her teacher, Mr. Ballingham had made sure of it by affixing a note to the top of the paper. "Please have your mother sign this- Mr. B."

Helen stuffed the paper back in her bag and turned to the big, rambling house at the end of the road, the one they called home. Usually she loved the look of it, tall and ramshackle, so unlike the others on the lane, its windows sticking out like elephant ears. Now it looked forbidding. It offered no comfort.

Vanilla Ice Cream Cake | Judi & Nicole of Some Kitchen Stories on Pastry Affair

Inside the house, it was chaos as usual. Ramses, her brother, had recently started walking and that had translated into climbing. She found him affixed to the bookshelf, the third shelf, and he blinked at her and waved as she dropped her school bag on the floor. She sighed and wrapped her arm around him to pull him free and carried him past the den, where the twins were setting an elaborate maze of dominoes. They looked up at her and blinked in unison before resuming their path in quiet whispers. Helen knew it was useless to speak to her sisters when they were focused on a project so she moved on without a word. In her arms, the baby squirmed. They stepped over a small mountain of plastic toys. The cat scurried past them and Ramses clapped.

The kitchen, if one could call it a kitchen, was covered in flour and milk. It clung to the cabinets and dripped from the counters. In the corner, huddled between the stove and a set of bunsen burners, her mother frowned over a cluster of papers. She too was covered in flour and milk, her salt-and-pepper hair piled high up on her head. She looked up and blinked at Helen, just like the twins, but at least Helen's face registered with her and her face cracked into a tired smile. "It's been a day."

"Yes." Helen swallowed hard. Ramses grabbed her brown hair and yanked hard and when she looked at him, he pointed to the ground with a scowl. Helen turned, walked a few steps and put him in his pen. It was really several pens cobbled together and the fence went up to the ceiling, the floor inside it covered in a foot of old mattress and pillows. In there, he could climb to his heart's content like a monkey but it didn't matter; he always escaped. The bookshelves that covered the walls of the house were far more appealing.

Helen was never one for delay. She reached into her backpack and removed the test and set it on the counter.

Her mother studied the grade and the note, studied her daughter's face, and sighed. "I'm not doing much better myself this week, " her mother said and she grabbed the test, scribbled her name at the top, and then put it on top of her own papers. She did not look at it again. "Put them away please. Out of sight. All of them." Helen reached for them but then her mother grabbed her arm and pulled her close. "Ice cream cake for dinner. How does that sound, my little wonk?"

She smelled faintly like vanilla and sulphur. And comfort, Helen thought. Pure comfort.

Vanilla Ice Cream Cake | Judi & Nicole of Some Kitchen Stories on Pastry Affair

Dear Kristin, I truly hope you're having ice cream cake for dinner one of these nights. I hope you have a slice, offer up no apologies for it and enjoy every bite, amidst all the chaos of life and moving and work and such. Thank you for letting us play in your space this week while you sort through it all.

This past weekend, I surveyed my counters. With the start of September, it's time to start rearranging things (some people hit closets, I hit the kitchen). I have an odd kitchen set-up, a giant room for my stove and a galley kitchen for my sink and counters and I cherish every inch of work space (as I'm sure you do too, you out there, hi). I paused over my line-up of appliances and wondered if it was time, seasonally speaking, to replace the ice cream maker with the food processor (in between the stalwarts- the coffee maker and the stand mixer, not going anywhere, thank you, let's move on).

I hesitated for a moment longer because, well, yes, soups and stews and chopping is coming (hooray) but what about ice cream? Is it really over? Really? Fall brings its own flavors, I reasoned out loud to the dog; what about maple and peanut butter and dark chocolate with sea salt and… I think we know how this debate ended- the ice cream maker's not going anywhere and the processor was squeezed in beside it. After all, why do we have to choose? It's the best part of being an adult; you can have your cake and ice cream too. When you can make it yourself? Even better.

Vanilla Ice Cream Cake | Judi & Nicole of Some Kitchen Stories on Pastry Affair

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Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet

When I was teenager, I suffered from horrible bouts of insomnia. I would lie awake at night for hours, watching the numbers on the clock change, wishing I was somewhere else. Eventually, I did start daydreaming of that somewhere elseβ€”my own deserted tropical island. Each night more details of my island emerged. The colors of the sunset, the grains of sand on the beaches, the gradual intensity of the colors on the rocky cliffs. I invented a story for how I arrived on this island. Sometimes I envisioned myself on the island with others, though often I was by myself.

In this sleep-starved state of my mind, this island became my paradise.

Coconut Sorbet Coconut Sorbet

As the fitful nights progressed from weeks to months, the elements of my island grew greater in detail. I imagined building a shelter from coconut palms to block out the blistering sun. I imagined fishing with makeshift poles, struggling to find a meal. I imagined the sleepless, hungry nights, when the rain leaked through the roof and the fish weren't biting. I imagined battling with the hard husk of coconut shells, knocking them down from trees, trying to reach the sweet fruit within. I imagined the loneliness that would build up inside me from my little island, the fear and the desperate wishing to go home. The longer I thought about it, the more stressful my tropical paradise became.

Eventually I let go of my island fantasies, abandoning them once the stress of my paradise began to overshadow my sleepless state.

Coconut Sorbet

Though my short-lived tropical daydreams were years ago, fragments of my imagined adventure pop up whenever I encounter sandy beaches and ocean waves. Landlocked as I am, my curiosity towards coconuts became a way to bring those daydream adventures to light. Eventually, that curiosity turned into a love for the multi-purpose fruit.

Nowadays I like to imagine myself on a sunny, crowded beach, eating coconut sorbet beneath a large umbrella, and watching children play in the tide. I find there is far less stress when modern conveniences are involved.

Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet is a refreshing, cool treat to enjoy whenever the mood strikes. Coconut milk is sweetened with pure maple syrup and vanilla bean before whirling in an ice cream maker. Small pieces of shredded coconut are added to give a chewy texture to the smooth sorbet. While the sorbet can have the tendency to be icy straight from the freezer, if you leave it out for 10 minutes before scooping, the sorbet transforms into a creamy texture.

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