Another week has gone by. But this was not like the others. If you live in the Northeast, you know we had a spring day with a temperature of 64 and a snow day the next. It was a week that had everybody’s favorite things in it. A little warmth and a little ice, best of both worlds.
I personally look forward to peppermint bark every year around Christmas time. My dad and I have been known to polish off inhuman amounts in short periods of time. It’s so addicting!
The inspiration behind this flavor was a night sky. Specifically a winter night sky. When am walking back from my night class (which I seem to have at least one of every year), I sometimes will just stare up at the night. There is something slightly magical about looking up at all those bright and far stars and breathing out a warm puff of air in amazement.
I love the night sky year round, but at winter it’s especially clear. I feel like I can see light years out there. And the briskness of the air really just accentuates that.
I went back and forth on how this ice cream should go for a few days. I was debating about what kind of chocolate should be the base and which should be in the bark. Finally, something decided for me.
I have been missing my Jeni’s Splendid Ice cream Book for months now. And of course, I blamed my mother for it. I have torn my house apart multiple times in search of it, but to no avail. Flash forward three months, to when I was organizing my drawers in my room at school. Lo and behold, there it was sitting at the bottom.
I called my mom immediately to report the good news. And what was the first page I flipped open to when I settled in to look through it again? Her darkest dark chocolate ice cream recipe. Well I guess my mind had been made up.
Polaris ice cream was going to be a dark chocolate ice cream with a semisweet and white chocolates peppermint bark.
The science behind this ice cream has to do with something that happened after the ice cream was made. So our freezer in our apartment is jam-packed with all sorts of goodies. Mainly ice cream and steamable veggies. And it decided this week to have a life of its own, and pop open like something was in its way. This happened a few times overnight and the ice cream melted.
Ice cream is a pretty complex matrix of water molecules, air and fat molecules in a particular order. And when it melts and refreezes, this matrix gets disrupted. It doesn’t go back in the original order. So the pictures for this flavor aren’t up to their usual par. But, these things happen and that is okay!
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure:
This was not the usual custard folks! Jeni has a different way of making her signature creamy ice cream. She uses cream cheese and cornstarch to take the place of eggs.
So first, I had to make the bark. It involved tempering chocolate, which anyone knows, is more temperamental than a toddler. Surprisingly, it didn’t seize! First, the semisweet layer, with some peppermint oil.
Followed by the white chocolate and then topped with the peppermints.
Then I let it set overnight and made the ice cream base.
A cornstarch slurry was made up first, followed by the cream cheese mixture. A homemade yummy chocolate sauce was mixed together with the cream cheese for either the world’s most delicious bagel spread or an ice cream base.
Then I had to boil milk and cream for 4 minutes! It was so hard not to yank it off the stove while it bubbled away.
Then I whisked in the cornstarch and heated it again, just like I would with the eggs.
Everything got combined, sat overnight and got churned in the morning.
In the last few minutes of churning, I mixed in the peppermint bark. Ever wonder how people crush things without the help of a rolling-pin or meat tenderizer?
I used my trusty water bottle, and everyone from here to Kalamazoo heard me. Sometimes I miss the handy tools from home, like our selection of 10+ rolling pins.
I resisted trying this flavor until it was mostly solid. It was hard, I had to distract myself from it. But wow. All the chocolate camps are represented in this winner.
I love how rich the chocolate base is, and so creamy. It has the texture of a frozen hot chocolate. If that hot chocolate was made from pure cream straight from the farm.
Anyway, the texture is smoooooth. (see what I did there? cow jokes!) And the bark is a little bitty crunch of mint that I just can’t resist. There isn’t so much of it in there, but when you happen to get some on your spoon, you can’t miss it.
Overall, I must say that I am very very impressed with this new method. Even if my mother calls me at the 3:59 of the 4:00 minutes of milk boiling and throws me into a tizzy, I thought it turned out great.
If I am writing this post as formally as I feel like I am, it’s because I have been writing a ton of reports recently. I am surprised I didn’t try to show you some sample calculations, just for fun. Writing reports has slowly taken over my life, as well as solving homework problems with what feels like no given information.
Junior year! Yay! It is so fun, that even our professors give us countdowns to spring break.
I named this ice cream Polaris, because it is light the night sky. A dark chocolate, with a few sprinkles of light, aka the mints. Even on the worst of days, there are two things that will be there for you: ice cream and stars. Maybe you can’t always see or eat both, but they are there.
Fun fact time y’all. I figured it is time to tell you about my summer plans, much to my mom’s delight. I am going to Wisconsin! Specifically Neenah Wisconsin. If saying the town name is as much fun as working there is gonna be, I’m in for a treat! I am very excited to be working as a Research and Development intern in the food industry, which just about nails down everything I ever wanted to do in life. I can’t wait to start a brand new adventure in a brand new place!
I guess I’ll let that sink in with you all. It’s some pretty big news, I know. When you are ready, come on back to the ice cream realm next week for another spectacular flavor. Love you and scoop ya later!