The first time I looked through the Milk Bar cookbook, one of the recipes that caught my eye was the pretzel ice cream. I tend to be attracted to unusual-flavored recipes, and I knew that was one I wanted to make. I wanted to use it as a base for another recipe, but I wasn’t sure what.
Fast forward about two years: I started thinking about that ice cream again, and what I wanted to do with it. Pretzels and peanut butter is a fantastic combination, so I decided to use that as a jumping off point. My first idea was to make sandwiches, with the pretzel ice cream slathered in between peanut butter cookies, but I didn’t really feel like baking up a batch of cookies. And then it hit me—what if I just made peanut butter cookie dough, and then swirled it throughout the ice cream? What I ended up with was a perfect salty-sweet treat, and one of the best ice creams I’ve made so far.
The ice cream recipe yielded about half of what the recipe said it would (about a pint, rather than a quart), so the peanut butter ended up overpowering the pretzel flavor just a little more than I would’ve liked. So next time I would either cut down on the amount of cookie dough added to the ice cream or (more likely) make a double batch of the pretzel ice cream.
For my kosher readers: I used Kolatin brand unflavored gelatin in the ice cream base. This works just like regular non-kosher gelatin. I have no idea if any other type of kosher gelatin would work in its place.
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough-Pretzel Ice Cream
For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough:
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the Pretzel ice Cream:
6 cups small pretzel twists
2 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon powdered gelatin (see note above)
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup glucose syrup
2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Make the cookie dough:
1. Combine the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar in a bowl. Cream with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the salt, vanilla extract, and milk. Mix well. With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, until firm.
2. Place marble-sized chunks of dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use.
Make the ice cream:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Spread the pretzels out on a large sheet pan. Toast for 15 minutes, until the pretzels slightly darken in color. Cool completely.
3. Place the pretzels into a large bowl and pour the milk over them. Stir for 2 minutes.
4. Strain the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Discard the pretzels.
5. Bloom the gelatin: Put the 2 tablespoons of cold water into a small bowl or cup, and evenly sprinkle the powdered gelatin over it. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Warm a little of the pretzel milk in a saucepan. Add the gelatin, and whisk to dissolve. Add the remaining pretzel milk, glucose syrup, brown sugar, cream cheese, salt, and baking soda. Whisk until all the ingredients are fully incorporated (I kept the saucepan over low heat while I did this, to help everything dissolve easily).
7. Pour the mixture into a bowl or container, cover, and refrigerate until very cold.
8. Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Pour into a bowl or containers and stir in the cookie dough chunks. Cover well, and freeze until firm.
Makes about 1 quart