At some point last year I came across a recipe for ice cream truffles. It seemed easy enough. You scoop the ice cream, flash freeze the scoops, coat them in melted chocolate, freeze a little while longer, then indulge. So I grabbed a pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream out of the freezer and happily started away.
Good lord, it was a holy disaster. I’m pretty sure it ended with everything thrown unceremoniously in the garbage, quickly followed by the crack of a beer. But since I started making my own ice cream, my mind has often wandered back to that terrible day, and made me wonder exactly what went wrong. I started researching and I determined it was three things:
1) When the ice cream scoops started to melt I kept going instead of popping them back into the freezer.
2) When the temperature of the chocolate dropped and quit adhering easily to the ice cream I did not heat it up again.
3) Dipping the ice cream with my hands was messy and slow, increasing the speed of melted ice cream and cooling chocolate.
So I decided to give it another whirl, and this time the results were pretty fantastic…
The game plan went something like this: Make the peanut butter pretzel ice cream base and churn it. Right after churning (while the ice cream is just solid enough to scoop and hold its shape, yet soft enough to easily press a pretzel in it without breaking) scoop the ice cream onto a parchment lined sheet. Press a mini pretzel 1/3 of the way into the ice cream (this will be your handle for dipping to avoid a catastrophic mess). Freeze the individual scoops for about 2 hours, until frozen solid. Throw an extra parchment-lined sheet in the freezer, too. Melt the chocolate dip. Working quickly, dip the truffles in the chocolate and place on the second parchment-lined frozen sheet. Pop the dipped truffles back into the freezer for 20 minutes, until well set. Then eat the shit out of them.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream Truffles
Makes about 2 dozen
Inspired by David Lebovitz, ice cream genius
For the ice cream:
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream (375ml)
- 1 1/2 cup whole milk (375ml)
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- 10 Tbs peanut butter (150g)
- 5 cups mini pretzels (200g) plus 24 whole mini pretzels
For the chocolate dip:
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (170g)
- 6 Tbs butter, cubed (85g)
- 1 1/2 Tbs corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the 5 cups mini pretzels over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for 7 minutes, until dark brown and aromatic.
- In a large saucepan, heat the cream, milk and sugar over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the toasted pretzels. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 25 minutes.
- Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl. Strain the pretzel milk into a separate bowl, pressing the pretzels against the sieve to extract as much milk as possible. Throw the soggy pretzels away. Slowly add 1/2 cup of warm milk to the peanut butter at a time, whisking viciously, until all of the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Churn it up in your ice cream maker until thick enough to hold its shape when scooped.
- When finished churning, scoop the ice cream with a 1 1/2 Tbs scoop. Place the scoops on a parchment-lined sheet. Gently press a mini pretzel into the top of each scoop, covering about 1/3 of the pretzel. Put the sheet in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the scoops are frozen solid. **Freeze an extra parchment-lined baking sheet for later.**
- When you are ready to dip the truffles, place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a small stainless steel bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch and a half of water. Place over medium heat. Put the bowl of chocolate over the heated water, whisking until everything is melted and smooth.
- Set up your work station. From left to right you should have: the sheet of frozen truffles, the bowl of melted chocolate next to that, and the second frozen sheet next to that. Carefully peel the truffles from the parchment, quickly dip in chocolate, and place on the empty parchment lined sheet. **If at any point the ice cream starts to melt, or the chocolate stops adhering easily to the ice cream, STOP. Put the ice cream back in the freezer, put the chocolate back over the saucepan. Wait until the ice cream is cold and the chocolate is hot, and start over again.** Freeze the truffles for about 20 minutes, until the chocolate is well set. Peel the truffles carefully from the parchment. If they don’t pull cleanly away, they are not frozen enough. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 days. After that the pretzels will lose their crunch.