Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat: I’m a big ice cream fan. I come by it naturally. My grandfather is an ice cream fanatic, and I grew up enjoying homemade vanilla ice cream every 4th of July. (To me, that’s more American than apple pie.)
And while I won’t turn down much ice cream (I’ve even sampled red bean and green tea ice creams!), my favorites include lots of chocolate. Bonus points if peanut butter is involved.
It’s no surprise then, that moose tracks is one of my all-time favorite flavors. I mean, you’ve taken creamy vanilla ice cream and swirled it with fudge. And then peanut butter cups join the party. The only way to improve upon this combination is to serve it in a waffle cone.
That being said, this is the story of the ice cream that almost wasn’t. The vanilla bean custard smelled SO irresistible that I almost churned it as is, without adding the fudge swirl or the peanut butter cups. And that’s saying something.
Moose Tracks Ice Cream
For the ice cream:
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
6 egg yolks (freeze the whites for angel food cake!)
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (totally didn’t measure this…)
1 cup chopped peanut butter cups
For the fudge ripple:
1/4 cup sugar
8 teaspoons or 1/6 cup light corn syrup (I realize this is an odd measurement, but I halved the original recipe and had plenty of ripple left over. And since I don’t know anyone with a 1/6 cup measuring cup, I’m giving you the teaspoons. Or, you could make life easy on yourself and just fill your 1/3 cup measuring cup halfway full.)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To make the fudge ripple:
In a small saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the vanilla. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble. Let it boil for one minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool until needed, being sure that the fudge has cooled at least to room temperature before using.
To make the ice cream:
Stir the sugar, salt, milk and one cup of cream together in a medium saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean into the mixture and then drop in the pod. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or glass measuring cup, beat the egg yolks until they are smooth. Place the rest of the cream in another large bowl and set a fine mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.
Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until they are combined. Return the custard base to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir. When the mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, remove the pan from the stove. Pour the custard base through the mesh strainer and into the cream, being sure to add the vanilla bean back into the mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. Refrigerate mixture until thoroughly chilled.
Churn the vanilla ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions, being sure to remove the vanilla bean beforehand. When the ice cream is finished churning, stir in the chopped peanut butter cups.
Spread about 1/3 of the ice cream in the bottom of your freezer container. Drizzle about 1/3 of the fudge ripple on top of the ice cream, then top with another 1/3 of the ice cream, and then another layer of ripple, repeating until all of your ice cream is layered with fudge. (Don’t worry about stirring the ice cream to mix the fudge in; it swirls nicely when you scoop it out.) Freeze until firm.
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