For as long as I can remember, my parents and grandmother have been sending me See's Candy peanut brittle. I have to admit, it's some of the best store-bought brittle I've ever had. No matter what holiday or birthday, I've always received a big box of it via mail, even in college. As there are no See's Candy stores on the east coast, these were always welcome care packages. Before long, the boxes started accumulating in our fridge, especially around the holidays when there's already plenty of candy and sweets to go around. We were getting more of it than we could possibly eat at one time. What to do with all that peanut brittle?
On Aaron's birthday, its become a tradition for me to make him a cake of his choosing, along with an ice cream to go with it. This year, he told me he wanted some sort of peanut buttery concoction (he and his sister are peanut butter addicts). He was having a dilemma, since he loves my homemade vanilla ice cream, but wanted a peanut butter type too! One day, much to my dismay, the boxes of brittle came crashing down in the kitchen. Aaron said it was time to say goodbye to our beloved brittle collection... in the form of ice cream! Of course, why hadn't I thought of it before! We soon discovered peanut brittle ice cream is like peanut brittle on crack. I absolutely loved it, but I knew it was really good when my "weight conscious" girl friends were asking for more. If I'm not mistaken, I think Aaron remembers the day with particular fondness, or at least his bowl of ice cream. A happy birthday indeed!
Now that we have discovered the perfect vessel for our plethora of See's brittle, I'm begging my parents to send more (hint, hint)! The brown butter base for this ice cream is tasty on its own, but the brittle takes it to a whole new level. Of course, you can make this ice cream anytime of the year, but I made it just the other night for dinner guests and I think it works nicely with a fall inspired meal.
PEANUT BRITTLE ICE CREAM:
Adapted from Janet Fletcher, Bon Appétit, January 2008
6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups homemade or good quality store-bought peanut brittle, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
Melt butter in small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until butter turns dark amber, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes being careful not to burn. Pour through fine strainer into small bowl and set aside.
Bring cream and milk to simmer in large saucepan. Whisk egg yolks, both sugars, and salt in large bowl until thick and well blended. Add brown butter; whisk to blend.
Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolk mixture to temper; return to same saucepan. Stir mixture over medium-low heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 178°F, about 5 minutes. Strain custard into large bowl. Set bowl over larger bowl of ice water. Stir until custard is cold. Stir in vanilla. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the custard, and another over the bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
Process custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a large bowl and stir in peanut brittle. Transfer ice cream to quart containers and freeze. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped peanut brittle before serving.
Yield: about 1½ quarts