Or is it Cookies & Cream? Cookies 'n Creme? Cookies 'n Cream? I don't think I ever figured that one out--and neither has anyone else, judging by the variety of ways I've seen those words in print. We might not be able to agree on a single spelling, but there's no denying that this is one of America's top favorite ice cream flavors. I can't think of any ice cream lover I know that would turn down a bowl of this! Don't be fooled by the meager ingredients list, though. Sweetened condensed milk fills in nicely for sugar and milk, streamlining the process while adding a uniquely delicious but difficult to identify flavor. Keeping this egg-free (Philadelphia style) preserves both the color and the pure, sweet creaminess of the ice cream base, while the touch of vanilla rounds out the flavor.
My method of incorporating the cookies might seem like extra work, but I have my reasons:
- I have THIS 2-quart ice cream maker. By the end of the freezing cycle the ice cream was practically jumping out of the top opening. No way was there room for adding cookies without making a supreme mess.
- The manufacturer or my ice cream maker recommends adding 'chunkies' no larger than the size of a chocolate chip. Cookie pieces = definitely larger than chocolate chip.
- Folding in the roughly chopped (I quartered each one) cookies instead of letting the dasher mix in the pieces keeps the ice cream more pristinely white.
Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream (Yield: about 2 quarts)
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups half-and-half (or 2 cups each heavy cream and 2% milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
18 chocolate sandwich cookies, roughly chopped (a heaping 2 cups)
Place sweetened condensed milk in large bowl with a spout. Gradually blend in half-and-half. Stir in vanilla. Place mixture in refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, place a large mixing bowl in the freezer. When ice cream has finished churning, remove ice cream from machine and place into chilled mixing bowl. Fold in chopped cookie pieces, then place ice cream into containers to continue freezing.
As a matter of personal taste, I prefer to let this ice cream sit in the freezer for a few days before serving it. Over time, the cookie pieces absorb some of the moisture from the ice cream, leaving them soft and cake-like rather than crunchy.