Ice cream. S’mores. Peanut butter. Does it get any more American than that?! I don’t think so. Today’s recipe is the absolute perfect thing to serve this weekend to celebrate July 4th.
Granted, Dan and I are hosting a huge July 4th bash with over 50 people coming to our house, so I won’t be making this for that many people…but if it was a smaller shindig, I totally would. Ice cream for 50+ would be a bit intense. I’ll be dreaming about this ice cream, though. It is absolute decadence at its best.
Toasted marshmallow ice cream is the base, and while it is certainly delicious enough on its own, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and added all the fixins for s’mores. When I decided that s’mores ice cream wasn’t quite over the top enough, I swirled in some of that peanut butter caramel I shared a couple weeks ago. The result = OMG.
Super creamy, super sweet marshmallow ice cream (with the perfect amount of smoky, toasty flavor), shavings of chocolate, graham cracker chunks, and salty-sweet peanut butter caramel. I mean, really. I have outdone myself this time.
S’mores are one of my most nostalgic foods. They are the epitome of childhood summers, and they evoke memories of family camping trips and vacations to the Outerbanks. There is nothing more summery than a s’more. They are the all-American dessert, in my opinion.
While I grew up eating the classic combo of chocolate and toasted marshmallow sandwiched between graham crackers, as an adult, I swapped the milk chocolate for dark or other more devious and exciting treats, like peanut butter cups or Snickers or peppermint patties. So good. Tell me you’ve tried them! If not, you are seriously missing out and should probably remedy that immediately. No, I mean it. Go buy ingredients for s’mores and some peanut butter cups/candy bars. Now.
I’ve also found ways to incorporate s’mores into other decadent treats, like this quick bread and this raspberry s’mores truffle tart. Both of those should be on your to-make list. Along with the gluttonous candy s’mores. Topping the list of must makes, though, should be this ice cream.
The peanut butter cup s’more was the inspiration for the ice cream. I think I love it so much because of the whole salty-sweet thing. The peanut butter, while totally rich on its own, cuts some of the overt sweetness of a traditional s’more. It is a to-die-for combo. As I’ve mentioned before, the chocolate-peanut butter combo is my husband’s culinary Achilles heel. He cannot get enough. I am always testing out new chocolate-peanut butter dessert recipes in his honor. He doesn’t seem to mind.
This ice cream was certainly no exception. We both loved this concoction and agreed that we would have to make it again soon. Perhaps it will make another appearance in our kitchen when we are in need of some post-July-4th-party decompression.
Yeah, I’m thinking I’ll make that happen.
For the Ice Cream Base:
- 1 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract)
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of fine salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 10-oz bag of large marshmallows
- 1 tablespoon vodka or light rum
For the Caramel:
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1–2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup peanut butter caramel
- ½ cup finely crushed graham crackers
- ½ cup dark chocolate shavings (I use a veggie peeler to shave curls off a chocolate bar)
For the Ice Cream Base:
- Halve the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a saucepot. Add the cream, milk, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
- Beat the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot and place over low heat.
- Cook the custard, stirring constantly, until thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon).
- Meanwhile, toast the marshmallows: line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and spread the marshmallows out in an even layer. Place an oven rack as close to the broiler as you can and then turn the broiler on. Toast the marshmallows under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully the ENTIRE time. You want them golden and toasted, NOT burnt to a crisp. Remove from the broiler and allow to cool. Once slightly cool, place most (⅔) of the toasted marshmallows into a large bowl. Reserve the remaining marshmallows for mixing in later.
- Strain the hot ice cream custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl with the marshmallows. Whisk the mixture until the marshmallows have dissolved into the custard. Whisk in the vodka, cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
- While the ice cream base is chilling, make your peanut butter caramel.
For the Caramel:
- See this post for instructions. Cool caramel to room temperature before adding it to the ice cream.
- Pour the chilled ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn until the custard is just starting to firm up like soft serve ice cream (for me, this was about 10 minutes. Different machines will have varying times). Add the remaining toasted marshmallows one by one to the custard while the machine is churning. Continue to churn the ice cream to your desired consistency.
- Transfer half of the ice cream to a container. Swirl in some of the peanut butter caramel, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate shavings. Top that with the remaining ice cream and repeat again with caramel, crumbs, and chocolate. Try not to overmix everything; you want there to be swirls of caramel and chunks of graham and chocolate.
- Cover the container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
- When you are ready to serve, allow the ice cream to soften for about 5 minutes before scooping. Serve in bowls or cones.