Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mother Power’s Congo Bar Ice Cream


I know what you’re thinking – who is this Mother Power, what is a congo bar, and how do these two things translate into ice cream? Well, I’ll tell you. Each holiday season we’re sent a box (and I mean a BOX) of home-made baked goods by my mother-in-law, whose last name is Power (yeah, I know you’re baffled by my decision to keep my last name). Within this refrigerator-box full of goodies is an assortment of sweets that usually changes from year-to-year, but the mainstay is always the disgustingly sweet and obscenely delicious block of congo bars. You’d think they were made of lead because they weigh so much, but in reality they are a baked concoction of graham cracker crumbs, semi-sweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, and shredded coconut, layered and then drenched in a can of sweetened condensed milk. The first time I had one I nearly fell to my knees, which is why I make them each year for various holiday parties (watching people fall is funny). That, and they’re always the talk of the party even though it didn’t take me hours to make them and the ingredients aren’t exotic – they’re just a combination of flavors you wouldn’t think to put together until you’ve tried them. They’re salty, they’re sweet, and holy mother of Buddha they’re delicious!

But, enough about the congo bars. Now that you know what they are, I can tell you about my recent obsession with my new Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment and how I quickly nosedove from making “healthy” ice cream by creating the recipe I’ll be sharing with you now: Mother Power’s Congo Bar Ice Cream!

INGREDIENTS
1C Coconut milk
1C Heavy whipping cream
1C Half-and-half
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2/3C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3C Butterscotch chips
1C shredded coconut (I used unsweetened, but you can used sweetened)
12 Graham crackers, crushed
*For the purpose of this recipe, I’ll be explaining how to make it with the Kitchenaid ice cream maker attachment.

QUICK & DIRTY
Combine the liquid ingredients in a bowl and chill for at least 1 hour.

Toss the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and shredded coconut in a separate bowl and place that mix in the refrigerator as well.

Crush the graham crackers with your hands in a plastic bag till the pieces are no larger than a nickel each, but not smaller than the head a pencil eraser. Throw the bag in the fridge too.

Once chilled for an hour, remove prefrozen Kitchenaid ice cream bowl from the freezer, and set up mixer per the instructions (attach bowl, place mixing paddle in bowl, attach paddle attachment to mixer, place mixer head in its down and locked position, and join paddle to paddle attachment). Turn the mixer on “stir” and slowly pour in liquid mixture. Allow mixer to mix ice cream for no less than 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, the mixture will have doubled in size and be the consistency of softy serve. With the mixer still on “Stir”, slowly add in the chip and coconut mixture, followed by the crushed graham crackers. Allow mixer to continue to stir for about 2 minutes more.

Remove ice cream from the bowl, and place in a tightly sealing container. Place container in the freezer and allow ice cream to set for an additional 2 hours, transforming the soft-serve into motherfucking ice cream.

Eat!

ROOKIE COOKIES
Ice cream is incredibly easy to make as long as you follow the golden rule of ice cream making: chill. Seriously, the ice cream mixing bowl must have been in the freezer for at least 15 hours, if not overnight, and your ingredients must be cold as well, or you’ll end up with soupy soft serve that I can’t vouch for! That having been said…

Combine the liquid ingredients in a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Put the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and shredded coconut in a separate bowl and mix them well with a spoon. Place this bowl of mix in the refrigerator as well.

Place the graham crackers in a plastic bag (a sandwich bag), and break them into pieces with your hands (as if you’re putting crackers into soup). Break the crackers until the pieces are no larger than a nickel each, but not smaller than the head a pencil eraser. You want to keep them this size, so they don’t get utterly pulverized when added to the ice cream – you want to taste them in the ice cream! Throw this bag in the fridge too.

Once ingredients are chilled for an hour, remove the prefrozen Kitchenaid ice cream bowl from the freezer, and set up mixer per the instructions (attach bowl, place mixing paddle in bowl, attach paddle attachment to mixer, place mixer head in its down and locked position, and join paddle to paddle attachment). Turn the mixer on “stir” and slowly pour in liquid mixture. This is important!!! Do not add ANYTHING to the bowl until the mixer is turned on and the paddle is moving. If you don’t follow these instructions, the milk mixture will freeze on contact, and you may break the paddle when turning the mixer on. So, turn the mixer on FIRST, then add the milk mixture. Allow mixer to “Stir” ice cream for no less than 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, the mixture will have doubled in size and be the consistency of softy serve. With the mixer still on “Stir”, slowly add in the chip and coconut mixture, followed by the crushed graham crackers. Allow mixer to continue to stir for about 2 minutes more.

Remove ice cream from the bowl, and place in a tightly sealing container – I like to reuse the large Chobani Greek Yogurt containers (they seem to work well for ice cream). Place container in the freezer and allow ice cream to set for an additional 2 hours, transforming the soft-serve into motherfucking ice cream.

Eat!


TIPS & TRICKS
I remember my parents having made ice cream when I was a kid in one of those gigantic old R2-D2-looking ice cream makers that required half a quarry of salt and two full years to make the ice cream. I mean, ice cream IS my favorite food, but what a drag! Thanks to the good people at Kitchenaid, if you store your freezer bowl in the freezer you can be enjoying finished ice cream in less than 4 hours (or less than an hour and a half if you don’t mind the soft-serve consistency).

This is my second attempt at crafting ice cream. My first was fresh strawberry ice cream that I made this past weekend. While the recipe above yields creamy ice cream, the strawberry I made was drier (less creamy, more crumbly), so I can only assume the water content in the strawberries was the variable that made it more dry. If I had to do the strawberry again, I’d use a higher percentage of heavy cream, and I’d wait to add the strawberries until half-way through (instead of in the beginning).


Like making any other type of food, it takes time and practice to get ice cream just the way you want it. I’ll be practicing patience as I continue to try to make an assortment of other ice creams, sorbets, and ice cream bombs (headed to eBay after posting this to look up ice cream bomb molds!). My advice regarding your ice cream making adventures? Chill (pun intended), don’t stress over the new cooking rules associated with making ice cream (the first time I was in a big hurry to get the shit in the bowl), and have fun!  I’m sure you’ll be seeing more ice cream recipes posted here in the future…

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