I’ve never been very enthralled with ice cream. Never really got the hype. Never felt the need to drench my pies with frozen cream that would instantaneously melt. Never went gaga over build your own sundae bars. Never understood why, when every single woman on every single TV show was heartbroken they would immediately reach for the Ben & Jerry’s.
I just didn’t get it. It was fine, good even, as long as it was a right, place right time kind of occasion; take for example, a blazing hot Kansas summer night. No, in my times of need, instead of ice cream, I’d reach for pizza, pasta or pretty much anything fried – ice cream never even crossed my mind. This rang true until my later college years, when my perspective took a 180 degree turn after I had my very first taste of gelato on my very first day studying abroad in Rome. Life changing.
I must have sampled 30 different varieties during my time there, each one better than the last. When I returned home, I managed to seek out just about every single gelato spot in the greater Kansas City area, all equally delicious, but all lacking that wow factor the gelato shops elicited in Italy. Can you imagine, that after all of my experience tasting different gelatos, I stumbled across my very favorite flavor, even above anything I had in Italy, at a local pizza chain – albeit, a gourmet pizza chain, but a pizza chain nonetheless.
Blueberry Butter Cookie.
I mean, just the name alone gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. This is the opposite of everything I dislike about certain ice creams. It’s light. It’s not overly sweet. And it’s definitely something I can eat my feelings away with.
Making this treasured jewel of mine has been on my mind for quite some time, but there’s something very intimidating about trying to replicate something you love so much. Would I ruin myself from it forever? Would I perfect it, and then get sick of it, never to have it again?
Have I told you I have a tendency to overanalyze?
A blueberry sale at my market pushed all my fears aside – plus who can resist 3 pints of blueberries for $2.99 – not I.
I started with the blueberries, I knew I wanted the gelato to have that beautifully purple color, and blueberry essence, but not necessarily have an actual giant blueberry in each bite, so I cooked the blueberries down in a little bit of water and sugar until they were almost liquid and the berries were in pieces. I then added in the whole milk and heavy cream and brought everything up to temperature.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky, and where most ice creams fail. In a separate bowl you need to whisk the rest of your sugar with the egg yolks, and then slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture to the eggs. You then pour the egg mixture back into the milk and blueberries, turn the heat down to a low temperature and stir until the mixture thickens. I always like to err on the side of caution, so make sure to keep your heat pretty low, you’d rather it take longer to thicken, than bring the heat up too high and curdle your eggs, which I unfortunately did. Trust me, patience is key here, otherwise you’ll be like me and have to make a separate trip to the grocery store for more berries and milk, where your patience will be tested yet again when the cashier takes a million years to check out the guy in front of you who is in the fast lane, but has a hundred things, and you forgot that the exit to the parking lot was closed due to construction, and you’ll have to go five minutes out of your way to get around it, and you will be mad. Patience!
Anyways, the point is, don’t curdle your eggs! After the mixture thickens, it cooled and stored in the fridge overnight. Once you’re ready to make the ice cream, get your base out from the freezer, pour it in and watch the magic happen!! When the gelato is almost done, throw in some crushed butter cookies, and then transfer everything to an airtight container and store in the freezer until you serve it.
I was seriously shocked at how identical this tasted to the original, better even, if I do say so myself. I had to leave the leftovers at my parents house so I wouldn’t be eating it 24/7 – it’s that good.
- 2 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons water
- ¾ cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 cup roughly chopped shortbread cookies
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place your ice cream base in the freezer the day before you want to make your ice cream.
- In a medium saucepan, add blueberries, ¼ cup sugar and water together. Turn the heat on a medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about seven minutes until the berries are bursting. Using the back of a spoon, smash most of the berries.
- Add milk and heavy cream to blueberry mixture, whisk until combined and reduce the heat to a medium-low.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining sugar until pale yellow in color, about two minutes.
- Slowly whisk in about 11/2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to bring them up to temperature. Whisk the warm egg mixture back into the milk and blueberries.
- Using a wooden spoon, constantly stir custard mixture until it thickens, about five minutes. MAKE SURE THE MIXTURE DOES NOT BOIL. If the temperature gets too high, the eggs will curdle. The custard is finished cooking when it coats the back of a spoon and does not drip when you draw your finger across.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool for about 30 minutes.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the custard and store in the fridge overnight.
- When ready to make the ice cream, pull the base out of the freezer and pour mixture in, follow directions for your particular ice cream maker.
- In the last few minutes of the freezing process, add in shortbread cookies.
- Transfer to airtight container and store in freezer until needed.
- Preheat waffle maker. Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until pale yellow, about two minutes. Add to flour along with milk and melted butter.
- Add ¼ of the batter into waffle maker, using a spoon spread the batter evenly on the bottom. Cook for 5 minutes on one side and then flip and cook another 1- 1 ½ minutes on the other side until golden brown.
- Immediately invert the waffle onto a small cup (about 3 inches wide) to form a cup. Let cool completely before removing.
Waffle Cone Recipe barely adapted from William’s Sonoma