What a surreal weekend.
Bryan and I had basically just stepped off the plane, back from a trip to Japan, when we started hearing about the crazy, unprecedented "monster" storm that was headed our way. We were advised to stock up on food, water, batteries, and first aid kits. People had learned (the hard way) during Hurricane Irene that it was possible to be out of power for days on end.
My refrigerator was empty, having been completely cleaned out in anticipation of my trip to Japan.
Bleary-eyed and jet-lagged, I jostled with the insane crowds at Trader Joe's on Sunday to pick at whatever was left in the store. For some odd reason, Bryan had to wait in almost equally long lines at Microcenter. Were people stocking up on computer games? Hard drives and motherboards?? OK, maybe flashlights and batteries.
Monday we hunkered down and stayed at home, bracing ourselves for the rain and heavy winds that would come. We spent the day on our computers, working. As the storm built in intensity, we stared out the window, in awe (and nervousness!), as we watched large trees sway around in the strong gusts of wind.
As the winds began dying down around 9PM, we tore our eyes away from the Weather Channel to enjoy a nice, relaxing dessert.
A sigh of relief. No loss of power. No floods in the basement.
To celebrate, we munched on homemade Hobnob ice cream sandwiches.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile, you may know that Grape Nut Ice Cream is one of my all time favorite flavors. It's virtually the only flavor I ever get at Toscanini's, and it was one of the few recipes I chose to feature in my final winning post for Project Food Blog.
I'm also a huge fan of Hobnobs, that British, oat-based biscuit that's oddly really, really addictive (yes, I even tried making my own once).
When Bryan brought me back tons of Hobnobs from a recent trip to Europe (so many that they started going stale), I decided that making ice cream was the perfect way to use up a chunk of my stash.
First step: Toast the Hobnobs
I learned this by accident, but toasted Hobnobs taste incredible, much better than normal untoasted Hobnobs. The slight caramelization of the sugars during the browning process gives the cookies a deeper, richer flavor, not to mention an incredible aroma while baking. Even though I was originally just trying to revive stale Hobnobs, they tasted so good I decided that I would always toast my Hobnobs from now on.
Crush up the Hobnobs and add them to your ice cream base right after taking it out of the machine. I would recommend completely pulverizing at least half of the Hobnob batch, and then crushing the other half into slightly larger chunks. There are many ways of doing this. I would recommend putting the cookies in a plastic Ziploc bag and just crushing the cookies with your hands.
Hobnob Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half and half
¾ cups sugar
4 egg yolks
¼ to ½ cups crushed Hobnobs (divided between finely crushed and coarsely crushed)
Additional Hobnob cookies for making sandwiches (optional)
Heat the half & half, heavy cream, and sugar in a pot on medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream mixture while continually stirring.
Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon (~8-10 minutes). Optionally filter the cooked liquid and allow to cool overnight in the refrigerator.
Toast Hobnobs in the toasted oven until lightly browned, around 4 minutes. Once cookies are cool, crush half of the cookies in a plastic bag until finely crushed. Break up slightly larger chunks by hand. Set aside.
Pour the cream mixture into the ice cream maker and make ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is "done," pour toasted Hobnobs into the mixture and stir by hand until incorporated. Freeze finished product for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Optionally make sandwiches by putting a scope of ice cream between two Hobnob cookies.
Note: you can store the sandwiches by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap.
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