I’m a minimalist in the kitchen. Our house is from an era when rooms were separate and small, and, as such, the kitchen is tiny, but surprisingly functional. Though I love all the mid-century architectural details of our home — the charming cream-coloured tile window sills, the narrow hallways, the little hidden wine cellar beneath the basement staircase — the kitchen counter space is very limited. The last thing I wanted was for this precious work space to be clutter with appliances. I don’t own a stand mixer or even a coffee maker! A hand mixer and a French press are much easier to stow away in the cabinets. However, several years ago I bought an ice cream maker, and I still say that it’s the best kitchen appliance I have ever purchased. Sure, there are plenty of superb ice creams available at the grocery store, but there is something so extra special about making it at home. I can control the amount of sugar (so important when you have kids!) and the quality of ingredients — hormone-free cream, local organic strawberries. Of course, it tastes better than store-bought, too, and has the most velvety texture. When it comes to ice cream, I like to go all out. The more luxurious the better. Kitchen minimalist, ice cream maximalist. The best of both worlds!
Spéculoos are crunchy, caramelized brown sugar and cinnamon spice cookies from Belgium. They are traditionally served around Christmastime, but they remind me of traveling because here in the US they’re the little cookies we are often served on airlines. The most common name brand available here are Lotus Biscoff. This recipe uses Biscoff Cookie Butter, which I have always thought of as one of the most extravagant indulgences… I mean, crushed cookies blended with oil until they are smooth and spread-able and resemble the texture of peanut butter?! Perfect for baking into another cookie…or perhaps for spreading on, say, another cookie? But cookie butter is absolutely the very best way to make this ice cream. It thickens the ice cream base enough that you don’t need any eggs in the recipe. Not only does it dissolve easily & smoothly into the base, but when swirled into the finished ice cream, the cookie butter makes delicious, chewy ribbons running through each scoop. I like to serve this ice cream with a few Biscoff cookies on the side that can be crumbled on top.
Glace aux Spéculoos (Biscoff Ice Cream)
1 cup Biscoff Cookie Butter (divided)
1/2 cup fine sugar
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Biscoff cookies for garnish
Before you start, be sure that the insert of your ice cream maker is completely frozen according to the manufacturer’s directions. (I store mine in the freezer so that it’s always ready.)
In a medium bowl, whisk half a cup of the cookie butter with the sugar and the milk until smooth and the cookie butter and sugar are completely dissolved. Stir in the cream, vanilla and salt. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until very cold.
Pour the mixture into a conventional ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. For me this is 18 – 20 minutes.
Heat the remaining half cup of cookie butter in the microwave until it is melted and easy to pour, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1/3 of the ice cream to a freezer-safe bowl and smooth the top. Pour over half the melted cookie butter. Add another layer of ice cream followed by the remaining cookie butter. Top with a final layer of ice cream. Using a knife or the sharp end of a spatula, swirl the layers together a few times. Place the ice cream in the freezer until firm.