With the blog’s second birthday just around the corner (I know, can you believe it?!), I’ve been taking some time to pause and reflect about all the great (and not-so-great) times we’ve shared in the past two years.
Old jobs, new jobs, grad school, wedding planning, wedding execution, loss of loved ones. You know my hopes, my fears, my pet peeves, and my darkest secrets; not to mention a whole list of other deeply personal thoughts that I’d never dare speak of in person but will freely broadcast to a blogosphere full of internet friends and strangers alike.
We’ve been through a lot together, you guys.
Which is why, after all we’ve been through, I feel it’s high time that I properly introduce you to the love of my life.
No, I’m not talking about my husband (although he’s pretty awesome. Hi honey!).
I’m talking about the real love of my life. A love that has been with me through twenty-some years of existence; a love that will no doubt endure for all of eternity.
His name is Breakfast.
More specifically, Pancake Breakfast.
I don’t quite remember when I first met Pancakes, because like most great loves, I have this overwhelming feeling that he’s just always been there. From the moment that I had my first Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake as a toddler, to discovering how to make them myself in college (and eating them everyday for two weeks and subsequently gaining ten pounds), until now, I’ve just always loved pancakes, and it’s a love that only deepens with age.
Truthfully, I’m not sure if I’ve ever loved anything as much as I love pancakes.
I’m only kidding, of course.
Well, sort of.
My passion for pancakes is such that it’s actually caused palpable tension in my marriage. Sometimes my ride-or-die attitude towards pancakes and breakfast in general can be emotionally overwhelming for the both of us. Me, the girl who hates to talk about her feelings, and my husband, a man who has lived his life with blatant disregard for breakfast, often grabbing something on-the-go or skipping breakfast altogether (I shudder at the thought).
You know what they say: opposites attract, but sometimes it can be a recipe for disaster.
When I think about it, the only time we ever really get into disagreements is during that small, yet fragile, breakfast window on weekends between 8 am and 10 am.
(I don’t know if this is a good sign, or ridiculous, or a little bit of both).
The worst fight we’ve ever had was one unfortunate Sunday morning when hubby decided he needed to get his oil changed before breakfast (the HORROR), effectively delaying our breakfast outing by at least forty five minutes. By the time we got to our favorite breakfast joint, the line was out the door, and as you’ve probably gathered by now, I DO NOT WAIT FOR BREAKFAST.
I can only describe what happened next as a Jekyll/Hyde like transformation. I went from my usual anxiously optimistic, pre-breakfast Lindsay, to an emotionally disturbed, passive aggressive terror within a matter of minutes.
I think I literally said, through a face full of tears, “Well I just feel like you aren’t taking breakfast seriously enough.”
I love pancakes so much.
I love them to the extent that I even wear small, scented, plastic replicas of pancakes on my person at all times:
I love pancakes so much that I get visibly upset thinking about any extenuating circumstances in which I would be unable to eat them.
For example, What if I lose the ability to taste? Or, the world runs out of maple syrup? What if the zombie apocalypse actually happens, and access to fresh dairy is limited? (…in case you were wondering what I think about while watching the Walking Dead, now you know).
A world without pancakes?
You guys, I just…I can’t.
Since the last few blog posts have been a little intense, I wanted to give myself a break this week. I thought, what do I love? What’s going to make me the happiest?
(I hope the answer is obvious by now).
I have Lazy Blogger Syndrome this week and I didn’t feel like fussing with eggs, so I reverted back to the Jeni’s method, which uses a base of cornstarch, milk, cream, corn syrup, and cream cheese, among other things. I used a variation of this base last year for my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble ice cream, and it was one of the best I’ve ever made. And it’s so much easier and quicker than the custard method, to boot! I’m a little weirded out that it adds corn syrup to the mix, because you know the media is all YOU’RE GOING TO DIE FROM ALL THE CORN AND SYRUP AND CORN SYRUPS but the texture of this is ON POINT, you guys. Not to mention, this method is a money saver because you don’t blow through 5 or 6 eggs at a time.
Not to sound cocky, but I think I nailed it (however, it’s kinda hard to mix butter, sugar, maple syrup, buttermilk, and chocolate and NOT have it work out). Still, this has got to be one of my favorites that I’ve ever made.
I wanted to emulate the flavor/texture of melted chocolate chips, so rather than just use normal chips (don’t worry, those make an appearance too), I used a two month old batch of hot fudge that I found in the back of our fridge.
Disclaimer: this is not adviseable, as most homemade sauces have a shelf life of maybe two weeks. Of course, you should always strive to use fresh ingredients, but just sayin’ – there’s ways to cut corners here, folks. I call them Pancake Tradeoffs. Sometimes, you just have to make sacrifices to get what you want.
With the fudge and chips added in, the ice cream was approaching awesome. But still, it was missing a little something.
Duh – it was missing actual pancakes!
Because I’m a lazy blogger, I didn’t want to go to the trouble of making an entire batch of pancakes, nor did I want to do the necessary math to divide my favorite recipe into one eighth. Then, miraculously, I found this nifty recipe for ONE pancake (really, the only time I can ever imagine needing ONE pancake) and thought, why not? So I fried it up in a bunch o’ butter, let it cool, pulsed it up in the blender and voila – pancake swirl. Be warned: the pancake freezes pretty hard, but it’s worth it because you can still taste the crispy brown edges. It’s heavenly.
I hope this ice cream makes you as happy as it does me. I also hope that after reading this you don’t think I’m a complete sociopath. But, I suppose we all get a little crazy when true love is on the line 🙂
How much do you love pancakes?
Happy scooping! Have a great week! 🙂
Chocolate Chip Pancake Ice Cream
Base adapted from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Hot Fudge, for swirling
¼ cup chocolate chips
1 or 2 pancakes, cooled and chopped into bits
- In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
- Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth or almost smooth (some lumps and bumps are just fine).
- Fill a large bowl with ice water (lots of ice!!!). Set aside.
- In a 4 quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup, then bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 mins exactly! Side note: it is necessary that you use a 4 quart saucepan. I used something smaller, thinking I was being sneaky, and my milk mixture almost boiled over 😦
- This part starts to look like the “normal” ice cream process, except you use your cornstarch mixture instead of eggs: After 4 minutes, remove the milk mixture from heat and gradually mix into your cornstarch slurry mixture that you made in Step 1. Add back to the saucepan, and cook over medium high heat for about 1 minute, or until thickened and it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk the milk mixture into the cream cheese. Add the melted butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and buttermilk, and stir until smoothly. Lastly, I add in the kosher salt, to taste. I wanted this ice cream to be more savory, so I think in the end I added about 1 teaspoon or so. I like my pancakes with lots of salted butter, and by adding extra salt to the ice cream, I was able to replicate this flavor. But, if you’re not a complacent saltaholic like me, you might want to start out with less and build your way up. Salt has a tendency to become more intense after the ice cream is frozen, so keep that in mind as well.
- Once all ingredients are incorporated, pour base into a gallon sized freezer bag and submerge into ice bath. Let stand until very cold, half an hour to thirty minutes.
- While mixture is cooling, make your pancake (I prefer buttermilk, but use your favorite! Let it cool, then chop into tiny bits or pulse in your blender.
- Once the ice cream is finished, add it to your storage container, swirling in layers of fudge, chocolate chips, and pancake crumbles. Store overnight, or until texture is hardened.