Have you ever had an idea that you thought could be good, then when you finally manifested it, it turned out to be shockingly better than you ever thought? Have you ever been so taken off guard by the deliciousness of something you prepared that all you can do is keep tasting it, wondering how you hadn’t found or heard of it before, as if it should’ve been something you knew you loved all along? When was the last time you cleaned your ice cream equipment with your face instead of your dishwasher (but please, never your freezer bowl!)?
As you ponder these questions, we suggest that you prepare your ice cream maker and go out and get yourself some liquid smoke, because this recipe is too easy and too delicious to sit on your screen and be stared at. This bold, savory, satisfying ice cream demands to be made, to be devoured.
The inspiration for this came from a simple fact: smoke bonds to fat. While that usually is expressed through savory fats, there’s almost always that little wiggle room for a crossover, and that wiggle room is where we live; it’s our neighborhood. Peanuts are roasted anyway, so the rationalization of enhancing the smoke flavor didn’t seem too far-fetched. But then showcasing that in ice cream? Well, we’re just crazy enough to try a stunt like that, and boy, did it pay off.
Play in your kitchen. Trust your instincts. You won’t win every time, but when you do—oh, when you do—you get something like this.
Smoked Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream:
- 1 cup salted natural creamy peanut butter (look for one that tastes less sweet, like Trader Joe’s)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ teaspoon of liquid smoke
- ½ cup jam
- Note: the type of the jam is up to you on this one; just imagine what kind of flavor you’d love to have on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and that’s probably the flavor you should go with. We used a homemade raspberry jam and it was a religious experience, so…
In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients except the jam, add the peanut butter, sugar, and salt, then whisk together until completely incorporated. Add the milk and whisk together until the sugar has completely dissolved; you shouldn’t hear any scratching noises coming from the bottom of the bowl. Proceed to add the cream and the liquid smoke, then mix together until just incorporated. You don’t want to mix the cream anymore than you need to.
Pour the mixture into your ice cream churner that has been prepared according to your models instructions and churn. If you’re using a frozen bowl, like ours, you’ll want to churn it for around 25 minutes, checking frequently after the 22 minute mark to make sure that it’s not over-churning. (Beware over-churning because you don’t want to make frozen butter!)
When the ice cream resembles thick soft serve, turn off the ice cream maker and dump it into a large container for freezing. Ladle in spoon-fulls of the homemade ice cream into the container while ribboning your jam of choice over the top of it in layers. Be sure to do this process as quickly as you can so that your just churned ice cream doesn’t melt. Spread the jam out in a fashion that it would create a balance scoop as consistently as possible; not too much and not too little anywhere, and be sure to put a little bit of jam on top to make a good first scoop when it’s finally ready! After it’s all in the container, cover the ice cream in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by the lid, then pop it in the freezer for at least 4 hours, although overnight seems to work best when we make ice cream.
Yields about 1.5 quarts.