Halloween Scoop: Better Than Snickers Ice Cream
In my previous Halloween-themed ice cream post, I discussed my need as a child to whisper incantations to keep Mom away from my Almond Joy. It was something of a rushed mention, as I had the vital matter of pumpkin and brownie ice cream to discuss, but there's still some time for a pre-holiday confession. Mom didn't just steal the Almond Joy. She stole the Snickers, too.
Okay, so the severity of that comes off flat in writing. But in my childhood mathematics, candy was greater than soda and new toys put together, and Snickers was the rightful king of the candy pile. So when Mom stole the Snickers, I didn't take it lightly.
But since she was a grown-up and didn't want to scarf down 12 Snickers bars in one sitting, she resorted to stashing. And bless her heart, she used the same three or four hiding places every time, and as I got home from school a good four to six hours earlier than her, I could usually reclaim my stolen loot with time to hide the wrappers in my own, more secret hiding places. Looking back on it, this must be how I developed my fondness for frozen candy bars. The freezer was a frequent stash spot, and I had no qualms emptying out its entire contents to get back what was rightfully mine. In my childhood mathematics, candy's greatness was only surpassed by stolen candy, which in turn became inferior only to frozen stolen candy.
If you're wondering, my mother was no feckless thief. She was really teaching me life lessons. Because now I know how to sneak candy from the candy bowl while keeping the fill line constant. And I know that you can't hide food at home, because no matter how clever you think you are, some sweets-crazy loved one or roommate will eventually discover your set of hiding places and you'll be ruined. So now I keep my candy at work, in a drawer marked "Contracts 1997," and it's never been safer. Thanks, Mom!
So. Right. Snickers bars.
I think it was the frozen Snickers's sharp melting point that appealed to me most. The first bite—always with the molars—was like cracking glass. But after a couple moments the chocolate, caramel, and nougat melted with sweet abandon, the peanuts providing a mild chew. It took longer and was more satisfying to eat than a room-temperature Snickers. It tasted like victory.
These days I'm too fond of fitting into my pants to let Snickers into my home, let alone in frozen form. But now seems like the time for a frozen Snickers revival, in ice cream form, one that tastes way better than those lame Snickers ice cream bars and, dare I say it, even better than a proper frozen Snickers bar.
The ice cream base is a simple one, peanut butter with a hefty enough dose of vanilla to simulate nougat. Use a no-stir peanut butter here; you want something plenty smooth that won't leave an oily residue on your tongue. I reach for Serious Eats peanut bureau chief Lee Zalben's no-stir peanut butter because it tastes like real peanuts, not peanut-flavored Crisco sugar (yeah, Jif and Skippy, bring it).
Dark chocolate and roasted peanuts are straightforward enough, but the caramel deserves some mention. It's designed to thread like glass on the first bite before melting into sauce on the tongue. Get those molars ready, but don't worry, it won't get stuck in your teeth. When making your caramel, cook it a couple seconds longer than you normally would—the smoky, slightly burnt flavor does wonders for the sweetness of the ice cream. Don't skimp on the salt, either.
If you're curious, I didn't have to worry about stashing this away from thieves. That ice cream you see in the photo was breakfast. The rest of the quart, I'm equally proud and ashamed to say, was lunch. The freezer never knew what hit it.