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The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

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Ice Cream

john barry

So we've been making a ton of ice cream around here this summer. Way too much. I currently have five flavors in my freezer. Five. Somehow there's not that much left in any of the (five) containers as our consumption rates have been similarly excessive. I have a bunch of 'reasons' for this:

  1. I’m on maternity leave (huh? I know, I’m reaching but I usually don’t have this kind of time);
  2. the heat (though it hasn’t been so hot lately);
  3. we don't have to go out for ice cream (but we still do);
  4. it's fun for the kids (though they aren’t always home when I make it).

Ok. Let's call a spade a spade.

I LOVE ice cream. I can never get enough and I don't really discriminate when it comes to flavors. I like them all. Once I put the bowl of the ice cream machine in the freezer, it's summer home, I can't control what happens next.

As you can see, this is not the ice cream that's the subject of this post. This is the ice cream that I am eating while making more ice cream. Shameless. 

As you can see, this is not the ice cream that's the subject of this post. This is the ice cream that I am eating while making more ice cream. Shameless. 

When I saw Clodagh McKenna's recipe for brown bread ice cream, ice cream with little bits of caramelized brown bread in it, I had to try it. Now I want to get one of those bicycles with the coolers in the front and sell my ice cream at all of the summer festivals. Wouldn't that be fun(ny)? Maybe I could pedal off all of the extra calories.

This idea is genius. Make breadcrumbs out of stale bread. Coat them in butter and brown sugar and toast them in the oven. Flavor your custard style ice cream base with the caramelized crumbs. And save a few to use as a topping. The Bailey's (or any alcohol) helps to keep the ice cream from freezing too hard in the freezer but you can leave it out and just set the tub on the counter for a few minutes before scooping. Leave it in if you feel like you need an excuse not to share with your kids.

Brown Bread Ice Cream

For the Vanilla Custard Base

I use a vanilla custard base recipe that I have adapted to fit perfectly into the little ice cream machine I bought when I lived in Japan. You can use this recipe and instructions on the process of making the custard base. To that, I add Bailey's and the caramelized brown bread crumbs, making some extra crumbs to top the ice cream with.

1 batch of custard base (see above)

1-2 tablespoons Bailey's

For the Caramelized Brown Bread Crumbs

3 slices stale brown bread, toasted

2 tablespoons salted Irish butter

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar, loosely packed

To make the bread crumbs, toast the bread and break it up with your hands into small pieces or place bread in a ziptop plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until coarsely ground.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt butter and mix with breadcrumbs until somewhat evenly coated.

I just tore the bread into small pieces with my hands. The texture is just a matter of personal preference.

I just tore the bread into small pieces with my hands. The texture is just a matter of personal preference.

In a bowl, mix the buttered breadcrumbs with brown sugar. Sprinkle the buttered, sugared bread crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spreading them out evenly.  Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  The sugar should be melted and the crumbs should be crispy and browned. Remove from the oven, let cool and store (you can make these up to a few days ahead) until you are ready to churn the ice cream.

Look! It's like brown bread granola. Exciting.

Look! It's like brown bread granola. Exciting.

Definitely store these somewhere out of the way while you wait for your custard to chill.  I put them on a high shelf in the kitchen along with my other - less tempting - dry goods to prevent these little nuggets from getting consumed before churn-time.

Definitely store these somewhere out of the way while you wait for your custard to chill.  I put them on a high shelf in the kitchen along with my other - less tempting - dry goods to prevent these little nuggets from getting consumed before churn-time.

Once your custard base has chilled, add 2 tablespoons of Bailey’s to the base and churn in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember to place your ice cream container in the freezer ahead of time to pre-chill it. This helps minimize melting when you transfer your churned ice cream to the freezer.  A couple of minutes before the ice cream is fully churned, pour two thirds to three quarters of your brown bread crumbs into the machine and allow them to be dispersed throughout the ice cream. Reserve the rest to use as a topping.

This is how my ice cream looks when it's ready to take out of the machine. My machine starts making this loud clicking noise when it's finished. I have no idea whether or not that's typical ice cream machine behavior or not. Now I'm talking about my ice cream machine like it's my fourth child. Yikes. 

This is how my ice cream looks when it's ready to take out of the machine. My machine starts making this loud clicking noise when it's finished. I have no idea whether or not that's typical ice cream machine behavior or not. Now I'm talking about my ice cream machine like it's my fourth child. Yikes. 

After the machine is done churning, remove ice cream and place in the freezer in your pre-chilled container to freeze more thoroughly. This usually takes at least a couple of hours though I also love the soft serve consistency of ice cream straight from the machine (I don’t discriminate when it comes to texture either). Scoop, top with more caramelized brown bread crumbs and enjoy!

Off to the freezer to firm up. 

Off to the freezer to firm up. 

We liked the contrast between the brown bread crumbs that were churned and frozen into the ice cream which were kind of chewy and the ones we sprinkled on top that were crunchy. 

We liked the contrast between the brown bread crumbs that were churned and frozen into the ice cream which were kind of chewy and the ones we sprinkled on top that were crunchy. 

Dinner on the driveway. 

Dinner on the driveway.