I got caught up in a little bit of a traffic jam for about 45 minutes yesterday. Some of you might laugh and say that’s a cake walk…but around here, that is really an unusual phenomenon. It was right after the airshow at the Niagara Falls Airbase. I should have known better, because Katie and I got stuck in traffic on Saturday at the same time, and with that fresh on my mind, I had taken a different route to go grocery shopping.
I definitely chose the wrong route.
It was hot and humid, and naturally the air conditioning in my car was acting up…so I’m sitting there with a ton of cars all surrounding me… with my window rolled down… and panic starting to set in because you know how claustrophobic I am..
There were about six troopers standing at the signal light directing traffic. It’s a six corner intersection, and they would let one road go through. Then they’d let the next road go through..etc. After the last road went through, I anticipated them flagging my road through.
Wait… They skipped my road!
They’re letting the first road go through again!
Okay, my brain has decided that my lungs aren’t getting enough air.
I unhooked my seatbelt, and sat there as they let all five roads go over and over again…wondering why on earth they weren’t letting my road go… contemplating getting out of my car and sitting in an open grassy area on the side of the road, where I wouldn’t feel so restricted… I felt a strong need to free my lungs of their imaginary burden… And I wished that I would have given in and bought those Fudgsicles at my beloved Wegmans, because I could have used something cold at that point. It was so hot in the car..
The worst part of it all… I could see my office building from where I sat, and I knew that if I could just somehow move the two lanes of cars that were to the left of me out of the way, I could get to my office and sit in the air conditioning for an hour while the traffic cleared up. But I wasn’t sure how the troopers would feel if I started directing traffic from those two lanes. Probably not a good idea..
My lungs just couldn’t get enough air in them…
Panic was knocking on my door…
I think it was about the fifth go round of watching the other roads go through when I noticed him… the guy in the car ahead of me. For the sake of this story…let’s call him Sean Penn…because he looked exactly like a young Sean Penn…
Sean Penn was in a very agitated state.
Every time the troopers skipped over us, Sean Penn would stick his head out the window, shouting obscenities, waving his arm out the window, and banging his fist on the outside of the door….
Sean Penn now had my total attention.
And I started thinking…
Is he late for a meeting?
Is he late for a party?
Does he have to go to the bathroom?
If he had an emergency, I’m sure he would have gone up to the troopers to let them know, right?
Maybe he’s just an impatient and irritable guy… My money is on that.
Funny… it got to the point in which I was hoping that the troopers would skip over us each go round, because I was so enjoying Sean Penn’s temper tantrum. Or was I subconsciously enjoying his misery to protect myself from my own distress? Quite possibly.
I was fascinated by Sean Penn.
I was a touch annoyed by him, because I thought he was a total jerk.
I was a touch worried that he was going to totally lose it and go ape shit on everyone around him.
Sean Penn unwittingly, unknowingly, and involuntarily made me forget my panic. I was breathing just fine as I watched him in his volatile, unstable, explosive condition… and I have to say, for a fleeting moment… I was a little disappointed when the troopers finally noticed our side of the road, and let us go through.
I made it home, my personal self in a sorry state of “melt” from the heat and humidity…and exhausted. But not exhausted enough to make some peanut butter swirl dark chocolate ice cream… just what I needed after the very hot interlude in traffic..
The dark chocolate has a hint of bitter-sweet, which is quickly offset by the sweetness of the peanut butter. My favorite part is the peanut butter swirl, when frozen, it takes on an almost crunchy caramel texture, and I love how it combines with the creaminess of the ice cream.
Of course, peanut butter and chocolate were made for each other, and this ice cream just proves their undying commitment to each other…which… I truly believe was a match made in heaven’s kitchen.
One of my favorite things to make, is ice cream… I mean, it takes a little bit of time, especially because you have to let the custard chill for hours before you can throw it in the ice cream maker. You could easily make this a no-churn, simply by throwing the custard into a parchment lined pan, and adding little blobs of the peanut butter throughout, and then freeze it. But, I tend to like the whipped texture that churning the custard gives to the ice cream.
Either way, it’s absolutely delicious…It is definitely well worth the time if you decide to churn!
Life is good. It’s a “Even though I wouldn’t be your friend in real life because of your pestiferous character, Sean Penn Look-Alike, I do thank you for the public display of temper. It was quite enjoyable of the annoying kind…” kind of good.
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup special dark cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl, set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the whole milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, and whisk until blended.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to lightly simmer (bubble around the edge of the pan).
- Take about a cup of the heated milk mixture, and quickly whisk it into the eggs (tempering them, to ensure that the eggs don’t start to scramble when you pour them into the hot pan of milk), and pour the tempered eggs back into the pan of heated milk mixture, whisking as you pour.
- Continue to cook on medium heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens, and evenly coats the back of the spoon. This takes about 10 minutes. You will know that it’s ready when the custard on the back of the spoon will hold a line after you run your finger down the middle.
- Pour the thickened custard through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and heavy cream until fully combined.
- Place the bowl of custard into the refrigerator to cool. Chill completely…about three to four hours.
- After the custard has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and add to the bowl of the ice cream maker. Churn, according to the directions of the manufacturer.
- While the ice cream is churning, prepare the peanut butter swirl:
- In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, heavy cream, honey, and salt. Mix with a hand mixer until all ingredients are combined and creamy. Set aside.
- When finished churning, spoon the ice cream into a parchment lined 9 x 13” pan. Add spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture over the top of the ice cream, and draw a butter knife through the peanut butter, swirling it throughout the ice cream.
- Place in freezer once again, and let freeze until fully hardened. About five hours.
- Serve immediately, or transfer to a freezer container. Ice cream will last for about a week in a container designed for ice cream for up to a week.