As I have mentioned, I have spent a lot of time this spring and summer trying to go through different parts of my cabinets, refrigerator, etc, to use up some different ingredients. One thing I found while doing so was a half-eaten box of animal crackers. I started to think about how I might bake with them when I came across this recipe in the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts cookbook for Graham Cracker Ice Cream, with a variation listed for animal cracker ice cream. After a series of relatively adventurous ice creams, this seemed like a more standard ice cream to throw together and use up some of the ingredients I had on-hand. The cookbook described the recipe as “both familiar and indescribably delicious” and that description fit nicely. I would consider increasing the number of animal crackers in the ice cream, because the flavor was fairly faint by the time I ate the ice cream.
Animal Cracker Ice Cream
2 2/3 c whole milk
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp cornstarch
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c corn syrup
1/2 c roughly chopped animal crackers
Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the crackers and allow the mixture to steep until the crackers dissolve about 3 minutes. Force the mixture through a sieve, then pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream into your ice cream machine and follow their directions. Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.