I did it! I survived the “sink or swim” semester, haha. These last few weeks have been a challenge (to put it mildly) but I put every last ounce of energy into my studies, dedicated all my time, and honestly did as best as I could do. It would be far too easy to agonize over the details: my silly mistakes during a presentation, the rushed report I could’ve done so much better on had I more time, or the exam I probably failed just this afternoon despite three straight days of studying – it’s that last one in particular that’s gnawing away at the back of my mind. But I know I was a strong student this semester overall, that I’ve received positive feedback from my instructors as well as fellow grad students, and that a single failed exam won’t keep me from passing a course.
I made this ice cream a while back (remember the Instagram?) and immediately fell in love. If you like soft, mushy sweet potato, toasted marshmallows, and cinnamon then you’re in for a treat. I kid you not, this ice cream tastes just like sweet potato pie…except colder, of course. 🙂 I know ice cream is not the most obvious dessert choice during the winter months, but I’m from Vermont where we eat Ben & Jerry’s year-round (and still manage this!) so trust me: it works.
A kitchen torch will be handy here if you’re lucky enough to have one, otherwise you can toast your mini-mallows in the oven for a minute or so (watch them closely!). If you use the oven technique, you may want to toast them a day ahead of time. Even with parchment paper my marshmallows clung to the sheet like glue – and yes, I let them cool for an hour first. It wasn’t until I listened to my smarter-half and let them sit on the parchment overnight that I was able to easily remove the marshmallows without becoming a gooey mess. Is that an obvious trick? Well I apologize if it is, it was news to me, haha.
Sweet Potato Ice Cream
(from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer)
1½ C peeled sweet potato, cut into ½” cubes
2 C whole milk
1½ oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ t fine sea salt
¼ t ground cinnamon
1¼ C heavy cream
1/3 C granulated sugar
1/3 C packed dark brown sugar
2 T molasses
1½ C toasted mini-marshmallows*
1 gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bag
*Note: Jeni includes a homemade recipe for her Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, which sound fantastic. Since time was of the essence, however, I simply bought mini-mallows from the store – see my recommendation above.
1) In prep: combine the sweet potato pieces and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft – about 8-10 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, beat cream cheese with salt and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth. Prepare an ice bath and place in fridge until needed.
2) Once the potatoes have been cooked use an immersion blender to puree them until smooth (or, alternatively, transfer them in the milk to a blender and blend until smooth before returning the mix to the pan). Add the cream, sugars, and molasses and stir until incorporated. Bring mixture to a rolling boil over Medium-high heat and boil for exactly 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
3) Pour about a third of a Cup of the hot mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese has been incorporated. Add the remainder of the base, whisk well a few times to blend it all together, and then immediately pour into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge in the ice bath. Let the base cool – adding more ice as necessary – until cold (I placed mine in the ice bath and then put the whole thing in the fridge, stirring the contents of the bag every 15 minutes or so to redistribute the heat).
4) Once the ice cream base is definitively cold, pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the soft ice cream in a storage container being sure to layer plenty of toasted marshmallows as you go. Press a sheet of parchment paper to the surface of the ice cream before sealing and freezing. Let ice cream proof in the freezer for at least 4 hours before eating.
As I mentioned before, this dessert is just like a frozen sweet potato pie. I really should have added some brown-sugar dusted pecans on top and it would’ve been complete, haha. My batch turned out a bit thicker than I anticipated; I’m not sure if it was just from me boiling the base for too long or from the consistency of the potatoes. I didn’t mind, the texture was rich and creamy with little puffs of marshmallows in every scoop, but you may want to add a bit more milk if you prefer a lighter ice cream.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥