Yesterday was a marathon of cooking, cleaning, and candy making. All to recreate a dessert I enjoyed while in London.
I admit it requires some effort to make all the components from scratch, but is was worth it. Honeycomb ice cream is awesome. Or, as it is called in New Zealand, Hokey Pokey. Over in my neck of the woods, the Hokey Pokey is a dance for the young and uncoordinated. I think I prefer the ice cream version as, unlike the dance, there are few embarrassing memories associated with the ice cream.
For anyone unfamiliar with honeycomb or hokey pokey ice cream, it contains bits of a light airy toffee. This gives the ice cream a wonderful caramel crunch. With the cookies and a drizzle of caramel sauce, it is even better.
I'm going to help myself to a bowl later today. After I go be an adult and take on the laundry monster. (sigh)
So today's dessert is made up of four parts.
- Honeycomb candy
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Butter Cookies
- Caramel Sauce
You can also pace yourself and make some of the components in advance. The butter cookie dough can be kept chilled or frozen before slicing and baking and the caramel keeps well in the refrigerator.
So, lets get down to this monster post, starting with the honeycomb candy...
Some recipes for this candy use a lot of of honey. However all that fructose will make the candy hopelessly hygroscopic (it will absorb a ton of moisture from the air and turn quickly into a sticky mess). The amount of honey called for here isn't much, but it provides a good balance of flavor for the candy-chemistry trade-offs. It won't turn to goo and you'll still be able to smell the warm honey throughout the cooking process and you will taste it when you are finished.
yields enough to make your dentist send me hate mail
400g granulated sugar
30g light corn syrup (or invert/golden syrup)
1 tablespoon baking soda
Ready a heat safe pan with a little nonstick spray.
Combine the sugar, honey, light corn syrup and water in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling stop stirring and wash down the sides of the pot with a damp pastry brush. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the sugar begins to caramelize (turn a light blond color). Cook until it darkens just a little bit (a light gold color). Watch it carefully, if it gets too dark your candy will be bitter.
Add the baking soda and mix quickly using a whisk. The candy is going to foam up and triple in volume. Working quickly, pour the fluffy mixture into your prepared pan.
Allow it to cool completely before breaking and storing in an air tight container.
Vanilla Ice Cream with Honeycomb
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 good quality (moist) vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed honeycomb candy
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, 1 cup (250ml) of the cream and the salt. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook until very warm but not boiling. Add the seeds of the vanilla bean and the bean itself to the pot. Cover and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Whisk the 6 egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the medium sauce pan and place over medium heat.
Stir the mixture constantly, scraping the bottom, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the custard through a mesh strainer and add the remaining cream. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pick the vanilla bean out of the strainer and return it to the custard.
Place this bowl into an ice bath and stir until cool. Cover and chill the mixture in the fridge until very cold.
When you are ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean. Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and chill according to the manufacturer's instructions.
In the last few minutes of churning, add the honey comb. When finished spoon the ice-cream into a storage container and freeze until solid.
Turbinado-Sugar Butter Cookies
adapted from Simply Ming
yields 2-3 dozen cookie sticks
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup + tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (also called 'raw' sugar)
In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolk and vanilla, beating until combined.
Stop the mixer, add the flour and then mix on low speed until the flour is completely moistened and the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper. Form into a foot-long log. Wrap in the paper and then flatten with a rolling pin until it is roughly 1/2"-3/4" thick. Chill the dough until firm.
When firm and ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325°F.
Pour the turbinado sugar onto a small plate and set aside. Unwrap the dough from the parchment and using a sharp knife cut 1/4" thick slices from the log. Dip one side of the cookies into the sugar and place, sugar side up, onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Warm Caramel Sauce (Recipe posted here)
To assemble the dessert... does this really require instructions? Anyway, warm the caramel sauce in the microwave (or gently on the stove top). Scoop the ice cream, drizzle with caramel and serve with the butter cookies.