Choices. Difficult for many, yet easy for him. At least when it came to leaving the old mill town where he grew up. A town where, once, a prosperous middle class and the diligent working class lived simultaneously, both believing life was simpler for the other. [The two, now, converged forming a single body struggling to maintain middle ground.]
An American utopia of sorts, for some, where the local fishing hole was the most popular place to take a swim on a sweltering August night; a place where first loves made love behind the high school, pledging their loyalty to each other for the remainder of time. One doctor healed whatever ailed the locals, and the packie cured what medicine could not touch. Boys went to war or college, returning to open arms, picking up the life they briefly left behind. Others lost. Some by choice. A place where whatever visible was all one needed.
And yet, not for him.
He needed more than what that small town could offer. So, he headed west as soon as he could and found himself in California, gazing at a different ocean. [Love, marriage and children under the sunshine and palm trees would follow.]
His choice: a different life than what he knew.
Decades later [and many miles here and there] he found himself in a rented car, crossing a covered bridge, his childhood home still visible in the rear view mirror, window rolled down, a joint resting in between his thumb and finger, now burning quickly in wind. His father freshly buried in a colorless cemetery, his elderly mother inconsolable. And his brother. Drinking to numbness, left solely to manage their heart-sore mother. He inhaled, blew an opaque stream of smoke into the oppressive humid air and wept. Wept for his father, mother, brother. Their small town. Wept because he could leave.
Later, alone, at the airport bar, he would order a bourbon with 3 cubes of ice, no more, and smile when he heard “flight 11, now boarding.”
Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream Pie
Ice Cream Base Recipe Adapted from NYT Cooking
Cookie Crust adapted from Bon Appetit
Ingredients for Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate sauce, homemade or store-bought, for drizzling optional, but yummy
Pour cream, milk, brown sugar and salt into a small pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until combined. Next, slowly whisk one-third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks and pour the yolk mixture back into the pot with the remaining cream. Gently cook the mixture over medium-low heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat. Strain using a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Cover and chill overnight.
Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store in air-tight container until ready to use. It will last for up to a week. This recipe will yield about 1+1/2 pints.
Ingredients for triple chocolate cookie crust:
**Makes one 9 inch pie crust with plenty of dough leftover for about a dozen or so individual cookies, or another 9-inch cookie crust.**
8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ounces white chocolate chips
1 + 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 +1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cups or 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
Melt chocolate and white chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high-speed until pale in color and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl each time. Beat until very light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted chocolate mixture. Next, add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.
Grab your metal pie pan and butter and flour it, tapping out an excess flour. Spread about 1/3 of the cookie dough into the pie pan, spreading evenly along the bottom and up the sides.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the dough is just set. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Press down the dough with a spatula if it has puffed up.
Store remaining dough in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Bring dough to room temperature before baking. If making cookies, use a two-inch scoop and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to soften a bit. Scoop out ice cream and spread evenly over the cookie crust using a spatula. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, 24-48 hours. When ready to serve, allow to soften a bit, as this will make cutting into the pie easier. Drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired or serve with whip cream and a cherry. The pie will last a couple of days, covered, in the freezer. Enjoy!
5 Unique Frozen Treat Links
Looking for a vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened frozen treat? Head to the BoJon Gourmet for a raspberry brownie ice cream sandwich recipe that is sure to satisfy you!
Chocolate and pretzels are a well-loved, classic combo so why not make this pair into an ice cream cake? Oh Lady Cakes has the recipe for you. My mouth is watering!
Vanilla caramel gelato– yes please! Head to Diethood for the recipe.
A simple classic ice cream cake is sometimes all you need to make someone smile. Check out my recipe!
Minimalist Baker’s boozy, root beer float with coconut ice cream is on my must make list this summer!