Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chocolate and Sunflower Seed Butter Ice Cream

I feel very fortunate that my husband and I don't have any major allergies. Or rather, no food allergies, because there are certainly things that make me sneeze or itch. And when it comes down to it, cats are easier to avoid than most of the food allergens.

I'm thankful that we can eat gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, shellfish, and all those other things that people tend to be allergic to. It's a feeding frenzy around here.

But went a guy named Aaron from a company called Good Luck Chuck called me to see if I was interested in hearing about a local start-up company making sunflower nut butters, I figured it was worth a conversation. I like local companies.

And you don't have to be allergic to nuts to love sunflower seeds. They're a great snack on their own, they're good in baked goods, and sunflower seed butter makes a whole lot of sense. So I met with Aaron and we talked about sunflower seeds, and Chuck, and a whole bunch of things.

After a very long conversation - some people are just easy to talk to, right? - I walked away with a few jars of Good Luck Chuck sunflower butters to have fun with.

I've tasted all three varieties - the plain sunflower butter, chocolate sunflower butter, and Sriracha sunflower butter, and now I'm brainstorming recipes. The spicy one seems ideal for a savory recipe, the chocolate was obvious for a sweet recipe, and the plain sunflower butter could go into sweet or savory recipes..

Or, you could just spread them on bread and eat them.

Because, of course, that was the original idea when Aaron and his wife were thinking about creating a nut-safe nut-like butter. There was a whole lot of thought behind launching a sunflower nut butter company, but in part it had to do with the idea that kids want to fit in and do - and eat - the same sorts of things that their friends are eating.

Peanut butter is such a common kid-food, but unfortunately, it's not a safe food for every kid. But sunflower seeds aren't nuts, so they're a safe food. Sunflower nut butter looks like peanut butter. And it really does taste like some kind of nut butter.

I, on the other hand, was less interested in slathering the butter on bread or crackers. I started brainstorming ideas even before I tasted them.

My original idea was adding one of them to bread - and I still might do that. But first: ice cream.

Chocolate and Sunflower Seed Butter Ice Cream

3 1/4 cups half-and-half
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup chocolate Good Luck Chuck sunflower butter

Combine the half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar dissolves.

Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and milk in a heat-safe bowl or large glass measuring cup.

When the half-and-half has reached a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a boil and thickens. It won't thicken like gravy, but it will be noticeably thicker.

Whisk in the sunflower butter until it is smoothly combined. If you have trouble getting it smooth, use a stick blender to encourage it,

Take the mixture off the heat, transfer to a storage container, and refrigerate until fully chilled.

When the mixture is cold, churn in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a storage container and freeze until firm.

Thanks to Good Luck Chuck for sponsoring this post!