# the munchies ice cream

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July is National Ice Cream Month and I waited until the very last day to finally make a batch. So to make up for lost time, I decided to stuff everything I could into it.

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Imagine every kind of snack craving — salty, sweet, crunchy, buttery. And then mash them all together in the sweet embrace of cream and milk and egg yolks. It’s what dreams are made of.

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My dreams, at least.

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To create that crazy mix-in concoction, you combine all those coveted snacks with sugar and some skim milk powder (to absorb any excess liquid or grease). Then you bake it until it’s crispy and toasty brown.

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As you can see, the recipe made a ton. WAY too much to mix into one batch of ice cream, so my version cuts the amount in half. But, feel free to throw in as many M&M’s as you wish. And snack on any that you don’t.

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The result is a lovely blend of those salty potato chips, crunchy pretzels, sweet candies and buttery Ritz crackers. Oh, and did I mention that the ice cream base is pretzel flavored?

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After sitting for a while, it’s not the prettiest scoop of ice cream thanks to those melt-in-your-mouth-and-the-freezer M&M’s, but damn if it doesn’t taste incredible.

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You could easily make this your own with your favorite snacks. But, good luck staying out of it either way.

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The Munchies Ice Cream

Source: Adapted from Ample Hills Creamery

For the pretzel ice cream:

3 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. mini salted pretzels
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. skim milk powder
1 2/3 c. heavy cream
2 egg yolks

For the munchies mix-in:

1/2 c. Ritz crackers
1/2 c. salted mini pretzels
1/2 c. salted potato chips
1/4 c. skim milk powder
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted

4 oz (or more) M&M’s (chopped or left whole)

Make the mix-in first:

Preheat the oven to 275-degrees. Butter or line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the crackers, pretzels and chips. Using your hands, break into pieces about a quarter of their original size. (A little dust is okay, but don’t pulverize them.) Add the skim milk powder and sugar and toss to combine. Pour the butter over the mixture and work it together with your hands, squeezing it into clumps and breaking it apart, almost like kneading dough.

Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until it begins to toast and turn brown. Set aside to cool completely.

Make the ice cream:

Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it starts to steam, 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in pretzels. Cover the pan and let steep for 20 minutes. Then pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the pretzels to extract as much milk as possible. (Some pulp is okay.) Return the infused milk to the saucepan and discard pretzels.

Add the sugar and skim milk powder. Whisk until smooth and powder is wholly dissolved. Stir in the cream.

Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom until the mixture reaches 110-degrees. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks to temper them. Continue to whisk until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.

Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking, stirring often, until it reaches 165-degrees.

Line a 4-cup measuring cup with a ziploc bag and place strainer on top. Pour mixture into the bag, seal, and place into the prepared ice bath for at least 30 minutes or until completely cold.

Then transfer to the cooled base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer ice cream to a storage container, folding in your munchies mix-in and M&M’s as you go. (Use as much mix-ins as you want.) Store in freezer overnight.

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