Milky Way Ice Cream

We met in Mrs. Boyd’s 5th grade class. A fashionista-in-training, I spotted Melanie’s two-tone, chocolate brown and mocha lace-up boots and jeans (which my mother wouldn’t allow me to wear), and thought that she was so cool. Over shared sack lunches of bacon sandwiches and Ding-Dongs in the Woodrow Wilson Elementary cafeteria, Saturday mornings roller skating at Spinning Wheels, and late-night slumber parties, our friendship was sealed.

In junior high, her older brother, Arnold, drove us both to school in his white Mustang, with a parade of colorful Sonic plastic zoo animals attached to the driver’s side sun visor. In high school, we were doubles partners in tennis, took French class and honors English together, and had the same car, a VW bug (hers was white; mine was blue). We even had similar phone numbers – all twos and zeros.

One summer, Melanie invited me to go with her family to visit her grandmother, Ma, in nearby Decatur. Ma served Milky Way ice cream to all of us that afternoon in small white bowls. I’d never tasted anything like it before, and never have since.

Milky Way ice cream is not terribly rich, nor is it overwhelmingly sweet or chocolately. It is light, malty, and caramelly, all at the same time. Like our friendship, it is perfect in its simplicity.

From the first bite, I am 11 years old again, back in Melanie’s grandmother’s living room, eating this for the very first time.

This recipe is an adaptation from Ma’s original recipe, scaled down for a 2-quart ice cream maker, with a nod, too, to my mom’s vanilla ice cream recipe (which I’ll share later). In spirit, though, it is Ma’s, who I’m sure would have more than a giggle knowing that I was making her Milky Way ice cream in Paris.

Milky Way Ice Cream

3 cups whole milk
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
pinch sea salt
4 – 2.05 oz Milky Way bars
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Break Milky Way bars into chunks and put in a heavy skillet, turned on low. Add 1 cup of the whole milk and cook until melted, stirring every now and then.

2. In another heavy saucepan over low heat, scald the other three cups of milk.

Cowgirl Tip: You’ll know when the milk has scalded when you see really tiny bubbles along the side.

3. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and pinch of salt and mix well.

4. Temper the eggs by pouring a little bit of the hot milk into the bowl, continuing to whisk vigorously. Then add the eggs to the milk in the saucepan and cook for a few more minutes, until the custard begins to thicken. It’s ready when it begins to coat the back of a wooden spoon. At this point, remove the custard from heat, add cream and vanilla, and let it cool in an ice bath or on the countertop, then refrigerate for a few hours.

5. When the Milky Way bars are melted, remove this mixture from heat, let cool, and refrigerate.

6. When ready to freeze, first pour the custard mixture into the freezer.

7. Then add the melted Milky Way bars.