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One of the greatest things about working for Serious Eats is that I can always count on comments and suggestions from readers and colleagues, which means I'm always being pushed to try something new. So when I recently turned a batch of homemade Biscoff cookies into homemade Biscoff ice cream, I wasn't surprised to hear Daniel ask whether I could do the same thing with homemade Oreos, too.
I knew from a technical standpoint that it was perfectly feasible, but I wasn't convinced it would be worth the effort. Biscoff cookies have a distinct spiced caramel shortbread flavor that's hard to capture, whereas Oreos are basically just chocolate (well, the wafer part, anyway). Still, I was intrigued, so I rolled up my sleeves and started crushing up some homemade Oreo wafers (please note: this is what I had on hand at the time thanks to leftovers from this guide to making Oreo-style cookies at home; real Oreo wafers would be a sane and respectable option).
I mixed up a base almost identical to the one I used for the Biscoff ice cream: a combination of egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cookie crumbs.
After adding the milk and cream, I was deeply skeptical about the sludgy gray mixture, but as it warmed on the stove, the crumbs dissolved into a dark and creamy chocolate base.
Like my homemade Biscoff ice cream, I cooked the base (stirring constantly) until it was steaming hot, which ensured the eggs were cooked and the crumbs thoroughly dissolved. The mixture should not be allowed to bubble or reduce whatsoever.
Then I strained the ice cream base to remove stray bits of chalazae and to help homogenize the mix, but without pressing hard enough to push the crumby dregs through the mesh sieve (there was only a tablespoon or so).
To speed the process along, I cooled the base in an ice bath before refrigeration, but you can skip that step and place it directly in the fridge—the important thing is that the base should be 39°F or cooler before churning. If you're not in a hurry, the ice cream base can be stored in the fridge, since it doesn't need to be churned right away.
With this, or any, recipe for ice cream made without a compressor, it's vital to chill the canister as close to 0°F as possible, which may require tweaking your freezer settings. (This can be tested by wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables around the probe of a digital thermometer.)
When the base and machine are properly chilled, even a cookie-infused ice cream will churn up silky-smooth and light.
I stole a spoonful while the ice cream was still churning and found that it didn't taste like chocolate so much as it tasted like Oreos—a success! It had a distinctive "cookie" flavor from the toasted flour and brown butter in the crumbs. On a whim, I threw in a handful of chopped sandwich cookies into the ice cream just before it finished churning, for a classic cookies 'n' cream crunch.
I didn't have a spare yogurt container and my ice cream tub was already in use, so I transferred the ice cream to a well-chilled loaf pan, then sprinkled it with another handful of chopped cookies for good measure; subtlety has never really been my thing.
The most difficult part was giving the ice cream a chance to freeze hard enough for scooping; but let me assure you, it was more than worth the wait. Even after 24 hours in the freezer, it scooped like a dream.
The dissolved cookie crumbs provide a distinctive texture that's hard to describe, a little cakey and soft, something like an Oreo that's been dunked in milk for the perfect amount of time, then elevated to a higher, frozen plane. That texture is perfectly offset by the crunchy cookie bites, and the occasional burst of vanilla from the filling. In short, it's a dang near perfect scoop, and we can all thank Daniel for not leaving well enough alone.