Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream

Every day, I wake up and think, “Here we go. Another day. Another day of yelling and fighting with people who are idiots, of bending every which way to finish my tasks on time. Another day of dealing with a commute that takes exceptionally longer than necessary because of train traffic, or signal problems, or taking the long way around so I’m not stuck in a stairwell that smells like fresh pee. Another day of working nonstop then coming home to a daughter who needs me, but I somehow just don’t have the energy to fully be present. Of looking at her with slightly vacant eyes while she demands I help her build yet another tower with her stack of blocks. Another day of just being exhausted, falling into bed around 11:30pm and passing out into a dreamless sleep until the next morning.” I close my eyes again for a few minutes just trying to breathe, then force myself out of bed to deal with all the drama that is bound to unfold.


The day goes exactly as I expected, sometimes worse and sometimes not as horrible as the day before. I used to take small breaks between all the headaches by browsing Instagram, reading a book on my commute (when I manage to wrangle a seat), crying through the latest NY Times Modern Love article, or scrolling through Facebook. But now, even that doesn’t cut it. My personal feed is filled with the Hell on Earth that the people of Gaza are living through, my email is forever reminding me about all the people in NY who are without food* and shelter, and I can’t even get into the elevator at work without the little elevator TV reminding me of everything else that is wrong in the world. Try as I might to escape, I just can’t.


Some days, the panic sets in. My soft heart and my imagination take hold of an image, a blurb, and run with it. How are they surviving? What series of events led them to where they are? God… how easily can me and my family fall into that same situation? To get injured and not be able to work, to watch out savings vanish in a matter of months trying to keep up, to fall to the fringe of society in what will probably feel like an instant. What can I do to keep my baby safe? My parents safe? My family intact? God… why is life so difficult?


Those moments especially I want to just escape. I want to take everyone I love, move to a home that resembles a Southern farmhouse with a wraparound porch, and keep them all there with me. I want to feed them till they burst, and hug them till I’m full. I want to see my daughter be free to run as fast and as far as she likes without worrying someone is going to take her. I want my parents to just relax and not let their illnesses overwhelm them. I want a small slice of Heaven. I want a sense of peace that is not truly possible in this world.


Days like that, when the panic rises and falls, I still come home exhausted, but my eyes now have a film of tears when I look at my little girl. When she finally goes to sleep I stand there looking at her and think, “Thank God for another day. Another day of having a job, and being able to get home safely. Another day where she is safe. Sheltered, fed and loved by everyone she meets. Thank God for all that I have.” Then I lay down and this time my shoulders ease and my heart relaxes just a little. At least for right now, for this small moment, I’ve found a moment of peace before that dreamless sleep takes a hold of me.



Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream
Very loosely adapted from the Ample Hills Creamery Strawberry Ice Cream recipe. I don't have a favorite from scratch brownie recipe yet, so I used my favorite box mix brownie mix from Ghiradelli. You can also just buy the brownies honestly, then rough chop them into small chunks. I prefer slightly under cooked fudgery brownies because they don't turn rock hard when mixed with the ice cream and frozen.
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen (and defrosted) strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cold whole milk
  • 3/4 cup skim milk powder
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 cups of very fudgey brownie roughly chopped (approximately)
  1. Place the strawberries in a medium heat-proof bowl and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar over them, tossing to coat them evenly. Cover the bowl and set aside over a bowl of slowly simmering water for 5 minutes.
  2. Unwrap the bowl; the strawberries should be sitting in a pool of red sugary water. Drain the strawberries and reserve the syrup (we won't the syrup in this recipe again, but you can use it in truffles, or a sauce, to pour over pancakes. Yum)
  3. Place the strawberries in the freezer 5 minutes to cool.
  4. Combine the milk, skim milk powder, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and cooled strawberries in a blender. Puree until smooth. Add the cream and stir (don’t blend) to combine. Transfer the “strawberry cream” to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in brownie chunks. Transfer the ice cream to a storage container.
  5. Serve immediately, or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a firmer (read: more scoopable) ice cream.


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