Fudge Swirl Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

What do Wavy Gravy, Zen Butter, Creamed Cod, and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang all have in common?

Believe it or not, they’re all ice cream flavors. As Bill Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”

After all, why call it cream cheese raspberry chocolate ice cream, when Kitty Kitty Bang Bang is just begging to be used? Would you rather order up a scoop of bourbon corn flake, or whisper to the clerk that you’ll take a dish of Secret Breakfast?

An ice cream cone brings out the kid in all of us, and having silly, unique names just makes the experience that much more fun.

Vermont’s own Ben and Jerry’s are probably the most well-known for crazy monikers, but long-time New Englanders also have a special place in their hearts for Gifford’s, a premium ice cream company based in Maine.

Their Outdoor Adventure series features flavors such as Muddy Boots (vanilla, caramel, and brownie); Appalachian Trail (banana ice cream with honey crunch cashews & chocolate), and several different animal “tracks” flavors. Choose your favorite critter and follow the path to great flavor. Maine Deer Tracks, Fly Fishing Fudge, Maine Lobster Tracks (contains no seafood, just little lobster-shaped chocolates), and the great grand-daddy of them all, Moose Tracks®.

Our Fudge Swirl Peanut Butter Cup ice cream pays homage to this all-time classic with a rich vanilla base, funky chunky mini peanut butter cups, and chocolate swirls. If you can’t get to New England to try the original, give our home version a whirl.

boiling milk

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup milk just to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

tempering eggs

In a small bowl, whisk together 5 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum. The gum is completely optional; but it yields smoother texture by acting as a binder.

Because you want to make ice cream and not vanilla scrambled eggs, you’ll want to gently warm the eggs before adding them to the milk/cream mixture. Remove about 1 cup of the hot liquid from the pan, and slowly drizzle it into the eggs while you whisk. I like to pour the hot liquid down the side of the bowl so I can control the flow. This step is called tempering the eggs.

ice cream base

Once you’ve tempered the eggs, you can add that warmed mixture back to the saucepan, and return it to the heat to cook into a custard.

ice cream temp

Stirring slowly but constantly, cook the custard base until it reaches between 170°F and 180°F. When I picked up the camera, this baby was reading a nice 175°F. Reminder to self: leave time for focusing the lens.

back of spoon

If you don’t have a thermometer handy, you can test the mixture by dipping in a soup spoon. If the base leaves an even coating that you can swipe clean with a finger, it’s good to go.

Transfer the hot base to a new container, and chill it well for several hours, or overnight. In fact, you can make several bases in one day and keep them in the fridge, freezing them in your ice cream maker over the next few days.

add ins

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s directions.

During the last 5 minutes of freezing time, add 1 cup mini peanut butter cups* and 2 tablespoons rum, brandy,or vodka. The alcohol keeps the ice cream from freezing rock-hard, but you can leave it out if desired.

*Check the grocery store for “movie candy” sized boxes. Mini is “in,” and you can find just about every candy in petite packages.

sauce in

During the final 30 seconds, drizzle in 1/2 cup of your favorite melted chocolate or fudge sauce. You want swirls, rather than blended chocolate.

Spoon the ice cream out of the machine, and serve it immediately. Or place it in a sturdy container in the freezer for several hours to harden (a.k.a. ripen).

Many years ago, while working atop New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, my husband awoke in his sleeping bag to find a dinner plate-sized moose print about a foot from where his head lay. I think when he gets up from a nap later this weekend, I’ll surprise him with this instead.

If you’re lucky enough to be on the East Coast this summer, check out the local shops for Gifford’s ice cream. I’m sure at least one of their flavors will have YOU making tracks to come back again and again.

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Fudge Swirl Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream.

Print just the recipe.

I know you don’t need much arm twisting to share your favorite ice cream flavors and stories, but if you do need a nudge, here it comes ——–> *nudge*.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Sherry Skogstad

    Janis splendid ice creams at home has a milk chocolate ice cream recipe that is very good, in fact all the recipes in her book are great.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      You can make ice cream without a machine, just use a little elbow grease instead. Place the mixture in a large bowl and freeze. Every 30 minutes remove from the freezer and beat for about 3 minutes. Return to the freezer. You’ll keep doing this until the mixture is firm and smooth. Enjoy! ~ MJ

  2. Donna

    Hi, I have a question: Why do you heat the cream, milk, and eggs first? Is it necessary? Couldn’t it all just be put in the ice cream maker?


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This is a custard based ice cream. As such, to achieve the creamy texture that this ice cream has, you really need to make it. Jon@KAF

  3. Jill Fenner

    nmoore18305 I think adding alcohol after baking could be aj problem. The alcohol has no chance to cook off.

  4. nmoore18305

    I have a question that has bothered me for years: Does adding alcohol to a recipe after cooking/baking present a problem for recovering alcoholics? Does the amount matter since evidently real vanilla extract doesn’t? Unfortunately, all the AA members I know personally don’t cook at all and don’t seem to have a clue about this.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      I honestly do not know. I’m assuming it would vary from person to person. ~ MJ

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes, the non-alcoholic vanilla crush will work very well in the ice cream.~Jaydl@KAF

  5. Sue from Western MA

    I’ve never seen this commercially anywhere but in Maine: GrapeNuts ice cream. Just a good, creamy vanilla base with, you guessed it, GrapeNuts. The cereal adds a fun texture and a very subtle flavor.

  6. Brenda D

    I made rhubarb ice cream this last weekend. Hubby has request for maple hazelnut soon. Wish I could find a milk chocolate ice cream recipe. Most chocolate ice creams are too dark flavored for my taste.

    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Those sound spectacular Brenda. I haven’t seen many for milk chocolate, that’s a tough flavor to get just right. Another to add to my wish list. ~ MJ

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