Much as I love my husband and our date nights, many of my favorite Valentine’s Days have been hanging out with the lady peeps instead of the gentlefolk — probably in pajamas with a chick flick and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on the side (the only boys allowed).
This year, though, is going to be the best of them. And that’s all thanks to Galentine’s Day.
Oh, you’ve never heard of Galentine’s Day? It comes from one of my all-time favorite characters on television, and that is Miss Leslie Knope. Each year on February 13, Leslie and her gal pals get together and have a grand ole time over yummy food. Ergo, if Leslie were a real person, she’d be my BFF. She and I do share a serious love for waffles, after all. Kindred spirits.
So in celebration of all things love, food and friends, a group of blogger friends and I have come together for an online Galentine’s Day party. And let me tell you — if this party was happening in real life (which my tummy and I so, so wish it was), it would be the most delicious of parties in all the land.
My contribution to the festivities is this dark chocolate pistachio ice cream with… drumroll, please… CANDIED BACON BITS. Truth be told, this is the first time I’ve ever tried maple-candied bacon and oh my lans, is it good. And putting it in pistachio ice cream studded with dark chocolate chips pretty much seals the deal that this is the best ice cream I’ve ever made or eaten.
And now comes the part where you’re wondering why a) I made ice cream in February and b) why I made ice cream for a Galentine’s Day brunch. Here are my answers:
1) Because I can.
2) Because it’s tasty.
3) Because pregnant.
4) Because few people would turn down ice cream with bacon and chocolate, no matter the time or occasion.
If you’ve never made homemade ice cream before, I highly, highly suggest you get started. There’s really nothing like it. This version is creamy but thick, and while the pistachio flavor is strong, it’s a perfect balance with the bittersweet-ness of the dark chocolate and the saltiness of the bacon. It requires a bit of prep work, but you can also spend that time getting your dance party on in the kitchen in preparation for a gal-pal party.
And is it bad that I kinda sorta want to put a scoop or two of this ice cream on a stack of waffles? Just try and stop me.
- 5 strips thick-cut bacon
- ⅔ cup Grade-A pure maple syrup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1½ ounces cream cheese, softened (3 tablespoons)
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ cup dry-roasted pistachios, very finely ground in a food processor
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place bacon strips on foil.
- Bake bacon 15 minutes; remove from oven and drain fat. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F. Pour maple syrup evenly over bacon; flip to coat. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, flipping bacon and rotating baking sheet halfway through, until bacon is a deep brown and maple syrup has thickened. Transfer bacon to parchment paper to cool and harden.
- Meanwhile, prepare the ice cream. Fill a large bowl three-quarters full with ice water. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
- In a large saucepan over high heat, bring remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, 2 to 4 minutes until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat; whisk in cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, 2 to 5 minutes until mixture is slightly thickened.
- Whisk hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in pistachios, almond extract and salt. Place bowl over ice bath for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mostly cool.
- When mixture is cooled, strain into the bowl of an ice cream maker, pressing pistachios against strainer to extract all the flavor. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. Break up cooled bacon into small bits and add to ice cream along with the dark chocolate chips; stir until well mixed.
- Pack ice cream into a plastic container. Cover surface of ice cream directly with plastic wrap, then cover with an airtight lid. Freeze at least 4 hours or overnight, until firm.
And now behold, the most epic Galentine’s Day menu, EVER:
Galentine’s Day Drinks
Blood Orange Bourbon Fizz with Fried Sage from Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain
Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Martini from Shanna of Pineapple and Coconut
Ladies’ Night Rum Punch from Lindsay of The Live In Kitchen
Galentine’s Day Brunch
Sweet Potato Cornmeal Waffles with Bourbon Cream and Pecan Butter from Susan of Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Dipped Donuts from Angie of Big Bear’s Wife
Lemon and Ginger Scones from Lauren of Healthy. Delicious.
Beet, Blood Orange, and Chèvre Salad from Lori of Foxes Love Lemons
Galentine’s Day Desserts
Piña Colada Cupcakes from Courtney of Neighborfood
Strawberry Chocolate Dessert Bars from Marly of Namely Marly
Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting from Nancy of Gotta Get Baked
One Layer Fudge Cake from Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Double Strawberry Angel Food Cake with Whipped Vanilla Creme Fraiche from Cynthia of Two Red Bowls
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream with Candied Bacon Bits from Steph of Girl Versus Dough
Fruity Dessert Pizza from Morgan of Peaches Please
Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Pecan Bites (Gluten Free!) from Karen of The Food Charlatan
DIY Cheesecake Parfait Bar from Heather of Heather’s Dish
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