Nothing is more of a Southern tradition than stopping at the market for a glass bottle of coke and a bag of salted peanuts. Pop off the bottle cap, tear off the side of the bag, and pour those peanuts into an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola. Southerners know it's the perfect snack whether you are on your way home from school, work or even on road trips.
At National Peanut Board, food historian Rick McDaniel speaks about the origin of this salty-sweet snack, theorizing that the concoction was invented in the early 20th century when country stores started selling packaged peanuts alongside bottles of coke.
All of us at Wide Open Eats love the combo of fizzy coke and salty peanuts so much we set out on making up a recipe to enjoy the combination during the summer. May we introduce to you Peanut Butter Coca Cola Ice Cream Squares. Yea, that sound is the southern child inside of you screaming for joy.
While we do have Coca-Cola slushies and Coke floats, Coca Cola ice cream is far and few between. While I've never seen it, there's a chance it's on a restaurant menu in the South somewhere. If not, there's no need to get your boots in a bunch-this recipe is fun to make at home.
First things first, go out to your local country store or gas station and pick up a few bottles of Coca-Cola (this isn't the time for diet coke or coke zero). You want the stuff in the glass bottles first sold by the Coca-Cola Company. We aren't skimping on Southern culture with shortcuts. You want the cold bottle straight from the old fashioned vending machine (or the store shelf). Let's get right into it!
Rather than sticking to a graham cracker crust, we decided that smashing up some Nutter Butters was the way to go. Chocked full of peanut flavor, this crust is a snap to put together. Simply crush Nutter Butter cookies in a food processor or even in a large bag. You can even add in some roasted peanuts to the mix! Combine with melted butter and press firmly into a parchment-lined baking tin.
The Ice Cream
I have fond memories of making homemade ice cream in the summer with my Dad. We used to use a hand-crank but today ice cream making is almost as easy as pressing a button. This ice cream is actually churned in the food processor rather than a pricey ice cream machine.
To begin, reduce the Coke in a large skillet until reduced by 1/3. This essentially produces a concentration of the Coca-Cola without all of the water.
At the same time combine gelatin with water and cornstarch with milk.
In a medium saucepan combine the milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, sugar and light corn syrup and bring to a boil. Once boiling add in the cornstarch slurry and let cook about one minute more for the cornstarch to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Coca-Cola concentrate along with the gelatin.
Chill the mixture and when room temperature, pour the mixture into ice cube trays. This is how the ice cream will freeze quickly and reduce ice crystals.
Freeze the cubes for about four hours then process in a food processor. If you have a small food processor you can do this in steps. When smooth, transfer the mixture to the peanut butter crust we made earlier and place in the freezer for an additional four hours.
Now's the best part! Throw a bit of peanut butter in the microwave to melt and drizzle that salty goodness all over the ice cream. Top with crumbled Nutter Butter cookies and your dessert is set, perfect for snacking or a sweet treat. All you need is a swig of coke to wash it all down.
This article was originally published on June 13, 2018.