Happy Valley can be a strange place. Among the many things it can get one addicted to, for me, ice-cream ranks right up there along with Penn State football. After spending some time in State College, PA, the other name for Happy Valley, I seriously considered using “ice-cream” instead of “apple” in “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Think about it. Just that one scoop or even one spoonful of ice cream straight from the container and into your mouth brings a smile to your face. No more stress. No more headaches. No more complaints. Who needs a doctor then?
Happy Valley takes pride in being home to one and sort of home to a second famous ice-cream establishment. The first is the University Creamery located on the Penn State campus. This is the largest creamery on any university campus in the US and they offer a wide variety of ice-cream, sorbet and milkshake selections. Not only are they well known for their ice-creams but most Penn Staters would agree that they make some pretty good yogurts and cheeses too! Take a peek at their website and if you decide to order online, I can guarantee you that every penny you spend in the shipping cost would be worth it.
The second brand was founded by two individuals, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. These guys met in 7th grade, stuck together as friends, completed an ice cream making program from Penn State and founded their world famous ice cream company, Ben and Jerry’s. Famous not only for their innovative flavor combinations, but also for those captivating and amusing names given to those scrumptious flavors, Ben and Jerry’s definitely make us smile with their scoops!
Now with such a rich ice-cream history, is it a wonder that Happy Valley is called Happy Valley?
Amongst all the good stuff Ben and Jerry’s has to offer, I think their Chunky Monkey ice-cream has to be my absolute favorite. So I decided to try it out at home and put my own spin on it. Turns out, the recipe is really easy and moreover, does not require an ice cream maker. So just sit back, relax and enjoy and more so, smile.
1 pint heavy cream
1⁄2 cup 2% (reduced fat) milk
3⁄4 cup of sugar
1 tbs light brown sugar
1 ripe banana
1⁄2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Slice the banana lengthwise and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake it in the oven at 250 deg F until the sugar caramelizes.
2. Once it is done, remove it from the oven and mash it completely.
3. In a big bowl, whip the heavy cream and milk with an electric hand mixer at medium speed.
4. Add the sugar, mashed banana, walnuts and chocolate chunks and continue to whip until the mixture becomes thick and frothy.
5. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream container for 2 hours.
6. Later, remove it from the freezer and whip it again for 5-7 minutes.
7. Repeat this procedure at least 2-3 times to get a soft and creamy ice cream.
Remove the ice-cream from the freezer 2-3 minutes before serving. Scoop out some into individual dishes. Top with more walnuts, sliced banana, chocolate syrup or just serve it plain without any toppings.