Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chocolate Ice Cream or How To Bribe Your Favorite Five Year Old

This past weekend my in-laws came over for dinner. My husband and I made lots of delicious things for dinner, including chicken cutlets, pasta with fresh tomato sauce and a kale salad. When it came time to decide what to make for dessert, it was a no brainer. We knew we would make ice cream. It just so happens that my five year old niece's favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream. It also just so happens that my niece is the cutest five year old on the planet, so my husband and I love being presented with opportunities to spoil her with little treats, like fresh homemade ice cream.

Knowing that most ice cream recipes take at least 24 hours to freeze and become really solid for scooping, I excitedly started the ice cream the night before. As my sweet cream ice cream from the previous week turned out so well, I decided to play it safe and use the Simple Chocolate Ice Cream recipe found in the Cuisinart Recipe Booklet that came with my ice cream maker. Unfortunately, the Simple Chocolate Ice Cream did not turn out so well. The cocoa powder never really dissolved into the milk giving the ice cream a very grainy quality. Note: as my very sweet sister-in-law and subsequent recipes have pointed out, I think it is very important to mix the cocoa powder and milk together over low heat before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. This is a crucial step that the Cuisinart recipe leaves out. I am by no means an expert cook, but I think mixing the milk and cocoa powder together over low heat allows the milk to absorb the cocoa powder (like chocolate milk), making the ice cream less grainy. Perhaps if I re-tried the Cuisinart recipe using this method, it would taste better. Overall, as it is though, it tasted more like a bad cookies and cream ice cream than chocolate ice cream.

Determined to find a really good chocolate ice cream recipe that I could make the next time I want to get into my niece's good graces, I scoured the web for good chocolate ice cream recipes. I came up with this one from Bon Appetit magazine. Warning: This recipe requires lots of advance planning. Not only are there a lot of steps in making the ice cream "batter" (it probably took me close to an hour my first time around), it then requires 5 days of chilling. In other words, this recipe is not one you can make on the fly.

Ingredients (copied from the Bon Appetit website):
7 ounces dark chocolate finely chopped
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large egg yolks
13 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions (copied from the Bon Appetit website):
  • Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth. Set melted chocolate aside; let cool slightly.
  • Whisk milk and cocoa powder in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until very thick ribbons form, about 2 minutes.Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Add melted chocolate and whisk to blend. Stir over low heat until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°, about 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate custard to a large bowl and place over another large bowl of ice water. (Note: I just stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes). Stir until chocolate custard is cool.
  • Bring remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small heavy, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush (do not stir), until a dark amber color forms, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk caramel into chocolate custard. Strain into a large container; cover and chill for 2 days.
  • Process custard in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to another container; freeze for 3 days before eating. DO AHEAD.  Ice cream can be made 3 days ahead. Keep frozen.
Unfortunately, I am now in limbo and have to wait five days to know how this round of chocolate ice cream turned out. Judging from the how the "batter" tastes though, I think it is going to be excellent! If you want my final opinion, check back here next week and discover a new recipe as well. For those of you getting a little bored with the traditional flavors, I promise that next week will be something a little bit more unique.

Until next time, keep calm and get your ice cream eating on.

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