I posted this recipe a few weeks ago at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly magazine. Suffering in this heat wave? I suggest a little cool, creamy heaven. Save the egg whites and make Schaum Torte a few days later. Ice cream and meringue, the yin and yang of desserts. You heard it here first.
The sun's hot, mosquitoes are biting, I'm sipping gin & tonics, and I'm craving ice cream—'round these parts, that means summer! Ice cream sounds so good to me, in fact, that I finally bought an ice cream maker. What have I been waiting for?! It's a breeze to use and the ice cream it churns out is the best I've ever had.
My first batch was a lush strawberry concoction, creamy and bursting with fresh berry flavor. A revelation. You're looking at my second batch, a deadly-rich chocolate, dark with cocoa and as smooth as silk. It's cold comfort—in a good way—for the hottest days of the year (or any day, really, this is serious ice cream, fully winter worthy).
The actual churning process takes only 30 minutes, but allow plenty of time for the custard to chill thoroughly before adding it to the ice cream maker. I've found that prepping the custard the day before allows for both relaxation (mine) and success (the ice cream's). If you require an even bigger chocolate hit—no judging, I swear—stir in a cup of small chocolate pieces at the end of the churn.
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown at www.foodnetwork.com
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
Note: Since the custard needs to chill thoroughly before churning, it works nicely to make the custard the night before you plan to serve the ice cream.
1.5 – 2 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 c. (Note: I use 2 oz. of cocoa powder for intense flavor; 1.5 oz. results in a sweeter, less intense chocolate flavor, also delicious)
3 c. half-and-half
1 c. heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
9 oz. sugar (about 1 c. plus 1 Tbsp.)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F.
Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.
Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.