So I have an ice cream problem. It's not that I eat more than I should (although technically that's true) - it's that I can't find really rich chocolate ice cream in the store. Frankly, I'm a little astounded at the light brown stuff most ice cream manufacturers like to call chocolate. Seriously? Have you ever seen actual chocolate? It's way darker than any of this so-called chocolate ice cream. That stuff should all be labeled "ice cream with a hint of chocolate."
So to get my real chocolate ice cream fix I started going to Baskin Robbins and buying their chocolate fudge ice cream by the half gallon. But there were a few problems. 1 - It was kind of expensive. 2 - B&R is kind of far away from my house. And 3 - They now only sell chocolate fudge on a rotating basis with normal old (completely unacceptable) chocolate, meaning on any given day they might not even have my flavor!
It was time to take matters into my own hands. After scouring the internet I happened upon this little gem of a recipe for the best dark chocolate ice cream ever. It sounded promising, so I got cooking. And let me tell you, this really was the best dark chocolate ice cream I've ever tasted. Unbelievably thick and rich and perfectly creamy. It tasted like gourmet ice cream from some fabulous little shop. I could hardly believe that no, it came from my very own kitchen. Many thanks to Angie McKaig from flickr! (I've modified the recipe slightly.)
2 cup heavy cream
4 heaping tbsp cocoa
6 1/2 ounces 62% or darker chocolate (just a smidge over 1 C of chips works well)
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Right away I appreciated that the ingredient list didn't require anything too expensive or out of the ordinary. In fact, if you get your ingredients somewhere like Walmart or Winco, it's really not too pricey. I think I'm supposed to tell you at this point to use really fancy expensive dark chocolate, but I just used half a bag of Guittard chips and it turned out great. I'm guessing even Hershey's extra dark chocolate chips would work.
The first thing to note is that you need to plan ahead to make this ice cream. You'll make the mixture, and then chill it for 5-6 hours until it's cold before placing it into your ice cream maker. Once it's done you can eat immediately if you like, but for maximum chocolate enjoyment I'd recommend freezing in your freezer for another 3-4 hours before eating (if you can wait that long).
The other thing to note is that this recipe makes about 1 1/2 quarts, which is perfect for my small electric ice cream maker. If you want to go crazy and make this in a traditional four quart ice cream maker, plan on doubling (at least) and try not to think too hard about the fact that you'll be using an entire quart of cream and nearly a dozen eggs...
So, back to the recipe! Plan on about half an hour to make the ice cream mixture. You're going to start by heating 1 C of cream in a medium pot with the 4 heaping T of cocoa, whisking well.
When I started stirring mine clumped up into a scary looking mess (see below), but as the cream warmed up and I kept whisking it smoothed out nicely.
When your mixture starts to bubble around the edges, take it off the heat and add your dark chocolate chips. Wait a minute to let the chocolate get melty, then give it another good stir until it's creamy and delicious looking.
Add remaining cup of cream to pot, stir to combine, and then pour the contents into a medium sized non-metal bowl, scraping out the pot as well as you can.
Give your pot a quick rinse, then place it back on the stove and add the cup of milk, 1/2 cup of sugar and your salt. I used 1/4 t salt and it tasted great, but Angie recommends going up to 1/2 t if you'd like.
Mix this up and heat it over medium for a few minutes while you crack your egg yolks into another bowl. Now, see the little white bit of the egg that likes to hang on to the yolk in the picture below? Get rid of it. Try holding each yolk in one hand and pulling off the white stuff with the other. This will save you needing to strain this mixture before you add it to the chocolate.
Whisk the heck out of the egg yolks and then grab your pot with the milk/sugar/salt mixture. Keep whisking the eggs with one hand and slowly drizzle the warm milk into the bowl with the other hand, whisking the whole time. This will warm up the eggs slowly without cooking them, which is important because bits of cooked egg in your ice cream is pretty darn nasty.
Dump the whole thing back into your pot and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. You'll know it's thick enough when you can dip a metal spoon in it, then run your finger across the spoon and the line you draw stays visible, like this:
It only took two or three minutes to get to this point, so pay attention! Now you can pour this cooked egg mixture (you've made a custard!) into the bowl with your chocolate mixture. Add your vanilla, and stir it up...
...until it looks smooth and creamy and wonderful, like this:
Now for the hard part: cover it w/plastic wrap, letting the plastic touch the top of the mixture, put it in the back of your fridge, and WAIT. Five or six long hours should do it.
Then clean up the mess your baby has made while you've spent the past half hour making ice cream. Tell her it will be worth it, and once she's tried it, she'll agree.
Once it's completely cold, you can freeze in the ice cream maker of your choice. Like I mentioned before, I use my small one for this recipe, and save the big 4-quarter for Oreo ice cream in the summer. When I want to share. Which I really didn't, when it came to this stuff:
So completely wonderful. When it comes out of your ice cream maker it will be soft - pour it into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap touching the top again, and snap a lid on it. If you have the patience, freeze it for a few hours before serving, and then it will look just like the picture above.
I've got to say, a little really does go a long way with this ice cream. Which is a good thing, because my kids might have gotten a *very* little of it. Enjoy!