Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream

If you love ice cream and have never had homemade, I really suggest that you invest in your very own ice cream maker.  I am honestly rather skeptical when people wax poetic about how much better homemade everything is because that often simply is not the case much for many things.  Homemade salsa?  Yum, definitely better than the jar!  Homemade bagels?  Good maybe, but difficult to make as well as a great bagel bakery, plus they take a ton of time and effort.  I'd rather leave the bagel making to the professionals.  However, ice cream is one of those things that really IS better when made at home.  As much as I love Ben and Jerry's, it doesn't compare to fresh, homemade ice cream.

When I was growing up, we had a hand crank one and every once in a while made a batch, which was of course a ton of fun for a little kid.  Then when I was in high school, was having a big sale on Cuisinart ice cream makers and I convinced my mom that it was time for an upgrade.  Her favorite food is ice cream so not much convincing was necessary!  I can't remember ever having a batch turn out poorly.  I made regular flavors like chocolate, but also coconut cream ice cream and kiwi sorbet.  You can even use an ice cream maker to make slushies using any liquid.  7Up with a bit of coconut extract added is my favorite!  Sadly, I hadn't made any ice cream since I moved out of my mom's house 7 years ago as she was unwilling to part with it, but my husband's parents gave us a Cuisinart ice cream maker just like the one my mom has.  Our ice cream maker is great and I highly recommend it, though there's a new model out that comes in all manner of beautiful colors.

For the first recipe in our ice cream maker, I decided to go with good ol' chocolate since my husband is a complete chocolate fiend.  I slightly altered this recipe I found on AllRecipes- added more chocolate and strained the mixture to make completely sure the finished product wouldn't have lumps- and it is just perfect.  Creamy, rich, deep flavor, and chocolaty but not overwhelmingly so.  The vanilla adds a wonderful touch.  It is quite easy to make, too, so a great recipe if you've never made ice cream before!  You can either serve it fresh from the ice cream maker, in which case the texture will be more like soft serve (which is how I prefer it!):

Or you can scoop the ice cream into a container and freeze it for a few hours until it's firmer and scoop it up then (how my husband preferred it):

Either way, you can't go wrong with this recipe!  We will definitely have it again and I am really looking forward to experimenting with new recipes.  Up next will be either cake batter ice cream (again, for my husband), cherry ice cream, ginger ice cream, or mint cookies and cream ice cream.  So many choices!

Chocolate Ice Cream

3 egg yolks
3/4 C sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1 C milk
3 oz (by weight) semisweet chocolate chips
2 C heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract

Beat egg yolks with a fork in a 1 C measuring cup, set aside.  In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Whisk in milk.  Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer.  Remove from heat and quickly whisk about a tablespoon of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Once incorporated, whisk in another tablespoon, then another, then start whisking in slightly large additions.  Continue until you have 3/4 C of egg yolk mixture.  Briskly whisk egg yolk mixture back into pan.  Return to stove and heat over medium low, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened- about 2 minutes.  Don't let the mixture boil.  Remove pan from heat and set aside for a minute so it can cool slightly, then whisk in the chocolate chips.  Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours.  When you're ready to make the ice cream, whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.  Freeze mixture according to the directions for your ice cream machine.

Yield: 6 servings

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