Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dreamy Chocolate Ice Cream With Camino Espresso Chocolate Bits

Chocolate Ice Cream

You can't see the chocolate bits because they are all hidden in that delicious creamy scoop.

Some time ago Kevin went on a field trip and while they waited at the ferry terminal, he wandered into a Baskin Robbins. All the other kids were drooling over the ice cream, but he explained to me later, "Mom. You have made the best chocolate ice cream in the universe-I'm so spoiled I can't even imagine eating something else."

This ice cream is hands down the very best chocolate ice cream I have ever eaten. Creamy, incredibly rich, it is the epitome of delicious ice cream. The best part is there are no weird additives or things you can't pronounce, but rather just amazing ingredients that come together to make something decadent. Kevin and I were inspired to stir in a chopped Camino Espresso chocolate bar, thinking that the coffee flavor in the chocolate would be a nice contrast and it was. The coffee flavor was very mild against the chocolate, but still there as an after note. If coffee and chocolate aren't your style, try the 70% dark chocolate bar, which would add a bit of texture and tasty chocolate bits.

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream (I used whipping cream)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (in Canada, Fry's is good)
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used Baker's bittersweet)
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 Camino espresso dark chocolate bar, chopped into tiny pieces about the size of chocolate chips. (or other high quality chocolate if you don't have Camino where you are)

Using a saucepan over medium low heat, warm up 1 cup of the whipping cream and whisk with the cocoa until it's blended together. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and whisking constantly, allow to boil gently for 30 seconds before removing from the heat.

Stir in the chopped chocolate until nice and smooth, then add the remaining 1 cup of cream.Pour the chocolate and cream mixture into a large bowl, scraping every last bit out that you can. Resist the urge to lick the spatula. Okay, don't. Go ahead. I sure did.

Using the same saucepan, heat up the milk, sugar, and salt. Stir constantly with a heatproof spatula. Now here is where I find my large glass pyrex mixing cup to be invaluable. You can use a bowl, but I find the measuring cup makes it so much easier to pour and handle.

Put your egg yolks in the bowl/measuring cup and whisk. Now take your warmed milk/sugar mixture and dribble a bit into the eggs, a tiny bit at a time, whisking all the while. You don't want the eggs to cook on you and make scrambled eggs. Keep dribbling in the warm milk and whisking away, bit by bit, until all the milk is mixed in and everything is happy. Then pour that mixture right back into the pot.

Stir the milk/egg mixture over medium low heat constantly (and I mean constantly), until it thickens up and coats the spatula. The original recipe said that you want the temperature of the mixture to get to 170 F, so I dug out my candy thermometer and double checked the heat. Once it is hot enough, pour the milk/egg custard into the sieve over the bowl of whipping cream and chocolate you have set aside.

The sieve will catch and bits of egg that cooked while you were whisking it and adding the hot milk. Add the vanilla and stir everything all together, then cover the custard by laying a piece of cling wrap right on the surface and up the sides of the bowl. You don't want to have some rubbery skin forming on the top.

Chill the custard overnight. Okay, you don't have to chill it THAT long, but in my ice cream making experience, the custard seems to turn out far more creamy if you do that. I have no idea why. When you are ready to make the ice cream, remove the cling film and whisk the custard for a few minutes to thin it out. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions for about 25 minutes until it is thick, creamy, and frozen. In the last five minutes, add the bits of the Camino espresso chocolate bar.

Scoop into an airtight container and put in the freezer so the ice cream can harden up, as it will be a bit soft. To make it easier to scoop later, just take the container out and let it sit on the counter for a couple of minutes.
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