9.10.13 Deep, Dark & Delicious (& a Chocolate Giveaway!)
I confess to having made frozen treats more than a few times this summer. I blame Jeni, the ice cream temptress whose book, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home, lays bare the art of eggless ice cream. I made her backyard mint (with mint from the garden) and goat cheese with roasted sour cherries for ice cream sandwiches at our July barbecue; her eye-opening black coffee; her inspired sweet corn with blackberries; and I added fresh white peach puree to her classic vanilla bean for a summer favorite. I could not resist tinkering with her Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. By adding my own spin to the decadent blend of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and brewed coffee, I wound up with something I just have to share with you. It's sinful, in the best possible way.
Part of the reason that Jeni's ice creams are so smooth is that she really minimizes all possibilities for the formation of ice crystals. The milk and cream get boiled to remove water, and then cornstarch is added to absorb any additional water that might be lingering in the mixture. The addition of just a small quantity of corn or tapioca syrup and a few tablespoons of cream cheese ensure that satin texture.
For your chance to win 15 pieces of divine dark deliciousness from Sucré, just leave a comment by midnight on Sunday telling me about your favorite way to eat chocolate. I'll choose someone at random and announce the winner next week. Until then, consider making the ice cream.
Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
make 1 generous quart
- — 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- — 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- — 1/2 cup sugar
- — 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55%-70% cacao), finely chopped
- — 2 cups whole milk
- — 4 teaspoons cornstarch, or tapioca starch
- — 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- — 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- — 1 cup heavy cream
- — 1/2 cup sugar
- — 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, or tapioca syrup
- — 1 3-4" cinnamon stick
- — 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- — 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Combine the cocoa, coffee and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the syrup until smooth and set aside.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese, warm chocolate syrup and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon stick and cayenne in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until very smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as needed, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick before pouring the ice cream base into the frozen canister. Spin until thick and creamy. Just before the ice cream is done, tip in the cacao nibs so they will get stirred through.
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.