My young friend Audrey and I have many things in common. We both like to dress up with pretty aprons. We are both excruciatingly accurate with water guns in a swimming pool. We would both rather read a book than do anything too physically strenuous (water fights excepted). And we both have a serious love for rich chocolate desserts and pretty much any homemade ice cream. So when Audrey (age almost 15) suggested that we make chocolate ice cream, I was all over it. The credit for this recipe goes to Audrey, who has been making it for her family with great results. My own meager contributions were to include some salt and instant coffee (both intensify the chocolate taste), and vanilla to help deepen the overall flavor of the ice cream. The ice cream is rich, creamy, smooth, and super chocolate-y.
4 oz 60% baking chocolate
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups milk
2 cups cream
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3 egg yolks, whisked
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Melt chocolate in a double boiler (you can use a makeshift double boiler by placing a metal bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water, just don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). When melted, transfer to a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, turn heat to medium low and add the boiling water, cocoa powder and half of the sugar. Whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Remove from heat.
2 Add the milk, 1 cup of the cream, remaining sugar, instant coffee (if using), and the salt to the chocolate base, and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated, then use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. When the chocolate base is smooth, turn heat to medium high, stirring occasionally, wait until the base starts to steam. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Once the chocolate base has heated to point of being steamy, temper the eggs by slowly pouring some of the hot base into the eggs while whisking the eggs vigorously to prevent them from cooking. Once you've incorporated about half of the base with the eggs, pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the chocolate base and stir to combine.
3 Turn heat to medium, and heat the base until it reaches 170°F. At this point the base will have thickened slightly and will just be getting steamy again. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining cup of cold cream, to prevent further cooking. Pour the chocolate base through a mesh strainer in to a bowl to strain out any solids or curds, and place bowl in an ice bath to speed up the chilling. Stir in the vanilla.
4 Chill ice cream base for several hours, preferably overnight, until completely chilled. (To speed up this process you can put the ice cream base, still in its bowl in the ice bath, in the freezer for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.) Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you like soft ice cream, eat immediately. Otherwise put it in the freezer for a couple hours to firm up. Note that the ice cream may be quite hard when you first take it out of the freezer, so you may want to let it sit for a few minutes to soften before trying to scoop.