We wanted ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but a deep, dark chocolate ice cream with an unbelievable creaminess. The kind of ice cream that you just can’t get at a store (no one would pay enough to make it profitable) or even at an ice cream stand, so we knew that we’d just have to make it up ourselves. Originally, we were going to use a recipe from an ice cream recipe book we’d just returned to the library, but we noticed the amount of sugar — 1 3/4 cups for a quart of ice cream. Can you say teeth-jarring, hyperactivity-inducing, sweet?
We compared that to our Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream and found that it used only 1/2 cup of sugar for a quart. Ah, much better to let the chocolate flavor come through. And, while we thought of making that ice cream again, we really wanted to boost the amount of chocolate, add a few toasted almonds, and boost the creaminess, so we came up with this version.
This is ice cream. Real ice cream. No skimping on the quality here. That means real heavy cream, real chocolate (we use Callibaut for the 72% cacao bittersweet), and a good cocoa (we use Valrhona — it’s super dark). So why dutch-processed? Dutch-processed cocoa is processed with alkali to remove the bitterness, meaning it’ll add a lot of chocolate flavor without needing a bunch of sugar to mask the bitterness. Vanilla, there’s only real vanilla extract — accept no substitutes. And, of course, we use real free range eggs from happy hens that forage on the goodness of grass and bugs.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside. Try not to eat until they’re in the ice cream.
Melt chocolates. Combine milk, cream, unsweetened chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Use a large pan because you’ll use that to cook the custard later. Stir and heat until the chocolate melts, then remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk sugar, cocoa, and egg yolks. In large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the sugar and cocoa and whisk together. The mixture is very stiff at first, but it’ll get easier to whisk as the sugar dissolves; just keep at it, but not long enough to let the chocolate mixture cool.
Temper eggs. If possible, get a helper. It makes things go more smoothly. While one person is whisking, the other should slowly drizzle in the hot chocolate mixture. You can even add it a spoonful at a time at first, increasing the amount added as you go. Once you’ve added most of the hot chocolate mixture, pour it back into the pan.
Cook custard. Place the custard over medium heat and cook, whisking continuously, until the custard has thickened. If you have a thermometer — which makes this easier — cook until the custard is about 175°F. Remove from heat.
Stir in cream, vanilla, and salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the cream, vanilla, and salt. To make it easy, we combined these in a measuring cup with a pour spout. Once everything is mixed, pour the custard into a clean bowl, preferably with a pour spout.
Chill. Cover the custard and refrigerate until completely cold, at least eight hours but preferably overnight. Feel free to stir the custard while it chills. If you happen to lick off the spoon, well, that’s what you have to do.
Churn. Set up your ice cream freezer and churn according to the manufacturer’s direction until frozen. The custard was so thick that our freezer bowl pulled slightly loose from the stand mixer, and the dasher got stuck in place. No worries, as a heavy spoon came to the rescue and we finished the churning by hand.
Fold. Fold in the almonds (we didn’t forget or eat them all) and either serve, or freeze completely.
Wow! This is the best chocolate ice cream we’ve ever had! Really. It’s super chocolatey, super creamy, and the toasted almonds just put it over the top. It’s the ice cream by which all others will be judged (and most likely fail), and it shows why we’re committed to scratchin’ as much of our food as we can. By using better ingredients and not cutting corners, we find that we can make a far, far better product for about the same amount of money as the commercial brands. And we think that’s well worth the effort. Five stars.