*editor’s note: Constantly having to stare at mouthwatering, indulgent desserts on a computer screen is a tough job. And when that dessert happens to be the product of all my favorite flavors, it can feel like complete torture. Enter this beauty by Megan Giller: the undeniable marriage of chocolate and coffee, in the form of two decadent scoops of ice cream. As a chocolate expert and aficionado of the “bean to bar” movement, Megan shares the stories of different makers each month on Chocolate Noise, and today she joins us with a rich recipe fit for even the world’s biggest chocoholic. Take it away, Megan!
I’ve been thinking about chocolate a lot lately, not only because I’m writing about the best chocolate makers in America on Chocolate Noise but also because I seriously can’t go a day without eating some. And in the summer, that translates to ice cream! My giant gelato maker pretty much lives on my kitchen counter from May through August, mixing delicious ingredients nonstop. One thing I’ve learned? The better the chocolate, the better the ice cream.
One of my favorite wake-up-and-go chocolates is the coffee-and-chocolate bar from Askinosie Chocolate. The family company makes some of the best bean-to-bar chocolate around, and beyond that, they build schools, send textbooks, and get to know the cocoa farmers they work with around the world. Just recently I interviewed a cocoa farmer in Tanzania who was so poor that until he met owner Shawn Askinosie, he had never even tasted chocolate. They use Intelligentsia Coffee in their bar, because Intelligentsia also works directly with farmers to get some of the best coffee beans in the world. They’ve pretty much revolutionized the coffee industry with their ideas.
A few weeks ago, I asked the folks at another great artisan company, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, for an ice cream version of that chocolate bar. They came back with this recipe (excerpted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014 ), which marries chocolate and coffee together perfectly.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55% to 70% cacao), finely chopped
Ice Cream Base
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- For the chocolate syrup, 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. Set aside.
- For the ice cream base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese, warm chocolate syrup, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and 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 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 necessary, until cold, for about 30 minutes.
- Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of an ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy. 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.