Mmmm... chocolate. Lots and lots of dark chocolate + cream + sugar = sinful.
And be sure to take notice of this picture: Oh yes, in case you thought your eyes were deceiving you, I did make this ice cream in an ice cream maker. My ice cream maker. I know, I know, I said I would not purchase an ice cream maker. I lamented the cost, the lack of space in my kitchen, and most importantly, how dangerous it could be to have an appliance that makes ice cream. But lo and behold, when thrifting last month with my mom, I came across a brand new Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker, for the steal-of-a-deal price of only $10. I immediately decided I liked living dangerously and so I snatched it up.
Once I got the ice cream maker home, I did a little happy dance, and then made some standard vanilla ice cream using the recipe provided by Cuisinart. (Being a scientist, it's hard to fight the urge to go with a standard 'protocol' the first time you use something new.) The ice cream turned out alright as far as flavor goes, but I was just tickled pink with how awesome the ice cream maker was. I mean, I had done the work before to make homemade ice cream by hand, and I would do it again because it tastes so phenomenal; but, having a machine that will churn it for me makes the entire experience just that much better and quicker.
I think 'quicker' is the operative word, especially considering that I churned out not only one, but two, batches of ice cream for my Labor Day party this past weekend. The first one was absolutely-to-die-for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream from David Lebovitz (I would highly recommend that you give this recipe a try), and for the second, I got a little more adventurous and came up with my own recipe for Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.
And look at that... when I was all done incorporating the chocolate it was definitely dark. I used Dutch process cocoa to really bump up the chocolate factor, and I decided to add in a little vanilla and coffee to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. I also wanted to see how well the ice cream would turn out if I used some fat free milk combined with the cream. Since fat free milk would usually thin out the ice cream and make it less creamy, I thought this recipe would be a good chance to try it out since I was using a high level of 'solids' (ie. the chocolate and the cocoa powder).
And guess what? The recipe was a complete success! If it's possible, the ice cream turned out even better than I had hoped for. The taste was amazing, much like a thick, dark chocolate brownie, and with the perfect amount of sweetness. I think adding the instant coffee and the cocoa really gave it much more depth of flavor than I am used to having with chocolate ice cream.
And the best part? After 20 minutes in the ice cream maker, this deliciousness was completely and perfectly frozen (see picture below). This is a bonus, even when using an ice cream maker, since most recipes don't have any 'solids' and so the semi-frozen mixture will still need to spend an extra hour or so in the freezer to get the right consistency. What does this mean to all you home-cooks that don't have an ice cream maker (which was me, about a month ago)? That you can definitely make this recipe too, and although you will still have to spend some time pulling your ice cream out of the freezer to churn it by hand, that time will be significantly less. Which means you can enjoy this dense, creamy, chocolately indulgence even sooner.
Dense, Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
I used Hershey's Dark chocolate for this recipe, which is not the darkest you can find, but also not milk chocolate. If you want to go 'darker' with your chocolate content, adjust the recipe accordingly by adding a bit more sugar. Also, think about experimenting with different chocolate flavors or candy mix-ins; World Market has some really great chocolate varieties that are pretty inexpensive (Chipotle Chili is great!) that could spice up a basic chocolate ice cream like this one.
1 cup fat free milk
2 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
2/3 cup sugar
5-6 ounces dark chocolate (I used Hershey's Dark), chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place the fat free milk in a medium bowl (enough to easily hold 3 cups liquid), and place a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk two egg yolks. Set both bowls aside.
In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and sugar. Whisk well to evenly incorporate solids, and then heat over medium-high heat until it just boils. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the chocolate in three additions, making sure that all the chocolate pieces are dissolved before continuing. Next, use a soup ladle or large spoon to transfer a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to the small bowl with the egg yolks; add the hot liquid all at once to the yolks, whisking the yolks constantly. Then transfer the entire contents of the small bowl back into the saucepan and return to medium-high heat. Heat the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly, until the liquid begins to thicken slightly. Remove the pan from the heat.
Strain the chocolate mixture through the fine mesh sieve and into the medium bowl that already contains the fat free milk. (The sieve catches any egg pieces that might have 'cooked,' so if you don't have a sieve or don't care about if you have some egg in your ice cream, just skip this and add the hot chocolate liquid directly to the milk.) Finally, stir in the vanilla until everything is smooth, and then transfer the bowl to the fridge to let it cool completely (about 3 hours).