Early in the summer I tried Cuisinart’s recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and have been tweaking it ever since. I think I’ve got it about right now, so I’m ready to share my version.
This ice cream so good that it makes me emit all manner of impolite noises of pleasure, in large part because it is so very, very dark. This is not an ice cream for those who like sweet, delicate things; it smacks you into next Tuesday with its delectable, rich flavour and creamy, luscious texture. It evokes all that is good in the world, but when it’s gone you’re left feeling empty, questioning the purpose of your very existence until you can get some more.
In short, this is what Wolverine would be if he was an ice cream. Oh yeah. I went there.
This is a custard-based ice cream, meaning it has eggs in it and requires cooking. As a result, the first stage yields what is basically a pudding, which can be eaten as is (and you’re probably not quite right in the head if you don’t at least lick the spatula after scraping it out of the pot, and then scrape desperately for the last vestiges and lick those too).
However, the “pudding” is so thick in the original recipe that my Cuisinart ice cream maker actually choked on the first attempt. Plus it produced way too much for my 2-quart home machine, but to be fair, the original recipe does appear to be for their commercial size maker. Check out what happened the first time I tried making it, even leaving about a third aside since I could tell it’d overflow if I put it all in:
The core was completely frozen for several days, so that was not the problem. The machine actually got stuck and started to jump its own turning mechanism because of how thick this stuff is. Unless you have a commercial Cuisinart ice cream maker (and feel free to call me over if you do) it needs thinning, and it needs to be done in two batches with the core re-frozen completely in between.
I added some more whole milk to this batch and tried again with just half of the custard. Here’s a photo of my daughter sampling it, complete with an m&m on the top:
Here are a couple of scoops on a cone so you can see just how dark this stuff is:
And just in case you doubt that this ice cream is Wolverine-like, check out what those scoops looked like a few minutes later:
If you can’t see the resemblance, you’re not
licking looking hard enough.
Here’s the tweaked recipe, which I also made darker than the original, because I can.
Dark’n’Angsty Ice Cream of Wolverine-esque Goodness
UPDATE: I have also made this halved to not have to deal with so much in one go, and it worked just fine. I still used one whole vanilla bean.
2 cups whole milk (plus an additional 2 cups later)
3 cups heavy cream (this is one 8 oz container plus one 16 oz container for those who, like me, are Imperial-measurement-math challenged)
1 vanilla bean
1 cup granulated sugar (this is less than the original, plus I slightly under-fill my cup measure to make it even less sweet)
1 1/4 cups cocoa (original recipe says Dutch process, I typically use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa which is a blend of Dutch and regular)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks (tip: you can freeze the whites for another recipe like bran muffins later)
12 oz bittersweet chocolate (that’s three of the flat baking bars, I like Ghiradelli’s 70% bittersweet)
2 tsp vanilla extract (original recipe says pure, I use fake because of my no-alcohol thing)
Two days before you start, put your ice cream maker’s core in the freezer.
Combine the milk and cream in a large saucepan (my 2qt saucepan is just barely big enough).
Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds with the blunt side, and put the seeds and bean chunks into the cream mixture. I say chunks because I have never managed to split a bean without it breaking in at least two places.
Heat over low heat until it begins to simmer, then continue to simmer for 30 more minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to fish out the chunks of vanilla bean and discard them (the original recipe says you can wash the bean and use it for some other purpose but have doubts that it’ll get dry enough again).
Combine the sugar, cocoa, eggs, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl (the original recipe says to use a hand mixer but I don’t have one so I use our Kitchenaid with my BeaterBlade). Combine on low speed, then beat for a minute or so until very thick and creamy.
Measure out 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into a heat-proof vessel with a pouring spout (I like my Pyrex 2 cup measure for this, which will be on hand anyway since I use it to measure the milk in the first place). With the mixer on low speed, slowly but continuously pour that cup into the egg mixture until it’s completely combined. This is important: it tempers the eggs so they don’t curdle when you add them to the hot pot later.
Chop or break up the chocolate bars. I buy the thin baking bars so I can easily break them up while the package is still sealed. Add them to the hot pot and stir until they’re melted.
Stir the egg mixture into the hot pot. Cook the whole thing over low heat, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until it thickens to the consistency of thick pudding.
Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the vanilla. Stir to combine, then lay some plastic wrap right on top of the custard (or else it’ll form a skin). Cover the bowl. I like to use one of our steel bowls with fitted plastic lids for this.
Put the bowl in the fridge for at least a few hours until it firms up. Take half out and put into another bowl, then mix an additional cup of whole milk into each half as thoroughly as you can (you don’t have to worry about it being perfectly smooth). Then re-cover both surfaces with plastic and chill for at least 24 hours. It is vitally important that the pudding be completely cool before you try to make the ice cream. It is also vitally important that you periodically check the temperature by sneaking in there with a clean spoon to remove a bit for sampling. Yes. Go with it.
A bit before starting the next step, put one of the custard bowls in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.
Get everything else set up before you get the core or bowl out of the freezer: your machine, a spatula, a spoon to catch any stray dribbles that you absolutely must
lick clean up, etc. When everything is ready, quickly remove the bowl and set it on the counter. Then quickly remove the core and put it in the machine and start it going according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then quickly scrape in the custard. Then quickly lick your spatula. No wait, you can do that last part really slowly if you want, and moan a lot. Yeah.
In my machine, the ice cream is ready at a soft-serve consistency in about 15-20 minutes. You don’t want to let it go too long or it’ll just start to melt. If you have a problem and it doesn’t work out, you can re-chill everything and do it again. Or just eat it. Or both.
Re-chill the core for at least another 24-48 hours until 100% solid inside again, and repeat the steps with the other half of the custard.
Eat while watching your favourite X-Men movie (or other hot guy/girl/beast flick of your choice), reading your favourite romance novel (may I suggest this one?), or whatever else turns the crank of your ice cream maker.
PS For those who think I’m obsessed with Wolverine, I don’t have the foggiest notion of what you’re on about.