Usually we have a family birthday dinner for each family member here, at our house, but this year Thomas and Hannah invited us to their home for the celebration. All Thomas asked me to bring was some homemade dark chocolate ice cream. Easy and fun.
I have pinned a bunch of ice cream recipes that look so tempting but in the end I turned to my very favourite book of ice cream recipes jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer. Billed as "more than 100 addictively good artisanal recipes" I was hooked without a hope as soon as I saw the book - I mean 'addictive' and 'artisanal' and 'ice cream'?!! - I didn't have a chance. Having made a good start on testing the truth of the claim my advice is to buy the book. Anyway, I started with her recipe for The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. Totally promising and it delivered. Thomas declared it the best ice cream he has ever had. He may have just been polite but I thought it was pretty good too.
Of course, I had to tinker with the recipe somewhat so that Eden could indulge with the rest of the famille - all of us are better without refined-sugar and the ice cream was none-the-worse for the change. We are not coffee drinkers so I used a tiny bit of my precious store of "Postum" in place of the coffee called for. Sadly Postum is no longer available but if you can lay your hands on a bag of "Dandy Blend" (and don't want to use coffee for whatever reason) my bet is that it would be even better than the Postum substitute - the addition is subtle but important. I made a few other small changes because I felt like it. Use my adapted recipe or the original but you gotta try this - rich but not cloying - it is ice cream for adult palates.
Of course, it should go without saying but I'll point it out anyway, use the best cocoa and chocolate you can manage. It is worth it.
darkest chocolate ice cream
(adapted from jeni's splendid ice creams at home by Jeni Britton Bauer)
1/2 cup good quality cocoa (not dutch process)
1/2 cup water with 1 tsp Dandy Blend dissolved
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 10 oz can whole condensed milk
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
Start by making a chocolate syrup: combine the cocoa, coconut palm sugar and the Dandy Blend/water mixture in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, add the chopped chocolate and let stand for a few minutes. Stir until smooth and set aside.
Mix about 2 Tbsp of the condensed milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk the cream cheese and salt into the chocolate syrup.
Combine the remaining condensed milk, the coconut milk, cream, and honey in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Replace on heat and bring back to a boil, and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened - about 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Cool completely. Follow the directions particular to your ice cream maker. (I use a Cuisinart electric freezer and love it.) After churning, pack into a container and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm. About 4 hours.