Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
For the past few years, (in our ice cream churning prime) whenever my husband and I would arrive at a family dinner, everyone would say, “So… did you bring ice cream?” We have hauled frozen tubs of ice cream to a family cabin in the hot hills of Washington and packed our ice cream machine in between beach towels and bike helmets bound for Sunriver.
Unfortunately, we have been totally slacking off in that department lately. We show up, people look past us for a cooler. Nothing. We need to pull it together because compared to homemade ice cream, we really are a disappointment. It’s kind of like when you have an adorable brand new baby. Nobody wants to see you. They want to get their hands on that sweet, squishy deliciousness. Babies, ice cream. One scoop, and you will see why.
This homemade chocolate ice cream recipe is perfection, if I do say so myself. We tested a bunch, and this one, originally from Alton Brown, was the easy winner. The texture is smooth and silky, kind of like frozen chocolate mousse. And the flavor is a rich explosion of chocolate goodness.
In fact, right after I typed that, I convinced myself to have a generous scoop. And it’s almost midnight. I’m not kidding, and it was totally worth it.
Once you have the basic recipe down, you can add additional ingredients: chocolate chunks, nuts, marshmallows, whatever you want! Between the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe and this one, we rarely make anything else. They are both versatile and consistently delicious.
One glance at the ingredient list, and you’ll notice this isn’t exactly diet food. Then again, if you are looking to lose weight by eating ice cream, we might need to talk. But I’m an everything-in-moderation kind of girl, and if I’m going to splurge, it better be on something worth it.
I like Michael Pollan’s take on it from his book, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (Amazon). He says, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” The idea being, of course, that it will keep junk food squarely in the rare treat category. In a New York Times interview, Pollan went on to say,
“One of our problems is that foods that are labor or money intensive have gotten very cheap and easy to procure. French fries are a great example. They are a tremendous pain to make. Wash the potatoes, fry potatoes, get rid of the oil, clean up the mess. If you made them yourself you’d have them about once a month, and that’s probably about right. The fact that labor has been removed from special occasion food has made us treat it as everyday food. One way to curb that and still enjoy those foods is to make them.”
Makes sense, right? Now go make your own ice cream!
Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
*adapted from an Alton Brown recipe
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 c. half-and-half
1 c. heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
- Place the cocoa powder and 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks for about a minute. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine.
- Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat.
- Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches 175-degrees.
- Pour the mixture into a container and keep it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
- Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately for soft serve or freeze another 4-8 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.
We have used a bucket-style ice cream maker very similar to this Nostalgia Electric Ice Cream Maker (Amazon) for the past seven years. It has worked great and lasted far longer than I expected for such a low price point. This model has received high reviews and sells for less than $35. Great deal!
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