Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mexican chocolate or cookie dough ice cream

How can an ice cream be either Mexican chocolate or cookie dough, you ask? Well, I was going for a cookie-dough-less yet cookie-dough-flavored ice cream, with chunks of cookie-like things and chocolate-truffle-like things in a snickerdoodle-like base. But I put a wee dram too much cream in the chocolate, and added the chocolate to the ice cream when it was a wee bit too hot, so some of the chocolate melted into the ice cream base instead of hardening into discrete truffly chunks.

On first taste, I was a little disappointed--it tasted amazing, just quite differently amazing than how I planned. Then I realized it's actually a lot like Mexican chocolate, because the tingle of the cinnamon stick and the dark richness of the browned butter come through the light chocolate quite nicely, and the contents of my mouth made much more sense.

So err on the side of using 2 T cream in the truffles and waiting 15 minutes for it to cool for cookie dough ice cream, or 3 T cream and 10 minutes for Mexican chocolate ice cream. (And let me know if the suggested cookie dough method actually works.) Makes almost 4 cups.

2 T + 1 T salted butter
1.5 c half-and-half
1 cinnamon stick
2 egg yolks
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
4 T + 2-3 T heavy cream
1/2 c 1% milk
2 TJs cinnamon graham crackers
1/4 oats
4.5 oz (6 squares) dark chocolate

Put 2 T of the butter in a small or medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook for quite a few minutes until light brown. Add the cinnamon stick, turn the heat down to low, and cook for another couple minutes until golden brown or even a bit darker. Pour in a splash of the half-and-half, let it finish sizzling, then stir in the rest of the half-and-half. Keep over low heat to scald and infuse the half-and-half.

You have a few minutes before the half-and-half scalds, so use that time to separate the eggs and beat the sugar into the egg yolks until pale and barely grainy. When the half-and-half is ready, turn off the heat and scoop out the cinnamon stick. Add a few spoonfuls of the half-and-half to the egg mixture and stir to temper the eggs, then add about half of the half-and-half and stir. Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the half-and-half, put over low heat, and stir constantly for a few minutes until it thickens up (mine started fairly thick and got even thicker). Pour through a metal strainer into a bowl, and stir in the vanilla, 4 T cream, and milk. Cover and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

While you're waiting, make the chunks. For the "cookie" bits, grind together the graham crackers and the oats in the food processor until fine. Add 1 T butter and process until you can pinch it together into chunks; add a bit more butter if it seems too dry. Just before you're ready to churn the ice cream, combine the chocolate and 2-3 T cream in a small bowl, microwave for 30-40 seconds, and stir until smooth.

Pour the custard into the ice cream maker and start churning. After 10-15 minutes, glop in the chocolate truffle mix. Also around minute 15, pinch together bits of the "cookie crumbs" and drop them into the ice cream. Churn for another 5 minutes, scoop into a quart-sized tupperware, and freeze.

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