I’ve learned a few things about ice cream since I fell into my stir-freezing obsession. The first is that there’s never a bad batch of homemade ice cream. It might not be perfect but it’s always good. Knowing that, I started experimenting with different milk and cream mixtures to find the mix that works for me. My husband doesn’t mind the fat, so when I make ice cream specifically for him I generally use 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of 1% milk. Heavy cream adds a smoothness and a richness to the ice cream.
For me, though, I prefer eating light so I reduced the heavy cream to 1 cup and increased the milk to 3 cups. I’ve tried only using 1% milk and the resulting ice cream is a little on the icy side and hard to scoop. To reduce the fat further, I use 2 whole eggs instead of 4 egg yolks which is unnoticeable in the final product.
As promised, below are 10 simple steps to creating my favorite light chocolate ice cream. The chocolate is present but not overwhelming so it’s a perfect base for adding other flavors, such as roasted nuts or my all-time favorite – cinnamon. A note about the ingredients: I have a hard time finding dutch processed cocoa. When I finally did it was $13 a pound. The flavor is incredible but if you’re looking for a product that’s easier to find and a lot less costly try Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa. It’s a blend of natural and dutched cocoas and works well here. The regular cocoa powder doesn’t have a rich enough flavor for me. I use raw or amber agave in this ice cream because it adds intensity to the chocolate, as does the instant coffee.
Try my take on this or go ahead and experiment. Want a creamier finished product? Add more heavy cream or try whole milk. Do you love chunks in your ice cream? Add your favorite mix-in during the last few minutes of stir-freezing so they get incorporated but not obliterated. There is no end to the possibilities when you’re making ice cream.
- 3 cups 1% milk
- 1 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
- 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
- ¼ cup cocoa powder, dutch processed if available
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Prepare your liquid ingredients. Do this by combining milk and heavy cream in a large liquid measuring cup or spouted bowl. Put gelatin and arrowroot in separate, small bowls. Add about 3 tablespoons of milk to each and stir until combined. Set gelatin and arrowroot aside. Add half of remaining milk to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat over medium low heat.
- Add unsweetened baking chocolate and melt chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Once chocolate has melted, add remaining milk, gelatin, cocoa powder, and coffee. For Mexican Chocolate Variation, add cinnamon now.
- Heat until milk has scalded. Reduce heat to low, taking care not to boil.
- Get eggs ready to add to the milk. In this step, you beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl for 2 minutes, until light and airy. Add ½ cup agave nectar to eggs and continue to beat on medium for about one minute. Mixture will double in volume.
- Temper your eggs so that they don't scramble when you add them to the hot milk. This simple step involves adding 1/3 cup of scalded milk to egg mixture while whisking.
- Add the tempered eggs to the milk and whisk in arrowroot. Continue to whisk slowly until milk mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. To test, draw your finger across the back of the spoon. Mixture is done when it will hold a line without running. Remove from heat.
- Strain ice cream mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl using a fine mesh sieve. (Tip: I like to use spouted bowls to make it easier to pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker.) Cover and chill until mixture thickens, for a minimum 4 – 6 hours, and preferably overnight.
- Set up your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Remove ice cream base from refrigerator and whisk or stir with a large spoon until the mixture is smooth.
- Add ice cream base to ice cream maker. Stir freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
- When ice cream reaches the consistency you desire, (I always test it with a tasting spoon!) move to a chilled, freezer-safe container and let it harden for about 4 hours.