Last week I promised that I’d post the chocolate ice cream recipe I used to make my Fig Bars. I wasn’t quite ready to share it. I like flavor and chunks in my ice cream. Dark chocolate is good, but dark chocolate layered with rich flavors is even better.
When I first started playing with this ice cream recipe several weeks ago, I was curious as to how much difference the type of chocolate used would impact the flavor. I made three different batches, each identical except the brand of chocolate – Baker’s, Ghriadelli, and Dagoba. My husband and I did a taste test. He liked the Ghiradelli batch the best because it was the sweetest. For me, Dagoba produced the richest and deepest flavor. Good flavor is more important than sweetness. The batch I made with Baker’s chocolate is still sitting in the freezer with only two tiny spoonfuls missing.
The chocolate issue was settled. Knowing that a few good, simple ingredients can turn an ordinary dish into something special, I started pondering which direction to go with the ice cream. I was in the mood for something decadent. Orange and roasted walnut seemed to be the solution. I first had orange and chocolate together 13 years ago, and quite honestly, was a little scared to try it. It seemed so counterintuitive at the time. Somehow, though, the two flavors want to be together. Walnuts add a little more complexity and just the right amount of texture.
The dark chocolate ice cream recipe, inspired by Ben & Jerry’s, is below followed by modifications for the variation. A note about the cocoa powder: I use Valhrona, which is dutch-processed. If you can’t find dutch-processed cocoa powder, Hershey’s makes a dutch-processeed blend called Special Dark which has a much richer flavor than regular unsweetened cocoa.
- 2 ounces good quality unsweetened dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 ½ cup 1% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon frozen, unsweetened orange juice concentrate
- 1 cup toasted, roughly chopped walnuts
- Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa. It will clump together. This is okay. Just start to add a little milk, and continue whisking.
- Once all of the cocoa is incorporated, add the remaining milk, vanilla, and coffee. Continue to heat and whisk until completely blended.
- Pour mixture into a medium sized sauce pan and put on medium-low heat. Stir in heavy cream.
- Whisk eggs in a medium-sized bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add agave and continue mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
- Temper eggs by adding 1/3 cup of warm milk mixture to eggs while whisking. Pour egg mix into chocolate mix and cook until ice cream base has thickened and will hold a line when you draw your finger through the back of a metal spoon. It should temp at 160 degrees.
- Strain mixture into a bowl. Cover mix by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream base – this prevents it from forming a skin. Chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Stir-freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.
- To toast walnuts, simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees .Put walnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan. (I always line my pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.) Roast for 5 – 8 minutes until walnuts are fragrant and have a rich flavor. I take them out when they are almost finished – they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven.
- To infuse the ice cream, add the orange zest & the frozen orange juice concentrate when you add the remaining milk, vanilla, and coffee.
- Add the walnuts during the last few minutes of stir freezing.