Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

After our spectacularly successful first batch of home made vanilla ice cream, it was time to appease the masses and give chocolate ice cream a go.

Rather than mess with a good thing, I used the previously successful vanilla ice cream recipe as a starting point, and experimented until the flavors seemed right.

Serious Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream
(with apologies to Alton Brown)
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Nestle's)
2 tablespoons seedless strawberry jam
2 tablespoons malted milk powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Torani hazelnut syrup

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer before serving (takes 8 hours in our freezer).

NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil

I used vanilla extract since I wasn't sure how much vanilla would be enough/too much for the mix. For next time, I think I'll go back to using a full vanilla bean. If it works out, I'll update the recipe.

I substituted seedless strawberry jam for the peach preserves to avoid the dreaded "chunks of peach" problem that got me in trouble with my daughters last time, and because I thought the taste of strawberry would complement the chocolate better. Got it right on both counts, but I think it could use a little more acidity from more jam.

I am a sucker for malt flavor in ice cream, so I snuck some in this time. I think I can get away with a lot more next time (very subtle...added depth without slapping you upside your head)

We're a Nutella household, so our kids are already used to the wonder of chocolate with hazelnut flavor, so adding the Torani hazelnut syrup was a no brainer, and really added a nice depth to the flavors.

This batch turned out extremely well (my 5 year old even gave me a medal for being the best ice cream maker, declaring it a "Top 10" ice cream moment). Nice balance of flavor that jumped out at you.

With the first batch under my belt, this one was embarrassingly easy to churn out (ouch). Took about 10 minutes the night before to get the mix made (including all the experimenting to get the balance right), next morning poor it in and get the mixer going while eating breakfast. By the time you're done with your tea, ready to go to the freezer, and the kids get to fight over the ice cream beater for dessert.

For the next time, I think I'll back off on the sugar (like the vanilla, this recipe is extremely sweet). The flavors are strong enough that it can take a lot more malt flavor and a real vanilla bean. The girls still insist on crumbled Oreo cones on the chocolate hazelnut ice cream, but I prefer a traditional sugar cone.

Next time: coffee ice cream!


Dave Anderson said...

How the heck do you stay so thin?

Ray Ghanbari said...

Positive mental attitude, and running 25 miles a week ;-)