Saturday, July 10, 2010

It All Started with Marshmallows : Vanilla Bean Chocolate Ice Cream


It all started with smitten's marshmallows. You see, I've always meant to, always wanted to, try my hand at homemade marshmallows. Every winter I dream of large hot cups of homemade cocoa, topped with large spongey squares of homemade mallows. And each summer I ponder on how lovely it would be to sit around the fire roasting marshmallows I made. 

Well, this year was it. Fourth of July rolled around, and a party was to be hosted at my house. . .



For dessert I first considered shortcakes piled high with whipped cream and cascades of fresh berries. Red white and blue. I also toyed with the idea of a lovely large white layer cake, stacked high, also filled with a variety of fresh red and blue berries. But no. This year was the year of the homemade s'more. I was partly fueled by the fact that a few months ago the daring bakers challenged us to make homemade graham crackers for our nanaimo bar crust. I ended up loving the graham crackers, which was a surprise to me because I'm an avid hater of the store bought crackers. Homemade are nothing like the dry cardboard you buy at the store. They're soft, crunchy, sweet, dark, and molasses laden. Much different, and much, much better. So whip up marshmallows, bake sheets graham crackers, and buy yourself some damn fine chocolate. Viola, a dessert that's sheer summer perfection, and delights guests to no end. 

Regardless of how irresistible gooey, sticky homemade s'mores are, they're quite rich. Two per person, max. Unless you dare go into sugar shock. 

So, July 5th rolled around and I surveyed my leftovers.


What to do? What to do?

With July 5th came the heat. Believe it or not, the first summer weather we've experienced here at the tip of the Northwest this year. 4th of July we were lucky to break 60 degrees. 5th of July rolled around and we were up to the 80's. So, what's a girl to do with all these leftover treats, stacks of marshmallows, piles of crackers. . . . and a lone jug of local Twinbrooks chocolate milk. . .  


A-ha! That's it! S'more ice cream! Genius I thought. So, I toasted up marshmallows, smashed crackers, and set to turn David Lebovits' incredible vanilla ice cream into chocolate. Sure, I could use his chocolate ice cream recipe, but, why make it that easy on myself? I wanted to experiment a little. 


Regardless of it being so hot that I had to use two cold bowls to churn it. Or the fact that as soon as I got it into a bowl to photograph it turned into a dark chocolatey puddle in a matter of seconds. . . it was the best chocolate ice cream I've ever tasted. Smooth. Not too rich, or dark. Creamy. Sweet. Chilled chocolate heaven in ice cream form. It was so good in fact, that I absolutely could not bring myself to add the toasted marshmallows, graham crackers, or chunks of chocolate. This ice cream needed to remain pure. I swear the ice cream spoke to me. It didn't want all that other stuff churned up with it. I did keep the vanilla bean from the original recipe, because come one, chocolate and vanilla bean, well they're just meant to be.

I must've made the right call because this batch didn't last long in our freezer. After a day, maybe two of 85+ degree weather, it was long gone.


So, here it is. The adapted vanilla into chocolate ice cream recipe, that worked out oh-so well for this girl. It all started with marshmallows, but ended up pure chocolate ice cream. And I'm ok with that.

Heavenly Vanilla Bean Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients: 

1 cup of incredible chocolate milk (seek out the 'good' stuff folks, no darigold here!)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar (because the chocolate milk has added sugar)
1 vanilla bean split, beans scraped into milk
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream w/ 1/2 cup of chocolate milk added (totaling 2 cups liquid) NOTE: you could use two cups of heavy cream, I was just 1/2 cup shy so I substituted with additional chocolate milk
2 Tablespoons unsweetened powdered cocoa 

Directions: 

1. Heat chocolate milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Place split vanilla bean and scraped beans into the saucepan. Set over low/medium heat. 
2. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl, then add a bit of the warmed chocolate milk liquid, whisking continuously. Pour the warmed yolks into the saucepan with the milk and vanilla bean. 
3. Cook mixture over low heat stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat resistant spatula, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula.
4. As mixture cooks place your heavy cream/chocolate milk/and cocoa powder into a large bowl, whisking gently to combine.
5. Strain custard into heavy cream. Rinse vanilla bean and place it back into the custard/cream mixture. Chill mixture thoroughly (I chilled mine about 7 hours). Remove vanilla bean. 
6. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.