Friday, October 12, 2007

Ice cream Experiment #2 - As seen on TV

Ever since seeing last year's Haagen-Dazs flavor search, I had been intrigued by one of the early eliminees: mocha malt ball. It never had a chance really, not with those malt balls, but I'm surprised Ben and Jerry's didn't throw the creator a few bucks and bring it out themselves. But since they didn't, it was up to me.

There are lots of coffee ice cream recipes out on the Web, but surprisingly few recipes for mocha. Of the ones I found, I settled on this. It's from Emeril so it's not going to work as written, but I was planning on some alteration anyway. While looking around for flavors to try out, I had been reading the 2005 series of ice cream posts at the Haverchuk food blog where he suggested infusing coffee ice cream instead of using instant coffee powder. That ended up working pretty well. The real problem was with using all cream and melted chocolate. It's the only ice cream I've made where the mix solidified in the refrigerator before churning. It would have made a fine mousse served as is (and I may well repurpose the recipe just that way), but it made a really small batch and the texture was a bit weird when it was frozen.

The next decision was the malt balls. the fancy malt balls from the gourmet grocery tend to have far too high a chocolate to malt ratio, but at least they've got real chocolate and not just a chocolatey coating like Whoppers do. I suspect the difference would be hard to tell when they're frozen, but since I wasn't going to use the whole bagful in the ice cream, I got the fancy sort. I used too much for the amount of ice cream I had, but it was popular anyway. I thought it could use some improvement, so here's the recipe as I would make it today:



* 3/4 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/4 cup (Dutch process dissolves more easily and has a better color, but tastes about the same as the regular sort)
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 cup milk
* 4 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup Splenda/sugar blend (Splenda loses it's chemical off-flavor when frozen so it's just fine to use in ice cream)
* 6 T medium roast coffee beans, ground mediumly
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup unevenly crushed malt balls with some large chunks, many small pieces and a fair bit of malt dust (freeze them, put them in a plastic bag and whack'em with a mallet)

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Stir in coffee, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until they loosen up and change to a brighter yellow color. Gradually whisk in Splenda blend until fully incorporated.

Strain out coffee beans from cream and whisk in the cocoa. Add 1/2 cup of the cream to the egg mixture. Whisk well. Add another 1/2 cup and whisk again. Pour the egg mixture back to the cream and stir well. Return to heat, turning heat to medium-low. Bring mixture to 170 degrees F, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan frequently using a heat-proof rubber spatula. Check temperature frequently using an instant-read thermometer. The moment it hits 170 degrees, remove from heat, stir and scrape one final time and pour into a plastic container. Do not strain unless the temperature got a little too high and your custard turned into scrambled eggs.

Cover loosely and let sit on counter for a half hour. Seal the container and place in the back of your bottom refrigerator shelf for at least four hours.

Churn and freeze according to your ice cream machine instructions. When the mixture has thickened almost to the point of stalling the machine add the malt balls and allow the churn to mix them in. Transfer back to the container, seal and place in your freezer overnight to ripen.

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