Monday, November 16, 2009

Mocha ice cream with malt balls and warm caramel sauce

Sorry about that last post. I really should know better to try such things and just stick to recipes.

This particular recipe is a remake of one of the first ice creams I made when I got my churn a couple years ago. I've updated it into the Britton style, tweaked it a little and added the caramel which I though would go well with the other flavors.

I started by coarsely grinding 12 Tablespoons of coffee beans. Which was a mistake, I think. I added them to 1 1/2 cups cream and 1 1/2 cups milk, brought the mix to a boil, simmered for a few minutes to cook down the dairy a little, turned off the heat, covered and let steep for 10 minutes. That nicely infused the flavor, but the grounds grabbed on to a lot of the milk solids and I ended up mashing them in a sieve to try to get all the good stuff out. Kind of a pain, not terribly effective and some grounds make it through and back into the pot. Since the ice cream was going to be gritty from the maltballs anyway, I thought it would fly, but if I were to do it again, I'd just crush beans, not grind them.

Once the dairy was infused with coffee, I mixed in 1/2 cup sugar which isn't a lot for 3 cups, particularly with the bitterness of the coffee. I wanted to keep the ice cream on the less sweet side so the malt and caramel would contrast nicely. Once the sugar was dissolved, I mixed 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch with 3/4 ounce by weight of Dutch-process cocoa (mainly as an aid to getting lumps out of both) and whisked the mixture into the pot and brought it back up to a boil to thicken up. Finally, I whisked in 1 1/2 ounce by volume of cream cheese (whipped up for easier incorporation) and checked for flavor and texture. It was both too intense and too thick so I thinned it out with 1/4 cup of cream.

The malt balls are the fancy sort from the bulk bin at Fresh Market. I think the chocolate to malt ratio is too high, but they've certainly got Whoppers beat. I wanted irregularly sized pieces so I put them in a plastic bag and whacked them with a crab hammer. That's a couple handfuls. I don't know, 1 1/2 cups?

The caramel sauce is only a sauce since it's warm. It's really just a simple soft caramel. I forgot to write down the amounts I used, but I think it was a half cup of sugar, melted, and then the cooking stopped by mixing in 3 Tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup cream. I may have added a dash of vanilla too. That's all there is to it.

So I chilled and churned the mix, folded in the malt balls and ripened in the freezer. I haven't got a beauty shot of the final product I'm afraid, so you'll just have to use your imagination. I made it for a baby shower that happened while I was away visiting my mother and I never got to taste the fully assembled dish. I asked for them to take pictures, but nobody did. I tried a little of the ice cream and thought the coffee overbalanced the cocoa flavor, but I hoped the chocolate on the malt balls would compensate. I'm told the ice cream went over well and certainly it was all gone when I got back, but I couldn't get any details about how it tasted from those I asked. You'll just have to use your imagination for that too.


kat said...

I really like this flavor combination, sounds like a good one to keep messing with. I wonder if I could seep the ground coffee in a press pot with the hot liquid & then just press it to remove the grounds...

billjac said...

A press would be fine if you don't mind losing the milk solids the coffee grabs on to. And that's fine; my ice cream turned out just dandy without them (or so I hear). I'd still prefer to keep them, though, so I'm still considering other solutions.