OK, so maybe you shouldn't actually steal this particular bowl of ice cream, especially since I've already polished it off, but you should totally steal the idea. I did. We've subscribed to Cook's Illustrated magazine and the Cook's Illustrated web site in the past, so occasionally they send us a free issue of Cook's Country to try to tempt us into subscribing again and whatnot. Fine by me. This time, they sent us an issue with a recipe for "magic chocolate ice cream" -- ice cream which you can make without an ice cream maker.
Now, I do actually own an ice cream maker, but I can never get it to work properly and it's such a hassle to put it all together it's just not even worth trying. So I was intrigued. I had pretty much all of the ingredients on hand, and I thought it would be a fun thing for Measure to help me with.
The basic procedure for making this ice cream is quite different from your typical churned version. Instead of using eggs and making a sort of custard, which requires using the stove and dirtying saucepots and all of that stuff I don't want to do when it is 90 degrees in the shade, you just melt chocolate, condensed milk, and some flavorings in the microwave, and then fold in a bunch of whipped cream and freeze the whole shebang. Jason pointed out that this ends up giving it the texture of frozen chocolate mousse, to which I say, is that a bad thing? One of the ingredients listed was a teaspoon of espresso powder, which is always good for boosting chocolate flavor. One of my great weaknesses, though, is coffee ice cream, so I wondered if the addition of even more espresso powder would give the ice cream a nice mocha flavor. It did indeed.
Although I wouldn't say that this is quite as unctuous as a really killer premium ice cream, it's pretty darn good. The main difference is the mouthfeel, which is definitely lighter than that of a dense premium variety; you can almost feel the microscopic bubbles of the whipped cream bursting as it melts on your tongue. One of the good things about the homemade version, of course, is having complete control over the ingredients list. It's also not going to be hard to fold in whatever crazy ingredients take your fancy; I'm thinking later this summer I need to make a "rocky road" version with mini-marshmallows, little chunks of really good bittersweet chocolate, and chopped toasted almonds. It's summer. Go nuts.
1 tbsp instant espresso powder (reduce to 1 tsp if you just want chocolate flavored ice cream)
1 tbsp hot water
4 oz dark chocolate
1/2 c sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c heavy cream
Mix the espresso powder and hot water together until the powder has dissolved. Mix the espresso mixture, chocolate, and condensed milk together in a bowl and microwave for 15 seconds at a time, stirring every 15 seconds, until the chocolate has melted. (This should take about a minute, depending on your microwave and the size of your chocolate chunks.) Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it has formed soft peaks. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold the rest of the whipped cream in until the mixture is pretty homogeneous. Pour it all into an airtight container and freeze until firm (I used a large one of those inexpensive Glad containers). This may take 4-6 hours, though I won't tell anyone if you sneak a few spoonfuls before then.