Friday, September 3, 2010

The Beginning of a New Addiction... Homemade Ice Cream

Even in the dead of winter, ice cream is by far my favorite treat... honestly, it's really my favorite food, if that counts. And no, I'm not talking about a giant sundae piled up with every topping known to man. I'm talking about plain & simple ice cream...chocolate to be exact. No chocolate syrup. No whipped cream. Nothing fancy. Just a plain bowl of chocolate ice cream. Occasionally, I'll crave crushed Oreo to top it, but its a rarity that I even bother. I'm not one to go reach for the candy bowl or the cookie jar when I'm craving chocolate or sweets. I go straight to the freezer. And no, vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup will NOT cut it.

So upon the purchase of my brand new red KitchenAid stand mixer (my birthday present to of the best purchases I have ever made!), I decided the first attachment I had to get was the ice cream maker attachment. I have never made homemade ice cream before, but I've always wanted to try...especially since I consider ice cream not only my favorite treat, but my favorite food. Sure enough, a giant box wrapped in pink wrapping paper, with ribbon on top, was sitting on my kitchen counter when I came home from work on my birthday. And of course... what flavor do you think was first on my list? You guessed it...chocolate.
Like I said, I always eat plain chocolate ice cream, but since making my own ice cream is a new adventure, I decided that I needed a new adventure in terms of flavor. Of course my first ice cream making adventure would NEED to involve chocolate, but I wanted to jazz it up...just a bit. After a lot of searching, I found the perfect recipe--- chocolate mint oreo ice cream. I love mint & I love oreos and I'm pretty sure I do not need to bring up my love for chocolate ice cream yet again...just the thought of that flavor combination makes my mouth water!
I had been pre-warned that making your own ice cream is a big pain. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how much easier it was than I expected! Despite the fact that it does take quite long to get to the end result, the process itself was pretty simple. I only ran into one difficulty, which might be solved upon a purchase of an actual double boiler, rather than using the makeshift version--- a bowl on top of a pot method. (The bowl started to slide around when the cocoa powder was added to the melted chocolate and then the cocoa powder caused the chocolate to firm up. It became almost impossible to mix the chocolate & pour the powder simultaneously. Luckily, my mom was around to be my second set of hands and hold the bowl still until the milk dissolved the chocolate).

If the thought of making homemade ice cream scares you away, fear not. It's really this simple--- you make your desired batter, stick it in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight), pour it into your ice cream maker, and then simply walk away for about a half hour....the maker does the work. You just have to put it in a freezer safe container afterward and wait for your desired result---if you want soft serve, your ice cream will be ready to eat in as little as a half hour in the freezer (according to my ice cream maker attachment) and if you want hard ice cream, you will obviously have to wait longer. Since I'm a huge advocate of hard ice cream, I left the container in there overnight...and voilà! Ice cream perfection.
And I'm really not kidding when I say ice cream perfection. It REALLY is. This is the perfect chocolate ice cream---rich and creamy with a hint of peppermint. Not an overpowering peppermint flavor, but just right. The occasional crunch from the mint just tops it all off, while teaming up with the peppermint extract in the ice cream Oreos to round out the flavor. After wolfing a helping of this ice cream down in record time, there is no other thought in my head besides... I WANT MORE!

Chocolate Mint Oreo Ice Cream
adapted from Ben & Jerry's &
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract1 cup Mint Oreos, roughly chopped

Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa, stirring constantly, until smooth. (If the chocolate clumps or "seizes", like it did to me, don't worry - the milk will eventually dissolve it!). Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and heat until blended. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl or stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and peppermint extract, and whisk to blend.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 to 3 hours (or even overnight).

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's directions. (My ice cream maker directors told me to let it churn for 25-30 minutes, so I let mine churn for the full 30 minutes.) During the last 1-2 minutes of churning, add the chopped Oreos into the ice cream. Remove from the ice cream maker and store in a freezer safe container. Freeze overnight to meld flavors and serve. Makes 1 quart.
all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2010