We all know the composition of German Chocolate Cake: rounds of soft chocolate cake layered with a filling of toasted pecans and shredded coconut in a rich caramel. It’s called “German” not because it originates in Germany but because of Sam German, an American chocolatier who created the cake in the mid-1800s.
German Chocolate Cake translates easily into an ice cream flavor. I’ve dialed down the intensity for those who enjoy the idea of German Chocolate Cake but find it delicious only in small doses. The ice cream is a deep chocolate blend. Toasted pecans and coconut are combined with a bit of very simple brown sugar caramel. Chunks of chocolate cookies are added for more texture and more chocolate depth. And although it’s not quite as rich as the cake version, all the essential flavors are there for a very delicious ice cream experience.
- When melting the chocolate, make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the barely simmering water in the bain marie.
- Place the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
- Choose chocolate cookies that are soft so they’ll be a bit chewy. I used Saucepan Fudge Drops and I thought they were perfect.
- Change up the pecan, coconut and cookie proportions to your liking.
German Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
Chocolate Ice Cream
8 oz bittersweet (63% - 72%) or semisweet (52% - 62%) chocolate
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) milk
4 egg yolks @ room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
salt, to taste
Pecan Coconut Caramel
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt, to taste
1/4 cup (1 oz) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (25 grams) shredded coconut
6 soft chocolate cookies (about 4 1/2 oz)
For the ice cream base, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Combine with the heavy cream in a heatproof bowl and warm over a bain marie of slow simmering water until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Bring the 1 1/2 cups of milk to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until thickened and light yellow. Add some of the warm milk to temper the mixture, whisking constantly. Pour in the remaining warm milk and whisk together thoroughly. Return the mixture to the pan and place on medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the custard coats the spatula or back of the spoon and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Do not boil. Strain immediately into the chocolate/cream mixture and stir to combine. Add salt to taste. Cool and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
For the pecan and coconut caramel swirl, place the cream and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a slow boil for about two minutes or so until the sugar is dissolved, whisking constantly. Take off the heat and add vanilla and salt, to taste. Stir in the chopped pecans and coconut. Chill just until the mixture thickens.
Chop the chocolate cookies into bite-sized pieces.
Freeze the ice cream according to your machine’s directions. Fold in the chopped chocolate cookies. Pour half the ice cream into an airtight container and dollop half the pecan coconut caramel mixture. Take a knife and swirl it through. Repeat with a second layer of each, pressing and swirling the nut mixture into the ice cream. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream, cover and place in your freezer to firm up.