Friday, April 16, 2010

Chocolate Ice Cream with Hazelnut Coffee Caramel

I seem to find myself heading back to the ice cream playground more often than not these days. I’ve been having a terrific time putting together ideas for making ice cream that is bursting with flavor and freshness. If you don’t own an ice cream machine, you are really cheating yourself out of a ton of pleasure, not to mention the profound devotion of your friends and family. I’ve had a pretty cheap Cuisinart for years and it does a very good job of producing great ice cream.

For me, combining bittersweet chocolate and hazelnuts is a no brainer. I start with a gorgeously rich chocolate ice cream base and add toasted hazelnuts that have been bathed in a brown sugar caramel pumped with a luscious jolt of espresso. The combination is incredibly delicious and satisfying. Somehow these flavors are impossibly perfect for one another.

This is seriously adult ice cream. Rich, creamy, nutty and sophisticated….all your ice cream neurons will be firing in glorious harmony. Time for some dreamy ice cream.

Bench notes:
- When melting chocolate in a double boiler or bain marie, be sure to keep the water well below the bottom of the bowl and at a low simmer. Stir the mixture frequently, taking care to scrape the sides of the bowl where it makes the hottest contact with the pan of simmering water to avoid scorching.
- The rum in the Chocolate Ice Cream rounds out all the flavors beautifully without the final product tasting of alcohol.
- To toast hazelnuts, put them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and the skins look cracked. Watch them carefully as hazelnuts can turn bitter if toasted too long. Remove from the oven and wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel to let steam for 1 minute. Then rub them together to loosen and remove as much of the skin as possible. Cool completely.
- You can find espresso powder at Italian delicatessens, gourmet food shops and some grocery stores. Medaglia D’Oro is the best. I’ve also used Ferrara.
- For an extra bolt, this ice cream would make a great affogato (Italian for “drowned”), which is a scoop of ice cream with a shot of hot espresso or strong coffee poured over it.

Chocolate Ice Cream with Hazelnut Coffee Caramel

Chocolate Ice Cream

8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 C heavy cream
2 C milk
1/2 C sugar
4 egg yolks
1 T rum
salt, to taste

Hazelnut Coffee Caramel

1/2 C toasted hazelnuts
1/4 C + 2 T heavy cream
generous 1/4 t espresso powder
tiny pinch of cinnamon
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt, to taste

For the ice cream, chop the chocolate into small pieces. Combine with the heavy cream and warm over a bain marie of simmering water until chocolate is melted Remove from heat and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Simmer the 2 cups of milk. Whisk 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, whisk together thoroughly and return to medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a spoon, until the custard coats the back of the spoon and a finger traced through it leaves a clean track. Strain immediately into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Blend in the rum. Add salt to taste. Cool and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Chop the toasted hazelnuts.

Place the cream, espresso powder and cinnamon in a saucepan over very low heat. Stir to dissolve. Add the brown sugar and whisk until thoroughly combined. Bring to a slow boil for a minute or so until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and add vanilla and salt, to taste. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts.

Freeze the ice cream according to your machine’s directions. Pour half the ice cream into a clean airtight container and layer and swirl in the hazelnut coffee caramel mixture. Repeat with a second layer of each, pressing the nut mixture into the ice cream. Press a piece of plastic wrap into the surface of the ice cream, cover and place in your freezer to firm up a bit.


Sarah said...

Wow - mouth watering. I can't wait to try the hazelnut caramel swirl!

Audrey said...

this does sound wonderful - I got an ice cream maker last year and I hope to use it a lot more this summer.

vanillasugarblog said...

very nice. i will save this one for those hot summer nights when only ice cream is craved and no stove is turned on.

Foodiewife said...

Holy cow! I'm not a chocoholic, with the exception of ice cream. I have every single ingredient to make this-- the caramel took me over the top. I so am printing this out, and I hope to make it this weekend. OMG, this is incredible! It's also very evil looking. I love it!

Lucie said...

My teeny tiny kitchen won't let me add an ice cream maker because I'd have to put it on the floor or something...I'm so jealous! This looks like the most amazing ice cream ever.

Leah said...

Nothing...I mean NOTHING! is better than chocolate and hazelnut together! Unless you're talking about ice cream, that is! I'll be trying this soon...thanks!

Raised garden beds said...

I can feel my mouth watering. I will definitely try this at home. Thank you for sharing.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

the name alone makes my mouth water!

Moka said...

well....I tryed to make this ice cream last week...well...I have NO WORDS!!!....Really!...How could I tell you thank you!?!?!?! :-)))))

Andy Ciordia said...

I share your commenters thoughts, my mouth has a good idea what this would be like and it looks/reads fantastic. I've been thinking of whipping together some ice cream lately and usually venture away from chocolate since we do so much of it but this.. this has me. The Secret Chocolatier

security fence said...

I had surprise visitors last week. This recipe was my savior! I wasn't able to prepare for their visit but since this recipe is so easy to whip, I had an instant serving. Thanks thanks for the recipe.

Wrong Island Surf said...

My kids just love ice cream. This would make a good bribe. :)

Life Artist ~ said...

K i l l i n g !!

thank you for sharing =)

and coffee lover, check my mars coffee recipe *.*

best wishes.