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Every dessert maker should have a solid chocolate ice cream in their arsenal. Really, two: a crazy dark one, and a milder, milkier one. This recipe falls decidedly into the latter category, and it may be the best version of a milk chocolate ice cream that I've ever had. It's definitely chocolate-forward, and plenty rich, but it really lets the milkiness of lower cocoa chocolates shine. Should you want to branch out to peanut butter chocolate swirls, rocky roads, or chocolate brownie chunk ice creams, this should be your base.
Perhaps most remarkably, it doesn't use any chocolate at all. The only chocolate flavoring in this recipe is a quarter cup of cocoa powder. I was skeptical, but consider me converted. It's really the perfect way to deliver serious chocolate flavor without the fuss of chopping and melting a bar. After the salted caramel, this was the next Bi-Rite ice cream to disappear at Serious Eats HQ. Make it and you'll see why.
Why I Picked This Recipe: A recipe that promises serious chocolate flavor without the fuss of chopping chocolate or worrying about cocoa solid percentages? Sign me up.
What Worked: Even with mild Hershey's cocoa, this recipe produced a beautifully rich, very chocolaty ice cream. I can only imagine how wonderful it would taste with higher quality stuff.
What Didn't: As written, the recipe requires unnecessary work. It has you make a slurry with the cocoa, milk, and cream, then heat it, then temper your egg yolks in a separate bowl, then return everything to a saucepan. I'm all for careful technique, but if you're just cooking your custard up and don't need to heat the dairy for any longer than it takes to cook the eggs, this step just wastes time and fills the sink with bowls to wash.
Suggested Tweaks: Instead, whisk your egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa together directly in your saucepan, and add milk slowly as the recipe directs until you get a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the rest of your dairy and cook the custard all at once. It'll come together in half the time.
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Win a Copy!
Thanks to the generous people at Ten Speed Press, we're giving away five (5) copies of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones this week. All you have to do is tell us about your favorite ice cream flavor in the comments of our giveaway post here. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.