Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dark Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream with Toffee and Salted Caramel

There's something that every man wants, even if he doesn't know he wants it.  But in his subconscious, it's there, lingering on the tip of his taste buds.  A longing for something unspeakably naughty.  Unthinkably decadent.

And that's a doughnut ice cream sandwich.

A few days after the wedding, with a quiet weekend approaching - the first quiet one in months - I impulsively made ice cream.  I already had plenty of cream and chocolate leftover from baking the wedding cakes, and ever since tasting the chocolate espresso cake, our official cake-cutting cake at the wedding, I've been thinking of coffee and chocolate.

The ice cream itself is a very dark chocolate custard base, spiked with a good amount of bitter espresso powder and coarse sea salt.  I find that a little alcohol helps maintain a smooth, creamy texture in the ice cream after it freezes, and so I used a spoonful of a special vodka Jamie found, Salted Caramel Vodka.

That vodka is a little too sweet for me in a White Russian when it's combined with Kahlua, but paired with the dark chocolate and bitter espresso, it was perfect.  After churning, I folded in toffee bits for a little crunch.

It was truly phenomenal just on its own.  But with a jar of homemade salted caramel on hand, how could I not drizzle a little of that over the ice cream and sprinkle it with more toffee?

But for Jamie, my husband, my lover of doughnuts, I wanted to make something completely over the top.  Something he would love maybe even more than he loves his car.

Doughnut Ice Cream Sandwich says it all.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Ice Cream with Toffee and Sea Salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 3 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon liquor such as vodka or bourbon
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

In a saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder.  Warm the cream mixture over medium heat, whisking to smooth out the cocoa powder, just until the liquid begins to steam.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.  Slowly drizzle a cup of the hot cream into the eggs, then scrape the eggs back into the saucepan.  Whisk constantly, cooking over medium heat, until thickened enough to coat a spoon.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate, vanilla and liquor, until smooth.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg into a bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate overnight.

Loosen up the chilled custard with a spoon, then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Stir in the toffee bits.  Transfer to a container and freeze until firm, about 4-6 hours.

Yields about 2 quarts.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen