Lately Blue Bell has been on sale and we’ve been stocking up because there’s nothing better for dessert than ice cream during the summer days in Texas. I’ve dabbled in making ice creams (like the wonderful Peach Ice Cream and Peach and Honey Sorbet), but this Milk Chocolate Ice Cream has to be the best of the lot and will be booting Blue Bell out of the freezer!
I watched Alton Brown’s ice cream episode (Churn Baby Churn II – he’s a hoot) and he had such good tips that I had to see if they were for real. I’d been searching for that creamy, creamy ice cream – almost gelato in texture. He said to make sure and cool the ice cream mixture completely and then refrigerate it for 6 to 8 hours before even making the ice cream. I had the time and decided to try it and to make it chocolate.
I revised his recipe somewhat mainly because I didn’t want to use 9 (!) egg yolks. I also substituted part of the half-and-half with 2% milk because I only had 2 cups of half-and-half. Nothing like changing a recipe and then expecting it to come out right, huh?
I patiently waited overnight for the custard mixture to cool (the cooler the mixture, the smaller the ice crystals and the smoother the ice cream). Then I churned the ice cream for about 25 minutes in my trusty electric ice cream maker, after which the ice cream went into the freezer for about 4 hours. It was supposed to be more than 4 hours, but by that time I couldn’t wait. The result, even with the changes, was phenomenal. I’ve never had such creamy homemade ice cream in my life! (Sorry Mom.) It was smooth and chocolaty and I could have eaten the whole batch if I hadn’t needed photos.
Thanks to Alton Brown’s tips, I’ve learned the art of ice cream making. I’ll be trying a vanilla ice cream next and then want to add bananas to the chocolate ice cream to make a Chocolate-Covered Banana ice cream. I’ll miss Blue Bell, but not as much if we have this wonderful Milk Chocolate Ice Cream in the freezer!
- 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 C Half-and-Half
- 1 C milk (I used 2%)
- 1 C heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 C sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Place the cocoa powder and 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half, the milk, and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.
In a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment (or by hand) whisk the egg yolks for about a minute. Add the salt and then gradually add the sugar. Whisk until combined. Temper the hot cream into the eggs by slowly drizzling 1/2 cup at a time (with mixer on low) until most of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remaining cream and then return the mixture to the saucepan. Turn heat to low.
Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens slightly and reaches 175 degrees. Pour the mixture into a container and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover the mixture tightly and put in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours, or even better overnight. After refrigeration, pour into an ice cream maker and process for 25-30 minutes until thick. Pour into a container, tightly lidded, and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
Tips and Stuff: You can use more or less cocoa powder according to your tastes. When tempering the hot cream mixture into the eggs, pour the half cups down the inside of the mixing bowl - it'll cool a little on the way down to the eggs. Be sure and stir frequently when the mixture is back on the burner or it will stick to the bottom of the pan and make clumps. If it does, you can strain the mixture before cooling it down. For best results, after scooping ice cream in a bowl let it sit for 1-2 minutes to soften a bit. You will love this ice cream!