Ever since I got the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer this spring, I’ve been having a ball making the most wonderful small batches of homemade ice cream. [KitchenAid KICA0WH Ice Cream Maker Attachment] It’s an insulated bowl with gel inside that you keep frozen in your freezer. Whenever you want to make ice cream, you just whip up your custard, pop it in the bowl, and churn it on low for about 10 minutes.
I started out with Cherry Ice Cream, made from the cherries grown in my back yard. You’ve never tasted ice cream that fresh! Man was it good! Then I tried a peach ice cream recipe that came in the booklet… it was the only flop I’ve made so far. The peaches weren’t as good as they should’ve been, even though they came from a local farmer, and the recipe called for too much almond extract. The result was an icky almond-flavored custard with big chunks of flavorless peach. Yuck. I will keep trying to find a real good peach recipe, or experiment until I write my own.
My basic chocolate and vanilla recipes are both very good… even using basic ingredients like baker’s chocolate and vanilla extract. Although for a special batch (say, for a summer dinner party) I would step it up with ingredients like Ghirardelli Unsweetened Baking Chocolate and Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans.
Now y’all know dark chocolate and spicy are one of my favorite flavor combos… it packs a one-two punch of velvety rich chocolate followed by the warmth of pepper. I’ve had spicy chocolate truffles, and as a barista, I’ve made a few hot chocolates or mochas with a tiny(!!) amount of cayenne pepper on request for customers. And recently I tried some really wonderful dark chocolate cookies with jalapeño (“Chocolate Hotties” from The Hand Crafted Cookie Company) And of course I love a great Mexican molé sauce. But I’ve never been brave enough to try anything on my own. (I say ‘brave enough’ because there is a certain amount of expense, skill and time invested in making the custard, and I didn’t want to mess it up like I did with the peach ice cream.) Inspired by the Chocolate Hotties cookies, I invented this recipe for Chocolate-Jalapeño ice cream, and I hope you try it and enjoy!
CHOCOLATE EN FUEGO ICE CREAM
My goal with this recipe was a rich chocolate ice cream with a warm background of pepper, accentuated by little bursts of flavor and heat from the jalapeño. It won’t burn your tongue off or give you heartburn, but if you enjoy more heat by all means add as much as you like. Due to the fat content of the custard, you have to use a relatively large amount of cayenne pepper for the background heat before it has an effect. But add it gradually, tasting along the way. And remember, the heat is cumulative! You don’t want to make it so hot that you could only eat one bite (or maybe you do, if you have an ice cream addiction!)
You can use the basic custard recipe to make any flavor ice cream you wish. Just keep the liquid measure the same, and add your flavorings and you’ll be fine. You can use any combination of milk, half-n-half or heavy cream, but the texture and flavor WILL be affected. I’ve experimented with a lot of different ratios, and this is the one I prefer that works best with my ice cream maker. If you want to experiment, start with this recipe and use a different ratio with each new batch. Keep records and soon you’ll be an expert ice cream maker too!
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar (divided)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream (divided)
- 4 - 6 ounces unsweetened (or bittersweet) chocolate
- about ⅜ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- In a medium saucepan combine one quarter cup of the sugar, one cup of milk, and one cup of heavy cream. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Roughly chop the chocolate and add to the mixture, stirring until the chocolate melts. Add the cayenne ⅛ teaspoon at a time, incorporating thoroughly with a whisk and tasting after each addition until you reach your preferred level. (I added only ⅜ teaspoon, but you can add more or less to your taste.) Turn off the heat when the chocolate melts and wisps of steam rise. Do not boil.
- Beat the egg yolks with one quarter cup of sugar two - four minutes until a light golden color is achieved. Slowly stir in half cup of the hot milk mixture, to prevent the eggs from scrambling in the saucepan.
- Slowly stir the egg mixture into the chocolate/milk mixture, and heat until it reaches 175°. If you don't have a thermometer, stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. It is ready when a mark made with your finger in the coating stays. If you're using vanilla extract, stir it in now. Add the remaining cup of heavy cream and stir thoroughly.
- Taste, and adjust the sweetness if necessary while the custard is still hot. Now the hard part: waiting for the custard to cool down. To accelerate the chilling, place in an ice bath and stir every 5 minutes until it reaches about 40° or 50°.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. It takes about 10 minutes in mine. Add the chopped jalapeño (or whatever "chunky bits" your flavor has) in the last two minutes of churning, so the pieces don't get too mashed up by the blades of the dasher.
- At this point your ice cream will be a soft-serve consistency. For best results, spoon into a freezer container with a lid, and freeze for a few hours. If you have little kids in the house, you can keep them quiet all day long by letting the best behaved lick the dasher & bowl. Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, or whatever toppings you like. Enjoy!