Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Yield: slightly less than one 1 quart

Adapted from: David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Ice Cream

Result: Excellent!

This is a milk chocolate flavor. I love that there’s no “don’t let it boil” admonishment and no eggs involved (which you have to cook, but not cook into scrambled eggs while shooting for custard). Go for a nice 50%-70% cocoa content in the chocolate bar. It doesn’t have to be richer than that.

We did the variation that David Lebovitz mentions on his site (resulting from a typo in the book, originally) and are sticking with that because of the extra smooth and dense texture, and a more intense chocolate flavor (owing to the reduced sugar) — more like a chocolate gelato than homemade chocolate ice cream.

Extra trickiness for European kitchens: you need ice (yeah, frozen water) around to make an ice bath near the end of the batter preparation. I’m not sure what other methods you could use to lower your batter temperature while keeping it pourable, but if you have some ideas, please share them in the comments! Before we got our stand-up chest freezer, we never had room in our two midget fridges to keep ice cubes around at the ready. But now we do.

Ingredients

1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
4 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream — we used whipping cream (Schlagsahne)
1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (60 gr) light corn syrup
1/3 cup (35 gr) unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process
3 ounces (85 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Make a slurry by mixing a few tablespoons of the milk with the corn starch in a small bowl, until smooth.
  2. In a 4-quart (4l) saucepan, heat the rest of the milk, cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup. When the mixture comes to a moderate boil, whisk in the cocoa powder, then let it cook at a modest boil for 4 minutes.
  3. After four minutes, whisk in the corn starch slurry then continue to cook for one minute, stirring constantly with a spatula, until slightly thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Make an ice bath: Find a smaller metal bowl that will fit into a larger metal bowl. Add ice, along with some cold water, to the larger bowl then set the smaller bowl into the ice. Pour the ice cream mixture into the smaller bowl and stir until completely cool.

    The original recipe suggests pouring the batter into a zip-top bag and then submerging the bag in an ice bath for 30 minutes, and we tried this, but it was a PITA to get the batter out of the bag and into the ice cream dasher. And you waste a zip-top plastic bag in the process (either because you cut the corner to squeeze it out, like a pastry bag, or because it’s impossible to get all the batter out of the bag for any possible reuse).

    Next time, we’ll use the alternative method with the two metal bowls he mentions (above).

  6. Pour the now-cooled batter into the canister of an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a shallow container. This is a good time to sprinkle stuff on top. We used chocolate shavings, but I think we’ll go with slivered almonds next time for a contrasting flavor. Freeze it for a few hours. Portions will be necessarily small (we’re talking about less than a quart here), but that’s OK given the richness.

¡Hasta la próxima vez, Sevilla!

el Alcázar

Our last full afternoon and evening in Seville was spent with walking around inside and outside the Alcázar de Sevilla, an originally Moorish fortress remodeled several times, and still currently in use today by the Spanish royal family. If we saw any of them while visiting, we didn’t know it. We got there kind of late in the day, and it was a little rainy and cool. We took great interest in the pottery and tile exhibit contained in the Alcázar itself. We enjoyed climbing around in the walls of the fortress and were thrilled to see a squadron of peacocks wandering the gardens; dismayed though to see them chased by kids of various ages.



el Barrio Santa Cruz

We got several recommendations to stay in this neighborhood. In the end, we ended up with a hotel we really liked outside of that neighborhood, but strolling around there on our last morning before heading back to Germany was really nice. One square in front of a church was suddenly packed with people; we think a wedding service had just let out. It certainly was charming, if a bit surreal, with the Cinderella-style architecture all nestled in amongst typical urban scumminess. Orange trees lining the streets sure do account for the most pleasant-smelling street trash I have yet to step in. Check out the last picture here — foreshadowing Fukushima?


Leaving

Not recommended (only because we didn’t try them, and it’s airport gift-shop snack food fare) — ham-flavored airport stuff.

Heartily recommended for breakfast sometime while you’re there: Churros y Chocolate. Think funnel cakes, but not sweet. These are dough strips, deep-fried and greasy. Dip them into the thick, rich, sweet chocolate to sweeten them up. We followed a sign from the main drag outside the Cathedral that said something like

¡Prueba nuestros churros exquisitos y chocolate! 50 metros ➜

…so we took a chance on one of our last mornings in town and were not disappointed.

Really, by anything, in the whole region. I’d like to take a car or bus trip along the coast and check out the small town scene next. ¡Adiós, Sevilla!

Hot Chocolate

Today we slaved all day to our furniture and though we made lots of progress, our dream optimized kitchen is not yet complete. Alas, I lack an 8mm drill bit. Thus, I must trek out to a hardware store tomorrow to get some beefier bits in order to finish our improvements and start really cooking again.

We were so annoyed by this after spending six full hours putting together our Unterschrank (with which we are quite impressed) and another solid two constructing a coffee table (yay! haven’t had one of those since we moved to Germany five years ago) that we needed to console ourselves with a little liquid comfort. Now you can too:

150 g of nice dark chocolate — shoot for about 70% cocoa content
3 teaspoons sugar
3 cups whole milk

Heat the milk and sugar together on medium low heat until very steamy and bubbles form around the edges. Stir it constantly and don’t let it boil.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate (we use a double-boiler, known in German as a Wasserbadtopf, we think). Our double boiler has a little stick thermometer and we’ve noticed that it starts to melt at around 30°C and is pretty much done melting by the time it reaches 60°C.

Whisk the liquid chocolate into the milk/sugar mixture. Different chocolates will yield variations in thicknesses (and textures in general — some chocolates had a rather gritty texture). Enjoy it straight from the pan or share it if you must. Some whipped cream on top wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, either.

We got inspired to improve upon the powdered stuff after Angelina knocked our socks off back in November. We haven’t cracked her secret recipe quite yet, but we’re getting ever closer and the attempts are always worth it.

Flourless chocolate cupcakes

I don’t think these should really even be considered cupcakes – they’re just astonishingly rich. Which is awesome. But I think they probably work better as individually-sized flourless chocolate cakes. I imagine they would rock with some raspberry sauce drizzled on top. I found the recipe here. I bought all of the ingredients for the accompanying frosting, but I can’t imagine the sugar shock the combo of these things and frosting would induce. They’re pretty easy to make, but there’s a lot of waiting and you have to make sure you have room available in the fridge.

1/2 c water
1/4 t salt
3/4 c white sugar
18 ozs bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces (I used 5 100g bars of 85% cocoa content chocolate)
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks

Heat oven to 300° F/150° C. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, salt and sugar until everything is dissolved and set aside. Melt the chocolate and pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer. Cut the butter into pieces and mix it into the chocolate one piece at a time. Next, beat in the hot sugar water. Finally, beat in the eggs one at a time. Gently fold in egg whites until just combined. Pour batter into lined cupcake tin (it must be lined – these will not come out without cupcake papers), filling cups about 3/4 full. Place cupcake tin in a larger pan and fill the larger pan halfway with boiling water. Bake cupcakes in their bath for 30 minutes. Remove from oven (centers will look wet) and let them rest for about 15-20 minutes, then put the cupcake tin in the fridge. Don’t remove cupcakes from the tin until they’re cold – otherwise they may lose their shape.

Mint Chocolate Brownies — just one could be fatal

Super Bowl Week: Mint Chocolate Brownies – Slashfood

Well, we missed Super Bowl Week, but it’s not like I even knew who was playing or where (“I’ll take the…uh…Rangers by…uh…a wicket!”).  Fortunately, Sarah held onto this recipe and we had everything in the house necessary for this recipe except the semi-sweet chocolate bars.  We picked up some Sarotti high-cocoa content (76%!) from Edeka on Saturday and that appears to have done the trick.  Our don’t look nearly as nifty as Martha’s (linked to above), but the flavor is amazing.  I don’t see any risk of these becoming habit-forming because of their sheer potency.

mint brownies

Note: those gooey spots in the middle aren’t raw pockets of batter — that’s the layer of melted peppermint patties providing the minty goodness.

Mint Chocolate Brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick, 100 g) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces (226 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (we used 76% cocoa Sarotti)
1 cup (210 g) sugar (we used a tiny bit less)
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (69 g) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
25 small (1 1/2 inch) peppermint patties1

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter foil. Set aside.

Place chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and salt until smooth; whisk in eggs. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa powder just until smooth (do not overmix).

Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan. Arrange peppermint patties on batter in a single layer, leaving a narrow border on all sides. Top with remaining batter, and smooth surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes.

Cool completely in pan. Use foil to lift from pan; peel off foil and discard. Cut into 16 squares (4 rows by 4 rows).

  1. known here as “Pfefferminztaler” — or 1 1/2 Ritter Sport Pfefferminz bricks works nicely here, too. []

Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

I found this here online after listening to a very cool podcast. The frosting is wonderful, but it doesn’t harden. Yields 20-24 cupcakes.

3 T Dutch-process cocoa powder (3 Esslöffel)
1/4 c hot water (50 ml)
1 1/4 c flour (173 g)
1/2 tsp baking powder (1/2 Teelöffel)
1/2 tsp baking soda (1/2 TL Natron)
1/4 tsp salt (1/4 TL)
4 oranges, zested
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 c granulated sugar (158 g)
1/2 c buttermilk, at room temperature (100 ml)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1/2 TL)
1/4 c butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (55 g)

Frosting
4 oz bittersweet baking chocolate (113 g; Am besten wäre normale Schokolade mit hohem Kakaoinhalt – mindestens 72%.)
2/3 c butter, at room temperature (146 g)
1 1/3 c confectioners’ sugar (190 g)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the hot water until it dissolves; set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Grate the zest from the orange into the bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until well combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla, then the dissolved cocoa. Whisk in the melted butter, then the dry ingredients.

3. Using a tablespoon, divide the batter among the muffin cups filling each about half full. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the cupcakes from the pan.

4. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, using a stand mixer, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar with the paddle on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate until combined. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip with the frosting and pipe a spiral on top of each cupcake.

Chocolate Cake

Sometimes, you just need chocolate cake. The German and American concepts of ‘cake’ differ pretty radically – to the extent that getting unsweetened baking chocolate in a store is nigh on impossible. I made a few adjustments, but if you have access to goods available in American grocery stores, you can follow the instructions exactly. I’ll detail my adjustments below. The ingredients in parentheses are metric for our European friends.

2 c flour (275 g)
2 c granulated sugar (420 g minus 8 EL)
1/4 tsp (Teelöffel) salt
4 oz unsweetened cacao chips (110 g)
1 c water (250 ml)
1/2 c butter (110 g)
1 c sour cream, at room temperature (200 g)
1 tsp (Teelöffel) vanilla extract
1 1/2 (Teelöffel) tsp baking soda (Natriumbikarbonat)
2 beaten eggs

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
2 c confectioners’ sugar (300 g minus 8 EL)
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 (Teelöffel) tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c milk (85 ml)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (110 g)
1/3 c melted butter (75 ml)

Grease or line two 9-inch cake pans or one 9 x 13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In mixer, combine flour, sugar and salt. Melt chocolate with butter and water (it will look gross). Add melted chocolate mixture to flour mixture and mix lightly. Add sour cream, vanilla extract, baking soda and eggs and mix well for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin!

Pour batter into pans and bake until wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean. Bake for 30 minutes. If using round pans, cool on rack 10 minutes and unmold cake to cake rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting: In mixer, combine confectioners’ sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk. Melt the unsweetened chocolate and add to confectioners’ sugar mixture. Slowly add melted butter and beat to spreading consistency. Frosting will be thin at first, but will stiffen upon standing as the melted ingredients cool. Ice cake using about 1/2 cup of icing between layers.

My Adjustments

I had to use semisweet baking chocolate instead of the unsweetened for which the recipe calls. It was mostly a language barrier – the package said ‘zartbitter,’ so I misinterpreted. I decided to check it by taking a nibble before I dove headlong into the baking process and thank goodness I did! I gnawed off what tasted like chocolate chips and my heart sank. Luckily, a Google search for ‘ingredient substitutions’ turned up several nice sites that showed me how to compensate. The conversion I used was to remove 2 T of sugar for every 1 2/3 oz of sweet baking chocolate used. For the cake, I ended up removing 7 T of granulated sugar.

For the frosting, I was leery of taking out sugar since it was powdered and I didn’t want to mess up the texture. I’ve had enough experience screwing up frostings. This time, we adjusted by putting 1 T of unsweetened cocoa in with the dry ingredients. This didn’t work quite as well as the adjustment with the cake did, but the frosting is edible.

If you can’t make perfect baking for your guests, just think of the sweet basket full with tasty chocolate. Everyone will be happy!