Chocolate ice cream with salted almonds
I use my Kitchen-Aid to make ice cream more than for anything else. The longer I live here the less I cook, and I certainly haven’t found much time for baking. But Nathan won’t let a week go by without begging for ice cream, and it is pretty sweet having a scoop or two of homemade ice cream at night. So I keep up my end of the domestic bargain by churning out a batch a few times a month.
Most of the time, I make Alice Waters’s vanilla-bean version. It’s easy and really good, especially with a tablespoon of bourbon in it. But I do like to mix it up every now and then. The Times recently ran a recipe for a chocolate-chocolate chunk ice cream with salted cashews, which sounded right up my alley. I finally got around to making it yesterday, and it is chewy, salty, and excellent.
I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I did cut it in half (we could never get through two quarts of ice cream!). I also swapped the cashews for toasted salted almonds, since that’s what I had on hand. I knew I would add a bit of heavy cream at the end to cool the custard quickly, and with that in mind I used five egg yolks instead of four. Finally, I added a tablespoon of bourbon as I always do, to keep ice crystals at bay. For the chocolate, I used a 65% Valrhona. You should get something that smells appealing to you. I prefer chocolate that smells like roasted coffee beans. I hate chocolate that smells or tastes like fruit. I won’t touch a chocolate dessert with fruit in it, and these days they’re always putting a damn raspberry or cherry in your chocolate cake or brownie. Blech!
You’ll want to use a thermometer when you’re preparing the custard. The recipe advises you to heat it until it coats the back of a spoon, but with all that chocolate in there, it coats it pretty well right away. Heat it until it approaches 170ºF, and then strain it quickly into a bowl set over an ice bath.