Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bittersweet Chocolate & Toasted Almond Ice Cream


I’ve always sort of prided myself for having a non-judgmental sweet tooth.  Meaning, if it’s a sweet, I like it.  Whether it’s artisanal chocolate, or a snickers bar, they both give me a mental ‘happy jig’.  With that being said though, I’ve noticed a shift in this all-inclusive sweet mentality of mine.  In other words, I’ve started to become picky.  While that’s not necessary a bad thing, it has drastically reduced the amount that I indulge in certain sweet groups; one of those being ice cream.  And that, my friends, is a problem.  Gone are the days when I would buy a gallon of ice-cream for $3.50.  Instead, I find myself standing in front of the section offering $6 pints, debating whether or not it’s worth it.  As much as my palate leans towards that $6/pint, my mind leans toward the $3.50/gallon.   It’s a mental battle that has left me empty handed far too many times.

As a way to combat this dilemma, I’ve decided to start a new routine.  Each month I’ll make a batch of ice cream, which in theory, should last over the course of the month (we’ll see how that goes!).  My experience with making ice cream is limited to a mere three occasions. The results have been varied, ranging from a perfect batch that had me dreaming of opening an ice-cream shop, to a over churned batch that had basically turned to butter (that’s a lesson that I hope to only learn once!)  So, along with increasing my ice cream intake, I am also hoping to learn a few tricks along the way.

I’m starting this series with a classic: chocolate.  Not just any chocolate, but a bittersweet chocolate with bits of toasted almond.  This is a Philadelphia style ice-cream (meaning it has no eggs), but the silky consistency would have you believe otherwise.  It is smooth, rich, and indulgently creamy.  The addition of the toasted almonds provides an earthy note, as well as a welcome crunch.  If you’re really looking to amp up the delectable level, then drizzle it with salted caramel sauce…and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a major palate party.




*Please note a few tweaks that I made to the recipe:
   -Used 1 2/3 c. whole milk and 1 1/3 c. heavy cream; with no detriment to the level of creaminess.
   -Omitted the alcohol (somehow we had none from the list!), but again found the result to be more than satisfactory.
   -Toasted whole raw almonds for 10 minutes in a 350° degree oven, chopped them, and added 1/4 c. during the last two minutes of churn time.

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