The Hawthornes have been enjoying Klondike bars lately.
I started thinking, "I can make these."
"I can make these even better."
And I did!
I'm going with homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
and a homemade Magic Shell coating.
Be advised: this is a two-day process.
And it's worth every minute.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
For the chocolate:
4 ounces Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
2 TB water
For the mint chocolate ice cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch kosher salt
4 egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
chocolate, from above
Mix the cup of cream with the mint leaves. Cover and cold-steep/infuse in the fridge overnight.
The next day, strain the cream into a medium saucepan, pressing against the mint leaves to extract as much mint flavor as you can. Discard the mint.
Add the skim milk, heavy cream and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In another bowl, whup up the yolks.
Gradually add the hot cream mixture in a small stream to the yolks, whisking constantly. You don't want scrambled eggs.
Return the mixture to the pan, over medium-low heat, whisking the bottom and sides of pan, until the mixture is thickened and registers between 175° and 180°. Go low and slow.
Refrigerate the mixture until cool. Stir in the vanilla.
Process according to ice cream maker's instructions.
At the last few minutes of processing, add in the frozen chocolate.
Pour mixture into an 8-inch square pan, spread evenly with an offset spatula, cover with plastic, and freeze.
Slice into 16 squares. Dip the bottom half of each in the Magic Shell Coating. Let it set and freeze. Then dip the other half into the chocolate coating. Freeze.
Magic Shell Coating
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
Nuke the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Whisk in coconut oil until incorporated.
AS FOR COLD-STEEPING:
Yes. I said cold-steep. Usually I heat up whatever liquid to a boil, then add in the seasonings, simmer it, then turn it off and let it steep for 30 minutes. Strain it and use.
Then, I received a most controversial issue of Bon Appétit magazine - the one only the subscribers got. The cover was a huge Samsung refrigerator ad. Yes. You heard me. Samsung ad. But, after examination, I realized there was an actual Bon Appétit cover inside if you unplucked the pages. In so doing, I tore the crap out of the original Bon Appétit cover, which would be on the mags at the supermarkets for impulse buying. Like someone in the check out lane would look at a cover of a refrigerator handle and say, "Oh, that looks delicious! I want to make that!" But I digest. Sorry.
Back to Bon Appétit magazine.
They just happened to have an article about ice creams - about how it's not just vanilla and chocolate these days, but it's about amped-up, grown-up flavor combinations and custom-designed flavors.
All ice creams start off with a base as a blank canvas. Typically, it's a sweet custard mixture - milk, cream, sugar, and eggs. This is the dominant taste in your ice cream but then you can transform the base by adding bitter, salty, or herbal flavors along with other flavors - coffee beans, alcohol, black pepper, toasted nuts, coconut, or cherries soaked in shine, for examples.
All of which brings me back to the cold-steep... Whatever aromatics you choose to use, you want to infuse. Cold-steeping takes longer (I steeped my mint overnight.), but it results in a smoother, fresher taste. Heating can alter the ingredients' flavors, particularly in the case of fresh herbs.
I gave my mint leaves a coarse chop.
Give it a muddle, cover, refrigerate, and steep overnight.
Press on the mint to get all the flavor out.
This custard smells and tastes amazingly minty.
For the chocolate shards,
thinly spread the chocolate mixture, freeze,
then slice into pieces.
Freeze until ready to add to the ice cream mixture.
Can't go back to store-bought.