so, apparently there is some wildly famous ice cream that involves cherries and chocolate? i’m sure i’ve tried it ever, but it’s definitely not a favorite flavor of mine. which may leave you wondering why i’m about to launch into a soliloquy on why this chocolate cherry rosemary ice cream is my new favorite thing ever. i mean, rosemary? what???
before we jump into this magical flavor concoction, allow me to tell you the fascinating origins of the idea for this flavor.
so, i was sitting at my dining room table one afternoon staring into space… um, yep. that’s it. that’s basically the whole story. i suppose i should mention that i was snacking on fresh cherries at the time and there is a small rosemary plant on my dining room table, in my line of sight when i’m, uh, focusing very diligently on my computer/work. but that’s it. the combination of cherries and rosemary just popped into my head like a little baby eureka! light bulb.
i grabbed my copy of the vegetarian flavor bible to see if rosemary and cherry together is a Thing. it wasn’t listed as a pairing but, undeterred, i plucked a little piece of rosemary off the plant and popped it in my mouth, along with a cherry (because, science and hypothesis testing and all) and discovered that this delicious combination must have been inadvertently left out of the book… but would soon be appearing my kitchen (or basement, but let’s not get ahead).
from there, it was mostly a matter of figuring out how much rosemary to use to infuse the heavy cream with flavor (similar to my method with thai basil ice cream). rosemary is one of those herbs that can go from “yum!” to “WOAH! who could ever eat this?!?”, depending on the amount used so i erred on the side of not too much (then ratcheted it up for version 2.0). inedible ice cream = no bueno.
so, rosemary, check. fresh cherries, check. on to the chocolate. i have a recipe for a rosemary chocolate tart that is delicious (check back with me this fall for the recipe!) so i knew that chocolate was going to be a happy friend with rosemary and ben and jerry have already proved that cherry and chocolate isn’t half bad.
except i didn’t want just regular chocolate chips thrown in there. you know how when you buy good ice cream and the chocolate pieces are nice and melty and taste like chocolately goodness and then you eat all of that ice cream and dig around in the back of the freezer, only to find some chocolate-less ice cream and toss a few chocolate chips in, then nearly bite your tongue off chomping down on little bits of gravel flavored and textured frozen chocolate? yeah, “we” solved that (by which i mean i did exactly what this article told me to and it worked perfectly, of course).
so we’re ready! chocolate cherry rosemary ice cream, here we come! we established last summer that egg-based custard ice creams and i are just a fiasco so i picked up where i left off last summer with the jeni’s ice cream base.
another thing i learned last summer, from my experience and also that of one of my dear friends/readers/commenters, is that getting the ice cream to become increasingly cold in a machine which is becoming increasingly warm is… a special process.
now, i’m not knocking the cuisinart ice cream maker that i have and enjoy using (and that cooks’ illustrated recommends) but just think through this with me for a second: the freezing canister is as cold as it will ever be when it comes out of the freezer, then you fill it with liquid (which is, by definition, not frozen), and put the canister on top of a motor (which… heats up when you use it). then you run the machine for a while, enduring a fair amount of racket, and hope that something remotely frozen results from all of this.
luckily when i made this ice cream, it was actually relatively cool in my house, unlike some sticky july days when i’ve been inspired to churn ice cream out of 88° F air… however, it occurred to me that i could help the ice cream maker along by placing the machine in the coolest place in my house… which is the basement. (ok, we have to all agree NOT to tell my husband about this part: he is not a fan of the quantity of spiders that reside in our basement but i have a solution for that!)
i set up the noisy ice cream maker on a table (aka my husband’s work bench) in the basement and then, because i love my husband (and don’t want to eat spiders either), i put a grease splatter screen over the top of the ice cream maker so that it could still get the air that it needs to churn in, sans spiders. (i think this is brilliant. my husband will not touch the ice cream left in the freezer with a 10’ spoon if he finds out about this. more for me?)
so, anyway, setting up camp in the basement is optional, of course, but it’s worth thinking about which areas of your house/apartment/tree house are the coolest and considering setting up the machine there. i would be surprised if the kitchen is your coolest room in the summer.
regardless of where you actually churn the ice cream, do try it, as it is delicious and the rosemary is subtle (or not, depending on your preference; see the recipe notes) yet super yummy and makes the whole thing taste refreshing. ok kids, stay cool, either by making this ice cream, or by moving to maine, where it is currently lovely degrees out.
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