i know it may seem a bit odd to some of you that i’m posting a new ice cream recipe after labor day but, allow me to remind you that i am a new england girl. and new englanders <3 ice cream.
whether you rely on questionable “data” about ice cream consumption per capita or just keep a lookout as you drive around, it’s not hard to find evidence to support the claim that there’s a lot of love for ice cream up in this corner of the country.
in fact, sometimes i forget and just take the prevalence of local, independent ice cream shops and stands for granted. uuunntil i’m traveling outside new england and an ice cream craving hits. that’s when i look around and realize that my only choice is some big chain that i don’t really like in a strip mall a few miles away. blech.
in comparison, several years ago, i was out with a friend in davis square (a college student heavy neighborhood just outside boston where all of the cheap food places are open late…by massachusetts standards anyway) and wanted ice cream. as it was not quite 10 pm on a friday night and i knew the local ice cream place didn’t close until 11 pm, i started mentally picking out what flavor i would get. i was shocked and dismayed when we arrived at the door and found it locked. what?!?
small detail i may have intentionally withheld forgotten to mention: there were already several inches of snow on the ground, with snow continuing to fall, and more on the way. still. no reason for the ice cream store to close over an hour early, if you ask me…
so, yeah. ice cream. all the time. especially when it’s this good. this recipe for kahlua chocolate chip ice cream was inspired by a visit to one of those charming, line up outdoors, only open in the summer, picnic tables surrounding the place types of cute new england ice cream stands that my husband and i visited earlier this summer.
what made this place especially good, in my opinion, besides the actual quality of the ice cream, was the fact that they had several coffee-based flavor variations, including one with kahlua. coffee is usually my favorite starting point for ice cream flavors and their kahlua chocolate chip ice cream did not disappoint.
once i started playing around in my kitchen, i realized that it was no small feat to get the strength of the coffee flavor right, especially when trying to leave room for the kahlua to shine. oh, and have the stuff *actually* stay frozen for more than a hot second, given that it has alcohol in it.
several half batches and trials later, i’ve found a winner! (note: that’s why the loaf pan isn’t very full; it’s a half batch in there. don’t worry: the recipe below is for a full batch.) one of the nice things about this recipe is that you can taste it as you go along and stop steeping the coffee beans once you reach optimal coffee flavor. i’ve had ice creams with really weak coffee flavor and ice creams that were way too strong so there’s definitely an element of personal preference but the recipe below gives you a solid foundation to start from and a tip for finding your perfect balance.
so once you make a batch of this, you too can enjoy ice cream whenever you want, even if your local ice cream shop is closed for the night.
pps – other ice creams and frozen treats you may enjoy:
- 2 cups (16 oz. / 480 ml) heavy cream
- 2 cups (16 oz. / 480 ml) whole milk
- 142 g. (2 cups / 5 oz.) whole, dark roast coffee beans
- 148 g. (3/4 cup / 5 ¼ oz.) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup kahlua
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 oz. (85 g.) dark chocolate (60 – 70% cocoa) in bar format (not chips), roughly chopped
- 1.5 teaspoons neutral flavored oil
- if you are using a canister-style ice cream maker, be sure to let the empty canister chill in the freezer for at least 24 and ideally 48 hours before you put it to use making delicious treats.
- in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, heat cream, milk, coffee beans, sugar, and kahlua. stir with a whisk occasionally, making sure to scrape the bottom and edges. once the mixture comes to a simmer, stir once more, then turn the heat off. steep the mixture for 30 – 60 minutes, depending on how strong you want the coffee flavor to be. i liked 45 minutes best because i like a strong but not overwhelming coffee flavor. taste a bit of the mixture after 30 minutes and then decide from there if you want to keep steeping and for how long. i tasted it every 15 minutes until i found the flavor that i liked.
- once you determine the mixture is ready, put a strainer over a large, non-glass (see notes) food storage container with a lid. strain the mixture to remove the coffee beans then whisk in the vanilla. refrigerate the mixture until it’s cold (40° F).
- if possible, set your ice cream maker up in a cool(er) room. whisk the ice cream base again to combine the sugar that may have settled. pour the mixture into your frozen ice cream maker canister and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. i ran it through my machine for 30 minutes. if you have a thermometer, you want the base to reach 21° F (or colder). because of the alcohol in the kahlua, the mixture will likely appear softer than usual.
- once the ice cream base goes into the ice cream maker, combine the chocolate and oil either in the top of a double boiler or a microwave safe bowl. stirring frequently, melt the chocolate. remove from heat and set aside. when the ice cream is done in the maker, you want the chocolate to be liquid but not very hot so that you can drizzle it into the base before it goes in the freezer to finish freezing.
- once the ice cream base is ready, transfer 1/3 of it to a shallow, plastic storage container with a lid (here’s why). use a spoon to drizzle 1/3 of the chocolate over the ice cream. repeat in 2 more layers with remaining ingredients. tightly seal the ice cream and get it into the coldest (back) part of your freezer asap. freeze until desired consistency is reached. (again, because of the alcohol, the ice cream will never freeze totally rock solid.)
i recommend a non-glass container to chill the ice cream base because glass is a good insulator and it will take longer for the mixture to cool down and be ready to spin in your ice cream maker. you certainly can use glass when refrigerating the mixture, just allot extra cooling time. i wouldn’t recommend glass once you’ve processed the mixture into ice cream because then you want it to finish freezing as quickly as possible to keep the size of the ice crystals that will form as small as possible.
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