While it's technically not "ice cream season" yet (whatever that means, I don't know; I feel that ice cream is a treat that should be enjoyed all year round regardless of the outdoor temperature and the number of layers you're wearing), I have an ice cream to share with you today. A really, REALLY good ice cream, that is. Seriously. This stuff is delicious. It has BAILEYS in it. How could Baileys ice cream NOT be good? I even thew in some chocolate chunks in there to make it extra-good. "Extra-good." I'm clearly a talented writer.
I've never really been one to do anything special for St. Patrick's Day (or most holidays other than Christmas or New Years...) but I knew that there were two things I REALLY wanted to make and share with you guys, with a Baileys ice cream being the first of the two. The second one has to stay secret for another couple of days! It's definitely something that is worth sticking around for, trust me. But in the meantime, we have delicious Baileys Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream just staring us in the face. Let's focus on the present. This ice cream really deserves some attention!
I really feel like this is the best ice cream I've made to date; it was just so good. It was essentially a really rich and creamy vanilla bean base that had a shot of Baileys thrown in at the end for good measure. It was perfect. Before I put the custard into the ice cream maker to freeze, I took a quick taste and started debating whether or not 1/4 cup of Baileys was enough...I could taste it, but I wasn't sure if it was enough. I decided to just leave it alone and freeze the custard as it was, and I would decide after it was frozen. I'm glad I didn't make a rash decision to add more Baileys before freezing the custard; 1/4 cup of Baileys is definitely enough. You want the flavor of the Baileys to come through, without being overwhelming...more Baileys would have ruined the ice cream, in my opinion, as it would have completely covered up the delicious vanilla bean flavor underneath, which still managed to shine through with only 1/4 cup of Baileys. Trust me, 1/4 cup of Baileys is all you need for a perfectly balanced ice cream! Since it gets added right at the end, the alcohol doesn't get cooked out, so you may want to get this in mind, as it probably isn't the most "kid-friendly" option. But that's ok, since it just means there's more for you!
Baileys Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
adapted slightly from Cooking On the Side
6 egg yolks
4 oz granulated sugar
18 oz milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
Combine the eggs with 1 oz of the sugar in a large bowl, and whisk together until the eggs are well beaten. In a saucepan, heat the milk, remaining 3 oz of sugar, and vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them into the milk mixture, and heat just until the milk begins to boil. Very gradually, begin to add the hot milk mixture to the eggs (I found it easiest to add the milk to a liquid measuring cup and pour a slow, steady stream into the eggs), making sure to whisk constantly. Be sure to take your time and keep whisking, as you don't want the eggs to scramble. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and heat very gently until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (be sure to stir the custard continuously). Strain the custard into another bowl, and beat in the heavy cream and Baileys Irish Cream.
Allow the custard to chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, around 2 or 3 hours. Once the custard is well chilled, add it to your ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is almost finished churning in the ice cream maker (when there's a minute or so left), add the chocolate chunks. Remove the ice cream from the ice cream maker, transfer to a freezer-safe quart-size container, and freeze until the ice cream has set.