Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

A few months ago, I was visiting mah best friend from college (that's still a weird title to say, but I'll get over it at some point) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.  We had plans to get dinner and drinks, but we were also experiencing a major ice cream craving.  We had time to kill before heading out to dinner, so we figured that the only logical thing to do with that extra forty-five minutes of time we had was get some ice cream.  It didn't matter that we were having dessert before dinner, because it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.  We wound up at Ample Hills Creamery, where I had a really large scoop of an amazing Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream.   It took me some time to settle on that particular flavor, because there were so many others that I wanted to try, and Mexican Hot Chocolate seemed like a somewhat predictable flavor.  After sampling lots of their flavors, I'm so happy I settled on their Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream, because it was just out of this world. 

The ice cream had a very intense chocolate flavor that was followed by a strong hit of cinnamon.  I hadn't been expecting the cinnamon and spices to come across that strongly in the ice cream (it was a bit of a shock at first!), but it was actually really enjoyable.  I'm a huge fan of anything with an intense chocolate anything, and when paired with the cinnamon and ground chili, it's just so much better.  It's a whole new way to experience ice cream!  It's a little strange at first, having something that can give you both a brain freeze and warm up your insides at the same time, but after a few spoonfuls, it's really the perfect treat.  

I knew that I had to make a version of this ice cream for myself, I loved it THAT much.  It took me about a month and a half to get around to actually making it...and then only another month and a half to post it.  That's some serious procrastination, I know, but I just had a lot of other posts to get to first!  I made this ice cream sometime in December, thinking oh you know, hot chocolate is the perfect wintertime treat, and it's totally ironic to serve it in the form of ice cream, since it's a frozen treat, so this is thus the PERFECT treat to share in December.  That obviously didn't happen because I had things like eggnog rice pudding and tons of cookies to share with you guys as well.  After Christmas...I guess I don't have an excuse really.  I may have just forgotten about this ice cream until I decided to go through the files on my external drive, and I saw the photos for this ice cream...and they were already edited.  Then I remembered that I had actually had this brilliant idea when I first made the ice cream that I was going to edit my photos in advance so that they would be ready to post at a moment's notice.  I don't think one of my plans has ever backfired on me as badly as this one. 

But in any case.  No matter how late I am in actually getting around to posting this ice cream, there are two simple truths that remain from this whole sad story.  Number one, is that this ice cream is ridiculously easy to make, and number two, is that this ice cream is also ridiculously good.  I know that in almost all of my ice cream posts I've gone ahead and said that "this ice cream is really simple to make!" and "don't let the idea of a custard-based ice cream intimidate you!", and as true as those statements are, I will let you know that this particular ice cream is even EASIER to make than the simplest custard-based ice cream out there.  The reason for this is simple: there's no custard!  You read that right, there's not a single egg in this recipe, meaning that all you need is a milk, cream, and sugar base to churn out this incredible ice cream.  

This ice cream is completely foolproof, and I'm very confident that anyone could make this recipe and get great results.  If you can heat some cream without having it boil over, and then stir in a few ingredients, you're pretty much good to go!  The recipe contains both cocoa powder and chopped chocolate, which gives a rich chocolate flavor to the ice cream, and is spiced with both cinnamon and chili powder.  Play around with the amount of chili powder depending on your tastes.  If you're unsure, start out with 2 teaspoons of chili powder, and come back to the mixture and taste it later.  The heat can intensify as time passes, so this is the best way to tell if you need a little more spice in your ice cream.  This Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream is officially one of my favorite ice creams that I've made to date, and I'm sure it's going to make a few more appearances in my freezer.  There's just something about that spicy chocolate flavor combination that is going to keep me coming back for more!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream
recipe from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop


2 1/4 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons chili powder (to taste)
2 tablespoons brandy


Begin by whisking together the cream, cocoa powder, and sugar in a large saucepan.  Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a full rolling boil and becomes foamy.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the chopped chocolate to melt it.  Whisk until completely smooth.

Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, chili powder, and brandy.  Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least six hours, but if you can wait overnight, it's preferable).  Once thoroughly chilled, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  

Makes 1 quart ice cream


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