Sunday, June 27, 2010

Smooth Sailing to a Rocky Road: Rocky Road Ice Cream

Have you ever wondered why Rocky Road Ice Cream is called Rocky Road? Well according to the trustworthy Wikipedia, it received it's name after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. William Dreyer wanted to "give folks something to smile about in the midst of the Great Depression." I think Mr. Dreyer was on to something, because I know chocolate ice cream is my go-to when I am feeling depressed.

However, making my own ice cream often ushered me into my own mini "Great Depression" because I never could get it quite right. It was either to hard, not creamy enough or, more often than not, the problem was that it was grainy! I finally figured out it was because I was accidentally cooking the eggs in the custard stage, which then turned into thousands of tiny little scrambled egg pieces in my ice cream, yuck! 

But not this time around! This time I declared my own World War II on ice cream and pulled myself out of depression and sailed smoothly (literally) into fantastic Rocky Road Ice Cream. All I had to do was stop using my unreliable cooking thermometer to check the custards temperature and just trust my gut to tell me when it's ready. It hurt me to do so because I am a very precise numbers oriented person, but desperate times called for desperate measures and sometimes desperate measures pay off :)

I highly recommended this recipe and so does my dad who ate about a pint of it on Father's Day. I apologize for the lack of photos, when I went to take a picture of a perfect little scoop, it was all gone!

Rocky Road Ice Cream
 * adapted from David Lebovitz Perfect Scoop
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5  ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup salted roasted peanuts, or nut of choice

1. Prepare an ice bath in your sink. Warm 1 cup of the heavy cream in a med. saucepan with the cocoa powder, whisking to dissolve the cocoa powder completely. Bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove it from the heat and add the copped chocolate, stir until smooth, then stir in the remaining 1 cup of cream. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top of it.

2. Whisk the 5 egg yolks together in medium bowl and set aside. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is very hot to the touch but not boiling. Then slowly pour the warm milk into the egg bowl whisking vigorously and constantly as you do it, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. 

3. Stir the mixture constantly over med. heat with a heat proof rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir. The custard is done when it coats your spatula and when you run your finger across the back of the spatula the custard does not run together again. If you end up cooking the eggs, you can always run the custard through a blender or food processor before moving on.

4. Place the cocoa bowl in the ice bath. Pour the custard through the strainer into the cocoa mixture and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and stir until the custard is cool to the touch.

5. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving a slight opening,  and chill the mixture in your refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

6. Churn according to your ice cream makers instructions. Mix in the nuts and marshmallows by hand at the end (not in your frozen ice cream bowl if that's what you are using). You can then eat it soft or pop it in the freezer until it firms up a little. Prepare to be amazed!

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