Really good milk chocolate—and I promise you that exists—makes decadently rich creamy ice cream. Nothing more is needed really, but you could guild that lily with crunchy veins of crushed home-made brittle made with roasted and salted, or even spiced or curried cashews or peanuts! You could even cheat by smashing up some purchased nut (or even sesame) brittle, or the spicy Indian candy called chikki. —Alice Medrich
Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
large egg yolks
(66 grams) sugar
salt (I use fine sea salt)
1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups
(225 grams) milk chocolate (preferably at least 38% cacao), finely chopped
(150 grams) sugar
(rounded) salt (I use fine sea salt)
rounded cup (150 grams) salted (or spiced or curried) cashews (or peanuts), coarsely chopped
In This Recipe
To make the ice cream base, set a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl near the stove for the finished ice cream base.
In a 2-3 quart saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the milk until blended. Whisk in the remaining milk and the cream. Wash the whisk and set it aside.
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring with a heatproof silicon spatula, sweeping the bottom, corners, and sides of the pan constantly to avoid scorching the eggs, until the mixture registers 178-180 F on an instant- read thermometer. Immediately scrape the mixture into the strainer set over the bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, put the chocolate into a dry 1 ½ to 2-quart stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl in another bowl of very hot tap water and set aside for a few minutes to melt. Stir with a clean dry spatula until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of the ice cream base into the chocolate, whisking (with a clean whisk) until the mixture is completely blended and smooth; gradually whisk in the rest of the base. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate several hours or over night.
Make the brittle, have a parchment lined baking sheet near the stove along with small white saucer to test the color of the syrup
Pour the water into a 1-1 ½ quart saucepan over medium heat. Pour the sugar into the center of the pan to form a low mound. Don’t stir; if necessary pat the mound down until the sugar is entirely moistened. Any sugar touching the sides of the pot should be below the water line. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes, without stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Uncover the pot and cook without stirring until the syrup begins to color slightly. Swirl the pan gently rather than stirring if the syrup is colors unevenly. Use the tip of a knife or skewer to drop a bead of syrup on the plate from time to time. When a drop looks pale amber, add the nuts. Turn them gently with a clean dry wooden spoon or silicone spatula until they are completely coated with syrup. (Brisk stirring will cause the caramel to crystallize). Continue to cook, pushing the and turning the nuts gently in the syrup, until a drop of syrup looks deep, slightly reddish amber on the plate. Immediately scrape the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and spread the nuts out as well as you can. When the nuts are still quite warm, but not to hot to handle, break the brittle into a few pieces and transfer it (still quite warm and still on the parchment) into a zipper lock bag or airtight container. Sealing them while still warm helps prevent the brittle from becoming sticky. Keep airtight until needed. When completely cool, or just before needed, chop the brittle into pieces. Return pieces to the bag if not using immediately.
Freeze the ice cream base according to the instruction on your ice cream machine. Scrape it into a covered container and put in the freezer until firm but not hard. Fold chopped brittle into the ice cream. Return to the freezer until serving.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).