Even better than Baskin-Robbins
When I was a kid, every Friday after school my dad took us to our local Baskin-Robbins for an ice cream cone. And while I flirted with a variety of exotic flavors like Quarterback Crunch and Pink Bubble Gum, my favorite standby was–and is to this day–good ol’ Chocolate Chip. So when we found ourselves with a bounty of glorious milk and cream and eggs from a local farm, it seemed only right to attempt a batch of our own chocolate chip ice cream.
We started with the vanilla ice cream recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. (I realize you can’t actually access the recipe without a subscription, sorry about that. For the record, the $20 I spend each year for my on-line membership is worth every penny.) I’m not sure that I’ve actually ever made ice cream with a custard base, although I remember my mother telling me as a child that this was the secret to my great-grandmother’s legendary peach ice cream. Anyway, the recipe was fairly simple, and the fresh ingredients were glorious. Would you look at the color of those egg yolks?
Maggie enjoyed using the candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the custard…
…and both the girls enjoyed balancing the custard bowl over an ice bath to cool it down.
Fortunately, we had a busy day, so it wasn’t too hard to wait the many hours needed for the custard to get nice and cold. While we ate dinner, the ice cream maker worked its magic.
The idea for the next step came from the wonderful cookbook The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. I had always assumed that chocolate chip ice cream that was filled with chocolate flakes just had grated chocolate stirred in. From Lebovitz I learned that the this is the standard Italian style of chocolate chip ice cream, called stracciatella. To get this effect, melted chocolate is poured into the ice cream in a steady stream at the end of churning. (No pictures of this, as it was definitely a multi-handed operation.)
The immediate result was a bit soft due to the warm chocolate, but there were no complaints from the crowd. In fact, I think their exact words were, “This is the best ice cream in the whole world!”