Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?
So much food is sold on sentiment. Browse through any given sample of blogs, cookbooks and recipe columns and you’ll find stories steeped in nostalgia; the memories created by cooking, the promise of unforgettable experiences, the joy individual ingredients can bring.No-one knows this better than the ad men who work for global heavyweights like Nestle, Mars and Cadbury’s. Theirs is the chocolate that’s sold on a slogan – the sizzle not the sausage – working its way into our hearts and stomachs with messages that are striking in their simplicity. If we have a break, we have a Kit Kat, Crunchie has commandeered ‘that Friday feeling and a Yorkie is ‘definitely not for girls’ (although I wouldn’t say no to its manly chocolaty chunks). True, a Flake was sold as ‘the crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate’, but anyone who watched those ads knows that the real sales driver was the sheer indulgence and secret pleasure it promised to women all over the country.
Going back to the Rolo strapline, we’re presented with a pretty clear proposition; this is chocolate so good, you’d have to seriously love someone to share your last bite. Growing up with an older brother I learnt to safeguard my food from wandering hands, and understand how precious a commodity that final bite of anything can be. Whether it’s the crispiest chip, a crust of bread or a smudge of sauce on the edge of your plate, being robbed of that final mouthful can be a cruel and disappointing thing.
Nowadays Rolos are a bit out of fashion. If you really loved someone, you’d probably be buying them Earl Grey infused truffles made from organic single estate cocoa beans, not thumbing them your last little chocolate cup from its tatty golden foil. But that doesn’t mean we should overlook the classic combination of chocolate and caramel; simple yet seductive, not daring, but delicious all the same.
So here it is, a Rolo for the twenty-first century. Salted butter caramel is stirred through creamy custard to create the richest, most delicious ice cream you’ll possibly ever taste. This is then poured into cups lined with dark chocolate, encased with an additional layer then sprinkled with fleur de sel. This is an ice cream with which people fall in love at first taste, and it’s a relationship built to last. If you love someone enough to make this for them, I guarantee that they will be unable to help but love you back.
Would food would make to win someone’s heart? Do you have friends or family who like to pinch from your plate? And have you ever bought a product just because of the advertising?
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Rolo Cups
(makes 10 – 12 individual portions)
400g good quality dark chocolate
500 ml whole milk, divided
300g golden caster sugar
60g good quality salted butter
½ teaspoon fleur de sel
250ml double cream
5 large free range egg yolks
¾ tsp vanilla extract
Melt 300g of the chocolate and 100g butter in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water until smooth and glossy. Pour about half an inch of chocolate into the base of two deep silicon muffin cupcake trays (each with six pockets) and brush it up the sides of each pocket with a pastry brush until all sides are coated. Pop in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes, then repeat with a second layer of chocolate so you have a fairly robust shell. Return to the freezer.
Make the ice cream according to instructions here, omitting the caramel praline so as to achieve a super smooth consitency (I couldn’t explain how to make caramel better than David Lebovitz, so I’m not even going to try. His recipe is spot on and pretty much foolproof, so use it).
When the ice cream is churned but still soft, remove the muffin trays from the freezer and fill each chocolate-lined pocket to the top with ice cream. Depending on the size of your trays, you may have a little left over. If so, eat it (or freeze in a small tupperware). Return to the freezer.
Melt the remaining butter and chocolate together. Allow to cool slightly, then remove your ice cream cups from the freezer and cover the top with a layer of chocolate, ensuring it reaches right to the edges. Return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
To serve, push the individual chocolate cups out of the muffin pockets – they should pop out very easily with a beautiful smooth surface. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel, if you like, and serve. The caramel in the ice cream keeps it beautifully soft, so when you crack through the hard chocolate shell, a velvety smooth ice cream is revealed beneath.