Food bloggers – in fact most people in the food world in general – tend towards exaggeration.
Every day we’re presented with the smoothest, creamiest ice cream, the crumbliest bars, unbeatable cookies and incredible bread, each recipe a must-make, a life-changer and better than anything that’s ever been eaten before.
There’s a reason that we do this. That old adage ‘sell the sizzle not the sausage’ exists for a reason – as humans we respond to the sensory and it’s these rich, emotive descriptions that will keep us reading a post, encourage us to try a recipe or recommend it to a friend.
There can also be a second, more obvious reason for hyperbole: that it’s true. If you read a lot of recipes this might require the casting off of cynicism, but if you trust someone and they tell you that a recipe is the best, then you know you’re onto a winner.
This recipe is the best. I hope you trust me.
When it comes to chocolate in desserts, nine times out of ten I’ll go for dark. The slightly bitter, rich, strong flavour works wonders in mousses, cakes, tarts and puddings and even stands up to being frozen: I’ve got recipes for both dark chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sorbet which I thought would be impossible to beat.
That’s not to say I don’t like milk chocolate, I just prefer it in the form of bars. It’s creaminess can mean it’s tricky to work with when melted and if combined with butter, sugar, flour and other ingredients, it can somehow lose it’s magic. No such problem here.
This ice cream is a bar of milk chocolate in frozen form. It’s silky, thick and creamy, almost velvet with a smooth, mousse-like texture that coats your tongue and glides down your throat. Chewy crumbs of chocolate cookie, caramel-like from muscovado sugar and crunchy with nuts (can’t be bothered to make ice cream? These cookies are heaven on their own) melt into folds of milk chocolate ice cream making every mouthful more delicious than the last.
On eating his first mouthful (standing in front of the freezer before dinner, tub in one hand, teaspoon in the other), Carnivorous Fiancé declared it the best ice cream I’d ever made. This is something you may have heard before, in fact it tends to crop up every time I try out a new ice cream flavour (every cook needs a biased supporter on side), so I’d normally take this kind of comment with a pinch of salt. But this time it’s true. All I can say is this chocolate ice cream is amazing. Make it.
Double Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream
(makes just over one litre)
The recipe below will make more cookies than you need for the ice cream. I’m sure you can find a way to use them up.
For the cookies (adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe)
125g dark chocolate, chopped
75g milk chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g light muscovado sugar
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g hazelnuts, toasted and ground
150g self-raising flour
For the ice cream (adapted from The Perfect Scoop)
225g milk chocolate, minimum 30% cocoa, chopped
400ml double cream
4 large egg yolks
400ml full fat milk
125g golden caster sugar
5 chocolate cookies (recipe above, or any good-quality, slightly squidgy cookie)
For the cookies
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water then set aside to cool slightly.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla extract and salt to the beaten eggs then add to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, beating constantly. Add the melted chocolate and continue to mix until combined.
Add the hazelnuts and flour to the chocolate mixture and fold to combine. Place large, heaped tablespoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking parchment – you should get 12 – 14 large cookies. Try to keep the mixture as heaped as possible – they will spread considerably in the oven.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, removing from the oven half way through baking time to swap the trays and push any over-spreading edges back in. Remove the still-soft cookies from the oven and set aside to cool. As they cool they will harden a little – once cool enough to lift without breaking, transfer to a wire rack.
For the ice cream
Melt the chocolate and cream together in a large heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until smooth then remove from the heat and place a mesh sieve over the top.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisk to combine then return the whole mixture to the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over a medium heat until thickened and smooth (it should coat the back of a spatula). Be careful not to overheat the custard or it will split. Remove from the heat and pour through the sieve onto the chocolate and cream mixture.
Place the bowl of chocolate custard in a sink or bowl filled with ice and whisk until cool then chill in the fridge overnight.
Churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, crumble your cookies into tiny pieces and scatter a few in the bottom of the container in which you plan to freeze your ice cream. Layer the just-churned ice cream with crumbled cookie then smooth the top flat and freeze until ready to serve.