I grew up on an island. It sounds exotic, but it was anything but. My island was a floating bridge away from Seattle and it was suburbia to the hilt. It was safe and scenic, but it was also boring. If you wanted to grocery shop, pick up your dry cleaning, eat bad Thai food, or check on your bank account, then you would never have had to leave the Island. If you wanted any other kind of services – restaurants, shopping of any kind, movie theatres, you know…culture – then you had to head over the bridge to Seattle.
We did, however, have a Baskin and Robbins. My mother, who is incredibly careful about her weight, actually has a serious thing for ice cream. Most Sundays, we would head down to the shop and get my mom her Jamocha Almond Fudge while my brothers and I would get a scoop of our choice. I always pretended to not be able to decide between two flavors so that she would say,”OK, you can get two scoops.” Chocolate chip or mint chocolate chip were always in my bowl. (I never did then, and I still don’t now, like eating my ice cream on a cone. I’m a bowl girl.)
I’ve been on a bit of an ice cream making kick lately. Since discovering the wonder that is homemade, I have been making up for lost time with my ice cream maker. When I brought dinner to my friend with a newborn last week, the gnocchi and the broccoli, I decided to bring ice cream. I know I have said before that you must bring a nursing mother brownies. But that was before my ice cream making days and besides, it was too hot to turn on my oven that day.
In all my years of subscribing to food magazines and dutifully cutting out recipes and carefully taping those recipes into my notebooks, I know I have thrown away many a recipe for ice cream. Before I got over my fear of using my maker, I just passed all those delicious recipes by. I don’t fret though because I have The Perfect Scoop which is, in my and many others much more esteemed than myself’s opinion, the last word when it comes to ice cream. I’m pretty simple with my ice cream tastes. Something with chocolate in it, please. However, as I go through this book, things that have never appealed to me suddenly sound good. Rum raisin? Sure, why not? Fresh Apricot? Let’s make it!
So far, I’ve kept it pretty simple. This chocolate chip ice cream is tears-in-your-eyes sublime. It’s just super incredible vanilla ice cream with shards of bittersweet chocolate running through it. It’s a million times better than Baskin and Robbins.
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 quart
This recipe is fairly simple, but read it carefully as you go. The first time I made it, I followed it to the letter. The second time, I had too many things going on in my kitchen and I forgot to add the milk to the custard. Somehow, it still ended up being delicious. Believe it or not, Costco is a great place to buy vanilla beans – they are incredibly affordable and very high quality.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a measuring cup in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Remove from the microwave while there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Right before you are ready to turn off the ice cream maker, carefully pour the warm chocolate in through the spout, avoiding the beater blade as best you can. Turn off the machine and scrape any chocolate that has collected on the blade back into the bowl. Either serve or scrape into a container and place in the freezer.