about bliss

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

perfect scoop: chocolate ice cream, philadelphia style

this would look better if i hadn't taken the photograph at 10:30 p.m...

Often people ask me what I *do* with all of the baked goods I make, since it may not appear that I eat many:

a) sharing

My job is perfect for this, though some might believe it gives me an unfair advantage with students when I promise baked goods on the first day of class. I see it as a fair counterpoint to my (supposedly) harsh grading rubric.

b) balance

For example, I knew that tonight I would want some of this delicious, decadent chocolate ice cream alongside yet another chipster brownie (which i've shamefully been nibbling on all.day.long because it's gray and cold outside.) Therefore, I ate vegan lunch AND dinner. Now, I'm not a vegan, though I admire those who are. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to be vegan in America's Dairyland. The half-eaten block of havarti in my fridge, conversations with my closest friends and family, and my twice daily cafe au laits, would illustrate my non-adherence to a vegan diet. But, when I know I'm going to enjoy a dairy extravaganza, I'll make my main meals vegan to balance everything out. So far it's working.

But I digress.

Historically, I haven't been a fan of chocolate ice cream. It always seemed too much of something that I can't quite name. Maybe too much sweetness? Too little depth? (rather like poorly written novels...or movies like a certain popular Nicholas Sparks adaptation that I cannot stand...)

And then my Mom introduced me to Palazzola's triple chocolate gelato. Rich, deep chocolate base. Intense fudge swirl. Chocolate curls that seem to flake in your mouth. Complexity. Surprise. Contrast.

I wondered if homemade chocolate ice cream could approximate this melange of flavors and as Newman famously stated on Seinfeld, "dizzying array of textures." I wanted to start with a basic chocolate recipe and then start experimenting, so I began with David Lebovitz's Philadelphia Style Chocolate Ice Cream. I like the Philly style ice creams for several reasons:

a) they're lighter, and allow intense flavors to shine
b) i'm still afraid of making custard, which more classic, French style ice creams require

I made a few alterations to Lebovitz's stellar recipe--namely, I used 1% Organic Valley milk instead of whole milk. I worried that the texture would be noticeably icier...and yet, this ice cream is the smoothest, lushest ice cream I've ever made. I used my favorite Valrhona cocoa powder, and a combination of unsweetened Ghiradelli bar chocolate and the 72% special chocolate discs, also from Ghiradelli. I can imagine all sorts of fun playing with chocolate brands and percentages...and I'll mix it up next time. And, I'll figure out how to add a fudge swirl and chocolate flakes.

If you're at all interested in Ice Cream making, you should own The Perfect Scoop. I won't be posting the recipes unless I make substantial changes in order to encourage you to support David by purchasing his book:)

Also, I'm planning a weekly ice cream feature throughout the summer--it won't be organized on a specific day, but one day a week I'll make a different kind of ice cream and blog about it. If you'd like to join me, leave a comment, tweet, or email, and we can compare ice creams!


  1. I've always liked chocolate ice cream. I own the Perfect Scoop. I'm not sure whether or not it was ridiculous for me to buy that book before the ice cream maker, but I like to think of it as "research." I'm not the biggest ice cream lover (I'd rather have cake or a cookie) but the recipes in that book make me drool!

  2. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Well, you know I love ice cream. I love this recipe. If you want any recommendations for flavors let me know. Or just let the farmers' market inspire you.

    I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of fresh figs to make fresh fig ice cream.

  3. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I'm excited that you had good results with 1% milk. I want to get going with making ice cream and I'm hoping for success with lower-fat milk!

  4. I just bought the Perfect Scoop a couple of months ago and can't wait to start making ice cream out of it. This chocolate ice cream (my favorite!) looks perfect. So glad to hear this works with lighter milk - it's practically a health food that way!

  5. First: pretty pretty blog redesign! Second: I'm making IC too, so I'll play along this summer! That choc. looks great.