Baked Sunday Mornings: Deepening a joy for ice cream-making

I love to make ice cream. But when I bought my first ice cream maker, just several years ago, I had dueling ideas about where things might go from there — would I be making all sorts of the ice creams, gelato and sorbets of my dreams, or would the ice cream maker sit, unused, on a shelf, behind all the other unused stuff hiding it? Either was a possibility, but the pushier, follow-through ( and hungrier)j side of me won out, and I have the dreamy, creamy frozen memories to prove it — sorbets of pineapple, lemon, cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberry; pistachio and dark chocolate gelato; cinnamon, strawberry, peach and — a favorite — pumpkin ice cream. I’ve had so much fun with my ice cream maker that I bought one for my mom, who has not used hers as much, but is willing to let me fire it up when I visit.

I’ll take any opportunity to make ice cream, in cold or hot weather. We are somewhere in between right now, and with citrus aplenty (oranges, clementines, grapefruit, lemons and limes are at a seasonal peak), I decided to turn the Baked Sunday Mornings project’s Dark Chocolate Ice Cream,from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking,” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (2008), into chocolate enhanced with orange.

This idea was in large part inspired by my baking maven friend, Elaine, who, knowing well her way around a chocolate recipe, recently shared the most delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with dark chocolate frosting that had been flavored with pure orange oil.

For this ice cream recipe, I first added the zest of one orange (about a tablespoon) to the cream, milk, sugar and cocoa (I also added a wee bit of salt), that was heated to just boiling in a small saucepan on the stove.

Adding a third of the hot cream/milk mixture at a time (whisking after each addition), four beaten eggs are tempered, and the whole mixture is returned to the stove for additional cooking.

I do not own a chocolate thermometer, so I used a regular candy thermometer to test the pudding temperature, which is finished cooking at 170 degrees. My version was pretty thick.

This hot mixture was strained through a sieve into a bowl of chopped chocolate (I used a combination of dark 60% cacao and semisweet). (One note: I was curious why the recipe called for the chopped chocolate to be put in the bowl of a stand mixer, when the mixture is whisked after the chocolate melts…I could not tell from the recipe if that whisking was to be done by the mixer because it seemed like it was to be done by hand.)

After a short steeping period, this whole bowl of chocolatey goodness was whisked, and at this point, I added a splash of vanilla and 1 teaspoon of the orange oil. It all smelled heavenly, and I considered just ditching the ice cream idea and indulging in some dark chocolate-orange pudding!

I both relented and compromised by just having a little taste. I then loaded the ice cream maker and started the churning. This was probably the thickest pre-frozen ice cream I had made. But the straining turn of the ice cream maker seemed to say: “nom-nom-nom-nom…”

I decided to add one more thing just before the mixture had completed its churning time — mini chocolate chips. I thought about one-third of a cup of these would give some texture and more chocolate flavor, but since the chips were small, would not overwhelm the finished result.

So thick and darkly rich, it was all I could do to resist gorging on the ice cream as I scooped it into the containers to freeze. I ended up with two pints (the recipe says it makes a quart and a half), but that’s probably because I allowed myself the “cook’s treat” of the ice cream that clung to the paddle and the edges of the frozen ice cream barrel. It was delicious, the combination of melted dark chocolate with deep, dark cocoa gives this ice cream the fullest chocolate experience for the true, blue chocolate fans out there, and I was pleased with that whiff of brightness (just the right balance) from the orange.

Blogger’s Note: You’ll find the recipe for Dark Chocolate Ice Cream here: . I added a tablespoon of orange zest and a pinch of salt to the milk and cream mixture as it heated. I added a splash of vanilla and a teaspoon of pure orange oil to when I whisked the pudding after it had melted the chopped chocolate.

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