End All, Be All

“Just a few more tweaks” should be my mantra; Rarely able to stick to a recipe as written, either from a trusted resource or even my own pen, it’s near impossible for me to cook the same dish twice without throwing in something new.  It must be that perfectionist streak that pops up from time to time, compelling me to create an even better recipe, no matter how well loved the original is.  There are many worse compulsions to have, indeed, and I’m not complaining about this quirk of mine, especially when it often leads in such delicious directions.  However, when I finally stumble upon something so good that I feel entirely content with the ingredients, directions, and results, I stop and take notice; This has got to be one serious home run-sort a dish.

And in this case, it certainly is. Basic though it may appear on the surface, this humble chocolate ice cream will forever be my answer to a frozen cacao confection. Ultra rich, but not cloyingly so, this is no demure cocoa powder incarnation, but a full-bodied, decadent iced custard. Tiny shards of chocolate stracciatella flow through the smooth mahogany brown base, adding a quiet crunch to each creamy bite. In other words, it’s perfect. Or as close to perfect as I may ever come, and this recipe is one of the few that I have listed as “untouchable.” As in, “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.”

My only dismay is how long I’ve kept this gem under wraps, as I sat on this lovely recipe for nearly a whole year before realizing that I never felt the need to change it once, no matter how many repeat performances it made in the kitchen. Dubious about making such big proclamations about plain old chocolate ice cream, I curbed my enthusiasm, but really, it’s so much more when it’s done right. Originally formulated to serve at a catered affair through Health in a Hurry, it does make one huge batch. Fear not; it can very easily and painlessly be reduced to 1/3, which will make it small enough to churn in most ice cream machines.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from The Vegan Scoop

3/4 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
6 Tablespoons Arrowroot
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
9 Cups Coconut Milk
1 1/2 Cups Light Agave Nectar
1 1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Stracciatella:

1 1/2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

In a large sauce pan, combine the cocoa powder, arrowroot, coffee powder, salt, and cinnamon, distributing the dry ingredients evenly throughout. Pour in just about 1 cup of the coconut milk, and whisk vigorously to form a thick paste, making sure to moisten all of the dry goods and get out any lumps. Once smooth and homogeneous, go ahead and add in the remaining coconut milk, along with the agave. Turn on the stove to medium head, and whisk occasionally as it comes up to temperature. When bubbles begin forming around the edges of the liquid, add in the chocolate chips, and just let the mixture sit for 2 minutes, to allow the chocolate to begin melting.

Switch over to a wide spatula, and stir gently, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan, to make sure that nothing sticks and that the chocolate fully melts. Once the mixture comes up to a full boil, cook for just a minute or two longer, and as long as there are no more whole chocolate chips remaining, turn off the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract, and let cool completely before moving it into the refrigerator to chill. Be patient; a vat of ice cream base this size can take a long time to sufficiently come down in temperature.

Once fully chilled, churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have a smaller ice cream maker like me, you will need to churn it in batches.

When the ice cream is about 5 minutes away from finishing in the machine, melt down the chocolate chips, and slowly drizzle the liquid chocolate in a thin stream directly into the ice cream machine. It will freeze instantly on the surface of the ice cream, and the turning paddle will break it up into nice little chips.

Transfer the ice cream into an air-tight container, and store in the freezer. Let solidify in the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving.

Makes About 3 Quarts

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