Penarious Challenge – Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream

We are in serious trouble, folks.

It was 82 degrees yesterday. It always happens in the spring…The temperatures hit the 80s and 90s and we all drag ourselves around for a few days trying to get accustomed to the coming inevitably HOT summer.

It only takes a day (and one night of tossing under a warm sheet) for some of us to begin to wonder if we’ll ever make it through, or how we’ll handle it again without going insane.

“Saudi Arabia is the only other place I know of that has temperatures in the 100s for over 2 months”, Mom says.

I start dreaming of a an ice pool. You know, kind of like a hot tub only there are glaciers floating in it.

Mirages of chilled watermelon slices, fruity gelato and delectable ice cream cones appear in heat waves.

Then it happens. The Best Ever Chocolate Ice Cream churns together into a great spoonful of creamy goodness.

Like I said, we are in serious trouble. Thankfully the air conditioning kicks on. Maybe we can keep from making it all the time if we keep the air on.

By the way, whoever invented air conditioners? I love you with all my heart.  Just say the word and I will make you Chocolate Ice Cream whenever you like.

So, I was challenged by Shadowlilies to make a chocolate ice cream recipe that would rival the Best Chocolate Ice Cream You’ll Ever Have posted by Joanna Goddard over at A Cup Of Jo  and created by Cenk from Cafe Fernando.

Photo by Cenk - Cafe Fernando

I did my first test run two weeks ago. It was good, but my chocolate choice didn’t fit. It had to be smoother, richer, melty-er.  I knew immediately that I had to use Lindt. I actually thought about using the dark chocolate truffles, but decided against it a second later. Too much to unwrap.

The chocolate is what makes this recipe though. Go for the good stuff.

Shadowlilies laid out one condition in her challenge – no sweetened condensed milk! I went with coconut milk and a bit of sugar instead. I also added 2 egg yolks to substitute for the cornstarch and to give it more richness. The other big difference in the recipes is that I omitted cocoa powder for more 70% dark chocolate. Serious trouble, I’m telling ya!

Here’s the recipe –

3/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. sugar

2 farm fresh egg yolks

3 bars of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa dark chocolate

1/8 t. sea salt

2 T. espresso or coffee

2 t. vanilla

3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

1 can unsweetened coconut milk


Chop chocolate bars.

Whisk together milk, egg yolks and sugar.

Look! You can see me peeking over the edge. :)

Heat in a double boiler (or a bowl in a sauce pan as I do. :) just until steamy, stirring frequently. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Sprinkle in the salt and add espresso and vanilla. Whisk in cream and coconut milk.

Now the recipe over at Cup of Jo doesn’t require an ice cream maker. That’s a pro. However it does require more cooking time and lots of cooling time before freezing. That’s a con.

My recipe calls for an ice cream maker. That’s a con if you don’t have one, but if you do, no problem. Just churn according to the maker’s directions. No cooling is required since it never got that hot in the first place and what was heated was only a small amount of the mix.

The recipe makes exactly 4 cups which works perfectly for most electric ice cream makers.

Have you ever tried photographing ice cream on a warm day?

Hmmm…I need a walk in freezer. That might take the place of an ice pool, too.

So, which recipe do you think is the Best Ever? Try them both out and let me know!



A Day in the Life of a Barista…

4:30 a.m. Really? I seriously have to get up now? This is insane.
I think I think that every morning when I open the shop on weekdays. It’s really not that bad, I just like to be dramatic sometimes.
This morning I turn the oven on to preheat and return to my basement room where I get dressed for work – company t-shirt, pants and my coffee stained canvas shoes. Back upstairs, I line frozen chocolate and cranberry almond scones on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. When the buzzer goes off, I’ll have had my breakfast, made my lunch/snacks for my shift and done everything else I need to do before 5:15 a.m.
It takes less then ten minutes to get to the shop, but I always allow fifteen. I like to be early, I don’t like to be rushed and I never speed. hem! The wafts coming from hot scones are almost unbearable on the short drive. No, I don’t have one bite. Not one. Not today anyway.
With my few spare minutes, I’m able to prepare the shop for the morning before turning the open signs on promptly at 5:30. Smells of fresh ground coffee permeate the cool morning air. The smells here…oh my, they are simply amazing! I have a few early morning customers, but the rushes don’t start until 7:00 or so. Thankfully, my friend and co-worker, Cherie, arrives at that time and we serve car after car. Sometimes we have breaks,  sometimes we don’t. A school sends in an order of 8 drinks and Cherie takes off to deliver while I man the shop.
I though I was going to regret not bringing a book,  but after Cherie’s shift ended at 10:00, I stayed consistently busy with a few “slams” in between. Slams denote the “four cars or more at a time” routine. I’m convinced that they have someone watching to see when the second worker leaves. As soon as they see her drive off, they give a shout out to come flood the coffee shop. Hmmm…we need to break this up abit!
So, in between customers,  I made you a drink. It’s the new special, though you won’t find it on the menu – and don’t ask Gabe about it, ’cause there really are no new specials. It’s just my special especially.
Size first…

I like yellow.

Then the milk gets steamed. It’s cold outside this morning, and rainy, so I knew you wanted a hot one.
 The coffee beans are ground as we go throughout the day, so now I pull the shots.
Two for you. Though two would make me shake for the rest of the day. Yikes!
Now for the flavor – Ghirardelli white chocolate powder…
blended with orange and almond syrup. It’s that Italian flare coming out again from somewhere.
Pour in the espresso shots and steamed milk…
…and stir as you go with these fancy spoons. I like them.
Would you like straws with that? What about a chocolate covered coffee bean?
It was busy today, very. I made over 35 dollars in tips. Nice! My shift ends at 1:00. That’s after I’ve had my Rock Fish Chowder for lunch. But that recipe is for another post.
The rest of the day? Well, we need more farm fresh eggs at the house,  so perhaps I’ll go pick them up. Maybe fit in a nap, finish the book I started yesterday, and pick out a song I’ve been wanting to do on the guitar. I’ll probably go on a run this evening at the park.
My schedule is always different. One day Mandy and I went to a friend’s house and got our hair cut and styled.
Last week I spent the night with some friends down near Princeton. It’s gorgeous down there. We went horse back riding to the river and sat and talked for hours. It was good. I needed that.
Then they sent me home with two big boxes of produce from their amazing garden!
One afternoon Tesia took me to The Kitchen Engine, a gourmet foods and kitchen gadget/ equipment store in Spokane. *Sigh!* Someday I will have a 1,000 dollars just to spent there. :D As it was, I made it out of there 50 dollars poorer. It was too fun.
So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up too! Fall is in the air now and I’m wondering what the next months will bring. Change for sure – in the weather, in my routine, in life…who knows what will happen.
Hope you are enjoying the last days of summer. Stay tuned for my Northwest Rock Fish Chowder recipe!