Devil’s Food Chocolate Ice Cream
There are a lot of ways to do the same thing, just as there are a variety of ways to get to the same place. Which is why it’s always fun for me to give a go at another recipe, maybe one that I’m (very) familiar with – like chocolate ice cream – but made in an unfamiliar way.
Since I got my hands on Bravetart by Stella Parks, a book dedicated not to just iconic American desserts, including cakes, cookies and candies, I was consumed by all the information on its pages. I read it like a book, absorbing the information, some of it new to me, and much of it debunking commonly held beliefs about cooking and baking.
For those whole like recipes to be very precise with detailed explanations, including specific brands which should be used, and why, Bravetart is the book for you. Yes, kosher salts can differ (according to Stella, brands that contain sodium ferrocyanide can interfere with crystallization when making candy) and some are saltier than others. Cocoa powders behave differently based on brand and fat content. And she is extremely opinionated on the subject of flour (backed up by years of testing), concluding that if you want to have the best results when baking, use Gold Medal bleached flour.
There’s no one way to do things, as the internet has shown us. I make ice cream a little different than Stella, and Jeni, but we’re all part of the mix. There were so many recipes in her book I wanted to make, especially the Boston Cream Pie, one of my all-time favorite desserts, but I only have one 8-inch cake pan. (I think I lost the other one somewhere over the Atlantic.)
Especially enticing is the chapter called “Candies & Candy Bars,” which raises the bar, so to speak, on iconic American candy bars. Stella cracked the code for everything, from Mars Bars and Cracker Jacks, to Heath Bars, and – yes, Snickers Bars with homemade peanut butter nougat.
But I settled on an ice cream, because my ice cream machine is always ready. This one is called Devil’s Food Chocolate Ice Cream due to the high proportion of cocoa powder in the mix, and I was anxious to try it. It starts with a base of chocolate and cocoa powder, then you make a custard and add it to the base. I was very (very) tempted to eat the chocolate base all on its own, but somehow, I managed not to.
Thankfully I had enough for one glorious quart of chocolate ice cream. It was dark and rich, chewy and dense. Some of the texture is due to the addition of liquor in the mix.
I used this African liqueur, which ended up on my liquor shelf when a good friend moved back to the States and left me a few miscellaneous bottles. I never used it for anything, even though the mix of coconuts and chocolate is very (very) appealing to me, as is complimentary booze.
But it was also a boost to the texture of this Devil’s Food Chocolate Ice Cream, as was the very dark cocoa powder that I used. Stella recommends Cacao Barry Extra Brute and I used Valrhona, which is very rich and very dark as well. So while we took a few different twists and turns using different ingredients, we ended up at the same place: Great scoops of very dark, and very delicious, chocolate ice cream.