Any Excuse to Eat Ice Cream

Calvin got his next stage of braces today – two-plus hours to get brackets on every tooth, along with a lot of other additions to his hardware. If he asked me for ice cream for dinner, I would give it to him. He hasn’t asked yet, so I am going with macaroni and cheese, with applesauce and some sort of zucchini as side dishes. Then we will go out for ice cream after dinner. Rich and I aren’t going through orthodontic hassles personally, but we can’t just sit and watch Calvin eat his ice cream. It is rude to stare, especially if we keep asking for bites.

I thought braces galore called for a post on the ice cream we made over the weekend. The inspiration for our Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream came from a recipe for Mexican hot chocolate fudgesicles in Feast magazine, along with our experiments a few years ago to make Calvin’s Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies into cinnamon/chipotle/cayenne chocolate cookies. Those experiments never really panned out the way we wanted, but the ice cream was a winner on the first try.

I started with a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/16 of a teaspoon of powdered chipotle in our favorite chocolate ice cream recipe. I tasted the unfrozen mix and couldn’t really taste any heat, though it was good. I bumped it up to 1/8 teaspoon and there was the kick, the heat on the tongue I was looking for. If that isn’t to your tastes, use the smaller amount of chipotle powder or leave it out all-together. There is nothing wrong with chocolate cinnamon ice cream.

The spicy version was fabulous with our homemade hot fudge and our failed ice cream cone bits (recipe for those coming after a few more test batches). Rich liked his better without the cone pieces. He had maraschino cherries on his, too, but he thought it would have been better just to keep it simple. Imagine this ice cream on a piece of dark chocolate cake, or mixed with crushed Oreos.

What excuse, if any, do you use when you want ice cream?

Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream
from The Cook’s Life
Makes 1½ quarts

 With the larger amount of chipotle or cayenne, this ice cream has a kick. Feel free to use the smaller amount or leave it out to make cinnamon chocolate ice cream.

 Because of the large amount of cocoa, this ice cream does get a little harder in the freezer than some other flavors. The optional vodka will keep the ice cream a little softer and more scoopable, but feel free to leave it out.

1/3 cup granulated sugar*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/16-1/8 teaspoon powdered chipotle or cayenne
½ cup cocoa
Dash salt
2 cups half and half*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)

Stir sugar, cocoa and salt together in a medium bowl. Gradually add half and half, making a paste at first to get all the cocoa mixed in thoroughly. Add vanilla and stir until sugar is dissolved. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions – ours takes about 25 minutes. Add vodka, if using, during last 5 minutes of freezing. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for several hours before serving.

*Use ½ cup sugar for a sweeter ice cream. But try it once with less sugar and see how you like it. You can also use an equivalent amount of Splenda for sugar-free ice cream.

** You can use all cream, which will make a richer ice cream. Half and half makes a creamy ice cream, with a little less fat and without the greasy mouth feel you can sometimes get with all cream.

Download the recipe here.