If you did not know, July is National Ice Cream Month. Thought I would let you all know before the month was totally gone. After all, what kind of person would that make me if I deprived any of you of a legitimate excuse for chasing after the ice cream truck with the neighborhood kids? And what perfect timing to christen my brand new ice cream maker, too. The heat index has been soaring to about 105° Fahrenheit over the past couple of weeks. Who wouldn’t want a reprieve from the heat with a bowl of cool and creamy chocolaty deliciousness? Yes friends, it’s time for some homemade churn!
Have you ever hand cranked ice cream? I have not myself, but a late friend of mine (God rest) grew up on a dairy farm in Pennsylvania and hand cranking is how they did it! It was the 60’s and 70’s after all. Apparently, it is a lot of work! Can you imagine churning and churning for at least half an hour if not more? You are probably going to need more than one set of arms to get the job done! My friend had a few siblings to assist, luckily, and it was typically a family activity as everyone would get involved with first making the base then setting up the churn with ice and rock salt, and finally taking turns churning until the ice cream had set. Only those that helped got a taste…which is exactly how it should be, right? Up until a couple of years before she passed, she and her sons were still hand churning ice cream with the churn her family had used growing up. Sadly the crank mechanism broke. She was never able to find a replacement. Whenever I go antiquing with friends, I still keep an eye out for one.
Obviously, I did not hand churn this ice cream, as you will see, but I was still channeling my friend. You see, when I knew her, she had a willowy figure. Turns out she had spent most of her adult life a bit heavier. When she showed me older pictures, she was probably in her late 30s, the transformation wowed me. The only thing that remained the same was her radiant smile. Needless to say, my friend was very aware about what she put in her body. I chose, then, to make a lighter ice cream. Although not as low calorie as some commercial brands, this version allows you to use natural ingredients, bypassing all those funky sounding ones. A delicious treat, sans the body image guilt. I am sure my friend is looking down at me with approval. Though truth be told, though, she preferred vanilla :).
Creamy Light Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream
makes 4 cups ice cream, appx 8 servings
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 12ounce can evaporated low fat milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved and seeded
- pinch of sea salt
- 3-4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
- In a saucepan, combine whole milk, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt. Whisk to combine.
- Next add the vanilla seeds and pod to the milk mixture.
- Heat milk mixture over medium heat until it reaches 180° Fahrenheit. You’re looking for tiny bubbles around the edge, NOT a boil.
- Remove from heat and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- While milk mixture is cooling, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
- Once egg yolks and sugar are combined, gradually whisk in the cocoa powder into the beaten eggs.
- After milk mixture has cooled at least 10 minutes, begin to gradually add milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.
- Return entire mixture to the saucepan. Turn stove to medium heat.
- Stirring constantly, cook the ice cream base until it reaches 160° Fahrenheit.
- Fill a large bowl with ice cubes. Either place pan in the ice cubes or poor the ice cream base into another mixing bowl and set over ice.
- Allow ice cream base to cool, about 20 minutes.
- Pour the cooled ice cream base through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the vanilla bean pod and any other solids.
Replace the following with the instructions that came with your particular ice cream maker.
- Turn on the ice cream maker and carefully pour the ice cream base into the frozen freezer bowl.
- Allow the the mixture to churn and thicken into a soft serve like, creamy texture, approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Add chopped hazelnuts and chocolate during the last 5 minutes of the churning.
- Divide ice cream into freezer safe, air tight containers. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm, about 3 hours.
- With a heavy cream based ice cream, this typically takes 15-20 minutes. This lighter version took about 35 minutes to get to the right consistency.
- During the churning process, I noticed that the ice cream started to “stick” the the freezer bowl paddle. You want the mixture to touch the freezer bowl surface or else it won’t freeze, so I used a spatula to help move the ice cream away from the paddle and against the freezer bowl.
- According to my calculations, this recipe totals out to 194 calories a serving…and one serving is 1/2 a cup! leave out the nuts and you’ll shave off another 30 calories.
- Next time I plan on using either dark chocolate cocoa powder or melting dark chocolate to get a richer chocolate flavor. As is, this recipes produces more of a milk chocolate flavor.