In 2005, when Bluffton preschoolers Kate Holland and Caitlyn Owen were photographed eating ice cream cones on a Westbury Park neighborhood front porch, it was just too cute. Some eight years later, Kate, now 10, and Caitlyn, 11, are still too cute – although no longer rookies at managing ice cream cones, with extra sprinkles, on a hot July afternoon. This time around, there are younger siblings, too – seven-year-old Brynn Holland and six-year-old Colin Owen, who are also clever at handling ice cream cones with the same skill and ability as their big sisters. With July being National Ice Cream Month and next month designated as National Peach Month, ice cream and peaches were fun foods to serve the kids – and boy oh boy, did they gobble (and giggle) their way through two quarts of fresh peach ice cream and a bucketful of multi-colored sprinkles. Homemade ice cream is not inexpensive to make, but the rewards are great in view of the fact that ice cream making can be a family activity whether it’s produced in a crank ‘n’ churn canister, an ice cream maker powered by electricity, or with not much more than a plastic bag, some salt and ice. And, in terms of taste and variety, homemade ice cream is far better than the best premium ice cream, or ice cream shop ice cream, that your ice cream money can buy. Companies such as King Arthur Flour (www.kingarthurflour.com) and Cuisinart (www.cuisinart.com), manufacturers of a range of electric ice cream makers, are good sources for tested ice cream recipes and there’s also an easy kid-friendly recipe for Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag at www.spoonful.com/recipes/homemade-ice-cream-bag, courtesy the good folks at Disney.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.
Chocolate Decadence Ice Cream
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa*
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Instant ClearJel* or cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla; or 1 tablespoon espresso powder; or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, all optional
2 cups (1 pint) whole milk
1 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
For adults only: ¼ cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa) or the liqueur of your choice, optional
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, ClearJel or cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the water, then the flavor of your choice and the milk or cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently as the mixture warms, then almost constantly as it becomes hot; you don’t want the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate melts. Pour into a bowl, and stir occasionally as it cools, to prevent a skin from forming. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the chocolate, again to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until it’s well chilled; overnight is good.
Make sure the canister for your ice cream maker is in the freezer, too; it needs to be as cold as it can be. Next day, pour the chocolate into the ice cream maker, and freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s quite stiff. Scoop the ice cream into a bowl. For best texture, stir in ¼ cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa), or the liqueur of your choice. This will keep the ice cream soft and scoopable indefinitely in the freezer. Serve the ice cream immediately, if desired; it will be very soft. For harder ice cream, store in the freezer. Ice cream without liqueur will become nicely hard in 3 hours. With the addition of liqueur, it will take 6 hours or more to become quite solid. Ice cream without liqueur will become unpleasantly hard within 5 hours or so; to soften, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before serving. Yield: 3¾ cups, a scant 1 quart.
*Kitchen Ade note: Find superior Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa, Instant ClearJel and Espresso Powder, at King Arthur Flour, www.kingarthur.com, or by calling 1-800-827-6836.