Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Brownie Bits
I have turned into a cliché pregnant woman, and I did not see this coming. I have always tried not to be one of those who uses pregnancy as an excuse for everything, like saying you are “eating for two” so you eat with reckless abandon when you really only need 300 more calories per day than normal. I try never to send Ben out to stores or restaurants to satisfy sudden cravings, since they usually pass quickly enough on their own. But last week was different. We had had desserts in the house and everything was fine, and suddenly one night I found myself without dessert and a chocolate craving so bad, I decided to break my own rule just this once. I sent Ben to the store in search of some ice cream and he was happy to oblige.
You must understand how dire the circumstances were – I literally have not bought ice cream from the store since getting my ice cream maker three years ago. I gave him some flavor suggestions but figured he knows me well enough to know what I like. He came back with cookie dough. Now, I love homemade double cookie dough ice cream but store bought cookie dough is totally not worth the calories in my book. I was frustrated. I might have cried (though I’ll admit that several other upsetting things happened that day and this was the last straw, so to speak). Thankfully he did pick up some good quality milk chocolate as well because I had mentioned that I wanted to make this ice cream again soon. So as it turns out, I did get my super chocolatey ice cream and satisfy my craving – just a day late, but this ice cream more than made up for it.
Yield: about 1 quart
For the brownies:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
For the ice cream:
8 oz. milk chocolate (at least 30% cacao solids), finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with nonstick spray. Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt. Whisk in the chopped chocolate and stir just until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Smooth the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until the center feels just set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cut into small bits to be mixed into the ice cream. (Only half of the brownies are needed for the ice cream. The remainder can be eaten whole or frozen for later use.)
To make the ice cream, combine the milk chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set a mesh sieve over the top of the bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar and salt. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. When the milk mixture is warm, slowly add to the bowl with the beaten egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens just slightly and coats the back of a spoon (170-175˚ F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from the heat and pour the custard through the strainer into the milk chocolate mixture.
Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. Freeze the batter in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once frozen, fold in the brownie bits with a spatula. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.