I’m going to come right out with it. I was feeling feisty the day I made this ice cream. Sure, I started off calm enough, with a morning yoga class and lunch at Area Four. But things quickly veered off after the clam pizza.
I accidentally sprayed myself with some serious sandalwood cologne that I mistook for perfume at a shop on Charles Street. I left promptly, smelling of man forest. Once home, I took one look at the screens my landlord hastily installed last fall—screens that actually prevent me from opening my windows—and decided they were coming down.
I spent the next two hours with a screwdriver and Neil Young. The scent of sandalwood lingering faintly in the background. I can certainly think of worse times. And I would share them. But I’m still in a Neil Young jag and “Carry On” is playing. And so I must.
So where was I? Oh yeah. After the screens, and a few other chores, I poured myself a cold one. A stout. The music got louder. I ate brownies for dinner. And I set out to make ice cream that was going to have beer in it.
I ground up dark roasted coffee beans. Cracked another pint (for the ice cream). Knocked over some heavy cream. Turned up “The Needle and the Damage Done.” Drank some more beer. And then made ice cream.
A strong ending, if you ask me. This ice cream is assertive. It’s unapologetic and grownup. It’s the kind of ice cream that says: so what. I like sturdy coffee and beer so thick and dark you can’t see your soul through it. In fact, I’m going to make these items into dessert. I’m going to have dessert for “dinner.” And I’m going to reject your suffocating screens, thank you very much.
So, sure, this ice cream is in chilly conflict with the delicate, floral ice cream I made last month. But for something that goes “in like a lion,” lavender just ain't gonna cut it. This is another flavor courtesy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. She makes it at her shop around Father’s Day. Personally, I think it’s a perfect match for March. Perfect for the time of year that often has a little bite to it. For when we are teetering on the edge of spring. And perhaps looking for a way to round out the stout, sandalwood, and screwdrivers; primed and ready to let a little unruly breeze in.
Chocolate Stout Coffee Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
2 cups whole milk
1½ tbsp cornstarch
1½ ounces cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp dark roast coffee beans, ground
½ cup dark chocolate stout (see notes)
Mix 2 tbsp of the whole milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk the cream cheese in a separate medium-sized bowl. Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan and place on medium-high heat; boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the ground coffee beans and let steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl with ice and water and put a smaller bowl (ideally both metal bowls) inside the bowl filled with ice and water. Once the grounds have steeped, strain them out using a strainer with a cheesecloth over it. Squeeze the coffee grinds in the cheesecloth to extract all the liquid that you can and then discard the grounds.
Return the milk mixture (now infused with coffee) back to the saucepan and gradually mix in the cornstarch mixture; bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until it thickens, which should take a minute or so.
Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk some of the hot liquid into the cream cheese until the mixture is smooth. Add the cream cheese mixture to the remaining hot liquid and then add the stout and stir to combine. At this stage, if you have little pieces of cream cheese or too many bits of coffee grounds, you can strain the mixture again. (The resulting ice cream will have lovely little flecks of coffee grounds, but most does get strained out.)
Pour the mixture into your bowl on ice (alternatively you could pour it into a ziplock bag and submerge the bag into the ice). Let it cool for about 30 minutes and then stick in the fridge overnight to let the flavors meld.
The next day, churn the mixture in an ice cream machine for 20-25 minutes, or until the mixture gets thick and creamy and pulls away from the sides of the bowl of the ice cream maker. Pack the ice cream in an airtight container. Cover with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or until the mixture is firm.
Makes about 1 quart
-I used Imperial Choklat Stout from Southern Tier Brewing Company. You may wish to check out a new local company, Night Shift Brewing. They have a Taza Stout. You can’t buy it yet, but hopefully soon. I'm crazy for Taza, so I'm pretty excited about this melding of local chocolate and local beer.
-Corn syrup. She’s a controversial lady. I’ve used brown rice syrup (also not shy from controversy recently) in its place in ice cream recipes in the past and this recipe would probably take kindly to it. This time around I used this.
-For the coffee I used French roast coffee beans and ground them in a coffee grinder, which can also be done at the market or grocery store.
-If you forget to soften the cream cheese ahead of time you can stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.
-Did someone say Guinness floats? Why, yes, what a wonderful idea for St. Patrick's Day! (I typically skip the blackberry in mine.)