The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

This was my first venture into making Jeni Britton Bauer's no-eggs ice cream. She has an interesting method of adding cornstarch and corn syrup to her ice creams and boiling the milk/cream mixture to prevent ice crystals from forming, either by binding the water molecules to sugar, fat, protein or starch or boiling them off.

My first impression from just reading the recipe was: This is awesome! I don't have to separate eggs and I won't have a bunch of leftover egg whites, and I don't have to worry about curdled eggs. But, it seemed like a lot of extra work and dirty dishes making a cornstarch slurry, a mashed cream cheese concoction and filling a plastic ziplock bag with hot liquid.

My impression after making it and serving it to friends? I can streamline the process to make it work for me, because when one of our guests says, "This is the best chocolate ice cream I've ever had!".....well, 'nuf said.

Here's my streamlined version.

The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World
adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
Makes 1 quart.

Remove from refrigerator and measure out into a small shallow bowl:
1.5 oz cream cheese
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
Use the back of a spoon and mash it up. You want to soften and smooth out the cream cheese. Set aside.

In a 2-qt saucepan, combine and bring to a boil over medium heat: 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (46g)
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
1/2 cup brewed coffee
Stir to dissolve sugar and boil for 30 seconds.

Remove from heat, add and whisk until smooth:
1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (55% to 70% cacao), finely chopped  (42g)
Tip:  use a serrated bread knife to "shave" the chocolate into thin slivers

Now, add the softened cream cheese with salt and whisk the warm chocolate syrup until smooth. Set aside.

2 cups whole milk

Remove 2 tablespoons of the whole milk and in a small bowl, mix and make a smooth slurry with:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Pour remaining whole milk into a 4-qt saucepan along with:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (41g)
Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes precisely - timing is critical.

Remove from heat and whisk in cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and boil for about 1 minute, whisking constantly until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate cream cheese mixture until smooth. Strain the chocolate ice cream base back into the 4-qt saucepan. Don't skip straining the base; it removes the small bits of unincorporated cream cheese.

At this point, Jeni pours the hot mixture into a Ziploc freezer bag and submerges it into an ice bath. The idea is to cool the mixture down quickly so you can churn your ice cream right away. Also, in ice cream recipes using egg yolks, ice baths are used to stop the cooking process. But in this case, since there are no egg yolks, I don't think the ice bath is absolutely necessary, especially if you plan ahead and can chill the mixture overnight in the refrigerator. Finally, I'm a bit leery about releasing BPAs when combining hot liquids and plastics. 

So my method is to place a clean kitchen towel or paper towel over the saucepan to absorb any water vapor, then cover with lid and refrigerate overnight.  Next day, churn according to your ice cream manufacturer's instructions. Pack into freezer-proof container and place a piece of parchment paper directly onto the ice cream. Seal with air-tight lid and freeze till firm, about 4 hours.

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