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In Search of German Chocolate Ice Cream
I’ve always loved German chocolate cake not for the cake itself, but for the wonderful filling! I could eat a bowl of garnish with no problem! A few years ago I “discovered” Haagen Dazs German chocolate ice cream and tried it. It was, needless to say, delicious. My enjoyment was short lived however as it was only a seasonal type flavor. Over the next few years, I faithfully checked the Haagen Dazs display in EVERY grocery store I visited, but to no avail. I only crossed it once – barely enough to satisfy my palate! Then, a few months ago, while visiting Smith’s in my neighborhood, I found a German chocolate ice cream under the “Private Selection” label in the supermarket. I bought it and couldn’t wait to get home to taste it. My excitement was unfortunately short-lived; the taste is far below my expectation. I finally realized that the only way to get gratification for my ice cream craving was to make it myself.
Making this specialty ice cream involves a two-step process: creating the German chocolate topping and preparing the chocolate ice cream. I immediately looked for recipes. I make German chocolate topping in my kitchens at work, but I don’t need twenty pounds! I had to find a recipe with a considerably lower yield. I have visited several websites and found similar recipes. Since I knew what ingredients the recipe should contain, I chose one from Allrecipes.com that matched my criteria. For the serving of ice cream, I modified a recipe I selected from Mable and Gar Hoffman’s 1981 book, “Ice Cream.” I replaced a smaller volume of half and half with regular whole milk for a richer ice cream. The end result was delicious and a fitting substitute for the Haagen Dazs version I so craved. Although the ice cream is easy to make and involves a few extra steps, it is, in my opinion, worth it.
By the way, when I try this recipe in the future, I will only bake the German chocolate filling to around 170 degrees. I’m also going to consider using a piping bag and piping it through the finished ice cream I just removed from the machine. This procedure might give me more of a gooey filling to bite into instead of a firmer piece.
German chocolate filling
1 cup of sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
3 egg yolks
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, evaporated milk and egg yolks in the top of a double boiler or in a large metal bowl. Add the pieces of butter. Cook in simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and reaches 180 degrees on a thermometer. Remove from water and stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Let cool to room temperature, then place in a smaller bowl or plastic container and cover by laying plastic wrap directly over the surface of the filling. Refrigerate overnight. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper and pipe or drop the filling in teaspoon-sized mounds onto the sheet. Freeze for at least two hours.
An important note – When making a German chocolate filling, whether at home or at work, I prefer to cook it in a double boiler rather than in a saucepan directly over the heat. It allows me to do other things while the filling cooks besides standing on it and stirring. This also minimizes the risk of overcooking and scrambling the egg. While the filling is cooking, I prepare the ice cream base.
Chocolate ice cream
1-1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half and half
2 eggs, beaten
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 70% chocolate bar – remember, better quality chocolate makes for better tasting ice cream)
4 oz. evaporated milk (if you buy a 12 oz can, you will use 8 oz in the filling recipe and the rest in this recipe)
1 cup whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the milk and half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to simmer. Put the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Stir about half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, then return it to the rest of the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Filter the mixture through a fine strainer. Stir in evaporated milk, whipping cream and vanilla. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold (you can technically use the mixture once it has come to room temperature, but it will take longer to freeze). Pour the mixture into the ice cream tub and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the mixture freezes, put a large metal bowl in the freezer. Detach the German chocolate pieces from the waxed paper. When the ice cream is cooked, pour it into the bowl you kept in the freezer and stir in the pieces of German chocolate. Put in a container and let the ice harden. Enjoy!
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