Cardamom has been one of my favorite spices lately and I have been trying it in all kinds of foods. I decided it would be fun to use it as a strong second flavor in a chocolate ice cream. Then I remembered a fantastic chocolate chip cookie I ate at a little coffee shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn last year. It not only contained cardamom but also some chili pepper which gave it some heat The combination worked beautifully.
My recipe is based on Jeni Bauer’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World. In addition to freshly ground cardamom seed, I added ground chipotle pepper which adds a smoky heat to the flavor. The major change to the recipe, besides the additional spices, is that I don’t add any sugar to the chocolate syrup, so in my version it is more of a ganache. Also the original recipe has a full cup of sugar in it, mine only a half cup.
This recipe makes about a 2/3 quart of ice cream.
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup coffee (I used espresso)
- 1½ ounces bittersweet chocolate (55%+ cacao)
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (other ground chili peppers can be substituted)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 1/12 (3 tablespoons) cream cheese (Organic Valley or better if possible).
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- 1 1 gallon Ziploc bag
- Ice Bath
- Freezer proof storage container/s pre-chilled in your freezer.
- Prepare bittersweet chocolate by finely grating it. A serrated steak or bread knife is good for this.
- Prepare cocoa powder by sifting it.
- Brew the coffee or espresso and add it while hot to a small saucepan on low heat.
- Mix in the chili powder, salt and a big pinch of the cardamom.
- Add ¼ cup of the heavy cream.
- Add cream cheese.
- When mixture is well combined and warm whisk in the cocoa powder. I use a fork rather than a whisk.
- When mixture is well combined, add the bittersweet chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set aside.
- Combine the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and cardamom in a 4 quart, heavy bottomed, saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil for 4 minutes.
- Remix the corn starch slurry and whisk it into the milk mixture.
- Lower the heat and cook for a minute, stirring with a heatproof spatula until thickened.
- When you can coat the spatula with the mixture, run a finger through it and leave a clear trail that doesn't immediately fill back in, the mix is ready. Remove from heat.
- Add the chocolate sauce to the mixture, whisking to incorporate. It the syrup is difficult to remove from the pan stir some of the hot milk mixture into it first.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Prepare an Ice bath in a large bowl.
- Pour the mix into the Ziploc bag.
- Gently lower the bag into the ice bath, removing the air in the bag until you get near the top and can seal it.
- Spread the mix into a thin layer around the bag and keep it submerged until the mixture is cold. About 30 minutes.
- For other pre-chilling alternatives click here.
- Pour the mix into your ice cream maker. It is easiest to cut off a corner of the bag and pour it from there rather than through the top.
- Freeze as per manufacturers instructions.
- Scoop ice cream into the pre-chilled storage container/s.
- Press down a piece of cling film over the ice cream to remove any air (optional).
- Seal and store in your freezer for at least a few hours before serving.
Notes and Variations
I am pleased to report that my girlfriend and primary customer, was blown away by this ice cream when made as recorded in the recipe. Never one to leave well enough alone however, these are some of things I will probably experiment with next time.
- I think I will try cutting back the spice amounts to 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. I would like to get the slight burn left by the pepper in the finish down a little. Also though I like the very strong cardamom flavor, but I’m curious about what will happen with the balance tipped more towards the chocolate and coffee.
- I’m tempted to add some finely grated chocolate, maybe 1/4 cup, into the mix towards the end of churning.
- I purposely did not strain out the crushed cardamom seeds before chilling because I wanted that occasional blast of spice. You may not want this.
- Using 1/2 cup of sugar rather than the called for 1 cup did not noticeably hurt the texture of the ice cream and resulted in just the right amount of sweetness to my taste.
Now that I have made this a few times, here are some more notes.
As I am currently making it, this is a drastically dense, dark chocolate ice cream. It is more an Ice Fudge than an Ice Cream.
I have cut the spices back to what I suggested above 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black cardamom seeds and 1/8 teaspoon of ground chipotle pepper. Additionally I am using (from Whole Foods) Organic Valley cream cheese, milk and heavy cream, and Dagoba unsweetened chocolate for baking. Cocoa powder is Penzey’s Spices Natural High Fat Cocoa.
Now for the bad part. As I have currently laid out the steps, this is without a doubt the messiest ice cream recipe I have yet to make. Your kitchen will look like a chocolate bomb went off in it. The chocolate sauce is very, very thick and combining it with the dairy mix is not pretty. The resulting combined mix is like a very thick pudding that does not want to go into or come out the pre-chilling Ziploc bag willingly. Lastly it since it is so rich in fats, clean up takes lots of soap and water.
I am going to try a few things differently next time. First I’m not going to make a separate chocolate sauce. After cooking and thickening the dairy/cornstarch mix I am going to add the chocolate sauce ingredients directly to it, one at a time and gradually incorporate them over a very low heat. I will add the cream cheese, then the baking chocolate, then the cocoa.
I think Im going to either add more milk or use 2%. Not that the current fudginess isnt interesting or tasty, but it is a bit to much of a good thing. If you want to serve something that is sure to get a reaction from your friends, make it as is.
For this one recipe I am not going to use a Ziploc bag for prechilling. Either I will put the pot right into the Ice bath directly or use flat rectangular Pyrex dish, not sure yet. I think given how much heat this thick mix retains it is important to pre-chill it. On the other hand there is so much fat in it, maybe it isn’t needed at all. With a compressor ice cream maker it might make the most sense to just let it cool down on off the stove for 10 minutes and then go right into your machine.