I hope that everyone had a wonderful National Ice Cream Day last Sunday! If you missed it and didn’t have any ice cream (shame on you!), don’t panic, July is National Ice Cream Month. You’ve got the rest of the month fulfill your duty to dig your spoon into that bowl or get your fingers sticky with an ice cream cone. If you’re inclined to make your own (and I believe everyone should give it a shot!) I strongly suggest you celebrate with this raspberry swirl and brownie ice cream.
About a week and a half after my knee surgery, my boss e-mailed me and, knowing we don’t have air conditioning in this sweltering heat, said she hoped I was making lots of ice cream. Eating it, sure, but making it? No. I was pretty darn lucky that Joseph had made that strawberry basil sorbet (which is so wonderful and so easy!) but making sweets isn’t really his domain and I was confined to the couch. But the more I thought about it, it just seemed critical that we make our own ice cream for National Ice Cream Day because anything less would be a downright disrespect to this oh so important day (yes, this is how my mind works). Luckily Joseph was game, so we plunked a chair for me in the kitchen and got to work armed with crutches (me) and a great attitude (Joseph).
We wanted to highlight fresh seasonal fruit and decided on raspberries and turned to ice cream icon David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. The raspberry ice cream looked good, but it calls for 6 cups of raspberries. They may be cheaper now that they’re in season, but they’re not that cheap! Luckily the recipe right before that one was for raspberry swirl ice cream, which sounded pretty awesome and only calls for 1½ cups of raspberries.
One of the first things that I learned about Joseph is that he loves, loves, loves chocolate and raspberries together. I also think it’s a pretty amazing combo and while raspberry swirl ice cream sounded good, I couldn’t help but think it would be even more fantastic with some chocolate. My first thought was ice cream sandwiches with chocolate cookies. But that was too much work. Then I thought hot fudge sauce. That would be pretty amazing, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the chocolate in the ice cream. And then it hit me. Brownies.
Luckily the book also has a great recipe for brownies that, while sinfully good on their own, are also ideal for going into ice cream. The dense, chewy brownies hold up well to freezing so that when you bite into them in the ice cream, you get soft, chewy brownies instead of rock hard frozen or soggy, mushy chocolate. Perfect, no? Between the surprisingly bright and refreshing raspberry swirl (with small chunks of real raspberries!), the rich, chewy brownies, and the cold creamy vanilla ice cream this ice cream is pure heaven.
For those of you who have never made ice cream at home, never fear! It’s not that hard! I’ve done my best to lay out the process clearly below and please don’t hesitate to post a comment with any questions you have. And for those of you who don’t have an ice cream machine, we love our Cuisinart and it’s not that expensive. There are even churning attachments you can get for your Kitchenaid! It’s incredibly fun and rewarding to make (and eat!) your own ice cream and come up with your own creations and variations.
I’m thinking our next ice cream might be a straight up chocolate or maybe an darjeeling tea. Or strawberry. Or bourbon with cocoa nibs. Or…. What are you going to make?
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
You’re working with ice cream here, so you want your ingredients to be cold when you’re using them. That means you’ll want to plan ahead so that you don’t bake your brownies, take them out of the oven, and then throw them into the ice cream. We made the custard and the brownies the evening before (the bonus here is that your oven and stove aren’t on in the middle of the hot day), and then the next morning we made the raspberry swirl, waited an hour (so the raspberry sauce has plenty of time to chill) and then churned the ice cream. Make sure to chill whatever you’ll be storing the ice cream in and it’s also not a bad idea to freeze the brownie crumbles too so that they’re cold when you put them in the ice cream.
I recommend using a saucier pan to make the custard if you have one. My All-Clad saucier is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. It slopes down much more gradually than a regular saucepan so it’s easier to stir and keep everything moving without worrying about what’s getting stuck in the crease where the sides and the bottom of the pan meet. No problem if you don’t have one, just use a flexible heatproof spatula and remember to reach into the crevices often to keep everything moving.
The brownie recipe here is for David Lebovitz’s Chewy-Dense Brownies. They’re fantastic on their own and are the ideal brownies to add to ice cream because they’re still chewy even after freezing. You can add as many brownie pieces as you’d like, but I recommend about 1 1/2 to 2 cups or so. This leaves plenty of brownies left over for brownies a la mode, brownie crumbles to top off the ice cream, or just plain ol’ brownie eating.
The vodka in the raspberry sauce is not optional – the alcohol prevents it from freezing all the way. It’s a small amount and is spread throughout the ice cream, so I think it’s fine to serve to kids, but what do I know?
Make the ice cream:
Make the brownies:
Make the raspberry swirl:
Put it all together:
Yield: 1.5 quarts