Hot chocolate ice cream.

Another one of my favorite Ireland food memories is the hot chocolate we got in Butler’s Grafton Street store. We were there in December and while the temperature hovered around 40 degrees most days, it was more than chilly enough to enjoy a hot chocolate on the Luas ride back to our apartment. Before we left Ireland we made a stop at Superquinn to stock up on Irish candy and snacks, and discovered to our great delight that you can buy Butler’s hot chocolate cups in packages of ten!

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For whatever reason that package has been squirreled away in our kitchen cabinet ever since, and now it is much too warm to think about hot chocolate. But it is perfect weather for hot chocolate ice cream.

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The directions for the chocolate cups call for melting one cup in five ounces of hot milk. This results in an extraordinarily rich cup of hot chocolate, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but take that into consideration when you decide how many chocolate cups to add. And remember that you are also adding sweetness with each cup, so you may decide to tone down the amount of sugar you add to the custard, too. (Freezing will suppress the sweetness somewhat.) I added three chocolate cups to my 24 ounces of milk and cream and ended up with plenty of chocolate flavor.

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In terms of texture, this is the best ice cream I’ve made yet. It also tastes spectacular, although my boyfriend thinks it is a little rich. Someone with more of a sweet tooth (ahem) will probably like it better.

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My recipe is based off of this recipe. It’s extremely simple and, if you discount all the chilling time, actually very quick to put together.

Butler’s Hot Chocolate Ice Cream
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
4 large egg yolks
3-4 Butler’s Hot Chocolate Cups (available in the US online at Amazon or Vermont Country Store)

Method
Heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup of the sugar, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 175 degrees. (I do use a candy thermometer for this, but if you don’t have one, just watch the mixture carefully and do not allow it to boil.) Add the hot chocolate cups; stir to make sure they are melting.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale yellow and thick. Once the chocolate cups are completely melted and fully incorporated, slowly pour a small amount of the heated milk-cream-sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Whisk the thinned egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Heat the custard to 180 degrees, stirring constantly (do NOT allow it to boil!). You can also check to see if the custard is ready by coating the back of a wooden spoon with the custard and then drawing your finger across. If the custard is ready, it will not “cross the line.”

Pour the cooked custard through a fine mesh strainer into a covered container. Chill the custard completely in the fridge—I like to do this overnight, but leave it at least several hours. Churn chilled custard according to the instructions for your ice cream maker. Put the ice cream in the freezer in an air-tight container for a couple of hours to harden completely. Allow the ice cream to soften slightly before serving.

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