There is something immensely satisfying about making something I usually buy in a store. Of course there are things I draw the line at attempting at home (puff pastry, croissants), but there are a few things that are really not difficult to make at home, and are actually fun to attempt. For us, that was ice cream.
A couple of summers ago, we bought a $40 ice cream maker at the store when they had them on display at the beginning of the season. We didn’t have real plans to make it a workhorse, we just wanted something to make homemade ice cream for the 4th of July. What we actually got was a great little machine that got us hooked on making our own endless varieties and combinations. We made so much ice cream that summer that we were giving it away by the pint. Heading to music class meant grabbing some mint chocolate chip, vanilla sandwich cookie, and butter biscuit crunch pints for the teachers. My chiropractor got a pint of double nutella hazelnut, my neighbors a pint of cereal milk or bourbon butter pecan, and a few fellow softball parents got some pumpkin gingersnap late in the season. Working together, making that ice cream, handing it to smiling faces, and settling in with a tester bowl after freezing each batch are some of the best memories we have of that summer.
Last summer, we didn’t make any ice cream, and we really missed it. It wasn’t something we planned, it just happened. Working a job that made me cry daily and losing my grandmother among other things kept my mind other places, and before I knew it, the season had passed, along with the desire to hear that churn grinding out yet another batch of frozen deliciousness. Fast forward a year to this week, and a lot has changed–I’m not working a job that makes me cry, a lot of self-discovery helped me realize the need to create and the release it provides, and my Mom and Dad mentioned looking for the elusive Starbucks coffee ice cream. I immediately thought of the coffee ice cream we made that summer, and since my Mom had just finished the difficult task of cleaning out my grandmother’s house, I wanted to do something to make her smile. I began making the coffee custard base, and while stirring, perused Facebook. You know that little notification that tells you what happened on that particular day in years past? Well, it alerted me to what I was up to that very day, two years ago. I had made and posted a photo of…coffee ice cream. It was meant to be, and I am meant to share it with you.
My sister named it Kingston Trio, and we think it’s a winning combination. This is small batch ice cream, making just two to three pints, perfect for anyone with limited freezer space or someone who likes to keep a lot of varieties on hand.
2 cups Half and Half
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup finely ground Jamaican Me Crazy Coffee (I found mine here)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
5 Egg Yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Heath Toffee Bars, chopped
2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds, chopped
In a heavy saucepan, stir together half and half, cream, 1/4 c. sugar, coffee and salt.
Heat over medium high, stirring occasionally until it is steaming and bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from heat and cover the pan. Let this steep for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 c. sugar until smooth. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Slowly add another 1/2 cup of cream to the eggs, whisking to combine.
Place the pan over medium heat, and slowly pour the egg and cream mixture into the cream remaining in the saucepan. Stir constantly, using a heatproof rubber spatula. Cook until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spatula. There should be a clean line if you run your finger down the mixture on the spatula, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer placed over a clean bowl to remove the coffee grounds. Rinse and dry the spatula, add in vanilla extract, and stir the custard base until it is cooled. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about two hours or up to overnight.
Freeze the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is ready to place into a deep freezer (it will be soft-serve consistency) stir in the chopped toffee and chocolate almonds.
Pack into freezer safe containers like these, or use paper containers such as these, and freeze for a couple hours. It may seem like a lot to go through for ice cream, but it’s easy and I think you’ll agree it’s completely worth it after the first crunchy, coffee-flavored bite.
It tastes like it was meant to be.
*Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones*