Things I've learned about myself with each birthday cycle that passes, a lot of these involve age issues and insecurities, so please bear with me;
- I now prefer ice cream to cakes on my birthday. I love cakes but for some odd reason, I've morphed into ice creams. Ice cream cakes are a good compromise.
- I prefer smaller intimate birthday celebrations to larger ones.
- I found my first white hair, it's a single strand on my weak excuse of a beard. It was frightening at first and made me realize I'm aging. I got over it pretty quickly. But balding is a whole different story.
- I wake up as early as my grandparents used to. As a kid, I'd wonder why and how they managed to wake up at 5 or 6am every day as I struggled to get to school by 9am. I also can't stay up beyond 9pm. Am I becoming my grandparents?
- I worry about having kids, when to have them etc. I hate sports, what if they like sports, what the heck will I do?
- There are too many "Life Alert" commercials on television. Does this mean my TV show choices are age related based on the commercials being targeted at me?
- I now love staycations and direct flights.
- On some days I find myself sounding like my mother and on some days like my dad.
Two weeks ago, another birthday came by and of course, there was ice cream. A milky chocolate ice cream made with cocoa rouge (Guittard's dutch cocoa version) and melted chocolate. Then came the drizzle, a warm bourbon infused chocolate fudge sauce, not too sweet and not too boozy. Get the recipe below!
As some of you know, we bought a home several months ago and I've been pretty heavily tied up with home renovations. You can get a sneak peek at my kitchen and see what else I've been up to in our house over at West Elm.
Here are a couple of kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this ice cream;
- Use the best quality chocolate and cocoa powder you can find and whose taste you love! It makes a huge difference in the flavor of the ice cream.
- I used a bain marie to melt the chocolate and prevent it from burning. It does this by evenly regulating heat that passes from a simmering water bath through a ceramic vessel in which the chocolate is kept. Use a silicon whisk/spatula to stir the chocolate when using ceramic or it will scratch the surface. To use a bain marie to melt chocolate, all you need to do is fill the lower stainless steel vessel with water and then place the ceramic vessel over it. The water should be filled up to the level marked in the staineless steel. As the water in the base vessel heats it melts the chocolate in the ceramic bowl.
- I have a new favorite ice cream container for the freezer, it has an layer of air between the double compartments that keeps the ice cream frozen for longer periods of time when kept out at room temperature. I've even mananaged to take ice cream in the sealed container to work and it happily surprised me. Nothing melted!
- I've adapted the basic ice cream recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
double chocolate ice cream with chocolate bourbon fudge sauce
yields : 1 generous pint
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 ounces milk chocolate (Guittard 31% cocoa)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup dutch cocoa powder (Guittard cocoa rouge)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch powder
2 teaspoons water
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1. Place the milk and sugar in a thick bottomed medium sized saucepan and heat on medium-high heat. Heat until the sugar dissolves, reduce heat to gentle simmer and keep warm.
2. While the milk is heating up, place the chocolate and heavy cream in the ceramic vessel of the bain marie. Stir the chocolate as it melts into the heavy cream using a silicone spatular or whisk. (see notes above on how to use a bain marie). Once the chocolate has melted and has mixed completely with the cream, fold in the cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
3. Pour the melted chocolate mixture from step 2 into the warm milk. Stir to combine. Then increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a rolling boil. Whisk the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Quickly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot chocolate milk and continue to boil the milk until it begins to thicken. The mixture should resemble a thick custard and coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the stove.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt. Add 1/2 cup of the hot thickened chocolate milk base from the saucepan and whisk until smooth and combined. Whisk in the remaining milk and whisk until combined. Transfer the ice cream base to a clean gallon ziplock bag and place in an ice cold water bath until chilled (or refrigerate until chilled). Follow the instructions in the manual of your ice cream maker to prepare the ice cream using the chilled base. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight freezer-proof container and freeze for at least 4 to 6 hours (preferably overnight) to firm up before serving.
chocolate bourbon fudge
yields: about 1 cup
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (around 60-70% cacao)
1 tablespoon dutch cocoa powder (Guittard cocoa rouge)
3 tablespoons bourbon
1. Place the heavy cream in a thick bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from stove and fold in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Stir with a silicone spatula until combined. Fold in the bourbon. Transfer and store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Before serving, warm the fudge in the microwave for a few seconds.