holidays ice cream

A Particularly Happy St. Patrick’s Day

We’re not Irish. But neither are most of the idiots out there today getting drunk and obnoxious, so let’s go with it.

I made Irish potatoes yesterday. A lot of Irish potatoes.

They’re gone now.

I love Irish potatoes. Everyone else in this house loves Irish potatoes.

So for today’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner I put a pot roast in the crockpot and Alex made soda bread. And since we’d eaten most of the Irish potatoes by mid-afternoon, we needed dessert.

I had half a bottle of Vanilla Porter in the fridge and memories of a delicious Guinness chocolate ice cream I made once, so ice cream was the way to go.

I have David Lebovitz’s marvelous book A Perfect Scoop, and therein found his recipe for Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream.

Alas, I didn’t have Guinness or milk chocolate, and I didn’t feel like making a custard.

So I made something up, in the process providing further evidence for my theory that you can throw just about anything into an ice cream maker and it will be fabulous.

Forthwith, my Vanilla Porter-Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream. Please, try it.

  • 7½ ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 4 ounces of 72% and 3.5 ounces of 85%, because that’s what I had)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup Breckinridge Vanilla Porter (although I’m willing to bet that you can use any good beer you like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

I melted the chocolate very slowly in one cup of half-and-half, then stirred in the sugar till it dissolved. If I do it again, I’ll dissolve the sugar first, but I wasn’t sure how much sugar I was going to need. (I added a quarter-cup at a time till it was as sweet as I wanted it to be.)

Then I whisked in the other cup of half-and-half (a bit at a time) and the beer and the vanilla. Some of the chocolate resolidified, so I strained the mixture, remelted it, and whisked it back in, but you can skip that step if you’re not as obsessive as I am; it wasn’t that much chocolate.

I refrigerated the mixture till it was cold and fired up the old ice cream maker.

So, so good. Possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever made, and certainly in the top five.

And you can do this with whatever you have. If your chocolate is sweeter, use less sugar. Use milk. Use cream. Hell, use coconut milk and your paleo sweetener of choice. If you can make a mixture with a fairly high fat content that tastes good, it will make delicious ice cream. And if you go with fruit or juice instead of cream, it will make delicious sorbet.

Get out the ice cream maker. Experiment. You won’t regret it.