Are you guys ready? Here's this week's Ice Cream Tuesday. (Because anyone can make a Sundae)
I honestly had no idea what sort of ice cream I was going to make this week, until I tried and royally messed up some chocoflan. The whole point of that magical dessert is that chocolate cake batter is less dense than flan batter, so when you bake them together, the chocolate layer floats to the top, becoming the base once you turn it out. Unless you decide to use brownie batter. Since brownies aren't made with The Creaming Method, they are super dense and don't have many air bubbles that would send the batter soaring in the oven.
One would hope I am smart enough to know this. Apparently not smart enough on the day I actually made these guys. As a Hail Mary save, I dumped all the ramekins of half-baked brownie and flan into a baking dish, swirled it all together with some dulce de leche, and finished baking it. It was delicious but so rich that cutting it up into wee pieces and folding it into ice cream seemed a very good idea indeed.
Ice cream really does make everything better. As a matter of fact, now that I have an ice cream maker, I have yet another tool in my toolbox for dealing with leftover dessert sauce or cookies or cake that won't turn out of the pan cleanly. A cause for celebration, for sure!
Here's how I came up with my flavors.
With my American's simplified understanding of Mexican cuisine, when I think "Mexican," a few key flavors leap to mind: chocolate, cinnamon, chiles. So, the plan for the chocoflan was to lace the brownie layer with chipotle powder and espresso powder (Mexican coffee is a Thing, right?) and kiss the flan layer with cinnamon. Mission accomplished in the batter creation arena, but huge fail in the execution. Still, since all the flavors were there and worked beautifully together, I knew that they'd be lovely in an ice cream.
I had smooshed a spoonful of dulce de leche into the bottom of each of my ramekins, so I melted a bit more down to use as a swirl in the ice cream, and Spiced Chocoflan Coffee Ice Cream was born.
I'm going to share the coffee base first, because it's really delicious on its own. From there, you can swirl in what you like. I'll post recipes for the chocoflan brownies, but I'll write up the procedure so you won't be sad and sullen like I was. That way, you can enjoy your chocoflan brownies without woe and then use them in some ice cream if you feel like it.
The brownie base is my beloved Cook's Illustrated Brownies that live over on the now-defunct ToastPoints Blog, sans nuts and gussied up with chipotle powder, espresso powder and a hit of Kahlua. The flan mixture is lifted more or less straight from this recipe with the addition of some salt (No salt in the original, really? This stuff is so sweet it needs salt for balance!) and cinnamon.
- 4 Tablespoons espresso powder (or to taste. I used Café Bustelo)
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened (1/4 package)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste
- 2 cups half and half, cold
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10.5 oz (by weight) granulated sugar (1½ cups)
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 2 cups half and half
- 1½ cups cut up chocoflan (put in the freezer right when you start churning the ice cream)
- ½-3/4 cup dark dulce de leche put in a piping bag or gallon zip-top bag fitted with a large round tip (#10, #11 or #12--or just snip the corner off of the zip-top bag)
- Place the espresso powder, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl and have a strainer handy. Set aside.
- Bring the 2 cups of half and half, salt, sugar and corn starch to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Still whisking constantly, let boil for about 10-15 seconds.
- Strain into the bowl with the cream cheese. Let it sit for a minute or two and then whisk until completely smooth.
- Strain into the remaining 2 cups of half and half. Whisk until well combined.
- Chill in an ice bath until cold and then cover and refrigerate until the temperature is no higher than 40F.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
- Fold/stir in mix-ins, or not. If you do use the mixins, fold in the chocoflan pieces straight from the freezer.
- In your container, squeeze in a couple of lines of the dulce de leche. Scoop in about half the ice cream mixture and then squeeze on another couple of lines of the dulce.
- Add the rest of the ice cream and then squeeze on the last of the dulce. Use a knife to swirl through the ice cream all the way down to the bottom of the container.
- Press plastic wrap on top of the ice cream, put a lid on it, and then freeze for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
And now, for the chocoflan. Remember, you don't have to make your ice cream just like mine. If you're not a fan of flan, just make the brownie part.
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 3 oz unsalted butter
- 2.5 oz cake flour (about ½ cup)
- ¾ teaspoons chipotle powder or hot smoked paprika
- ⅜ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 slightly generous cup granulated sugar (7¾ oz by weight)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee (I used Cafe Bustelo)
- 2 teaspoons Kahlua
- 6 oz half and half
- 7 oz sweetened condensed milk
- heavy pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 oz softened cream cheese
- 1½ eggs (beat three eggs, weigh and use half)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Generously spray an 11"x7" (or similar--an 8"x8" pan will work, too). Set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler or in short bursts on medium power in the microwave. Stir until smooth and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, chipotle powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk the sugar, eggs, espresso powder and Kahlua into the chocolate mixture until well combined.
- Whisk in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
- Place all flan ingredients in a blender and blend on high until completely smooth.
- Strain into a pitcher.
- Spoon the brownie batter into the pan enevenly, making sure it covers the bottom completely. You want "hills and valleys," so don't make it perfect. Spread the batter a bit higher all around the sides of the pan.
- Carefully pour in the flan mixture, filling in the valleys in the brownies with flan. Since the brownies act as insulation for the flan, you won't need a water bath.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the brownies are done and the flan is firm.
- Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature then chill.
- Slice into small pieces for serving like regular brownies, or use them in your ice cream. They will need to live in the fridge.
And there you have it. A mistake turned into Ice Cream Gold! Yay! And you really will love the ice cream. All the flavors come through in little pockets--it's fun to get a spicy bite of brownie every once in awhile, but if you're not a fan of spicy, just don't use the chipotle powder. It's your ice cream Tuesday. Make it how you like it!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Ice Cream Tuesday. If you're looking for something savory on this fine day, why not check out Taco Tuesday over on Chez Us? Thanks for spending some time here today. Have a lovely day.
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