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Chez Panisse Desserts: Coffee Ice Cream

Chez Panisse Desserts has over 60 ice cream recipes. If you like ice cream and find yourself wishing you could make flavors other than boring old cookie dough, I recommend that you get an ice cream maker and start experimenting with your own flavors. This book has some excellent ideas.

This is a very tasty rendition of coffee ice cream, and Lindsey Shere gives a couple of interesting ideas for variations. I tested the Coffee Caramel Ice Cream and found it to be delicious. She also gives instructions for Coffee Caramel Swirl and Coffee with Chocolate Truffles.

The basic coffee recipe is fantastic too. No adjustments were necessary to the recipe, although I've expanded on the instructions, which in the book are very bare-bones.

Prep Time: about 45 minutes, plus about 2 hours chilling time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 1 quart

1 cup half-and-half
2 cups whipping cream (not heavy cream)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp coffee beans
6 egg yolks
1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract

Warm the half-and-half, cream, sugar, and coffee beans in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Let it steep over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the coffee flavor is strong enough for you. Do not let the mixture simmer or boil.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Temper the egg yolks with about 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture, pouring it into the yolks slowly and whisking constantly. Return the warmed yolks to the cream mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 2 hours.

Add vanilla extract to taste and freeze the mixture according to the directions with your ice cream maker.

Coffee Caramel Ice Cream
Follow the above recipe, omitting the sugar from the steeping mixture of half-and-half, cream, and coffee beans. Instead, caramelize 1 cup sugar in a heavy, light-colored saucepan with 3 Tbsp water. Cook over high heat until it begins to turn a light caramel color. Working quickly, set the saucepan in the sink (so it doesn't spatter you) and add 1/4 cup warm water. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium heat to dissolve the caramel, adding a little more water if necessary. Add the caramel to the half-and-half mixture after it has steeped, and then proceed with the instructions above.

If you have never worked with caramelized sugar before: Get ahold of a book with good basic candy-making instructions, such as The Joy of Cooking , and read about caramel before attempting this recipe. Making caramel can be an exercise in frustration, so it's good to know exactly how it works before attempting it.



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