dark chocolate marcona almond ice cream

Imagine yourself in a sea of creamy dark chocolate, its rich texture filled with buttery, roasted almonds. It might just be a sweet dream, or it could be that you’re eating dark chocolate marcona almond ice cream. As it so happens, it’s not just a dream, it’s a reality, and it’s about as easy as ice cream gets. I took my recipe cues from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, and used almond milk as the base instead of cream and half-and-half. 

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’ve been doing recipes that use nut milks as substitutes for dairy milk and cream. Don’t misunderstand me, I still love dairy, but since I discovered milk alternatives during the detox diet, and because my husband is lactose-intolerant, I’m always looking to expand my recipe repertoire for his benefit and add variety to our food lexicon. For the lactose-intolerant among us, an alternative ice cream is a dream come true when your stomach just can’t survive the dive into dairy.

I’m getting ahead of myself with this post, meaning I’ve given you dessert before dinner, but soon enough I’ll regale you with a recipe for a hamburger and its fine homemade accoutrements. How about a wholesome recipe for fries with that? Consider it done. To round out the meal for a classic combo, the dark chocolate ice cream, made without the marcona almonds, and blended with a little almond milk, also makes for a great chocolate shake. Mmmm…tastes like a real happy meal to me.

Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Ice Cream

(adapted from chocolate ice cream recipe in How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

3 cups almond milk (for homemade, see “got almond milk?” post)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 70% or higher cocoa content
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup roasted marcona almonds
3 egg yolks

Ice cream maker (Cuisinart makes a good inexpensive model)

To make the ice cream, measure 3 cups of almond milk into a double boiler or a steel bowl that can function as a double boiler. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt to the almond milk and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until creamy and a little lighter in color. Set aside.

Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate, holding the knife at an angle and shaving the edge of the chocolate until broken into small pieces. Set aside.

Fill the bottom part of the double boiler saucepan or a medium size saucepan with water. Heat water until simmering but not boiling. Place double boiler or steel bowl containing almond milk mixture on top of saucepan. Stir mixture continually until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the almond milk mixture from the top of saucepan and set aside. Leave saucepan with water on heat, keeping the temperature at a light simmer.

Take 1/2 cup of the almond milk mixture and gradually add it to the egg yolk and sugar mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs don’t overheat and scramble. Slowly add the egg yolk mixture back to the almond milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place double boiler or steel bowl with almond milk mixture back on top of the saucepan with water still simmering, and stir constantly until the almond mixture begins to thicken. To test the thickness, take a spoon and dip the backside in the mixture. The mixture should coat the back of the spoon thickly. Draw your finger across the middle of the back of the spoon creating a clean line. If the mixture is adequately thickened, the line will remain intact. Remove the thickened almond milk mixture from heat, pour mixture into a separate bowl, and let cool to a temperature no hotter than 115ºF before adding chopped chocolate. If chocolate is added to a liquid that is too hot, it can become grainy. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature.

Once the almond milk mixture has cooled to at least 115ºF, add chopped chocolate to the mixture, stirring gently until melted and completely combined. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator until well-chilled.

Once mixture is chilled, remove from refrigerator and process in ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions. About halfway into the freezing process, slowly add marcona almonds. Continue processing in ice cream maker until desired frozen consistency is reached.

Makes about 4 cups

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