Coffee ice cream is one of the no-frills flavors that I’ve often overlooked in favor of chunky-peanut-butter-chocolate-swirl-madness or some other equally-as-sexy promise of ice cream euphoria. But really: that classic coffee ice cream is a slam-dunk flavor every time, with no guess work, and no risk of over-promising. It’s simply delicious.
Donald and I threw a dinner party last weekend, and for dessert, I whipped up a quart of coffee ice cream, using my almond milk ice cream base, and adding coffee-infused almond milk, instead of plain almond milk. The ice cream was a success! We paired it with a cinnamon caramel sauce — which is just regular caramel sauce with a few dashes of cinnamon added in at the end.
The secret to keeping this ice cream so creamy is the late-addition of booze*. While it doesn’t really add much flavor, it keeps the ice cream from getting icy in the freezer, giving it a texture close to that of a silky gelato. You don’t want the alcohol to cook off — it helps the ice cream stay soft in the freezer because it has a much lower freezing point than water & [more importantly] custard and almond milk.
Coffee Ice Cream [with almond milk] Recipe
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbs arrowroot powder
8 egg yolks
1 Tbs chilled butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups almond milk
1/2 cup ground coffee (I used decaf since we were having this after dinner)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 shot vodka + 1 shot coffee liquor
First, infuse the almond milk….
Eight hours before ice-cream-making time, mix the ground coffee and the almond milk in a container, and steep in the fridge. Eight hours later, your almond milk will be completely infused with coffee, like a creamy cold-brew. Strain the almond milk through a coffee filter, or a french press to remove the ground. You’ll lose about 1/4 cup of the liquid during the straining process — your goal is to wind up with 3 cups of coffee-infused almond milk. If you come up short, top it off with a little more almond milk.
Next, make your ice cream custard….
Mix the can of sweetened condensed milk, arrowroot powder, egg yolks, butter, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until the butter just melts. Once the butter melts, the mixture is warm enough to add in the almond milk and vanilla extract. Stir this mixture constantly with a whisk (do not beat it, just stir, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan), keeping it over medium heat. After about 6 minutes, the mixture will suddenly begin to thicken. Continue stirring quickly to keep it from heating too fast, which can cause chunks (cooked egg pieces) to appear in the custard. You want a thick, smooth, creamy custard.
Once the mixture is thick enough, and leaves distinct a trail when stirred, turn off the heat*. Then, add in the vodka and coffee liquor, and stir vigorously to incorporate quickly. Pour the custard into a container and put into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until completely chilled. At this point, also make sure your ice cream maker insert is frozen.
Finally, churn your ice cream!
Obviously this is the most fun step because you can actually try the ice cream! Put the custard into your pre-frozen ice cream maker and churn until it’s done — this takes about 30-40 minutes in my hand-crank ice cream maker. Put into a container and freeze until solid. It won’t get icy because you added booze. When it’s time to dig in, take the container out of the freezer for about 5 minutes before scooping, to let it soften slightly.
* Originally, I added a shot of grain alcohol to this recipe, and [stupidly] added it before turning off the burner, which immediately set my stove and custard on fire. So, don’t do that. Turn the heat off first, then add vodka, not grain alcohol. **
** This message has been brought to you by the Darwin Awards.