mocha chip hot fudge sundae

Mocha Chip Ice Cream

mocha chip hot fudge sundae

I like a little ice cream with my sprinkles.

Happy National Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

What better way to celebrate any day – not just National Hot Fudge Sunday Day – than a deliciously creamy scoop of freshly-made ice cream?

My kids and I got back from Texas a few days ago.  One of my friends was getting married and asked my daughter to be the flower girl and my son to be the ring bearer.  It was a Disney-themed wedding, so of course they had to go as Cinderella and Prince Charming.

family picture

Amelia and I wore dresses in Cinderella blue. I based Andrew’s Prince Charming costume on the costume Prince Charming wears at Disney World.

I bought the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer a few weeks ago.  To say that I’ve been addicted to making ice cream lately would be an understatement.  I have containers of Oreo (one with the traditional vanilla base, one with chocolate), coffee, chocolate chocolate chip, and chocolate M&M ice cream in my freezer right now.  I think I have a problem.

The first batch of ice cream I made in my ice cream maker was just about the easiest ice cream you’ll ever make.  I bought my ice cream maker at my local Williams-Sonoma, who just happened to be having a sale on their Ice Cream Starters at the time (I bought vanilla, chocolate, and cake batter, but they also have strawberry, s’mores, and caramel).  Inside the canisters are two packets of the Ice Cream Starter mix.  To make 1 quart of ice cream, use one packet; to make 2 quarts, use two packets.  All you have to do is add 1 1/2 cups each of half & half and heavy cream, whisk everything together, and pour into your ice cream maker.

For my first batch of ice cream, I used the vanilla Ice Cream Starter and added in some Oreo pieces.  After tasting it, I braced myself for the ingredients list.  The only ingredients are granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt.  I felt so stupid for buying it without reading the ingredients.  How much easier could you get than basically just sugar and vanilla extract?

Before we continue, let’s talk about ice cream itself for a bit.

All types of ice cream are mostly water.  As the water freezes, it forms hard, crunchy ice crystals.  Besides great flavor, the ultimate goal of ice cream making is to keep those crystals as small as possible through added ingredients and technique.  This is what helps to produce either a smooth, creamy ice cream or a grainy, frozen mess.  Let’s look at the four main ways you can help fight the crystallization process:

  • The fat (usually cream or milk) worked into the ice cream base sticks fat molecules between the water molecules.  This physical barrier literally gets in the way of ice as it freezes.
  • Sugar also provides a physical barrier to crystallization.  When dissolved in water, sugar forms a syrup, which has a lower freezing point than water.  The higher the concentration of sugar in the syrup, the lower the freezing point.  As the water in the syrup begins to freeze, the unfrozen water becomes a more concentrated syrup.  Eventually, you’re left with a few small ice crystals, trapped inside a highly-concentrated sea of syrup, which prevents it from fully freezing.
  • The churning process incorporates air into the ice cream.  The air helps to create a lighter, fluffier ice cream.
  • Obviously, the temperature at which the ice cream is stored has an effect on the texture of the ice cream as well – colder ice creams are harder and more solidified than ice cream stored at a warmer temperature, which is much softer, with a looser texture.

Most of us tend to use the term “ice cream” as a generic term for many different types of frozen desserts.

Ice Creams:

  • American-style ice cream:  This incredibly easy to make ice cream contains no eggs.  Since it doesn’t use an egg-based custard base (the eggs work as a stabilizer to help keep the ice cream soft), American-style ice cream is generally firmer and freezes harder than French- or Italian-style ice creams.  American-style ice creams are also generally lighter in overall taste and texture than their French and Italian counterparts.  If you grew up in the US, this is probably the type of ice cream that you’re most familiar with.
  • French-style ice cream:  This ice cream is more of a frozen custard.  It uses a generous amount of egg yolks in the base and is cooked before it is frozen.  The egg yolks provide this ice cream with a smooth, dense texture and a wonderfully rich taste.  French-style ice creams are often perceived as creamier and heavier than American- and Italian-style ice creams, as they contain more butterfat (cream).
  • Italian-style ice cream:  No, not gelato – this is another egg custard-based type of ice cream.  Italian-style ice creams are generally perceived as lighter and thinner than French- and American-style ice creams.  They contain less butterfat, less air, and more sugar than French-style ice cream.
  • Gelato:  This Italian dessert staple is creamier, smoother, denser, and more fluid than American-style ice cream.  While gelato is the Italian word for “ice cream,” it may not be the same as that you picture when you think of ice cream.  Authentic gelato uses more milk than cream, and doesn’t use egg yolks.  Gelato contains less fat and less air than other types of ice creams.  While American-style ice creams contain up to 25% butterfat, Italian gelato only contains 4-9% butterfat.  Gelato is churned at a slower speed than typical ice creams.  This incorporates less air into the finished product, producing a denser texture than ice cream.  Since gelato doesn’t have much fat to get in the way of the taste, the flavors of the gelato come through more directly than you might experience with ice cream.  Gelato is also served 10-15° warmer than ice cream (usually around 7-12°F, or -14 to -11°C), so your mouth is less numb and able to fully taste the flavors better.
  • Semifreddo:  Literally meaning “half cold,” semifreddo is a wide variety of semi-frozen desserts.  This delicious Italian treat is usually a variation of ice cream or frozen custard, often with a texture of a frozen mousse.  It is usually frozen in a pan of some sort, sliced, and served slightly defrosted.

Other Frozen Treats:

  • Sherbet:  Classic sherbet is made with fruit juice (instead of milk or cream), sugar, and water (or wine).  Some sherbets contain dairy, egg whites, or gelatin.
  • Sorbet:  Also known as sorbetto, sorbet (pronounced sor-BAY) is often used as a palate cleanser between courses, or as a light, fresh dessert.  Authentic sorbet is made without any dairy, eggs, or gelatin.

Okay, now that we know about the different types of ice creams and other frozen treats, let’s make some ice cream.  I’m going to be making an American-style ice cream.

Before you start, you need to freeze your ice cream bowl (if you’re using one) for at least 15-24 hours.

Next, get your ingredients together.  I used brewed espresso since I didn’t have any instant espresso.  You can use 2 tablespoons instant espresso, if you have it.  If not, use 1-2 fluid ounces (2-4 tablespoons) of strong, brewed espresso and reduce the amount of milk by about 2 tablespoons.

mocha chip ice cream ingredients

Whisk together the milk, sugar, espresso (brewed or instant powder), and cocoa powder until dissolved, about 1-2 minutes on low speed with a hand or stand mixer, or 2-3 minutes by hand.

Then, whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.

mocha chip ice cream

Take your ice cream maker bowl out of the freezer and assemble your ice cream maker.  Make sure everything is locked in place and turn the ice cream maker on.  (I’m using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment for my stand mixer.  The actual ice cream-making part of the recipe may be different, depending on what you are using to churn your ice cream.)  Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker while it is on.  (Note: I like to pour the ice cream into a 4-cup measuring cup and use that to pour the mixture into the ice cream maker.)

mocha chip ice cream

Let the ice cream maker do its thing and churn the ice cream for 15-20 minutes.

Slowly add the mini chocolate chips (you could also fold them into the ice cream before putting it in the freezer).  Once the ice cream is done churning, scoop it out of the ice cream maker with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, place into a freezer-safe storage container, and place the container in the freezer.

Now you could use store-bought hot fudge sauce if you like, but I think it tastes a little better when you use homemade hot fudge sauce.  If you use this recipe, you might want to reduce it a smidge – it makes 20 ounces (4 ounces short of 3 cups) of hot fudge sauce.  It’s going to take my kids and me forever to finish it lol

Start by gathering your ingredients (and, if you’re like me, forget about the vanilla extract until after you’ve already started making the sauce).

hot fudge sauce

Pour the sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.  Whisk the cream into the sugar and cocoa powder mixture over medium heat, and continue whisking while the mixture warms up.  It will look kind of doughy, but I promise it will all come together in the end.

hot fudge sauce

Making hot fudge sauce in a saucepan with a black interior wasn’t my best idea.

When the sides and bottom of the pot begin to look like they’ve been covered in melted chocolate, add the butter, and continue whisking.

hot fudge sauce

When everything is combined and it starts looking like an actual sauce, whisk in the vanilla.  Let the sauce cool in the pot for about 5 minutes.

hot fudge sauce

Pour the sauce into a heat-proof container of your choice.  I love using mason jars, especially in the kitchen.  The sauce will still be pretty hot, so you’ll probably want to let it cool a little more before storing it in the fridge.  (Just a warning: the sauce will solidify in the fridge as it cools.  This is perfectly normal.  Don’t worry, it’ll return to its sauce-like consistency after it’s heated up a bit.)

 

Mocha Chip Ice Cream

  • Servings: 5 cups ice cream, 20 ounces hot fudge sauce
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Easy, homemade mocha chip ice cream, topped with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles.

Ingredients

ice cream

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces strong, brewed espresso or 2 tablespoons instant espresso
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Hot Fudge Sauce

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick salted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place the ice cream maker bowl in the freezer for at least 15-24 hours.
  2. Make the ice cream:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, sugar, espresso (brewed or instant powder), and cocoa powder until dissolved, about 1-2 minutes on low speed with a hand or stand mixer, or 2-3 minutes by hand.  Whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Take your ice cream maker bowl out of the freezer and assemble your ice cream maker.  Make sure everything is locked in place and turn the ice cream maker on.  Pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker while it is on.  (Note: I like to pour the ice cream into a 4-cup measuring cup and use that to pour the mixture into the ice cream maker.)
  4. Let the ice cream maker do its thing and churn the ice cream for 15-20 minutes, then slowly add the mini chocolate chips (you could also fold them into the ice cream before putting it in the freezer).  Once the ice cream is done churning, scoop it out of the ice cream maker with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, place into a freezer-safe storage container, and place the container in the freezer for 2-4 hours.
  5. Make the hot fudge sauce:  Pour the sugar and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine.  Whisk the cream into the sugar and cocoa powder mixture over medium heat, and continue whisking while the mixture warms up.  It will look kind of doughy, but I promise it will all come together in the end.
  6. When the sides and bottom of the pot begin to look like they’ve been covered in melted chocolate, add the butter, and continue whisking.
  7. When everything is combined and it starts looking like an actual sauce, whisk in the vanilla.  Let the sauce cool in the pot for about 5 minutes.
  8. Pour the sauce into a heat-proof container of your choice.  I love using mason jars, especially in the kitchen.  The sauce will still be pretty hot, so you’ll probably want to let it cool a little more before storing it in the fridge.

 

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