Friday Favourites: 15 Minute Chocolate Chip Ice Cream [Recipe]
This ice cream is a cinch. An absolutely cinch. No cooking, no cooling, no churning, no icy lumps. It’s in the freezer within 15 minutes and ready to eat just two hours later. It’s incredibly soft and creamy while being rich and decadent from the dark chocolate. And all that with just four simple ingredients. This is a win-win ice cream.
There were many reasons why we chose to move to Lithuania. Among them was the fact that Lithuania has distinct seasons – cold snowy winters, cool bright springs, hot sunny summers and mild golden autumns. In Ireland we get excited if we see a sunny day during the summer. Only last week the papers were anticipating “a scorcher, with highs of 20 degrees” over the bank holiday weekend. We had about two weeks of weather in the low 30s in mid May and similar temperatures again this morning. In Lithuania you’re nearly relived to see a few clouds when you wake up in summer – you might actually get through the whole day without having to change your clothes!
I love the sunny summer days, though. I love being out in the fresh air, working in the garden or looking after my hens. I love summer food – salads, barbecue and, of course, ice cream. I don’t have an enormously big sweet tooth but I do have a weakness for dark chocolate ice cream.
I’ve never had much patience for making ice cream, though. I got an ice cream maker free with a smoothie maker I bought a few years back. I vowed to keep the bowl in the freezer at all times so I could whip up some ice cream whenever I liked. I think I used it about four times, and three of those were to make frozen yoghurt or sorbet. I made proper ice cream just once. It was such a faff – make the custard (which was a pain in itself), allow to cool, transfer to ice cream maker (which had to be pre-frozen), churn for yonks until it set, scrape out (with difficulty – some was frozen to the bowl) into a container and freeze again until ready to use. This is not the kind of cooking that appeals to me. I like things simple. I don’t mind if a dish takes time to cook, like a roast or a stew, but I don’t go in for multiple stages or unspecified waiting periods. (How long, exactly, does it take ice cream custard to cool before you can add it to the churn?)
So I set to finding a no-custard, no-churn ice cream. I’d seen a few recipes on TV and found this recipe from Mary Berry. She hadn’t included a chocolate version so I played around with it myself to get the perfect combination. I use only the egg whites and not the whole egg in my version. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I think the ice cream tastes creamier and has a softer, more mousey texture without the yolks. Secondly, I make shed loads of mayonnaise, especially in summer, so using the whites for ice cream and the yolks for mayonnaise works well for me. The first few times I made the ice cream I used a whisk, as outlined by Mary. However, since the arrival of my food processor from Ireland I have been using that instead, which makes the whole process an even bigger cinch.
Makes about 1 litre (2 pints)
4 medium eggs, whites only
100 g | 1/2 cup white sugar
100 g | 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate (50% cocoa or better), broken into squares
300 ml | 1 1/4 cups double cream
This is one recipe where I will stress the importance of having all your ingredients and kit laid out before you start, including the box or tin you will use to freeze your ice cream. The airiness of the ice cream depends on getting the egg whites and cream whipped and into the freezer in the shortest time possible. Ensure you have enough space in the freezer for your container – you don’t want to start rearranging your freezer when your ice cream is whipped and ready for freezing.
For this ice cream I use a 1 litre plastic box with lid, which makes it very easy to just take the amount I need when I fancy a scoop. You can also use a 1 lb loaf tin lined with cling film (seran wrap). This looks great if serving at a dinner party – you can just turn the whole block out onto a cutting board and cut into slices for serving.
- Using the egg white attachment, whisk the egg whites for about 30-40 seconds in the main bowl of your food processor until they form stiff peaks. (If your processor doesn’t have an egg white attachment just use the regular blade. If you don’t have a food processor see “Excuse Buster” below.)
- Add the sugar to the egg whites in three batches, whisking for about 15 seconds after each addition. The final mix should be frothy and hold the shape of the mixer, but won’t be fully stiff.
- Scrape the meringue mixture into a separate bowl using a spatula.
- Put the bowl back on the food processor – there is no need to clean it first. Using the blade attachment pulse the chocolate squares for about 20 seconds until they form rough chucks about the size of the end of a pencil. Don’t worry if some pieces are smaller and some chocolate has even broken down into powder – this will actually add to the colour and taste of your final ice cream.
- Remove the chocolate and set aside while you whip the cream. Again without cleaning the bowl, add the cream and whisk for 15-20 seconds until it holds the shape of the blade. Food processors can whisk cream very quickly, so be careful not to overwhip it or it will split. Add back the chocolate and pulse for about 3 seconds to combine.
- Scrape the chocolate cream mixture into the bowl with the egg whites using a spatula. Fold the mixture together gently using a metal spoon until the two are fully incorporated. Be careful not to mix too vigorously or you will lose some of the air you’ve whipped in and the final ice cream will be a little harder.
- Scrape the mix into a plastic box or lined loaf tin. Cover with the lid, or with cling film if using the loaf tin.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. If the ice cream has been in the freezer for longer than 3 hours you will need to remove it about 15 minutes before serving so that it is soft enough for scooping or slicing.
“I don’t have a food processor.”
No problem. You can mix the egg whites and cream by hand using an electric mixer or even just a manual balloon whisk. The first few times I made this ice cream I used a balloon whisk and, while it took slightly longer than I’ve outlined above, it turned out perfectly. Break the chocolate using the large side of a box grater. Whisk the cream first as it loses its volume less quickly once whisked, so it can survive better while you’re whisking the eggs. (If you whisk the egg whites first they will have gone flat and will have begun to separate by the time the cream is ready.) When the cream is whisked, stir in the broken chocolate. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they hold their shape. Add the sugar in three batches, whisking after each addition. Once the meringue is ready, fold it gently into the chocolate cream and continue as above.
“I don’t like chocolate ice cream.”
I haven’t tried any of them and so can’t vouch for them, but Mary gives a few flavour alternatives in her original recipe. (Note that I don’t use the egg yolks in my recipe.)
Because it can be prepared in less than 15 minutes and freezes in about 2 hours, this ice cream can be whisked when you come in from work and still be frozen by the time you sit down to watch your Friday movie. That said, it’s even easier to just take it from the freezer when you need it. I tend to keep two boxes in the freezer at a time and make a new one each time I finish one, knowing there is a spare box if I need it in the meantime. Mark the date that you make the ice cream on the lid so that you always use the oldest ice cream first. The ice cream should keep well in the freezer for about 1 month, although it has never lasted longer than a week in our house!