In Moderation

Let me just tell you how outta freaking shape I feel these days. (Yes, we will wrap ice cream into this conversation. Watch and learn, children.) Okay, for realz – how outta freaking shape I am. Let’s be honest. It ain’t pretty.

Sure, my clothes are all the same size; they more or less fit the same as they have for oh, 4 years now. But that’s not the point. There seems to be a lot more wiggle in my jiggle, if you catch my drift. I’d like to blame my love for food, or maybe this blog, or maybe Chicago and San Francisco, or my genes (which that one, that one is a good one – have you seen the hips and thighs of my Southern aunts?!). But at the end of the day, it’s really all because I am a loud and proud, lifetime member of the “clean plate club”. Shoot, I should have a medal for it, or a fake wood plaque, or something.

Yes, I know – you could easily skim through the recipe page and point out quite a few items that would lead to jiggle-y-ness even if eaten in small quantities. I like to indulge. But I also hate the sheer thought of a diet. Sure, they work in the short term, I’m aware of that. But the difficulty is that, after the diet is over, the dieter slowly starts incorporating all of those foods that were off-limits during ‘diet phase’, and then slowly the curves start to reappear.

The key, friends, is everything in moderation. It sounds awesome, but I seem to have forgotten how that works. In an effort to figure it out again, I made ice cream.

Chocolate ice cream. With caramel swirled into it. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat the whole pint if I really put my mind to it, and that’s an exaggeration, because I’m sure I could roll outta bed in a full-on daze and eat a pint of this ice cream. But get this – you definitely don’t need to.

I first noticed this recipe on Tara’s site, and then I quickly realized that I’d already finished that particular episode of Bon Appetit from whence this recipe was made, and so I ran to the toilet (ahem. there is a magazine rack there where we keep old food magazines, and Mens’ Healths, thank you very much.), grabbed the last BA, and hunted down the recipe that I must have totally ignored previously.

Then it sat on the table for a few days, and it’s safe to say I walked past it at least a dozen times, cursing the words chocolate and ice and cream and then I read it even closer and saw that there was caramel involved and finally, at long last, I put this moderation idea to the test.

And just like Tara said, you’ll want to start this task immediately after reading here. You grab your ingredients from the fridge and pantry, because chances are you have them all on hand, or can easily procure them in a few moments. Then you walk, no run, to turn on some good ice cream-makin’ music (something with a lot of fist-pumping), and you plant your feet at the stovetop to get this project going.

Five days later, you remove your almost-but-not-quite-forgotten pint from the freezer, let it thaw for a good ten minutes, and scoop one mighty mound of decadence into a teeny tiny bowl. Because, believe me when I say so, I promise you that’s all you need. And with that, success in the form of ice cream. And moderation.

Chocolate Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2011; makes 1 pint

time commitment: 5 days, but 1 hour active

printable version

7 ounces dark chocolate (70% to 75% cacao), finely chopped
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons 2% milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large egg yolks
13 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Place chocolate in a medium microwave-proof glass bowl. Microwave chocolate on 30 second intervals, stirring well after each time, for about 1.5 minutes, or until the chocolate is smooth. Sit aside.

Whisk milk and cocoa powder in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until very thick ribbons form, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture. Return mixture to saucepan. Add melted chocolate and whisk to blend. Stir over low heat until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 175°, about 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate custard to a large bowl and place over another large bowl of ice water. Stir until chocolate custard is cool.

Bring remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small heavy, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush (do not stir), until a dark amber color forms, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk caramel into chocolate custard. Strain into a large container; cover and chill for 2 days.

Process custard in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to another container; freeze for 3 days before eating.

5 thoughts on “In Moderation

  1. JUDY HALL says:

    Looks real good babe-thanks for not mentioning my hips, which you know is where you got yours from. All the more to love, I say.

  2. CPS – me, too!

    Mom – true. I guess I had it coming from both sides :).

    Jennifer – I almost ate some after I processed it in the ice cream machine, but there was a spoon to lick, so that was good enough.

    Jon – thanks, as always!

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