Guinness and Chocolate Ice Cream

We sprung forward this weekend and lost a precious hour of sleep. It’s been in the 60’s the last couple of days. The crocuses are up and the trees are budding…and I’m sneezing…a lot. If this doesn’t mean that spring is actually, really, officially here, Mother Nature and I are going to have a serious talk. In honor of this momentous occasion (and that glorious upcoming “holiday”), I made ice cream. Guinness-chocolate ice cream to be exact.

St. Pat’s in New York is a mess. Once upon a time  on St. Pats, my friends and I used to park ourselves at our local Irish bar from 10 AM through, well, as late as we made it. The day would start with an Irish breakfast, with all the puddings and all the bacons, and watching the parade on 2nd avenue. Then, lab experiments be damned, we would head to the bar and drink Irish coffee, then Irish beer, then, lord help us, Irish whiskey, until we were happily pounding on the tables along with the real Irish regulars*. Nowadays, things are a little more tame. There will likely by corned beef and cabbage in these parts, and a beer or two, but there will probably be no Irish whiskey. Not this year at least; no promises about next year.

I love Guinness. In general, if I drink beer, I prefer it to be dark (or, ok, I love an IPA too). I want to chew on it. It should taste like chocolate and molasses and toasted nuts. Believe it or not, for all its heft, Guinness is one of the lowest-calorie beers, so you never have to feel guilty for drinking it! Because of its coffee-like undertones, the beer pairs amazingly with chocolate itself. Ever had a guinness float with chocolate ice cream? If not, you should. This recipe actually called for milk chocolate. I’m so dark-chocolate-centered that my brain effectively erased “milk” from my mental grocery list and I, in true form, ended up buying 70% Lindt chocolate. Look, there is NOTHING wrong with how the finished product turned out. It’s deep and chocolatey with subtle yeasty, malty hints from the beer. It’s creamy and soft and, ugh, I need to go have another serving. But I can’t help but wonder how amazing it would have been with milk chocolate, which doubtless would have let the beer shine through even more. Honestly, this is a spectacular way to usher in the warmer weather and the first (admittedly boozy) holiday of the season.

Erin Go Bragh!

*I’m a whole lotta things, but none of them is Irish.

Guinness-Chocolate Ice Cream

Adapted (unintentionally) from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (who else?).

As I mentioned, the original recipe calls for milk chocolate and that’s how I’ve written it here. If, however, you’re craving something darker, dark chocolate won’t disappoint.

7 oz, milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 c whole milk
2/3 c sugar
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 c heavy cream
3/4 c Guinness beer (or other stout)
1 t vanilla extract

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and place a mesh strainer over it. Set aside
  • In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Set aside
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk, sugar and salt, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just starting to bubble around the edges
  • In a slow, steady stream, pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Go slowly, you want to temper, not cook your eggs!
  • When the milk has been entirely added, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping the bottom as you go, until the custard thickens and coats the spatula
  • Pour the custard through the mesh strainer, into the chocolate. Let sit for a moment, then stir until smooth
  • Add the cream, Guinness, and vanilla and whisk until smooth
  • Place the bowl in a large bowl filled with ice water and whisk until cool
  • Move to the fridge and chill thoroughly. If you can chill it over night, great! If not, a few hours should do.
  • At this point, the custard is ready for churning! Just follow the directions for your particular ice cream maker and you’re good to go!
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