Call me a geek, but I love “tech” stuff. I got my first digital camera over a decade ago and www.wired2theworld.com (our travelogue web site started in early ’98) was one of the first ones of its kind out there. Now everyone and their brother has a blog.
When Twitter arrived on the scene, I was quickly hooked. I didn’t quite get it at first, but then I realized the more people you follow with similar interests, the more fun it becomes. Once I had people following me back, the conversations started flowing and it became really interesting.
One of the things I love about Twitter are the incredible people I’ve met in the food blogging world. I’ve learned so much from them in such a short period of time. Some are funny and make me laugh every day, some have inspired me, and some have shared photography and blogging tips. Mostly, they are all so supportive, making it a true “community.”
One of my Twitter friends, Vivian, has been a strong supporter of my blog since its inception. She has long tweeted about an amazing brand of chocolate made by a company called Askinosie, a single origin bean chocolate manufacturer in Springfield Missouri. They press their own cocoa butter and use no additives in their chocolates to keep the flavor pure. I was really impressed with their commitment to environmental sustainability and to taking care of their farmers (paying better than Fair Trade and profit sharing). Please read more about them at www.askinosie.com
Recently, Vivian introduced me to Shawn Askinosie, the founder of the company, who generously sent me four bars of chocolate and their cocoa powder to sample. When it came, I tore open the box and looked lovingly at the creative (and recycled/able) packaging but did not open anything. I wanted to wait until I could do a proper tasting.
The next day, my husband and I sat down with a big, ice cold, glass of milk and tasted each chocolate. While they were all fantastic, I’ve never had anything called “Dark Milk Chocolate” and certainly not one made with goat’s milk and fleur de sel. It was amazing and I just wanted to hoard it all to myself to savor slowly. You can actually taste the tangy earthiness of the goat’s milk. The Dark Milk is 62% cocoa and the other chocolates get progressively stronger and darker, 70% , 75% and 77%. I found it very difficult to tell the last two apart, but they were all good.
I wanted to make something special and worthy of this excellent chocolate; something which would really showcase it. I thought about it for days and finally settled on Chocolate and Peanut Butter ice cream which I’d wanted to make for a while now. This has long been one of my favorite flavors, and while I’ve made a lot of ice cream in my time, never this flavor combination. I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. Instead of using my tried and true ice cream base recipe, I used a recipe which utilized both cocoa powder and dark chocolate. The more the merrier, right? Not so much.
***For more on what I think went wrong, see the bottom of the post.
I waited about a week and decided to try again, with changes. This time I used only cocoa powder and no melted chocolate. Instead of organic peanut butter, I went out and bought some Jif (oh, the hydrogenated horror!). I went back to my old standby recipe, and put the peanut butter in the freezer in teaspoonfuls before adding it to the ice cream so that it would not spread out so much when mixed in. The second batch was wonderful.
In the end, Twitter has brought me both new friends and chocolate.
What more could a girl want?
Do you use Twitter? What do you think?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
3 Tbsp Askinosie Cocoa Powder (or another good quality unsweetened cocoa)
2 cups cream
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar (split)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Mix cocoa powder with 1/2 of the sugar. Combine the milk and cream in a medium sauce pot and whisk in the cocoa/sugar mix to dissolve. Heat slowly to a simmer.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the other 1/2 of the sugar.
Temper the eggs by mixing in 1/2 cup of the hot milk/cream to heat them up, but not cook them. Mix the eggs back into the pot with the hot milk/cream. Cook over a low flame until the mixture begins to thicken. Do NOT boil or you may end up with chocolate scrambled eggs.
When thick, pour the custard mix through a strainer into a clean bowl. Cool the bowl in an ice bath, stirring occasionally to speed up the process.
When cool, mix in the vanilla and put the bowl in the refrigerator. Chill thoroughlybefore freezing in your ice cream maker.
When making the ice cream, add in the peanut butter at the end of the churning process. I really like mine with lumps of peanut butter, rather than spread through the ice cream, so I mixed most of it into the container after I took the ice cream out of the freezer bowl. I also froze the peanut butter in lumps hoping it would help it stay separate while I mixed it in. Freeze at least 4-5 hours before serving.
***My first batch was awful. It was a #FAIL as they say on Twitter.
Here’s what I think went wrong and why:
The ice cream was too rich, if that’s possible. It didn’t have a good “mouth feel” and the texture wasn’t great either.
While I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, I think it may have had too much chocolate. Hard to believe, right? The recipe I used called for melting dark chocolate into the cream like a ganache and that’s pretty much how the texture was when I froze it. The other factor could be that I used organic peanut butter and the oil in it may have melted and emulsified into the ice cream. I knew before I stuck it in the freezer it wasn’t great. Once fully frozen the texture wasn’t soft, it was almost crumbly. It’s for these reasons I changed to the recipe listed above.
If I were to try it again, I might add in two ounces of dark chocolate melted into the cream instead of the five the recipe called for.
This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday, a travel/food blogging carnival. Make sure to check them out.