There's an old saying, in fact there's a bunch of old sayings, "Leave well enough alone". "If it ain't broke don't fix it. "Let sleeping dogs lie".
Those sayings have been honed down through the ages and really make a lot of sense when it comes to staying out of trouble. Usually that's good advice and I stick to it...except when it comes to dessert.
I'm not a big dessert person, but I figure if I'm gonna go to hell in a hand basket, forget the hand basket make it a shopping cart!
So that's what I've done with Ice Cream God David Leibovitzs' recipe for Aztec Hot Chocolate Ice Cream. It's found in his book The Perfect Scoop.
This ice cream is exquisite, dark chocolaty with a spicy after burn due to the roast chipolte chili. Like any chocolate dish, the quality depends on the quality of the chocolate used. For these bad boys I usually break out the Valrhona or the Callebaut, as dark and rich as I can get it.
This ice cream is made in two steps. The Cooking and The Freezing. As for getting all crazy with it, that comes later as I'll show you. Here's how the basics go.
Take a whisk to it and keep 'er going until the mixture starts to get foamy and comes to a nice rolling boil.
Take the pot off the fire and blend in:
3 oz of chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
When the chocolate has all blended in, toss in:
1 and 1/4 cups of milk
A pinch of sea salt
1 and 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3/4 tsp of chipolte chili powder.
Ok, now a note about the chili powder. Add this a little bit at a time as the chili powder mellows as it sits in the milk mixture and can become hotter tasting than you might think. The original recipe called for 2 to 3 tsp of chili which is more than most people can handle. The rule about chili is simple. You can always go up, you can't go back down. So be careful out there.
Now for Part Deux: The Freezing!
Take your ice cream mixture and put it in the fridge to chill for a while. Several hours is generally the rule.
When the mixture has chilled all the way, put it in an ice cream machine and work it for about 30 minutes or so. Boom! You got ice cream!
Ok so now we've got some pretty amazing ice cream right here. We can stop right? Right?? Nah..I don't think so.
Making this delicious ice cream led me to think of how I could go even further and make a real Aztec Ice Cream Sandwich. This is what I did.
First for the Dulce de Leche.
One simple step for this. Take one can of sweetened condensed milk.
Pour it into a baking pan.
Sprinkle some sea salt across the top.
Place foil on top of the baking pan. Seal it nice and tight. Place the baking pan inside a bigger baking pan. Fill the big pan with water half way up the side of the smaller pan.
Place the whole thing in a preheated 425 degree oven. Bake it for about an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. It's done when it turns a nice caramel color.
When it cools a bit, whisk it all together and tuck it in the fridge until it's ready for use. Now, how are we going to use it? Well, it gets really nasty good from here. We've got the ice cream part and the sauce part. What about the sandwich part of this party?
All you need for this is a pack of flour tortillas.
Take these tortillas and with a cookie cutter, cut out nice circles.
When these circles have all been cut out (two per sandwich..the number of sandwiches is up to you)
this is what happens next.
In a deep skillet heat some vegetable oil. It should be deep enough to fry these little circles of tortilla.
Get the oil nice and hot. When it is, drop in your circles of tortilla/sandwich fixings. Fry them up quickly, turning them so they brown evenly.
When they turn nice and toasty, take them out and set them on a rack to drain.
Sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon mixed with sugar. Let them cool. Set them aside.
Now here's where the magic happens. How to put these together:
Set down a tortilla round.
Place some ice cream on each round and put a little tortilla hat on top of that.
Heat up the Dulce de Leche a bit so it's nice and melty.
Drizzle the Ducle de Leche over the ice cream sandwiches, and then stand back.
These sandwiches are greeted by silence and a few grunts. They have been very very popular every time I've served them. I don't serve them very often because as desserts go, this is known as The Nuclear Option.
When I served them to our guests the other night, even Patsys' "company" Tucker the Lab left his peanut butter filled Kong and hoped to get into the action.
Patsy ever the optimist, tried to hypnotize us into giving her some too.
But she had to learn that chocolate and dogs is not a safe mix.
This bling of a dessert is always in demand at our place, and I'm still experimenting on how I can put jelly on the jelly and totally gild the lily. I'm thinking maybe a thin ripple of Dulce de Leche running through the ice cream instead of on top, and nuts... something with nuts, spicy and sweet.
That's the way it is when you find a keeper, you're always trying to top it...mmmmm toppping.