Hey, remember my ice cream maker? In case you don’t, I landed one last summer and up until three weeks ago, I had used it exactly three times. I’d made chocolate ice cream, honey-rosemary ice cream, and chocolate frozen yogurt. And then it sat on my shelf for many months untouched. Every time I had the urge to make ice cream, I faced two problems: first, guilt from making such an unhealthy treat. It’s one thing to get a cone at the local ice cream parlor or pick up a pint at the supermarket. However, when you see all the heavy cream and eggs that go into one batch, it can be a bit of a buzzkill.
Second, making ice cream is no spur of the moment endeavor. The batter can take anywhere between ten to forty-five minutes, which in and of itself isn’t a big deal, but the problem is that often this requires heating a mixture on the stovetop… and that means a lengthy cool-down period in an ice bath and then the fridge — usually eight hours or more (if you’re being prudent). As you can see, ice cream ain’t no simple task.
Here’s the thing though: what’s the point of having an ice cream machine if I’m not going to use it? I decided I would throw the machine a bone or two, and my first step was to purchase the much-lauded ice cream cookbook / bible The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. One casual glimpse through its pages, and I could already see why it’s been celebrated by critics, chefs, and home cooks year in and year out. The book is filled with amazing things, including a recipe for chocolate sorbet AND a recipe for homemade peppermint patties. Both appealed to me: the sorbet for its chocolate flavors and healthier ingredients; the peppermint patties because of, well, their pretty photo. Besides, I had never thought one could make peppermint patties at home. The challenge alone was intriguing to me.
And thus began my odyssey to make chocolate peppermint pattie [sic] sorbet. Warning: if you are a chocoholic, the following post may be difficult to read….
First up: peppermint patty (I can’t call it “pattie” any longer) creation. We start with a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and dusted with confectioners sugar.
In a bowl, I mix together corn syrup (gasp), water, and mint extract.
Slowly but surely, I add in two cups of confectioners sugar. Cavity-tastic!
Before long it becomes a powdery mess.
However, after some assertive plying, the powdery mess turns into a sticky, doughy ball of sugar.
I then flatted said ball into a sloppy disc on the baking sheet.
The minty confection must now sit here for the next eight hours and dry out. Since I’m kindly, I give it an extra two hours to do its thang.
Cut to 10 PM on Sunday. It’s time to get my chocolate on.
While the chocolate melts, I remove the disc to a cutting board.
With a pizza slicer, I cut the sugar disc into several wedges. Dunking to ensue.
Slowly but surely…
With the chocolate melted, I drop the first wedge in and coat it thoroughly on both sides. I like to pretend this is a really big shark’s tooth. And then I like to hang my head in shame for being such a dork.
In no time, the sugar slices are all coated.
It’s not pretty, but it’s all gonna get chopped up anyway; so DEAL with it.
After about twenty-five minutes in the fridge, the chocolate has become a shell. I get to work slicing the wedges up into bite-sized pieces.
I think this counts as my first ever candy creation.
What’s this? Mousse? Pudding? Neither. It’s my chocolate sorbet batter. If I were Ina Garten, this would be the part of the show where she’d say “I’ll show you how I did it.”
So I didn’t take pics of making the sorbet batter because I was lazy / forgot, but needless to say, it’s such an easy process that it can probably go without a photographic tutorial. All you have to do is put water, a cup of sugar, and 3/4 cup of cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring to a boil (it bubbles up like crazy; so a big saucepan is ideal). Once it’s boiled for about 45 seconds, you take it off the heat, add six ounces of semisweet chocolate, and when that shiz is melted, add some more water, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix it for about fifteen seconds in a blender (I used my handy immersion blender) and then stick it in the fridge to chill for several hours. The longer the better.
I made this sorbet last week, and I was shocked, shocked I tell you, at how amazing it was. Not only was it mind-blowingly chocolatey and fudgy, but it was absurdly creamy. CREAMY. No easy feat considering the recipe lacks cream and eggs. In fact, the only dairy comes from whatever’s used in the chocolate. Of course chocolate ice cream trumps all, but why bother with the extra fat and cholesterol if you can make something equally as delicious with only a cup of sugar and some add-ins? Don’t take my word for it though. My friends Sly and Phamtastic both sampled the sorbet and had similarly orgasmic reactions to it.
I am not overselling this.
The sorbet is amazing.
Nevertheless, when I first made it, I only let it chill for about four or five hours. When I brought the mixture out of the fridge to use, it was rather runny. It’s not a bad thing, but it just means that it’ll need to set up in the freezer a bit more post-churning.
This latest batch of sorbet batter, however, spent eighteen hours in my fridge (and to give you an idea of how easy it was to make, I put it all together at 12:20 AM and had it in the fridge twenty minutes later). Anyway, after all that time, the mixture stiffened up, and quite frankly, it could have been served right then and there as a pseudo mousse or pudding substitute. As you can see from the picture above, it was so tasty in its unchurned state that I wound up taking three “quality-control” tastes.
Lebovitz advises that should the mixture set-up, we only need to stir it a bit to get it flowing again. That’s what I did, and soon it was in the ice cream maker swirling away…
I feel like this would be a good moment for some Sade.
While the sorbet churns, I prepare the mix-ins. Lebovitz recommends placing a layer at the bottom. Clearly I am adept at this step.
Fifteen minutes into the process and the sorbet definitely has some body.
At the thirty minute mark, the sorbet is done. Note the wonderful, thick-custard texture of the batter as I remove the paddle from the cylinder.
The act of pouring the sorbet into the container while simultaneously folding in peppermint patties is cumbersome and messy, hence I have no photos. Needless to say, I did manage to get it done.
There’s actually not enough space in the container for all the sorbet. I happily remedy the situation by scooping a small bowl for myself. Outrageous. Insane. Out of this world. As amazing as the sorbet was last time, it was even better this week. I’m not sure if it’s because I used better chocolate or if because the mixture had been chilled longer, but this sorbet was incredible.
The sorbet was so delicious that I felt the need to share it with someone at that very moment. I texted my friend and told her I had to bring her some to try. After letting the sorbet solidify in the freezer a little, I then brought it over to her for a tasting. Here’s my serving. Clearly it has gone a little runny in transit, but that’s okay.
Here I am about to try the sorbet with the peppermint patties mixed in. Up until this point, I’ve only had the sorbet in a pure, unfettered state.
A Linda Blair moment. You know, if The Exorcist were merely about really good sorbet, I’d still watch it.
Reenacting the experience. I swear this stuff was out of control…
The Verdict: do I need to give a verdict? Isn’t it clear? Chocolate peppermint patty sorbet is SHA-MAZING. Here are some noteworthy conclusions though:
1) The sorbet is so good, you don’t really need any mix-ins. They almost get in the way. Then again, the burst of mint and dark chocolate was pretty awesome. I suppose it all depends on what experience you’re going for. Win-win situation.
2) The peppermint patties on their own tasted really good, but not amazing. In the sorbet, however, they took on new life in the best possible way.
3) As fun and tasty as it was to make peppermint patties from scratch, I think I’ll just buy them from the store from now on. Not worth the eight+ hours of effort. (This all is dependent on how well the commercial brands freeze in ice cream)
Well, I’m spent. If you have an ice cream maker, I think it’s clear what your next creation should be…