Sunday, May 1, 2011

Coffee Stout Ice Cream

I love dark roasted coffee. I love a deep, rich stout. And I love ice cream.

So what could be bad about a combination of all of those things?

Inspired by an article in this month's Saveur magazine, I adopted a recipe for Guiness Stout ice cream and made it a lot healthier, without losing any of its potent stout flavor or sophistication.

The original recipe, from an ice cream shop in Kingston, Jamaica, calls for 3/4 of a cup of sugar and 2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Yum. But I was aiming to make a Fitfoodiegirl version with less fat and less (or no) sugar.

Since I try to buy locally whenever possible, I replaced the whipping cream with half and half from Calder's Dairy (from Lincoln Park, Michigan). At 20% butterfat, however, Calder's is a little richer than most half and half, but you really need a little extra fat for mouthfeel.

Local beer was next on the list; instead of a regular stout, I opted for Bell's (Kalamazoo, Michigan) coffee stout. This is a lovely, rich, beer with plenty of roasty espresso notes and a distinctive stout flavor throughout. At $16 a six-pack, it was definitely a bit of a splurge. Fortunately I only needed one bottle for the recipe and the other five are resting comfortably in my fridge, a perfect treat after a busy work day.

If you're not concerned about sugar, go ahead and use it. I substituted about 1/3 cup of Splenda for the 3/4 cup sugar in the original recipe. That's less sweetness than the 3/4 cup sugar would have imparted, but I really wanted the slightly bitter flavor of the beer to come through and I'm glad I cut back on it.

3/4 cup sugar (or desired amount of sugar substitute to taste)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 egg yolks (save those whites for your omelet tomorrow)
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups coffee stout (about one 11-12 oz. bottle) or any stout of your choice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar, salt and egg yolks in a 4 qt. saucepan until smooth.

Stir in cream and cook stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes.

Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a medium bowl and whick in stout and vanilla. Refrigerate until chilled.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a resealable plastic container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

(Note: home-made ice cream can get quite hard after a few days in the freezer. Be sure to take it out about 20 minutes before you want to serve it.)

This would be a great dessert after a beer-themed dinner...or hell, really anytime. After all, it's 5 o'clock somewhere.

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