At Christmastime, we learned that my wee French niece, Turnip, does not like vanilla ice cream. We learned this when we made the bigass mistake of giving Turnip a vanilla ice cream sundae. She gave us the Dead Eyes in return. Dead Eyes shouldn’t be confused with my sister’s signature move: Dead Monkey. In this masterful display, my sister lays upon the floor, body twisted and contorted, nostrils flared, with eyes wide open. She lays there, perfectly still, until someone stumbles upon her Dead Monkey body and squeals with delight.
When Turnip doesn’t like something, she stares through you. Her face becomes expressionless. She is unwavering, unflinching. Her eyes burn holes through your pathetic vanilla offering with the heat of million white hot stars. The Dead Eyes make you wish the ground would open up and swallow you whole.
So, to mark Turnip’s 4th birthday (today), I made some ice cream that will surely please her. For a considerable portion of her life’s work has been devoted to the pursuit of frozen, chocolatey treats – she’s an ice cream savant. I’m also offering up some bacon brittle sprinkles, as they show a concerted effort to make up for the vanilla sundae incident.
I don’t know that this ice cream is actually French, but I made it for a French kid, so whatever. It is chocolatey, rich and thick on the tongue. Very decadent, and perfect for the sort of child that likes to wear chocolate all over her face. The bacon brittle sprinkles? Well, you could argue that I haven’t made a traditional brittle as there isn’t any butter or baking soda in there, but there is bacon, which is better. Bacon brittle sprinkles will add a wonderful toffee flavoured crunch to your ice cream. Also, the phrase bacon brittle sprinkles makes you sound really cool, and a little bit of sticky-sweet crunch never hurt nobody. Crush that brittle all up nice and fine and then use it to coat your ice cream. I’d use a nice, salty bacon for this little ditty.
I’ve included the recipes for easy homemade chocolate sauce (should you feel inclined to make your own), French chocolate ice cream, and the bacon brittle sprinkles. I highly recommend giving your ice cream a generous coating of brittle sprinkles – the toffee/chocolate combination can’t be beat, and the crunch really is delightful. I bought some little waffle bowls for constructing the sundaes with the following layering technique:
- ice cream
- crapload of bacon brittle sprinkles
- chocolate sauce
- whipped cream
- chocolate sauce
- bacon brittle sprinkles
I think Turnip would approve.
Happy birthday, my wee Frenchie!
. . .
French Chocolate Ice Cream
Yields about 1 quart.
- 2 cups light cream (5% milk fat)*
- 1 cup heavy cream (35% milk fat)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* I’m sure you could use whole/homogenized milk should you desire
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients. Be sure that the bowl of your ice cream maker has been frozen. This recipe requires two stages of chilling – allow time for this.
Place the light and heavy creams in a medium sized saucepan, and cook over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Whisk in the cocoa, and then the unsweetened chocolate, until well combined, smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well combined and slightly lighter in colour. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well to combine.
Temper the eggs by using a ladle to drizzle some of the hot chocolate liquid into the yolks while whisking constantly, until about 1/3 of the chocolate mixture has been added. (Constant whisking is very important to ensure the eggs don’t cook/scramble.) Slowly pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot chocolate mixture in the pot, again whisking constantly.
Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon – this will take several minutes. When you draw your finger across the back of the spoon it should part the coating (which shouldn’t run back on itself). Don’t allow to boil.
Pour the mixture into a bowl/container, and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture in the refrigerator until completely cool, and then cover tightly. Chill for at least four hours. Whisk thoroughly and pour into an ice cream maker and process as per manufacturer’s instructions (about 30 minutes). Transfer to a freezer-safe container (covered), and freeze (allowing the ice cream to harden).
Easy Homemade Chocolate Sauce
Yields about 3 cups.
- 13 ounces evaporated milk*
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
* I use a 370 ml can, as that is what is commonly sold here in Canada. That’s just under 13 ounces, but still works out perfectly.
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients.
In a medium sized saucepan, bring evaporated milk and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Once boiling, continue to boil for one minute and then reduce heat to low. Add the chocolate and whisk until completely melted. Whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. When smooth, remove from heat. Allow to cool, whisking well every so often. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Serve immediately (while still warm) or cool completely and store in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Sauce stored in refrigerator can be re-heated in a saucepan over low heat (or slowly and gently in the microwave) before serving. This will make the sauce easier to pour/ladle.
Bacon Brittle Sprinkles
Yields about 1 cup of sprinkles.
- 4 strips bacon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mise en place – begin by getting organized. Read through the entire recipe before beginning. Measure out all of your ingredients. You will need a candy thermometer, plastic bag and hammer to break up the brittle. Be careful when making this treat – you are dealing with very hot sugar.
Grease a small baking sheet – baking spray works well – and set aside. A baking sheet with a lip is preferable to prevent spillage.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain well, and then crumble the bacon into very small pieces. Set aside.
Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan, stirring to combine (it won’t completely dissolve – don’t worry, the heat will take care of that). Cook over medium-high heat, until the sugar has dissolved (about three minutes), and the mixture begins to boil. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally (do not stir), until the mixture is golden/light amber, and registers 310°F on a candy thermometer (about 10+ minutes).
Immediately remove from the heat and carefully stir in the crumbled bacon and salt. Immediately pour the mixture onto the centre of the prepared baking sheet. The mixture should be spread thin. Work quickly, as the brittle will begin to stiffen almost immediately. I use a heatproof spatula to help distribute the bacon bits if necessary, but don’t fuss as the brittle is going to be broken into tiny pieces.
Let sit at room temperature (on a cooling rack) until hardened and cool – about 20-30 minutes. Peel the brittle off the baking sheet, break into small pieces and then place in a plastic bag. Use a hammer to break the brittle into teeny-tiny pieces.
This is a wonderful addition to a sundae bar, and is lovely sprinkled over ice cream. It can be made several hours ahead – store at room temperature in an airtight container. Remember, there’s bacon in there, so these sprinkles are best consumed on the same day they are prepared.