In search of German chocolate ice cream

I have always loved German chocolate cake, not because of the cake itself, but because of the wonderful filling! I could eat a bowl of the stuffing with no problem! A few years ago, I “discovered” Haagen Dazs German chocolate ice cream and tried it. It was, needless to say, delicious. However, my enjoyment was short lived because it was just a seasonal flavor. Over the next few years, I faithfully checked the Haagen Dazs display in EVERY grocery store I visited, but to no avail. I only came across it one more time, barely enough to satisfy my palate! Then a few months ago, while visiting my neighborhood Smith’s, I came across a German Chocolate Ice Cream labeled “Private Choice” from the supermarket. I bought it and couldn’t wait to get home to try it out. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was short-lived; the taste was far below my expectations. I finally realized that the only way I would get any gratification for my ice cream craving was if I made it myself.

Making this special ice cream involves a two-step process: creating the German chocolate filling and preparing the chocolate ice cream. I immediately went looking for recipes. I make German chocolate filling in my kitchen at work, but I don’t need twenty quid! He had to find a recipe with a considerably lower yield. I have visited various websites and found similar recipes. Since I knew what ingredients the recipe should contain, I chose one from that matched my criteria. For the ice cream serving, I modified a recipe I selected from Mable and Gar Hoffman’s 1981 book, “Ice Cream.” I substituted a smaller volume of Half and Half for regular whole milk for a richer ice cream. The end result was delicious and a suitable substitute for the Haagen Dazs version I had been craving so much. Although the ice cream is easy to make and requires a few more steps, it is well worth the effort in my opinion.

As a side note, when I try this recipe in the future, I’ll just cook the German Chocolate Filling to about 170 degrees. I’ll also consider using a piping bag and piping it into the finished ice cream I just scooped out of the machine. This procedure might give me a stickier filling to bite into rather than a firmer chunk.

german chocolate filling
1 cup of sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
3 egg yolks
1 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, evaporated milk, and egg yolks in the top of a double boiler or large metal bowl. Add the pieces of butter. Cook over boiling water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to 180 degrees on a thermometer. Remove from the water and add the coconut, walnuts, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, then place in a smaller bowl or plastic container and cover by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling. Refrigerated overnight. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper and place the filling in teaspoon-sized mounds on the sheet. Freeze for at least two hours.

An important note: when I make the German chocolate filling, whether at home or at work, I prefer to cook it in a double boiler rather than in a pot directly over the fire. This allows me to do other things while the stuffing is cooking besides standing on it and stirring. It also minimizes the risk of overcooking and scrambling the egg. While the filling is cooking, I prepare the ice cream base.

chocolate ice cream
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of whole milk
2 cups half and half
2 beaten eggs
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 70% Chocolate Bar – remember, higher-quality chocolate makes better-tasting ice cream)
4 oz. evaporated milk (if you buy a 12 oz. can, you will use 8 oz. in the filling recipe and the rest in this recipe)
1 cup of whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add milk and half and half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl. Add about half of the hot milk mixture to the eggs, then pour it back into the remaining hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer. Add evaporated milk, whipping cream, and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold (you could technically use the mixture after it has reached room temperature, but it will take longer to freeze). Pour the mixture into the ice cream tub and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the mixture is freezing, place a large metal container in the freezer. Loosen the bits of the German chocolate filling from the wax paper. When the ice cream is ready, place it in the container that you kept in the freezer and add the pieces of German chocolate filling. Put in a container and let the ice cream harden. Enjoy!