Coffee Stout Ice Cream With Homemade Magic Shell

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Ice cream season is upon us. This year, instead of hitting up the scoop shop, why not give homemade ice cream a try? This recipe, packed full of some of my favorite grown-up flavors like coffee, beer and dark chocolate, is a great place to start. It all begins with a traditional French-style custard base using milk, cream and egg yolks, which is then enriched with dark coffee and toasty, chocolate-y stout beer. Feel free to use your favorite stout or porter here, but make sure to use the darkest, most interesting one you can find because its flavor really shines through.

For an extra boozy treat, try making an ice cream float with a few scoops of coffee stout ice cream, a generous pour of whatever beer you used to make it and a splash of whiskey. Just make sure to add the beer to the glass first, then add the ice cream to avoid a bubbly mess.

If churning up your own ice cream is a bigger project than you’d like to tackle, at least give the homemade magic shell recipe a try. It is a simple (two ingredient!) chocolate sauce that freezes instantly into a hard shell when it hits the surface of ice cream and it would be a great addition to any sundae this summer.

Coffee Stout Ice Cream

(Yields about 1 quart)
The beer in this recipe is used two ways; half of it is reduced to concentrate the flavor, and the other half is used as-is. The small amount of alcohol helps give this ice cream a soft, scoopable texture straight from the freezer because the alcohol inhibits the ice cream from freezing solid. I used Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout.

1 cup stout, divided
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons strong coffee beans, ground
1 ¼ cups whole milk
? cup sugar
pinch salt
6 egg yolks

1. In a medium saucepan, heat ½ cup of the beer over high heat until boiling. Cook until reduced by half, then combine it with the other ½ cup cold beer and set aside.
2. In another pan, heat the heavy cream until just below a simmer, then add the coffee beans and let steep while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Warm the whole milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. When the milk mixture is warm, slowly pour it into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Add the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes while stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl, pour the coffee steeped heavy cream in through the strainer, then stir in the stout mixture until well-combined. It’s just fine if a few coffee grounds get into the final custard.
5. Cool the mixture completely, then freeze it in an ice cream machine, following manufacturer’s instructions.

Homemade Magic Shell

(Yields about 8 ounces)
Coconut oil is pretty widely available these days, but if you can’t find it in your local market, check out the health food store. When shopping for coconut oil, take note that unrefined coconut oil will have a mild coconut flavor, but refined is tasteless.

3 tablespoons coconut oil
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (or chocolate chips)
pinch salt (optional)

Add all of the ingredients to a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 30 seconds and stir, then cook for 15 seconds at a time until the chocolate is completely melted. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Warm slightly in the microwave before using.