It is time to make a choice. A real life decision. You have two options for your future path: ice cream or bikinis. Can you have both? Certainly, but you’re going to have to work hard.
Honestly, ice cream comes in handy more often than bikinis for me. I live in Portland, so summery weather is just that–only for the summer. Our beach is always chilly, I’ve never been to Mexico, and nobody has invited me to a hotel with a lazy river. I can’t even think of a time when I’d wear a bikini, unless it happened on vacation. Ice cream opportunities, however, pop up all the time. Right now, it is warm enough to justify making a batch based solely on the daytime temperature. During the rest of the year, I can churn up various flavors to accompany seasonal desserts, such as pies, crisps, or molten chocolate cakes. Obviously ice cream is more relevant.
In real life, I will eat too much ice cream and then jazzercise my heart out to compensate. I guess that’s avoiding the decision, but it’s probably a good compromise. No bikinis, but one-piece bathing suits are still an option.
This is a “gilding the lily” situation. I took an ice cream that was clearly perfect all on it’s own (Jeni’s Salty Caramel) and added chocolate ganache. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t ok with that. Basically, what you have here is a grown-up sundae all rolled into one ice cream. The Salted Caramel Ice Cream With Chocolate Ganache takes one of the most popular (for good reason) ice cream flavors and stirs in a dark ganache that is reminiscent of those way-too-hard chocolate chunks you find in other ice creams, but the ganache is silky smooth and melts once it hits your mouth. I’m stopping here because I’ll have to get another dish of ice cream if I continue.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream With Chocolate Ganache (the ice cream recipe is adapted from Jeni’s Salty Caramel Ice Cream, and I found the recipe at The Bitten Word)
Yield: about a quart of ice cream
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ingredients for ganache:
6 Tablespoons heavy cream
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch with a fork.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.
Whisk the cream and corn syrup in a liquid measuring cup.
Set up an ice bath: fill a very large bowl with ice cubes and nest a smaller metal bowl inside the large bowl.
Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat without stirring. Once over half of the sugar is liquid and starting to brown, use a rubber spatula to stir, pulling in from the edges to the center. Keep stirring and cooking until the sugar is a dark caramel liquid, then remove it from the heat. Immediately pour about 1/4 of the cream mixture into the melted sugar while stirring–it will sputter, so be careful. Once the cream is incorporated, continue to gradually add the rest of the cream mixture while stirring. (Note: my caramel hardened up and I had to carefully return the pan to the stove over low heat to get it to melt–I think that’s because I added too much cream at once).
Return the pan to medium-high heat and stir in the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil for 4 minutes, stirring frequently and watching it closely for danger of overflows. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return it to medium-high heat and cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Pour a little of the hot mixture into the cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the hot mixture and the vanilla and whisk again. Pour the ice cream base into the prepared metal bowl in the ice bath. Let the mixture cool until well-chilled, stirring occasionally. Pour into the bowl of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Meanwhile, prepare your ganache. Place your chocolate chunks in a cereal bowl. Heat the cream in your microwave or in a small pan on the stove until it barely boils, then pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Stir until smooth.
When the ice cream is finished processing, let the machine keep running while you use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into the ice cream. Run the machine for about 30 more seconds until the ganache is well-distributed but not broken up too small. Freeze the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions.