“Baracky” Road Ice Cream
This space is pretty apolitical, as I think are most food-centered spaces on the internet are. But it’s not hard to guess, sometimes, how one leans politically. For example, take a random person who has a food blog: if that person cares about food and how it’s made, what goes into it, what it does to us, and so on, then there’s a pretty good chance that person also happens to care about things like the environment, education, market sustainability, basic civil and human rights, the United States’ precarious balance with the rest of the world, and, you know, other very useless stuff like that. Not to simplify you down to some deterministic algorithm, but that’s just how these things tend to go.
Now, take me, who is twenty-one, a student (of politics, no less) at a liberal arts college, and who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, it’s not hard to guess how I’m politically aligned. I hit all the marks—check, check and check, I’m a liberal! Or something along those lines. Once again, it’s just how these things go.
Anyway, we all know the election is now less than a week away (!). This will be the first general election I’ll have voted for (I was 6 months too young to vote last time, and yes, I know I’m young!), and I have become quite antsy about it. A couple months ago or so, back when I was brazenly overconfident that my candidate would be re-elected—something I am not quite so sure of at the moment—I was planning how I would celebrate on election night. I remembered how my favorite ice cream shop of all-time, Molly Moon’s in Seattle, sold rocky road ice cream at the time of the ’08 election with the name “Baracky” road ice cream. The fact that Molly Moon’s recently came out with a cookbook that contained the recipe sealed the deal for me. To go alongside Baracky road ice cream would be Mitt chocolate chip. Get it? Like mint chocolate chip, ha, ha! (I came up with this one myself, and if you can’t tell, I’m pretty proud of it.)
But, as how most things go with me, I had to kind of be realistic and set my sights a little lower. Time and resources, just like our economy, haha!, are limited and I realized I could probably only manage to make one of the ice creams. To be honest with you, I don’t even really like rocky road ice cream that much. But, I knew I would have felt guilty going with Mitt chocolate chip, as if it would have been a bad omen and set the election in a way unfavorable to my preferences (as if I had the power to decide how the election goes by choosing which ice cream flavor to make!). So, Baracky road ice cream it was.
The ice cream itself was easy, easy, easy to make. This one doesn’t have a custard base of egg yolks, so it ended up being a matter of bringing the liquids to a slight simmer, whisking them in with the chocolate, chilling that, and then churning it. An odd thing happened to this batch of ice cream, though, that I’m hoping you guys can help me out with. Instead of the ice cream being dense and heavy, it had a soft and airy whipped-like quality to it, almost as if I had folded in whipped cream before freezing it. My friends said they like it better this way, and I suppose I don’t have to worry about the ice cream getting any icy or hard edges to it while it sits in my freezer. But I’m a little irked by it, seeing as I love the way homemade ice cream has that extra-dense smoothness to it that can’t be found in even the best store-bought kinds. I also just don’t like feeling like I don’t have a grasp in controlling what I cook or bake, in general. I’m hesitant to credit this occurrence to the recipe, because I have family friends who have made it without this happening, but I’m just as hesitant to put the blame on my KitchenAid mixer ice cream maker attachment, seeing as I’ve made ice cream before without this happening. So… any ideas? Did I leave the mixture in the mixer too long, so it aerated it more than usual? Did I not let the mixture get cold enough to be able to immediately start freezing in the maker?
Anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t obsess too much about it, seeing as the impending election is quite larger than any single batch of ice cream could ever be. And, just as an annoying reminder, even if the election feels far too much bigger out of your own hands to matter (especially if you’re not from Ohio, Florida, Iowa or Wisconsin), please, please vote! Come Tuesday, I hope we’ll all be eating some version of Baracky road ice cream to celebrate.
One Year Ago: Butternut Squash Soup, sans cream or the oven
(Ba)Rocky Road Ice Cream
From Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Creams
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped into chunks (about 1 1/3 cups), divided
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Place 7 oz (about a cup) of the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat the cream, milk, sugar and pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally to make sure all the sugar dissolves. After a few minutes, the mixture will start to steam and little bubbles will form around the edges. At this point, watch out: just before the mixture comes to a boil, you’ll want to remove the mixture from the heat. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes at room temperature. After 5 minutes, whisk until the hot cream and chocolate are completely combined and the mixture is homogeneous. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 2 hours.
When the mixture is cold, whisk in the vanilla. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions. During the last minute of processing, add the chopped hazelnuts, the remaining 4 oz of chocolate chunks, and the marshmallows. Once combined, transfer the ice cream to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 4 hours.