I just have to reiterate for the millionth time that living in Columbus, Ohio is the best ever. Not least when it comes to ice cream, considering my lovely city is the home of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I can’t help but be inspired by the flavors there whenever I churn up some of the cold stuff, though admittedly I rarely use Jeni’s base recipe since I prefer custard-based ice cream.
Still, I pore over her cookbook whenever the ice cream mood strikes me. I particularly love the section before the recipes, where she discusses ice cream fundamentals and reminds me that pretty much anything can be made into ice cream if you play your cards right.
One of my favorite Jeni’s flavors has always been Roxbury Road, which is basically like Rocky Road but with smoked almonds and praline sauce. I love anything smoked, and when it gets to the warmer season, smokiness makes me think of s’mores. So I wanted to Frankenstein together a S’mores + Rocky Road combo ice cream.
Of course, that meant I needed to start with a kick-ass chocolate base. This was my first time making a chocolate ice cream, but I valiantly pressed on. I basically just adapted my favorite vanilla custard to include both cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Mystifying, I know.
This ice cream is thick. Like, reminiscent-of-my-trip-to-an-Italian-gelato-shop thick. I theorize (and suspect that I am correct) that this is because the chocolate wants to re-solidify when it is frozen. Of course, it’s diluted with all the other ingredients, so it can’t form a big block, but the billions of teeny tiny chocolate particles throughout the mixture get all stiff and make this ice cream base super dense. Ahem, theoretically.
Meanwhile, we’ve got some toasted homemade marshmallows (you can totally use storebought, though, if you don’t feel particularly Ina-Garten-esque), a graham cracker crumble (inspired by Jeni’s Salty Graham Gravel), and salty, smoked almonds. All suspended in this thick, dark custard.
Dark chocolate lovers are totally going to dig this ice cream because it is dark, dark, dark. Sweet-and-salty lovers, you will love it too. So… doesn’t that cover just about everyone in the world? (If you don’t like dark chocolate and sweet & salty… get out of my house.)
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (450 mL) heavy cream
- 1 cup (225 mL) whole milk
- ½ cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 ounces (115 grams) dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows (cut into mini size) or storebought mini marshmallows
- ¾ cup Graham Cracker Crumble (recipe below)
- ⅓ cup smoked almonds
- 2 cups (150 grams) honey graham cookies, such as Teddy Grahams or Annie's Bunny Grahams
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted and is evenly incorporated.
- Slowly ladle 1 cup of chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking with your other hand, to temper the eggs. Add the egg-chocolate mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the chocolate cream mixture and whisk to combine.
- Return the saucepan to low heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. The mixture should reach about 165°F.
- Remove from heat. If there are any lumps from eggs that accidentally got cooked or chocolate that didn't melt, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Otherwise, pour the custard directly into the bowl. Stir in vanilla. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Once custard is cool, churn in your ice cream maker* according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Meanwhile, spread your marshmallows onto a metal baking sheet placed on a wire rack. Use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows. (Alternatively, you can place the marshmallows on the pan under your broiler until they begin to brown.)
- When fully churned, layer ice cream into a container with toasted marshmallows, Graham Cracker Crumble, and smoked almonds. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham cookies until they become a fine powder (there should be about 1½ cups of graham cookie powder.) Add sugar, flour, and sea salt to the food processor and pulse to combine with the graham cookie powder.
- Transfer cookie powder to a medium mixing bowl. Pour melted butter into the dry ingredients and toss gently with a rubber spatula. There should be some larger clumps and some smaller ones. When everything is moistened. pour the mixture onto an ungreased jelly roll pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool before adding to ice cream. Use any remaining crumbs for sprinkling on top of this or any other ice cream.
- Inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
- *This is the machine I use and love, but I do get commission if you buy it through this link!