Blending Fire and Ice

Years ago, Madison was home to a great little ice cream and candy shop called The Chocolate Coyote. I'm sure they made lovely fudge, but I went there for the ice cream. Actually, I went there for one particular kind of ice cream that blended chocolate and cayenne pepper. It was blissful. The Chocolate Coyote is long gone, but the memory of that lovely treat is not. So, in the way I am known to do, I set out to make my own ice cream, inspired by that memory:

Unlike the ice cream that inspired this dish, there are even more flavors I love in play here. Dark chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, and cayenne all come together in a sweetened cream mix that leaves me feeling dreamy and happy. You might think that many flavors in a scoop would be overwhelming, but I think it's perfect. If you've ever enjoyed Mexican hot cocoa, it's kinda like that, except you're eating it frozen and off a spoon instead of piping hot and out of a mug. Given the time of the year and the regularity of wanting a sweater at the start of the day and shorts by the afternoon, I think it's a perfect treat for the change of the seasons.

If you aren't a huge fiery food fan, you could cut the amount of cayenne in half, but don't opt to leave it out. The heat adds something special to this treat. And heck, if you find your bliss when your mouth is on fire, feel free to sprinkle some more cayenne over your dish before serving, as I did for the photo above.

What makes this ice cream special, aside from it being the stuff of memories, is that it doesn't require any special equipment, like an ice cream maker, or even the stove. A lot of yummy ice cream recipes call for cooking an egg custard on the stove and then cooling everything down in the refrigerator before you even break out an ice cream maker and then let everything deep freeze in the freezer for hours. Making homemade ice cream can literally take over a day to happen. Instead, you can take about 20 minutes and put together your ice cream in the afternoon and have it ready for scooping after dinner. That's my kind of recipe!

Mexican Hot Cocoa Ice Cream

  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • ¼ c. strongly brewed coffee
  • 6 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¾ c. sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Place the heavy cream into the bowl for your stand mixer or a large bowl to be used with a hand-held mixer. Place the bowl in your refrigerator and chill until ready to use.

Place the coffee and the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Stir well and continue microwaving in 30 second increments until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the coffee. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Add the cayenne, cinnamon, extract, and salt and stir again to combine thoroughly. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, whisk the heavy cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Spoon about a cup of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixer and stir gently to combine. Then carefully add all of the chocolate mixture into the rest of the whipped cream and whisk until the cream and chocolate have been fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze for at least 6 hours before serving. If desired, allow the ice cream to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes for easier scooping. To add extra flavor, consider sprinkling a bowl of this fun ice cream with additional ground cayenne and/or cinnamon.

  • Yields: About 1 ½ quarts
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus chilling time

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