[Go straight to the recipe]
I’ve been in San Francisco for a month now, and just today I finally found a place to live, signed my lease, and got my keys. I feel like you can probably hear my sigh of relief across the country. Never in my life did I think that moving would be this stressful. I mean, I’ve apartment hunted in New York many times. Who knew it would be the supposedly laid-back city of San Francisco that would cause me so much apartment-induced stress. But now that things are finally falling into place, and I can make arrangements to be reunited with my ice cream maker in the near future, I can get back to dreaming up recipes and spending time in a new-to-me kitchen.
This recipe, like the past month of my life, is complex. It has lots of flavors, and can be a challenge to figure out, but it’s incredibly rewarding. I came up with this flavor based on a cake that has become a staple in my baking repertoire in the past year. I adapted this Chocolate-Earl Grey Cake recipe from Real Simple. (If you scroll through my instagram, you’ll see this cake in bundt form makes multiple appearances.) Instead of using the Earl Grey tea, I substituted in homemade chai concentrate. Such a good upgrade! And because of the way my brain works, I decided chocolate and chai would work just as well in frozen form. This is actually an adaptation of my first original ice cream recipe—Dirty Chai—that I created for the 2011 Ice Cream Takedown, which I didn’t win, but which you can read about on Simply Stated.
So give this chocolaty, kinda-spicy, totally delicious flavor a try, and let me know what you think.
Chocolate Chai Ice Cream
makes 1 quart
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 slices peeled ginger, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
7 cardamom pods
3 star anise pods
10 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange zest
7 teaspoons loose tea leaves (I used Black Yuman)
1 vanilla bean scraped
1 cinnamon stick
1. Combine heavy cream and whole milk in a 3 quart saucepan, and heat over medium heat.
2. Stir in sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Continue to stir until the sugar and cocoa powder are completely dissolved.
3. Bring mixture to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook for approximately 4 minutes.
4. Stir in ginger, cardamom pods, star anise pods, cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, orange zest, tea leaves, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick and remove from heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid and steep for 25 minutes.
5. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain out the spices and tea leaves and discard the solids. (This might take a couple of passes to catch everything.)
6. Chill the base in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, until it is cool to the touch.
7. Freeze the base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
8. Transfer to a plastic or glass freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.