OK, this started with a recipe I spotted in Cook’s Country magazine for easy chocolate ice cream. You know I’m a sucker for unusual, short-cut recipes that promise delicious results. I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl.
This stuff is delicious, alright, but I wouldn’t call it ice cream. It’s more like frozen chocolate mousse, minus the eggs. Which in my book almost makes it better than ice cream. (Almost.) If you make it, let me know if you agree.
At any rate, whatever you call it, this stuff is to die for.
Because it’s made with whipped cream, it’s light and airy. (And because it’s made with whipped cream, it’s also ridiculously creamy and rich.) Sweetened condensed milk contributes to the velvety texture and adds subtle caramel-y notes that pair really well with the chocolate.
The basic process for Frozen Chocolate Mousse
So here’s what we’re doing for this one: Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Stir in the condensed milk and a little espresso and vanilla. Fold in a bunch of whipped cream. Freeze. Inhale.
I made a similar strawberry ice cream (no cook, whipped cream folded into berries in sugar syrup then frozen) a while back, but I processed that in my ice cream machine.
This is even easier. Just make the chocolate mousse mixture, then pop it into the freezer. No ice cream maker required. It really does take about 10 minutes.
Let it thaw a little before serving
This is important.
Straight out of the freezer, this stuff hard to scoop and a little bit chalky in texture. Let it sit on the counter for 5 or 10 minutes, however, and it softens up *just* enough to scoop.
Condensed milk versus evaporated milk
I’m sorry if this is obvious, but I’ve made this mistake a million times. It’s really easy to grab the wrong can at the market if you’re in a rush.
What you want for this recipe is sweetened condensed milk—NOT evaporated milk, which is thin and unsweetened. Sweetened condensed milk is used in all sorts of baked goods and candies. I like Eagle Brand, but use your favorite.
Sweetened condensed milk is whole milk that’s been mixed with a lot of sugar, then heated til it evaporates by a little more than half. The resulting mixture is syrupy, slightly caramel colored…
…and very, very thick. Once it’s opened, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for about 5 days.
Frozen Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Cook’s Country
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 Tbls. hot water
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Yields about 1 quart
Rehydrate the espresso
Grab your instant espresso powder. I keep mine in the freezer.
Put it in a small bowl.
Add the water and stir to dissolve. Set it aside for a sec.
Melt the chocolate with the condensed milk
Chop up the chocolate into smallish pieces. Put them in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add the sweetened condensed milk.
Toss in the espresso, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
Mix it all up with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s fairly uniform.
Zap it in the microwave on high for a minute or two, stopping it every 10 or 20 seconds to stir. (If you don’t have a microwave, melt these ingredients together in a heatproof bowl over a pot of gently simmering water.)
When the chocolate has completely melted, you’ll wind up with a very thick paste, like this. Set it aside for a minute while you make the whipped cream. (As it sits, it will thicken a little. That’s just fine.)
Make the whipped cream
Put the cream in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you’re using a handheld electric mixer, or are whipping by hand). Beat on high until it thickens and eventually forms soft peaks.
Wait, what’s a soft peak?
Good question. When your whipped cream is starting to get thick, stop your mixer for a sec and pull the beater out of the bowl. Hold it up. If the whipped cream on the beater is kind of thick but still flops over, you’ve got a soft peak. (If you kept beating, you’d reach stiff peaks, which means your whipped cream would stand straight up.)
You want it to look about like this:
Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate
When your whipped cream is ready, take about one third of it and put it in the bowl with the chocolate mixture.
Gently whisk it into the chocolate mixture until uniform.
The mixture should have thinned out considerably.
Put the rest of the whipped cream into the bowl.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. (You don’t want to squish all the air out of the whipped cream.)
When the whipped cream is totally incorporated, you’ll wind up with a fluffy bowl of chocolate bliss. Of course, at this point, you need to be a responsible cook: Give it a taste to be sure that it’s, um, up to par.
Freeze the chocolate mousse
Transfer the chocolate mousse out into a freezer-safe container. I used a one-pound loaf pan.
Smooth the top down with a spatula.
Freeze the chocolate mousse
Cover it up with plastic wrap. Pop the pan in the freezer for at least six hours, preferably overnight.
Thaw, scoop, and serve your frozen mousse
When the chocolate mousse is frozen through, it’s ready to serve. Set it on the counter for 5 – 10 minutes to knock the chill off of it before you try to scoop it.
A reader photo!
Update, March 22: Reader Jaclyn Breinlinger just made this recipe the other night and said it was so good! Here’s her mousse (thanks for the pic, Jaclyn!).