You know the kids books “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” or “If You Give a Moose a Muffin“? Where one thing just leads to another, and before you know it, something simple has morphed into a giant project? I feel like that happens to me sometimes. An idea will pop into my head, and it won’t go away until I do something about it. And the longer it sits and stews in my mind, the more involved it gets.
I’ve been thinking about a Guinness/Bailey’s cake/cheesecake combo for several months now, but the timing hasn’t been right to make one. (The time is coming, though. I can’t wait.) Anyway, with chocolate and Irish cream thoughts floating through my head, it was only a matter of time before they came together in my ice cream maker. Especially after a baby shower cake left me with an overabundance of egg yolks.
I went back and forth about the chocolate base. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? What would go better with Irish cream? What about spiking the brownies? (The first few recipes Google turned up started with a mix. And we all know how I feel about boxed mixes.) Should I add a fudge swirl, or would that be too much? (As if there could ever be too much chocolate.) Decisions, decisions.
I decided on milk chocolate ice cream, thinking that the Irish cream in the brownies would stand out more against the milk chocolate than the dark chocolate, and since I had five egg yolks in the fridge, I upped the egg yolks to five, rather than four. I used the same fudge swirl that I used in my moose tracks ice cream, and I found a reasonable (and easy) sounding recipe for the brownies.
I began to doubt my milk chocolate decision when I tasted the ice cream base. It seemed overpoweringly sweet, and I was concerned that we were going to have some sub-par ice cream on our hands. And then I was afraid that the brownies were going to be too greasy. But the show has to go on, right? (After all, I’d already offered to bring ice cream to a friend’s house that evening.) So I churned the ice cream as planned and mixed in the brownie chunks, then swirled the fudge through the ice cream and popped it in the freezer to firm up.
Wow. I don’t know if it’s the contrast between the milk chocolate and the fudge swirl, or the hint of Irish cream in the brownies, or what, but we are definitely talking about the sum being greater than its parts. The ice cream is rich, for sure, but that’s never a bad thing. I keep trying to convert Andy from team vanilla bean to team chocolate, and thanks to this ice cream, I think I’m closer than ever. ;)
Fudge-Swirled Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Irish Cream Brownie Bites
For the ice cream base:
8 ounces of good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped (A shout-out to my brother-in-law, Dan, who gave us some fantastic milk chocolate for Christmas and made this possible.)
5 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
For the fudge ripple:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the Bailey’s Brownies*:
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Irish cream liqueur, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
First, bake the brownies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8″ square baking pan with aluminum foil. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Place the chocolate chips and butter in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate chips and butter in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Set the chocolate mixture aside and combine the brown sugar, eggs and Irish cream in a small bowl. Pour the sugar-egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
Whisk the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until just combined and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is cracked and a toothpick comes out almost clean, about 45 minutes. (The brownies will be very thick. I’m guessing you could bake them in a 9″ x 13″ pan and cut the baking time in half.) Remove the brownies from the oven. Brush the top of the brownies with the remaining tablespoon of Irish cream. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack before cutting them into bite-sized pieces.
While the brownies are cooling, make the fudge swirl. In a small saucepan, whisk together all of the ingredients except for the vanilla. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble. Let it boil for one minute, then remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool until needed, being sure that the fudge has cooled at least to room temperature before using.
To make the ice cream base, place the chocolate and the cream in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted and smooth. When the chocolate has melted, pour the mixture into a large glass bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl. (I use my Pyrex two-quart measuring cup for this so I can easily pour the ice cream base into the ice cream maker.)
Mix the sugar, half-and-half and salt together in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl. Gradually add the warm half-and-half to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, until most of the warm milk has been combined with the eggs. Add the entire mixture back to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Pour the custard through the sieve and into the chocolate mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the ice cream base is thoroughly chilled.
Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the ice cream is finished churning, stir in about 1 1/2 cups of brownie bits. Drizzle a tablespoon (or so) of the fudge across the bottom of a freezer-safe container. Spread about one-third of the ice cream on top of the fudge. Drizzle some more fudge on top of the ice cream, then top with more ice cream. Repeat until the ice cream is all in the freezer container, and then top with some additional fudge. Freeze until firm.
*Note: This brownie recipe makes an entire 8″ pan of very thick brownies. I used about 1/4 of the pan for the ice cream, which left us with plenty of brownies to enjoy alongside our ice cream – something that no one complained about.
Ice cream from The Perfect Scoop, as seen on Annie’s Eats; Brownies from The Recipe Girl Cookbook, as seen on Eats Well With Others; Fudge swirl from the Perfect Scoop, originally seen on Annie’s Eats
Click here for a printable version.