Mocha Porter Ice Cream

Oh gosh. It’s that time of year. It’s ice cream season again. Not that I stopped eating ice cream all winter or anything; now I’ll just eat 2-3 times as much. I blame Jeni and David for the overindulgence. If their creations weren’t blatantly staring me in the face from their place on the bookshelf all day, this blog wouldn’t always have an almost monthly spiel on how much I love the stuff. This may be the sixth ice cream post I’ve done in 10 months of this blog’s existence but trust me, there will be more. Deal with it.

I’ve become a bit of a beer fan in the last few months. My college town was really into the whole craft beer industry so it was hard to go to any restaurant or bar and resist trying some of the crazy beers they’d have for tap takeovers and steal-a-pints. I never really used to like alcohol (or drink it for that matter) until I turned 21. Then I began to pair wines and beers with food at restaurants and saw I was missing out on a really interesting, scientific, and delicious art form. And, as with most things, I seem to be drawn to the sweeter brews: porters, stouts, wheats. Back on St. Patrick’s Day I saw so much hype about Guinness floats (Guinness poured over vanilla ice cream). I tried it. It was amazing. From that moment on I scoured the Internet in search of some kind of beer ice cream and of course it all came back to Jeni and her wild concoctions. In her book she has a recipe for a Kona stout ice cream so I took that, a bottle of Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter, and made what I think is my favorite among the ice creams I’ve tried since the dawn ofmy ice cream machine.

Let me introduce you to Mocha Porter Ice Cream.

This ice cream takes all of the good aspects of a mocha frappuccino, the strong and slightly bitter coffee flavor complicated slightly by chocolate undertones, adds beer, and turns what is usually is watery icy beverage into decadently smooth and rich ice cream. Despite its high water content from the beer, the ice cream is surprising creamy yet there is just enough slight iciness that is somehow feels cooler and more refreshing on the tongue. The alcohol softens it up so it can be scooped straight from the freezer, which is especially nice when I’m stealing small spoonfuls about every thirty minutes. The beer I used was a porter flavored with cocoa and honey so the ice cream gets slight chocolaty and floral notes along with the beer’s natural strong maltiness. For the coffee, the main flavor component, I used Caribou Medium Blend coffee, which has chocolate flavors, to complement everything else going on. I have a feeling that this batch is not going to stick around for too long. Between my mom and I and the gorgeous weather we are having, I’m going to give it about a 3-day life span. Time to get buzzed!

Mocha Porter Ice Cream
Slightly adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
makes a little more than 1 quart

2 cups whole milk
1½ Tbs cornstarch
3 Tbs softened cream cheese
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs light corn sypup
2½ Tbs coarse ground coffee, medium or dark roast (I used Caribou Medium Blend)
½ dark porter or stout beer (I used Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter)
1 tsp vanilla extract

To prep, mix two tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch until smooth. Set aside. Whisk the cream cheese with the salt in a large heatproof bowl and set aside. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.

Combine the rest of the milk, the cream, the sugar, and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the coffee grounds. Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth line sieve into another bowl to remove the coffee grounds. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much flavor as possible. Return the liquid to the saucepan and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the milk into the cream cheese mixture until well combined and smooth. Stir in the porter and the vanilla. Transfer mixture to a gallon plastic bag and submerge in the ice bath for about 30 minutes or until the ice cream mixture is well chilled. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into a storage container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours, before eating.