No-Churn Brownie Espresso Chip Ice Cream
I'm not a picky eater. I'll eat generally everything, greasy to gourmet, raw to fried, eel and octopus and the occasional pig's foot -- but when it comes to ice cream, I'm picky.
Not necessarily in the way that I would be with something like pie, where I analyze each element: the crust, the filling (is there salt?), the crust-to-filling ratio, the soggy bottom test. No. With ice cream, it's more about toppings and add-ons. Some people can eat a plain old cone of vanilla or chocolate ice cream and be happy; for me, I take after my dad. There must be add-ins, like fudge, brownies, Oreos (really anything chocolate), and there must be toppings, like hot fudge, sprinkles, whipped cream, and perhaps a few nuts. I grew up on weeknight outings to Marble Slab with my nose pressed up against the glass, eyes fixed on that silver metal scoop. Go-to choices? Oreos and Reese's. These days, I crave concretes from Freddy's: chocolate frozen custard with Oreos and marshmallow fluff. It's just the thing for highest highs and lowest lows.
For the in-betweens, there's Little Man Ice Cream, Sweet Cooie's, and homemade ice cream. I used to think an ice cream maker was necessary to achieving ice cream nirvana, but I've since been proven wrong. In the past, I've tried using an ice cream maker attachment on my KitchenAid, which was beautifully simple to operate -- but the ice cream consistently resulted in very hard, very icy scoops, and we just can't have that. I'm one of those people who microwaves a pint of ice cream before digging in, so maybe this is just a personal thing, but I live for soft scoops, which is why Freddy's frozen custard is an absolute dream for a girl like me.
And then no-churn ice cream came along... even though it came along a very long time ago. WHOOPS. How could I have underestimated no-churning?! As if you need some fancy ice cream maker to create a delicious pint of ice cream at home. Spoiler: you don't. This method requires significantly less time, but the same delicious ingredients. And if you crave those soft, creamy, custard-y bowls of ice cream as much as I do, you'll probably be a sucker for no-churn recipes as much as I am.
Take this one, for instance: a no-churn recipe for brownie espresso chip ice cream. Quick and easy homemade brownies collide with a quick and easy espresso ice cream, which means you have more time to get a spoon, sit on your porch, and just... eat ice cream, for as long as you want. I will warn you, though: I went pretty heavy on the espresso flavor in the ice cream, because that's just my style. If you're not as much of a fan of strong coffee in your desserts, then replace the 2 tablespoons of freshly-brewed espresso with Kahlua, or another coffee liqueur of your choice. It'll be on the sweet side instead of the strong side, but hey, not everyone takes their coffee black.
No-Churn Brownie Espresso Chip Ice Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 6+ hours of chill time | Bake time: 45 minutes | Servings: 2 pints of ice cream
For the brownies:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the ice cream:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, well-chilled
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons freshly-brewed espresso, OR 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into small 1/4-inch chunks
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine butter, cocoa powder, and sugar, and beat until well-combined and sugar is slightly dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla, beating once more. Add flour and salt, and gently fold until mixture is combined and smooth. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until brownies are set in the middle, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
While brownies are cooling, make the ice cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients except semisweet chocolate on medium-high speed until you reach soft peaks. Set in the freezer to cool for an hour, until slightly thickened.
Once brownies are cooled, slice (or use your hands) into bite-sized chunks. Remove ice cream from freezer, and add semisweet chocolate chunks and brownies to mixture, folding until evenly distributed. Divide ice cream into 2 pint-sized ice cream containers, or 1 standard loaf pan, and freeze until desired consistency is reached, about 4-6 hours.