When I was staying with my mother over the holidays, she asked me when I was going to make ice cream for her. I asked her to tell me what kind of ice cream she wanted, and she said she wanted one with coffee in it. Well, even though I had placed the ice cream bowl in the freezer and made my own chocolate-covered espresso beans because we couldn't find any in Small Town, Arkansas, I never got around to making the ice cream for her. Sorry, mom!
She wanted to try out this espresso ice cream, and I finally made it...here...at home...far away from my mom. For the espresso beans, I just dipped them in melted chocolate. I didn't temper the chocolate since looks were not an issue because the beans were just add-ins. I then flashed froze the beans and transferred them to a Ziploc bag for later use. In my opinion, the beans distract you from the delectable ice cream base. However, if you still want to include them, I suggest grinding them finer than I did. Even other commenters who tried this recipe said the same thing. I thought I had ground them fine enough, but I guess I didn't. Alternatively, you could grind up some chocolate chips or chocolate bars.
I will be making this again with different add-ins. It is fantastic and has a smooth mouthfeel. Enjoy! For you non-drinkers out there (like me), mix espresso with hot water to substitute for the coffee liqueur.
3 cups half-and-half
6 extra-large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground espresso coffee beans, decaffeinated or regular
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (recommended: Kahlua) (I used 1 tsp espresso with 2 tsp hot water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chocolate-covered espresso beans, chopped
Heat the half-and-half until it forms bubbles around the edge of the pan and steam starts to rise. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until mixed. Slowly add the hot half-and-half until combined. Wipe out the pan and pour the mixture back into the clean pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 10 minutes (if your mixture is already thick from the beginning like it was for me, only cook the mixture for about 2 minutes), until it's thickened and the cream coats the back of the spoon.
Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, coffee liqueur (or espresso/coffee mixture), and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Pour the espresso cream into an ice-cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Mix in the chopped espresso beans, spoon into a container, and allow to freeze for a few hours. Soften slightly before serving.