Do you watch Game of Thrones? The Lion and I started watching Game of Thrones just before the fourth season and binge watched seasons one through three. We then watched season four and were so disappointed that we had to wait almost a full year until season five! For most of season five, we have been watching with another couple, alternating houses, and eating delicious meals and finishing the evening with a new episode. We decided last week that we should do something special to celebrate/bemoan the end of the season. Hence this ice cream, named in honor of Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger!
Just like Littlefinger, this ice cream has some tricks up its sleeve. While it appears to be a chocolate and peanut butter ice cream, the chocolate is dark and made with 70% bittersweet chocolate with a hit of cinnamon and lal mirchi powder (Indian cayenne powder) to add some intrigue to the flavor. The brittle has a nice amount of salt as well and is made with honey as the only sugar source with the vanilla to add a lovely rounded flavor to the brittle.
The brittle is simple to make, and is a conglomeration of multiple brittle recipes I found in my cookbooks. Honey, water, and butter are brought up to 300F then quickly mixed with roasted unsalted peanuts and baking soda. According to Harold McGee, a brittle is distinguished from other hard candies by the fact that it includes butter and milk solids from the butter. This is what contributes to its opaque color. It takes some time to boil it to get to the optimal temperature as all of the water must be boiled off to achieve the high temperatures. Ultimately, there is about 2% water left with the gorgeous creamy brown color due to browning of sugars and proteins. The baking soda in the brittle is used to help with the browning and creates a light aeration of the brittle by producing carbon dioxide gas as some of the acid in the brittle is neutralized by the baking soda. The end result is crisp and has a beautiful crunch.
To make the ice cream, I turned to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Book once again and, of course, used my modifications to create the best possible texture and flavor. I used her base rather than a custard based ice cream as I really wanted the chocolate flavor to be front and center. The first step is to make a chocolate syrup with coffee, sugar, and cocoa powder with bittersweet chocolate melted in at the end. The chocolate syrup is then whisked into cream cheese and some salt. After that, the milk and heavy cream mixture is made, with a little less granulated sugar as the chocolate syrup acts as a sugar substitute in the final ice cream. It’s then cooled and churned in the ice cream maker.
The ice cream churns up thick and creamy. It’s a deep, dark brown with a rich, luscious chocolate flavor. The cinnamon and the cayenne add a subtle spicy background to the ice cream and make you want to keep going back for just one more bite! I have no idea what’s going to happen tonight on the Game of Thrones, but the Lion and I can’t wait to find out, and are excited that we’ll get to do it while eating this delicious Brittlefinger ice cream! Enjoy!
Brittlefinger Ice Cream: Spiced Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Salted Honey Vanilla Peanut Brittle
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Celebrate the season finale of Game of Thrones with Brittlefinger Ice Cream, a dark chocolate ice cream with cinnamon and cayenne with a crunchy and sweet peanut brittle enhanced with salted honey and vanilla.
- For the Brittle:
- 390 g (1 1/4 cup) honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
- 230 g (8 oz) peanuts
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- For the Spiced Dark Chocolate Ice Cream:
- 40 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee
- 100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 45 g (1 1/2 oz) 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 2 cups of broken up pieces of brittle, or more or less depending on how many pieces of brittle you want in your ice cream
- For the brittle:
- Combine the honey, butter, water, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan. Insert a candy thermometer into the pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Meanwhile, combine the peanuts and the baking soda in a bowl.
- Line a sheet pan with a silpat. Bring the honey mixture to 300F stirring intermittently in the process. Once it reaches 300F, take off the heat, and stir in the peanut/baking soda mixture quickly to coat thoroughly. Spread onto the silpat in a thin layer. Allow to cool completely then break into small pieces.
- For the ice cream:
- Combine the cocoa powder, syrup, and coffee in a small saucepan. Allow to boil for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and add all of the bittersweet chocolate stirring to completely dissolve.
- Follow the instructions on your ice cream machine as to if you need to cool a canister before. Mine recommends cooling for 15 hours before making ice cream.
- Remove two tablespoons of the milk and whisk together with the cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Whisk the cream cheese and the salt together until smooth in a large bowl. Whisk the chocolate syrup and the cream cheese and salt together until smooth.
- Combine the remaining milk with the cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Place a candy thermometer in the pot. Heat to between 175F-180F maintaining the temperature by increasing or decreasing the stove temperature as needed for a full 8 minutes. Give the corn starch slurry a stir, and carefully drizzle it into the hot milk mixture, whisking as you go. Increase the temperature to between 180F-185F and cook, while stirring intermittently for about two minutes. Check to make sure that at the end of that time period it coats the back of a wooden spoon and leaves a line in the spoon when you draw across it Silpat a finger. Remove from heat.
- Fill your kitchen sink with ice and water to create a large ice bath. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate and cream cheese mixture. Add the cinnamon and cayenne and whisk thoroughly. Place this bowl directly into the ice bath and stir continuously to cool it down. Be very careful not to let any water from the ice bath splash into your ice cream mixture. Stir until the mixture registers below 40F on an instant read thermometer.
- Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions and churn the ice cream. Pack the ice cream into a storage container as quickly as you can, folding in small chunks of the brittle as you go. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the ice cream and place in the freeze. Freeze for a least four hours. Then scoop and enjoy thoroughly!
This makes quite a bit more brittle than is necessary for the ice cream, which is not a bad thing because the brittle is delicious. Feel free to crumble and sprinkle over the ice cream or eat as an extra treat!
Heavily adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams