10 min. 15 min.
Say what you will about former President Ronald Reagan, but the guy had perhaps the best idea ever when, in 1984, he issues Presidential Proclamation 5219 where he designated July as National Ice Cream Month.
I have a special affinity for good ice cream, especially that which is homemade, and love that one of my favorite desserts has it’s own national month of honor and celebration.
Did you know that 9% of all U.S. Dairy goes to make Ice Cream?
When I was a little girl, I remember my mother sending me in the back yard to pick fresh strawberries or fresh mint to craft ice cream that she and I would churn with one of those old-school crank ice cream makers. There was something so special about that ice cream. Not just because we crafted it with real milk and cream. But, it was just flat out better than what you could get at the local grocery store.
So, for National Ice Cream Month, I really wanted to come up with an amazing recipe for you to try. But, it didn’t occur to me what that recipe would be until a few days ago.
Cupcakes as Inspiration
Last week, I made German Chocolate Cupcakes for my dear friend Liz’ birthday because it’s her favorite cake. That night, I learned that it was also my neighbor’s favorite cake, which he requested for his Birthday a few days later. As I was making the coconut pecan frosting, a light bulb went off: This could be an incredible ice cream flavor if done well. It was then that I decided I would make him an ice-cream based on his favorite cake.
A little history on German Chocolate Cake:
Last night I was a dinner party, and one of the guests told me he drove 30 miles out of town to a German Bakery so that he could get a German Chocolate Cake. Most people would think that a German Chocolate Cake is some kind of chocolate confection that hails from Berlin or somewhere in the vicinity. But, in actuality, German Chocolate cake is one of the few quintessentially American cake classics. And it’s proper name is German’s Chocolate Cake, with an “s”.
German’s Chocolate Cake gets its name from the ingredient that is uses, which is a sweet chocolate bar created in the mid-1850’s by American confectioner Sam German. At the time, most chocolate bars commercially available were unsweetened. Sam German worked for Baker’s Chocolate Company at the time, and created his sweet chocolate bar. In honor of him, Baker’s named their sweet baking chocolate bar “German’s Sweet Chocolate”.
Fast forward 100 years.
In the mid 1950’s, a homemaker in Dallas Texas created a recipe using German’s Sweet Chocolate. It was a chocolate layer-cake filled with coconut pecan frosting. The recipe was wildly popular and the recipe spread across the country like wildfire. German’s Sweet Chocolate sales surged.
When General Mills (the parent company of Baker’s Chocolate) saw these sales, they crafted a national campaign for the chocolate and published the recipe. Within a year, German’s Sweet Chocolate sales increased 76%, and bakers across America found their new go-to dessert: German Chocolate Cake. (the “s” got dropped along the way)
German Chocolate Ice Cream: The Recipe
While I was teaching a cupcake class on Sunday 7/15, we cracked and separated 5 more eggs than we needed. I decided to take the eggs and yolks home, possibly to make a quiche with the leftovers. I later decided that the labor from my students shouldn’t be wasted, and because these eggs were perfectly separated, I decided to craft an ice cream recipe that used the 5 yolks.
And so it was to be: I would attempt a German’s Chocolate Cake-style Ice Cream.
I say German’s Chocolate “style” Ice Cream because I don’t want to defraud you, especially given the history on German’s Chocolate I just shared with you.
This ice cream was “inspired” by the classic cake. First of all, this ice cream isn’t made with German’s Chocolate. And, there is no cake in it. Though an imposter, this ice cream may be my best ice cream creation ever. Ever.
This ice cream is a smooth, decadent, rich custard-based ice cream made with high-fat cocoa powder and 64% dark chocolate. That gives it the deep chocolate flavor that I’m in love with. Then, the ice cream is layered with my special coconut pecan frosting.
While I took creative license, you will love this ice cream. With a spoon.
On a cone.
Or fresh out of the ice cream maker.
It’s National Ice Cream Month. Celebrate Ice Cream and yourself and make this Ice Cream tonight.
German Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe:
This recipe has ingredients that must be cooled before churning, so give yourself some time.
Step 1: Coconut Pecan Frosting
- 1 Cup of Half and Half
- 1 ounce of butter
- 3/4 Cup of Sugar + 1 tbsp
- 1 large egg yolk
- 5 ounces of coconut
- 5 ounces of chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a sauce pot, combine half-and-half, butter, and sugar and bring to a near-boil.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk. with 1 tbsp of sugar
3. Temper the egg by slowly adding 1/4 cup of the hot half-and-half to the egg while whisking. Whisk for 30 seconds, then add the mixture into the sauce pot.
4. Whisk the contents of the pot for 1 minute.
5. Add the coconut and the pecans. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes
6. Add the vanilla.
7. Put the frosting into a container to cool in the fridge. Baker’s note: The more shallow the pan, the faster the frosting will cool.
Step 2: German Chocolate Ice Cream
This recipe yields a little more than a pint. This recipe doubles very easily.
- 1 1/2 Cup of Half and Half
- 3/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup of Sugar + 2 tbsp
- 4 large egg yolks
- 5 ounces of coconut
- 5 ounces of chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a sauce pot, whisk together cocoa powder and half and half. Simmer over medium heat which whisking. It will combine, even if it doesn’t seems like it.
2. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the heavy cream.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 2 tbsp of sugar. You want to whisk until it is lighter in color.
4. Temper the eggs: Add 1/3 Cup of the cream mixture into the eggs, whisking vigorously. Add another 1/3 cup of cream, continuing to whisk.
5. Add the egg mixture into the saucepot with the remaining cream and chocolate mixture.
6. Simmer the mixture in the saucepot over low heat.
7. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. (If using a thermometer, it should be around 170 degrees).
8. Pour mixture through a sieve, ust in case you’ve cooked the eggs by mistake.
10. Take the strained mixture and pour into a uncovered container. Add vanilla.
11. Place in the fridge for 40 minutes to cool (you want to drop the temperature by about 100 degrees). Do not put a lid on the hot mixture: the steam will condensate and fall into the custard, adding water that we don’t want in the custard.
In this step, to speed up the cooling process, I used an Ice Bath. All you do is fill a bowl with ice. PLace another bowl on top of the ice and pour the hot custard into the top bowl. Whisk for about 5 minutes until custard is cooled. Then, put in the fridge and following the remaining steps.
12. After mixture has cooled in the fridge for 45 minutes, cover and store for at least 4 hours before churning.
13. Churn according to your machine’s instructions.
14. Remove soft-serve ice cream from your machine, and begin to layer it with the coconut pecan frosting in your freezing container (I used a Tupperware). Layer it with a bottom layer of chocolate, then a layer of coconut-pecan frsting then more ice cream, and so forth.
15. Let ice cream harden in the freezer for at least 3 hours.