Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sundaes with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Toasted Pecans

DSC_0513So I’ve been a little obsessed with making ice cream this summer.  It started several months ago when I stumbled upon the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook and realized I could make her insanely good Salty Caramel Ice Cream rather than pay $11 a pint for it at our local specialty foods store.  I bought the book, went straight to the grocery store for the ingredients, and immediately dragged our ice cream maker out of the basement (you know the one – the one we all got as a wedding present but never used?).   Then I remembered the bowl had to chill in the freezer for 24 hours.  Ugh.

It was worth the wait.  All who tasted agreed it was one of  the best ice creams they’d ever had and so began my obsession.  After making many batches using her recipes (Maple Walnut, Lemon Cream, and Coffee are some of the best) and researching other methods, I’ve begun experimenting on my own.  This creamy, rich Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream is definitely one of my favorites.  I used the recipe for roasted cherries from the Jeni’s cookbook as roasting intensifies the cherry flavor and creates a thick, delicious, not-cloyingly-sweet syrup that layers into the chocolate ice cream beautifully.DSC_0504I really wanted to poach the cherries in bourbon first so they would taste like an Old Fashioned, but I wanted the kiddos to enjoy the ice cream too, so I decided to make bourbon whipped cream.  You MUST try this.  Seriously.  And don’t forget the chopped, toasted pecans – their rich, salty, buttery goodness will give your sundae the crunch it needs.DSC_0450If you don’t have an ice cream maker or the time to make it, you can buy a good quality chocolate ice cream and top it with the roasted cherries and syrup along with your bourbon whipped cream and pecans.  It’s all good.

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Sundaes

Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream

makes 4 cups of ice cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted cherries and syrup (recipe below)
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside a gallon-sized ziploc bag.
  2. Place first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until thoroughly melted.  Turn off heat.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy.
  4. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate/cream mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, whisking as you go.
  5. Stir this mixture back into the sauce pan, stir in vanilla and salt, and heat on low until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Pour mixture into ziploc bag and seal completely.  place bag in bowl of ice water and leave until chilled completely (about half an hour), adding ice if necessary.
  7. Pour mixture into frozen bowl of ice cream maker and churn until super thick.
  8. Spread one-third of ice cream mixture into your 1 quart container.  Add half of cherries and syrup.  Spread next third of ice cream into the container, and top with the second half of cherries and syrup.  Spread last third ice cream on top and freeze, covered, 5 hours or overnight.
  9. Assemble your sundaes: Place a generous scoop of ice cream in each dish, top with copious amounts of whipped cream, and sprinkle with plenty of warm toasted pecans.

Roasted Cherries

from the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook, makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups pitted fresh cherries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir all ingredients together in a 9 x 9 in square baking dish.
  3. Roast for 30-45 minutes until juices are thick, stirring every 15 minutes (it took mine just over 30 min).
  4. Let cool and refrigerate until cold.

Bourbon Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place cold cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium-high until cream begins to thicken.  Add sugar, bourbon, and vanilla and whisk until soft and fluffy.

Toasted Pecans

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Place roughly chopped pecans in a non-stick skillet with the salt over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are warm, fragrant and toasted.

Assemble your sundaes: Place a generous scoop of ice cream in each dish, top with copious amounts of whipped cream, and sprinkle with warm, toasted nuts.


What is sexy?

What is sexy?

My 9-year old daughter recently asked this from the backseat of my car (isn’t that where all of the amusing/difficult/serious inquiries come from?) after hearing the word in song lyrics.  The question gave me pause.  Not because I didn’t want to answer, but because sexy is undeniably subjective.  I responded eventually in a generic, text-book sort of way (my mother’s voice in my head saying, “answer honestly, giving no more information than they ask for!”), but the question stayed on my mind.

So I set about asking.  One sister responded, “Food is sexy – I am currently eating filet mignon wrapped in bacon with spinach and brie melted on top.  Gant videos.  Edith Piaf.”  Another said, “men with deep voices and strong thighs, confidence, solid ground strokes and a great sense of humor.”  And from sister number three, “confidence, charm, passion for life.  And a well-tailored suit!”

Friends – male and female – also weighed in:  A devilish smile.  A woman in a tank top and a baseball hat. A man with confidence toeing the line of arrogance.  Intelligence.  Great legs in heels.  The well dressed man.  Wit.  Ripped abs.  A woman who can pull off glasses.  Accents.  Bare shoulders in winter.  The dip in her lower back.

What do I think is sexy, you ask?  French press coffee with the New York Times.  Bill Evans.  Working up a sweat.  Red by the fire, white on the beach.  Salted caramel ice cream.  Grey cashmere.  Stolen, knowing glances.  And the sound of a spinnaker catching the wind.

*image via