What Do Handwritten Letters and Homemade Ice Cream Have in Common?

Two things actually:

1. They are both (very) rare occurrences in my world.


2. Earlier this week, I happened to receive a hand written letter (that one to the right in fact) from my friend Janet containing the recipe for the best homemade chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted (and I have tasted a lot of chocolate ice cream…I’m a fan).

Yes, a real life letter — not an e-mail, not a text… It was exciting stuff friends. And yes, I realize I sound like Andy Rooney, but my Luddite leanings make me awfully excited about this kind of stuff.

Technically the letter was addressed to my two daughters, so I didn’t actually receive it, but I’m not going to let that rain on my parade. So in honor of what shall now be known as “the momentous letter event of 2012”, I’m going to share that chocolate ice cream recipe with you. It’s from the excellent book, The Perfect Scoop by former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz. You’re going to want to make it as soon as humanly possible. (The full recipe is after the jump). It will change your life.


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, shirking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer of top of the bowl

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

Via The Perfect Scoop.