Chicory Chunk Ice Cream

chicory chunk ice cream 1

I am person who enjoys her morning coffee, but it may not be for the reason that you think.  I do not drink coffee for the caffeine.  In fact, I drink decaf some of the time.  I enjoy my morning coffee for the taste and as a way to welcome the day and take it slow in the morning.  I enjoy sitting by the window in my kitchen, snuggling with the cats, and watching the world wake up.  My morning routine is important to me and coffee is a way to make sure I follow through with it.

When I moved to New Orleans, I discovered a different kind of coffee – Chicory Coffee.  Chicory is a root and when roasted it has a similar quality and taste to coffee.  Somewhat toasty and somewhat bitter, chicory was originally added to coffee as a means to stretch out the more expensive coffee beans.  Now chicory coffee is a familiar taste and staple product in New Orleans and other parts of the South.  Roasted chicory also can be brewed on its own, but I prefer it mixed in coffee.

chicory chunk ice cream 2

Since moving back to Maryland, chicory is not easy to find. A friend recently ordered some instant chicory online to use as an ingredient in a savory dish, so I asked to steal some of use in ice cream.  The first batch of ice cream turned out great, with roasted elements from the chicory and sweet elements from the sugar and chocolate.  But with a trip to New Orleans on the horizon, I decided to wait to post about the ice cream and buy some roasted chicory in the grocery store during my visit.  And it was worth the wait.  Both ice creams taste great, but the ice cream made with real chicory has more roasted, almost maple notes and a greater depth of flavor.  Try your hand at using this unique ingredient and you will not be disappointed.  Enjoy!

chicory chunk ice cream 3

Chicory Chunk Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

1 ½ cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 ¾ cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup (45 g) ground chicory (or 3 Tablespoons instant chicory)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chunks, chopped

In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch and set aside. Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream and sugar in a large saucepan.  Bring milk mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, add ground chicory, cover and steep for 20 minutes.  Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing the chicory with the back of a spoon to extract as much flavor as possible.  [If using instant chicory, skip steeping step and see directions below.]

Return chicory-steeped mixture to saucepan.  Re-warm over medium heat.  Once mixture has reached a simmer, remove from heat and off the heat gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to a simmer and cook over medium heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and return to medium bowl.  [If you are using instant chicory, add it here and whisk to combine.]  Whisk in salt.  Cover and chill overnight.

Once chilled, add vanilla and whisk to combine.  Pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  When churning is complete, gently fold in chocolate chunks.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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