Jeni's Splendid Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Gravel-Famous Fridays
Jeni's Splendid Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Gravel-Famous Fridays

Frosty sweet cream ice cream!

Sorta crunchy/sorta chewy,chocolatey, brownie-like mix-in!

Sound good right about now?!! With most of the country experiencing some sort of heat wave, you owe it to yourself to take a look at and make one of the over 100 gorgeous ice creams and desserts that fill the pages of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer, my very timely Famous Friday honoree. 

Not only is Jeni the author of three ice cream cookbooks but she's also the owner of 8 artisanal ice cream shops to date, all devoted to using local, seasonal, fresh ingredients. Plus the books are full of off-the-beaten-path flavors like Pumpernickel Ice Cream, Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard, Cranberry Royale Sorbet and even an amazing vegan offering called "Creme Sans Lait", in addition to toppings that beg to made, like this Chocolate Gravel! And the best part of all, is that Jeni has redesigned her big-batch recipes to work in a home kitchen with ordinary inexpensive ice cream machines, so you really can't go wrong. Ok, guys it's time to make some ice cream and gravel!!

One of the more unusual aspects about Jeni's ice creams is that they are eggless, and instead get their richness and slightly chewy texture from cream cheese, cornstarch and corn syrup. 

Once you've made the ice cream mixture and have it chilling, you prepare the chocolate gravel, which is essentially a very thin brownie that you crumble up and let dry out in the oven. It comes together quite easily and is absolutely addictive--you'll really have to watch yourself and anyone else who wanders into the kitchen if you want to have any gravel to use as a mix in!!

The Ice cream is smooth and just rich enough without being too creamy or heavy and there's a ton of gravel running throughout. So instead of sweltering this weekend, treat yourself to a scoop or two (or three) of this amazing treat or any others of Jeni's creations and have a cool and refreshing weekend!!

Jeni's Splendid Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Gravel-Famous Fridays

Makes about 1 quart of ice cream and about 2 cups of gravel
Don't let the long list of ingredients for the chocolate gravel scare you away--it's easy and totally worth it even if you don't make your own ice cream-just fold it into your favorite store-bought brand.
Prep Time for the Ice Cream:  15 minutes (plus several hours of chilling or preferably overnight); Churn Time:  25-30 minutes; Prep Time for Gravel:  15 minutes; Cook Time:  25-30 minutes; Drying Out Time:  30-40 minutes


For the Ice Cream

  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

For the Chocolate Gravel

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses
  • 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

The Recipe

1.  To make the ice cream:  In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt. Set aside. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Set aside.

2.  In a large saucepan, mix together the rest of the milk, the cream, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a full boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return the pot to the stove and bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a heat-proof spoon or spatula for about 1 minute, until the mixture is a bit thickened. Remove from the heat. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until very smooth. Place the bowl into the ice bath and allow to chill for about 30 minutes or until cool. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.

3.  When ready to churn, remove the ice cream base from the fridge and churn according to your manufacturer's directions. Transfer ice cream to a large, freezer-safe container and mix in Chocolate Gravel (see recipe below). Chill ice cream for at least 4 hours before serving.

4.  To make the chocolate gravel:  Preheat oven to 350ºF and butter or spray a 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

5.  Place the butter and both chopped chocolates into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and melt, stirring until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.

6.  Into the cooled chocolate mixture, add the sugar, brown sugar, flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, coffee, molasses, vanilla and heavy cream until well combined. Pour into the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour into the prepared dish and smooth the top.

7.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a thin knife comes out moist--it should have a few crumbs sticking to it but not be wet. Cool the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven.

8.  Have a baking sheet or two ready. Cut squares from the "cake" in the pan and crumble them up into 1/2 pieces, transferring them to the baking sheets so that the crumbs are in a flat layer. Place the baking sheet (or sheets) into the oven and let the crumbs dry out for about 30-40 minutes, testing them at around the 20 minute mark to see how they are drying out and tossing them once or twice. When the crumbs no longer feel moist, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and use to stir into ice cream or as a topping.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Briton Bauer. Jeni dries her gravel out in a 300ºF oven, but I found that the first two times I tried it this way, the gravel tasted slightly burned, so I opted for the still hot but no longer heating method and it worked like a charm--no chance of the crumbs burning!

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