Rocky Road Ice Cream Recipe

The usual rocky road punched up with hazelnuts and white chocolate. It's a rich, dark, buttery, chunky party in your mouth.

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Photograph: Robyn Lee

Is there anything more disappointing than chunky ice cream with insufficient chunks? I've seen minor family wars erupt when a delinquent relative sneaks all the big toffee chunks out of the Ben & Jerry's toffee ice cream, leaving craters of empty vanilla behind for the next chump. Chunky ice creams are all about promises, and ice cream shouldn't be allowed to break promises.

With that in mind, here's a chunky ice cream that refuses to let you down. It's about 30% chunk by volume, so every spoonful is full of more than a few bites. I wanted to riff on rocky road, but when you're going for such a high chunk factor, you want a little more variety than the usual chocolate, marshmallows, and almonds (some people use walnuts or pecans, which are nice, but not especially chocolate-friendly). So this recipe adds white chocolate pieces and—the real kicker—chopped hazelnuts for a rich-dark-buttery-nutty-chewy party in your mouth.

The base here is a mild, welcoming milk chocolate canvas that can handle this chunky overload while staying perfectly creamy. It's not a crazy intense ice cream, but it's the kind of smile-worthy milk chocolate that will keep you lapping up spoonful after spoonful until it's gone.

You can, of course, try to play archaeologist with this scoop and ferret out all the chunks. Just know that you'll have your work cut out for you.

Recipe Facts

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Active: 20 mins
Total: 12 hrs
Makes: 1 1/2 quarts

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Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces roasted hazelnuts, chopped (see note)
  • 2 ounces roasted almonds, chopped (see note)
  • 2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 70% cocoa), chopped
  • 2 1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 ounces mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan whisk together egg yolks and cocoa until very smooth and no lumps remain. Slowly whisk in sugar. If mixture is too dry, whisk in 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream to make a smooth paste.

  2. Once the yolk paste is smooth and all the sugar is incorporated, whisk in remaining cream and milk. Put pan over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until a custard thickly coats the back of a spoon, but a swiped finger leaves a clean line. Strain into an airtight container, stir in vanilla and salt, and chill in refrigerator overnight.

  3. The next day, churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer ice cream to a container capable of holding 2 quarts or larger, and quickly stir in nuts, chocolates, and marshmallows with a rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed in. Chill in freezer for at least 3 hours before serving.

Special equipment

ice cream maker

Notes

Roasting raw nuts yourself yields especially flavorful results. To roast, arrange nuts in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of an oven set to 350°F. Roast until darker in color and aromatic, about 10 to 12 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, then cool completely. Cover warm hazelnuts in a kitchen towel for 1 minute, then rub with towel to loosen skins.