For Chocolate Lovers only

Monica’s “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” Ice Cream

I’d like to take credit for this idea, but I can’t. At a party, my friend Monica showed me a recipe for a form of ice cream that didn’t require any special equipment (such as a churn or candy thermometer). All you needed were plastic bags, salt, ice, and a few ingredients for the ice cream. She assured me that the recipe worked, although the ice cream was “a puddle by the time the kids finish eating it”. I was given a copy of the recipe and wondered if I couldn’t modify it a bit to make a less-puddlelike chocolate version; the result is below.

The original recipe called for rock salt, but Monica told me I could use table salt, and it works very well (it’s July as I write this; I have no rock salt just now). Monica also advised me to double the plastic bags called for to prevent leaking, an excellent idea. While this recipe is slightly more complicated than the original, it’s still something you can make with kids. Bear in mind that this is best eaten within a couple of hours of making it, though it will keep for a day or two in the freezer.

Yield: 2 servings

  • Ice cubes
  • 6 Tbsp. table salt
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Few grains of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp. very hot water
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Have ready the following: 2 resealable, gallon-size plastic bags; 2 resealable, quart-size plastic bags; enough ice to half-fill one of the gallon-size bags, and the 6 Tbsp. salt. Set aside (keep the ice in the freezer until you need it).

In a small cup, combine the sugar and a few grains of salt. Sift or sieve in the cocoa powder; blend well with a spoon. Add one tablespoon of the hot water and mix until smooth, scraping cup sides and bottom and bowl of spoon with a rubber spatula. Blend in second tablespoon of hot water. Place in refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, until mixture is no longer hot. Meanwhile, in liquid measuring cup or small pitcher of about 1-1/2 cup capacity, combine milk, cream, and vanilla. Chill until needed.

When the cocoa-sugar mixture is no longer hot, pour it carefully into the milk-cream and stir gently but thoroughly to combine. Replace in fridge for a few minutes while you get your plastic bag “churn” ready. Open both of the quart-size bags; place one inside the other. Open both of the gallon-size bags; place one inside the other. Half-fill the inner gallon-size bag with ice cubes and the 6 Tbsp. salt. Working quickly now, pour your cocoa-milk mixture into the inner quart-size bag. Seal the inner quart-size bag, forcing out as much air as you can (be careful not to force out the cocoa-milk mixture!), then seal the outer quart size bag, again forcing out air. Place the doubled quart-size bag into the middle of the ice-salt mixture in the inner gallon-size bag. Seal the inner gallon-size bag, forcing out as much air as you can. Seal the outer gallon-size bag, again forcing out as much air as possible.

“Shake, rattle, and roll” for 15 minutes. I like to wear pot holders while doing this, as the outer bag gets quite cold. Remember to take a few brief breaks during the 15 minutes; you don’t have to shake absolutely continuously. After 15 minutes, carefully remove the doubled quart-size bag from the inner gallon bag. Remove and discard the outer quart-size bag. At this stage, the ice cream will be barely frozen. You can eat it now, but I like to freeze it for between 20 and 50 minutes to let it harden up just slightly. For best results, eat within several hours of making. If you allow the ice cream to remain in the freezer overnight, it will still be fine; just allow it to soften slightly before eating.

Note: Cream can be omitted if desired. If cream is omitted, add an equal amount of additional whole milk. (total will be 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk)


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Published: September 2004