When we went up to Urbana to the Farmer's Market, we also stopped at Common Ground food co-op because they carry bottles from a local dairy. So this batch of ice cream was made with real Jersey cream and half-and-half. It is more expensive, but oh, the results are worth it! I'll be trying this with some of the other chocolate/vanilla/etc. flavors. The cream is probably too heavy for fruit ice creams, though; I might try the half-and-half there, but a lot of those will still get made with commercial dairy.
about half of a Spicy Maya bar, grated
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt
Chill the Spicy Maya chocolate and break it into several large pieces. Use a very fine grater to grate the pieces one at a time into a small bowl, leaving the rest in the refrigerator until needed. Set the grated chocolate aside briefly.
In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 1/2 cups half-and-half. Stir over medium heat until bubbles just begin to form. Lower heat slightly and sprinkle in the grated chocolate bit by bit, stirring until chocolate dissolves.
Remove from heat; cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (This can be speeded by setting the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes.) Stir in 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and process for 35 minutes. Transfer to freezer-safe container and freeze overnight so the flavors can marry.
The Spicy Maya bar is produced by Chuao Chocolatier and described as "infused with pasilla chile, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon" with 60% cacao, 2.8 oz. I am not a fan of dark chocolate nor of picante food, but I greatly admire this candy bar. Its heat is immediately apparent. This version of the ice cream retains all the flavor but reduces the heat to a very mild level so that anyone can enjoy it. Because the result is so mild, we're planning to make this again using a whole chocolate bar; but because the first version is so scrumptious, I'm sharing it now so that people can enjoy it. Not everyone will want a more picante version
Cold chocolate is easier to grate than warm chocolate. This is why you should put the candy bar in the refrigerator, and work with one piece at a time, so it doesn't melt in your hands. Also, don't try to grate every last bit of it, or you'll scrape your fingers. Just eat the last nubbin of each piece.
When I made this, I used real Jersey cream and half-and-half from a small dairy that sells to a food co-op. The result is a thick, creamy, velvety, stupendous ice cream with a better texture and flavor than I get from using evaporated milk. You can substitute commercial whipping cream and half-and-half if necessary. Jersey cream seems to freeze harder than commercial whipping cream, but the crystal size is tiny and smooth; if you substitute commercial dairy then the ice cream may be softer but will probably have a coarser grain. Use what you can find or what you like.
Chocolate benefits from a tiny bit of salt to bring out its flavor. Don't use so much that you can actually taste the salt; it's just an enhancer. Sea salt is best because its mineral content is good at bringing up the flavors in chocolate. If you don't have any, plain table salt will do fine.
This recipe produces a very rich, luxurious ice cream with a prevailing mellow middle note and a low bitter note from the chocolate, plus high sparkling notes from the cinnamon and peppers which leave a lingering warmth. It is just barely spicy, with a very modest build to the heat. You probably won't want to eat enough to notice the heat building more than a little, because ice cream this rich satisfies quickly with a small portion.
This is one of those ice creams that needs time for the flavors to blend properly. It's good straight out of the churn, but it is better after sitting in the freezer overnight; the peppers need time to settle into the surrounding milkfat. So if you want this for a special occasion, plan ahead.