Brandied Cherry & Chocolate Ice Cream

Here’s something different for those of you who want to beat the heat this summer with ice cream. This past July Fourth weekend I wanted to make something decadent, cold and refreshing to tote with us to a friend’s party. I also wanted to somehow use that most perfect of seasonal foods: the cherry. While too many fruits and vegetables are flown in from all over creation in order to keep off-season produce on our grocery shelves, cherries are truly a seasonal fruit. Perhaps that is what makes them such a wonderful treat when they appear each summer.

While we love fresh, raw cherries I couldn’t leave well enough alone this time around and my urge to meddle got the best of me. Not only did I add the poor little guys to ice cream, but I also brandied them for good measure. Any time you get to add fruit and booze is a success in my books!

The product: a delicious brandied cherry and chocolate ice cream. It’s packed with flavor and overflowing* with huge chunks of cherry and chocolate. It’s perfect for eating by the pool on hot weekends (if only we had a pool). Just be sure to make extra cherries for your cocktails.

Brandied Cherry & Chocolate Ice Cream (serves 6-8)

For the Cherries (borrowed from Sloshed!)

1.5 lb Bing cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brandy

Bring the water, sugar, lemon and cinnamon to a boil. Add cherries and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the brandy. Let cool and then bottle, topping off with extra Brandy. Allow to steep over night or longer.

For the Ice Cream

2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
8 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate, roughly choppped
2 cups brandied cherries, drained and roughly chopped

On medium high heat bring the half and half, heavy cream and sugar to a simmer. Let cook until a candy thermometer reads 170F. Remove from the heat and let cool 30 minutes. Pour into ice cream maker and let churn until chilled. Add the chocolate and cherries and let churn 15 more minutes or until it has roughly doubled in size. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until ready to eat.

*Not joking about that overflowing part. If you want your cherries and chocolate to go that extra mile, double the ingredients in the ice cream base or halve the chocolate and cherries. As is, you will find that each bite is filled with more chocolate and cherries then you may know what to do with.