Nutella ice cream with crispy chocolate hazelnut bark

Nutella ice cream

Nutella ice cream

I think Isaac might have the best teacher in the world. She glows! She’s as shiny as a first grader (which is one of the highest compliments I could bestow!) She’s one of those rare individuals who has a lot of energy, and is capable not only of harnessing her own, but of focussing the energy of others as well. Which is no mean task in a room full of six- and seven-year-olds! And she gets Isaac. At our parent-teacher conference she said he’s bright and funny and fascinating. Of course he is! All seven-year-olds are! She pulled out some of his bright, funny, and fascinating drawings and writings, and she said that she likes his voice. She said that she hopes he can continue to develop his voice, and to express himself in the unique way that he does now. Because our Isaac says the sweetest, oddest things in the sweetest, oddest language–he has a unique turn of phrase. I love to think about Isaac’s voice. He talked early and often, and to this day he has a lot to say, and feels confident that everybody needs to hear it. I like to think about him refining and developing this ability under the tutelage of somebody who allows him freedom and respects his creativity. It feels so hard to maintain that individuality, sometimes, it really seems as though the world is set up to knock it out of you. Malcolm’s conference followed Isaac’s, and he’s doing well, too, but by the time you’re ten doing well means doing what you’re told. His writing teacher said he’s writing all the correct things in the correct order – it’s not exactly poetry, she said, but it’s what she needs to hear. Because at his age they have to teach towards a test and meet certain standards, and those standards never seem to encompass imagination or uniqueness. Tidiness is more important than originality. And you start to learn that people don’t always want to hear what you have to say, because they’re so busy talking themselves. Malcolm went a whole day without eating the other week. He left without breakfast, threw out his snack and his lunch, and ate no dinner. Why? Was he ill? Was he anxious? We don’t know – he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell us, and if felt like the foreshadowing of adolescent years to come, when it’s hard to share what you’re feeling, because you don’t know yourself. You don’t trust your voice or have faith in the importance of the things you want to say. I’m not ready for that time, when the boys feel that they can’t talk to us, and I hope it never comes. I hope that they’ll always have faith in their voices, they’ll always trumpet out their odd sweet thoughts, confidently, in their own strong words. I hope they’ll sing out happily for all the world to hear!

And I hope they’ll always help me cook! Malcolm doesn’t like chocolate ice cream, but he loved this! I melted a quantity of chocolate chips, and I combined half of them with chopped hazelnuts and a bit of salt, and I combined the rest with some nutella, and made a nice creamy ice cream. When the ice cream was freezing, I broke the chocolate-hazelnut bark into small pieces to mix in. Deeeelicious!

Here’s Sing Your Life from Morrissey. You have a lovely singing voice!

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups milk
2 T nutella
2 t vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 t cornstarch
1/2 t salt

1 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan in a larger saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips. Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan over medium heat for about five minutes till they start to smell toasty and look a bit brown. Wrap them, still warm, in a clean dish towel. Rub off some of the skins (but don’t worry about getting them all). Process the hazelnuts so that you have coarse crumbs – you don’t want them too fine.

Remove half the melted chocolate to a bowl. Mix in the hazelnuts. Spread in a thin layer on a sheet of tin foil spread on a clean baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Chill in the fridge until set (at least an hour).

Mix the melted chocolate left in the pan with the milk, nutella, and vanilla. The chocolate will seize up when it meets the cold milk, but don’t worry, it will melt again.

Warm the milk over medium heat, stirring to melt the chocolate.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt until smooth and frothy.

When the chocolate is melted and the milk is warm enough to have little bubbles on the edges, pour it in a thin stream into the eggs, whisking all the while. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, still whisking.

Cook over very low heat for five or ten minutes, till it’s thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle! Pour into a bowl and submerge in cold water to chill quickly. (Don’t let the water get into the bowl!)

Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled. Five hours to over night.

Add the heavy cream, and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. As it’s freezing, break off small pieces of hazelnut bark and drop them into the ice cream. A little bit at a time, so it gets well mixed in as the ice cream freezes.


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