Chocolate drambuie mousse

When I was little, a friend of my parents came to the house with a walking stick. It was a very special walking stick! The brass knob on top unscrewed, and when you pulled it out, a long glass tube emerged. Like a slim, secret bottle. I thought it was the neatest thing I’d ever seen! (Yes, we used the word “neat” back then, children.) I was too young to drink, or even want to drink, but oh how I coveted that cane. Imagine my delight when a gift arrived in the mail – my very own secret bottled-cane, from the gentleman who had introduced me to the concept in the first place. I was so happy! At the time, I was also very taken with drambuie. Not to drink – just the idea of it. Flavored with herbs, spices, and heather honey. From the Isle of Skye. What magical potion is this! So I filled my secret tube with drambuie. And then pretty much left it there until the cork dried up and the glass tube got stuck in the cane. Sigh. Now that I’m 42 (how did that happen?) I’m taken with more than just the idea of drambuie. I’m also a big fan of the unusual, distinctive flavor, and the way it burns a little bit on a sore throat.

I wanted to make a special dessert for valentine’s day. Not just cookies or cake, that we’d all eat for days afterwards, but something just for that moment. So I made mousse. It’s ridiculously delicious – it’s like a distillation of good flavors and textures. But it’s not something you’d want to eat every day. It’s so rich, and seems so sweet! (Although it really doesn’t have any sugar other than that in the chocolate.)

It was actually fun to make, too. You start with a zabaglione, which is one of my current favorite words. That’s egg yolks, whipped and cooked with some sweetish liqueur or wine. This kind of thing makes me very nervous – cooking egg yolks till they thicken, but watching to make sure they don’t cook too fast and curdle. It’s a special feeling of victory when it works. Which it did! Then you add melted chocolate and whipped cream. And that’s about it. Very simple, very delicious.

Here’s Cab Calloway’s So Sweet.
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Drambuie & dolce de leche ice cream with bittersweet chocolate

drambuie ice cream

I’m a huge fan of ice cream. I can’t think of a more enduringly perfect food. I worked in an ice cream parlor for an embarrassing number of years, long after I should have gotten a “real” job. I dream of ice cream flavors, I really do! So when I found myself with some dulce de leche, and then my mother-in-law brought us a bottle of drambuie (thanks, Ellie!) you could see the little wheels spinning madly in my head. And the one food I find completely irresistible is melting ice cream. There’s something about the contrast between the still-frozen part, and the increasingly creamy melty part that’s about more than the delightful textures. It’s about time passing! There’s a wonderful feeling of risk, almost – you want to take your time, but if you wait too long, it won’t be ice cream any more. There’s a perfect moment, or series of moments, when the ice cream must be consumed! I could eat a whole gallon of ice cream, in this state! The thing about adding drambuie to ice cream, or any alcohol, for that matter, is that it preserves the ice cream in a perpetual state of perfect meltiness! It never freezes completely, so from the minute you scoop it out, you MUST EAT IT!

I should probably mention that since the drambuie’s not heated, the alcohol doesn’t cook off. I wonder how much you’d have to eat to get drunk? Hmmm… We let the boys have small bowls after dinner, and they could still balance on their roller skates. But when Malcolm asked me for some at 9 o’clock this morning…well, I drew the line!

I don’t have a real ice cream maker, I have one of those donvier ice cream makers. Remember those? Do they still make them? Anyway, it does the trick. I’ll give you the recipe, and you can freeze it however you like.

Here’s Ice Cream man, by Tom Waits.
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