Jeni’s Queen City Cayenne Ice Cream + my failed attempt at a video tutorial

You know what they say– It’s always good to try something new. There were two new things I tried when I made this recipe: First is the genius ice cream technique of Jeni Britton Bauer; and second, I attempted to make a video tutorial!

I’ve been thinking about foraying into videos for a while but just for the tougher recipes– those that need to be demonstrated in a way that step-by-step photos cannot fully express. Ice cream doesn’t exactly fit that bill but I figured it’s better to start shooting a video of something that’s a little easier and quicker to make. Unfortunately things don’t quite turn out well when you attempt to do everything as a one-man-team. Shooting a video by yourself is super tough!! *pulls hair out*

I’m actually not new to this whole video filming and editing thing since it was a regular activity back in my university days, but also as part of my training, I am programmed to admit when the material I’m working with is not good enough. Juggling with the task of filming, it took me about an hour and a half more than it typically does whenever I make ice cream. Half the time I had no idea what was going on in the frames because I had to keep my eyes on my boiling ice cream base. The weather was not cooperating too, messing up my lighting every so often. So I decided I’d just take screencaps for my usual photo tutorial instead.

Even if the video did not end up on the blog, I still feel that all my effort seems well-placed because I have finally gotten my feet wet with the whole video tutorial thing. Anyway, none of that changes any facts about this ice cream. It doesn’t change the fact that among the ice creams I’ve made thus far, this is one of my absolute favourites.

If I ever needed to convince someone to get an ice cream maker, I would automatically name this ice cream. Who could resist a gloriously deep dark chocolate with a hit of cinnamon and chilli? Yes, chilli! I realise chilli chocolate probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’ve eaten chilli chocolate and loved it (like my brothers and I do!) then you probably know what I’m talking about.

This ice cream, I would say, is not just a flavour but a complete experience. On first bite, you get the full burst of cool chocolate. And then the cinnamon flavour floats to the surface, reminiscent of Mexican hot (cold?) chocolate. Then as you swallow, you will feel the heat running down your throat, chasing after the coolness of the ice cream. It’s just a tiny punch but it makes you crave for more. We had to employ so much self-control over this ice cream just to make it last as long as humanly possible!

I have to admit Jeni’s ice cream-making method was a bit of a revelation to me. It doesn’t require the slightly intimidating egg custard, yet the ice cream was soooo thick and CRAZY good. Jeni makes use of cornstarch and cream cheese to thicken, and then light corn syrup to hold the ice cream together. Her book is a stunning collection of original ice cream flavours, and this one is just the beginning because I am totally going to make every single recipe from here! Mark my words. For now, try this recipe. I made some slight modifications to the procedure to suit me but you can check out this super pretty blog post for the instructions as written by Jeni in her book.

Jeni’s Queen City Cayenne Ice Cream
A delicious chocolatey ice cream that walks the line between hot and cold.
For the Chocolate Paste
  1. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/3 cup water
  4. 1 1/2 ounces (43 grams) bittersweet chocolate 55% to 70% cacao, chopped
For the Ice Cream Base
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  3. 1 1/2 ounces ( grams) cream cheese, softened
  4. 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  7. 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  1. Before beginning the recipe, remember to chill your ice cream maker's bowl as per manufacturer's instructions.
Make the chocolate paste
  1. 1. In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Immediately transfer to a medium bowl or a large glass measuring cup, then add the softened cream cheese and stir until smooth.* Set aside.
Make the ice cream base
  1. 2. In a small bowl, mix about 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Set aside.
  2. 3. Prepare your ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. This bowl should be bigger than the bowl or cup containing the chocolate-cream cheese mixture.
  3. 4. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, boiling for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually mix in the cornstarch slurry.
  4. 5. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cool, stirring with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. The mixture should begin coating the spatula or spoon. Remove from heat.
  5. 6. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture with the chocolate-cream cheese mixture until smooth. Add the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Mix well.
  6. 7. Submerge the bowl or large measuring cup in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice to the ice bath as necessary until the ice cream base is cold, about 30 minutes if immediately churning.
  7. 8. The ice cream can be churned right after the cooling period. Or you can place the ice cream in a container in the fridge to chill overnight, allowing the flavours a little more time to meld together. Once ready to churn, pour the ice cream into the ice cream maker's canister and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
  8. 9. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, pressing a sheet of parchment directly over the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
  1. * Jeni does not transfer her mixture to another bowl or container. She places her mixture in a 1-gallon Ziplock bag which she then places into an ice bath. Since I don't have such a large Ziplock bag, I only used a bowl. I then transferred the ice cream base to a container and let it chill in the fridge overnight. I feel this allows the flavours to marry more.
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer
The Tummy Train

Make this ice cream now, you guys. I can’t sing enough praises for how insanely good it is. Please just don’t blame me if it becomes impossible for you to stop consuming scoop after scoop!