Beer. The key to light and airy ice cream that doesn’t freeze solid as a rock in the freezer. Technically an egg yolk, whole milk and cream-based custard, dark chocolate Guinness ice cream is more akin to a soft-serve or gelato. Best of both worlds if you ask me.

It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Alcohol doesn’t freeze, which is the reason why many folks store vodka right next to the ice, always ready to serve chilled. Beer doesn’t have as high of an alcohol content as hard liquor, but the concept remains the same. And as an added bonus, the heady froth of Guinness stout provides an extra lift — kind of like whipping egg whites to lighten a cake.

Now I’m sad to admit that dark beers are not my thing. He’ll probably have a Guinness with supper, but I’ll most likely wimp out and pour myself a Weihenstephaner Dark beers are too strong, too bitter. Pair it with dark chocolate though… a perfect match.

The once pungent, sharp beer mellows and becomes almost anise-y in the background. That something you taste that makes you sit up and take notice. This ice cream is different, elegant and luxurious.

Celebrating another culture’s food and history is always something I’m up for; even if I’m not Irish. [Or if I am, it’s only about 1/20th]. Today I’m listening to Irish folk seisiúns and Gaelic Storm baking Irish soda bread and capping off the evening with dishes of dark chocolate Guinness ice cream.

Dark chocolate Guinness ice cream [makes about 1 quart]

Printable recipe

7 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped [we used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet dark chocolate chips]

1 c whole milk

1/2 c sugar

pinch of salt

4 large egg yolks

1 c heavy cream

3/4 c Guinness Stout

1 t vanilla extract

Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over top. Prepare a large ice bath and set in the refrigerator.

Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk-sugar mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, and then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

Over medium heat, stir the mixture constantly with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the dark chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Pull the ice bath out of the refrigerator, place the bowl with the custard into the bath, and stir until cool.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop