Try serving scoops of this orange-cardamom ice cream up in a glass of orange juice for a fruity twist on a root beer float.
What do you mean the title of this post alone, with its mentions of orange and cardamom and hot fudge wasn’t enough to convince you to make this ice cream? Alright, let me do the song and dance to explain where my inspiration for this glorious orange-cardamom ice cream flavor came from.
Once upon a time, Edy’s (Dryer’s if you’re on the West Coast) made a flavor called “Swiss Orange Sherbet.” It was this creamy orange ice cream (Sherbet) studded with big, thick dark chocolate chunks. Every day, when I got home from school, I’d scoop a large spoonful of Swiss Orange into a tall glass, pour orange juice over the top of it, and drizzle in a stream of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. As the ice cream melted, the chocolate would collect at the bottom, and I’d use a long spoon to scrape it out every last chocolate-y, orange-y drop I could. Unfortunately, Edy’s discontinued the flavor many years ago and, despite the internet’s best efforts, it remains off the shelves to this day. And while you can find recipes that come close to recreating it, that’s not what I was after here.
My secondary inspiration for this flavor was my favorite gelato from Pitango in Baltimore. They make a rich cardamom gelato that is legit to die for. I’m obsessed with cardamom at the moment (it also makes an appearance in my Pear & Gruyere Tart) — it has such a distinct, complex flavor that is equally complicated to describe. (It’s nutty and sweet and herbal and citrusy all at the same time???) So I consulted my trusty copy of The Flavor Bible to see if chocolate and cardamom might also go well with orange. Lo and behold — they do! So I got to work.
I used my trusty Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream ice cream base as a starting point, steeped the cardamom and half the orange zest in the heavy cream, then upped the orange flavor by mixing in the rest of the zest after straining the cream (which gives the finished ice cream a gorgeous orange-flecked appearance), and finished it off by mixing in 1 oz of chopped 72% dark baker’s chocolate and a hot fudge swirl.
The combination of the bright, sweet orange with the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate, and the herbal notes of cardamom make for a bite of ice cream that tastes exactly like how the end of summer and beginning of fall feels.
does it matter what ice cream maker you use?
The brilliant thing about ice cream recipes is that the answer to this question is: NOPE. If you’re in the market for an ice cream maker, check out my review of several popular models here. And if you’d rather not invest in an ice cream maker, I tested this recipe using a machine-less method which worked beautifully.
That said, using an ice cream maker is definitely easier and will give you better results than if you don’t. My recommendation, if you have a KitchenAid mixer, is to get the ice cream maker attachment because, of all the options, it requires the least amount of clean up and takes up the smallest amount of cupboard space. It does require that you freeze the bowl for at least 15 hours in advance, so stick it in the freezer at the same time you make the base and both will be ready to use the next day.
why you should freeze your chocolate chips
The perfect time to add the chocolate shavings (or any mix-ins) to your ice cream is after it has finished churning and has been chilled in the freezer for about an hour. When adding mix-ins, you want to freeze them for at least 20 minutes before adding them.
At this stage, your ice cream will have set up slightly, but not so much that you can’t easily stir it. If you add your mix-ins right after churning, the ice cream will be too weak to suspend them, and they’ll all sink to the bottom. If you add them without freezing them first, they’ll melt the ice cream they touch and will also slowly sink to the bottom. So make sure they’re frozen, and the ice cream has set enough to support them. The chocolate shavings this recipe calls for are thin and light enough that as long as you freeze them, you should be fine.
When it comes to adding chocolate, by the way, I know it’s tempting to go for chocolate chips or large chocolate chunks, but there’s a reason most ice creams use chocolate shavings (literal chips of chocolate) instead. Because they’re thin, they’re less likely to become brittle and hard to bite when they freeze.
“…The very thing that makes [chocolate] chips so good in cookies makes them a bad choice for ice cream: They contain stabilizers to help them keep their shape while melting, which means they make frozen chips as stubborn to melt as plain ‘ol frozen chocolate, just with a waxiness replacing chocolate’s typical grit.”Epicurious: The Subtle Secrets to Making the Best Ice Cream Mix-Ins
how to make a hot fudge swirl
To create a “swirl” in your ice cream, like you will in this recipe, requires that you work quickly — VERY QUICKLY!!! CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!!! — so that your ice cream doesn’t melt and so your swirl doesn’t harden too quickly.
First, let your ice cream chill for about an hour in the freezer. Then, after you’ve added in your frozen chocolate chips, transfer a portion of the ice cream into a separate bowl. Dollop or drizzle a layer of your swirl (hot fudge, jam, caramel, dulce de leche, etc) onto the ice cream remaining in your container. Then, layer the ice cream from the bowl back into the container, sandwiching the swirl filling between two layers of ice cream. Take a knife or skewer or the end of a spoon and stick it upright through all the layers so it’s touching the bottom of the container, then drag it in a zig-zag or figure-8 shape to create the swirl. Repeat a few times. To create more swirls, simply increase the number of layers you create.
I wish I had a photo of this process to share with you, but, like I said, you need to work QUICKLY and I did not have time to take one.
how to make orange-cardamom ice cream
- Ice cream maker (KitchenAid attachment or Nostalgia model recommended)
- Wire mesh sieve to strain cardamom and orange zest from the heavy cream
- Zester for the orange peel
- 2 QT Cambro bucket with lid for storage
orange-cardamom ice cream with chocolate chips and a fudge swirl
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 TBSP orange zest (zest from one large naval orange)
- 2 TBSP green cardamom pods (crushed)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs (large)
- 1 oz semi sweet or dark chocolate bar (chopped into shards)
- 2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped)
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup water
- pinch salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ⅙ cup corn syrup (fill a ⅓ cup halfway)
- If using an ice cream maker, freeze bowl according to directions (usually overnight or at least 24 hours in advance of use).
- In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, steep half of the orange zest and crushed cardamom pods in the heavy cream. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 1-2 mins. Whisk in the sugar a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.Add the milk and whisk to combine. Then, strain the heavy cream through a wire mesh strainer into the mixing bowl, add the remaining orange zest, and whisk again until blended. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled and ready to use (ideally overnight).
- Pour ice cream mixture into base of your chilled ice cream maker and let it run until ice cream has formed (this can take up to 20-30 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker). While ice cream maker is running, chop 1 oz chocolate into shards, transfer to a container and freeze for at least 20 minutes.
- When ice cream maker is done, transfer the ice cream mixture to an airtight container. It will still be fairly soft at this point. Chill for an hour in the freezer, then use a spatula to mix the frozen chocolate shards until they’re evenly distributed. Then transfer back to the freezer for another hour before doing the fudge swirl.NOTE: If you don’t want the hot fudge swirl, your ice cream is now complete! Let it chill in the freezer for 2 hours or overnight before eating.
- Combine chocolate, butter, sugar, salt, and water in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently until butter and chocolate are completely melted and mixture is smooth.Mix in the corn syrup, bring to a low boil, then immediately return heat to low and cook for an additional 5-10 mins until mixture is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Remove your ice cream from the freezer (it should still be fairly soft). Scoop about ⅔ of the ice cream into a separate bowl. Pour or dollop half of the hot fudge over the bottom layer of ice cream still in the container. As it hits the cold surface it will begin to harden, so work quickly. Dollop 1/2 of the remaining ice cream mixture over the fudge, then repeat with another layer of fudge and the rest of the ice cream. You should have 5 layers — ice cream, fudge, ice cream, fudge, ice cream. Take a knife or a skewer and stick it through to the bottom of the container, then draw some figure-s or zig-zag shapes through the ice cream to create the swirl. It will be messy. That's okay.
- Press a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface of the ice cream, close the container to keep air out and prevent freezer burn, and let it set up in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight.