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Coffee Ice Cream Recipe With Chocolate Sauce

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

Coffee ice cream sundaes

Coffee ice cream sundaes

This Is One of My Favorite Recipes

Homemade ice cream will always hold a special place in my heart, the coffee flavor being one of my favorites. I first sampled commercially made coffee ice cream in the 90s and wondered if it could be made at home. A memory from my childhood, before the invention of home ice cream makers such as the Cuisinart ICE series, proves that making this sweet, creamy dessert was no easy venture:

Another sweltering July afternoon had reduced my cousins and me to slow-motion hide-and-seek amongst the drought-ravaged corn stalks. My uncle, who had been banging around inside the garden shed, dragged a futuristic-looking contraption onto the yellowing lawn. As we gathered around, a twinkle in my uncle's eye told us something fantastic—almost magical—was about to transform our lazy day.

First, my uncle filled the large aluminum tub with layers of rock salt and crushed ice. After carefully installing a cream-filled can in the center of the glistening sea, he snapped a lid in place, and we took turns cranking the handle of the machine. Halfway through the process, my uncle added a bowl of fresh garden strawberries to the thickening cream. When the handle became too stiff to turn, he popped open the can. Lo and behold! Pale pink ice cream would leave a lasting impression on my young mind and begin my lifelong love affair with the frozen confection.

With the help of modern ice cream makers, homemade ice cream is quick and easy to make. Free of harmful chemicals and preservatives, you can safely offer it to your children as a special summertime treat. Or use this elegant dessert to build grown-up sundaes for dinner guests. Your friends and family will thank you!


  • If you opt to use store-bought ice cream for your sundaes, choose a quality brand such as Haagen-Dazs.
  • Choose high-quality, preferably organic whole milk and cream.
  • Adding sugar to the eggs provides a protective barrier from hot milk.
  • Patiently tempering the eggs by slowly adding hot milk prevents them from curdling.
  • Try flavored coffees such as macadamia nut to switch things up.
  • The spoon coating test helps determine when the custard is ready to chill. Be very careful not to curdle the custard by overcooking or heating it too quickly.
  • Chill custard overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

20 min

25 min

one quart of homemade ice cream


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup coffee beans, coarsely ground
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg, whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat the milk, cream and coffee in a saucepan until warm and steamy. Do not boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1-3 hours, depending on how strong you like your coffee.
  2. Set a mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth (or use a large coffee filter) over a large bowl. Slowly pour the milk mixture through the cheesecloth to remove the coffee grinds.
  3. Reheat coffee-infused milk until steamy. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, eggs and sugar in a large bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk into the egg/sugar mixture, a ladleful at a time, whisking constantly so egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk instead of cooked by it. Return the egg/milk mixture to the saucepan and add a pinch of salt.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium-low heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula. Sweep a finger across the spatula, and when the coating doesn't run, the custard is ready. Remove from heat immediately.
  5. Remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and pour the hot custard through the strainer only. Add vanilla extract and stir.
  6. Chill custard thoroughly in the refrigerator, preferably overnight, before freezing in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Chocolate Sauce


  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, Amaretto or brandy


  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add milk and butter.
  2. Heat, whisking all the while, until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Making chocolate sauce

Making chocolate sauce

Toasted Almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Place 1 cup of whole almonds on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast almonds in the oven for 10-12 minutes, checking them periodically and shaking the cookie sheet to ensure they don't burn.
  4. Remove almonds from the oven and allow them to cool.
  5. Chop coarsely.
Toasting the almonds

Toasting the almonds

Sundae Assembly

  1. Nestle 2-3 scoops of espresso ice cream in a bowl or sundae dish.
  2. Drizzle ice cream with chocolate sauce.
  3. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.
  4. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, if desired.


Enjoy your tasty treat!

Enjoy your tasty treat!