Fresh Coffee Premium Ice Cream


Because I had such a frustrating time finding the “ultimate” coffee ice cream recipe in cookbooks and online, I decided to share the pastiche of my findings in one neat recipe. Following the cues for premium ice cream in my machine’s booklet, which is usually a more custardy, denser variety that uses egg yolks and/or whole eggs, I added a touch of fresh (strong) brewed coffee, and an optional scatter of dark chocolate chunks.

Simple, right? But I was surprised by the number of recipes I’d found that called for “instant coffee granules,” — sorry, Emeril, but Sanka doesn’t play into my vision of the perfect coffee ice cream. After some searching, I did finally find a recipe that used fresh coffee (not syrup, granules, etc.) here, though I found the directions a bit wanting.

Does anyone remember the flavor sensation of the late 90s, when Starbucks partnered with Dreyer’s ice cream to create Java Chip? It seemed to take hold of supermarket ice cream aisles for a few summers… and then disappeared. I’m not sure what became of Starbucks ice cream as a whole; perhaps the corporation is more focused on producing music and breakfast now. But I do remember how dark, real-coffee ice cream tastes. And looking at the ingredients from the back of its carton, my premium coffee ice cream recipe has pretty much the same ingredients as theirs, including actual coffee, and minus the preservatives. (And instead of Starbucks coffee, I brew mine with beans from my favorite local coffeehouse, Gorilla.)

Surely, instead of brewing and chilling “the strongest coffee you’ve ever made in your life,” I could have gone down the street and gotten a double espresso and brought it back to my lair. But that would make the whole make-your-own-ice-cream procedure that much degraded in my mind — that is, unless you’ve got your own espresso maker. (I wouldn’t expect anyone crazy enough to have both an espresso maker and an ice cream maker in their own kitchen… wait, maybe I do need both.) So I make do with the strongest 1/2 cup of coffee I’d ever attempt, which is to say, probably as strong as what truly strong coffee-drinkers have for breakfast (I’m not that hardcore). And I have no complaints — espresso or not, it was really good. With some broken-up chunks of Jacques Torres 60% dark chocolate, it’s as good, or better, than any canister of yesteryear. Make that better.


Fresh Coffee Premium Ice Cream
(makes about 32 oz or 1 quart ice cream)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup the strongest coffee you’ve ever made in your life
Optional: dark chocolate chunks

Combine eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and blend thoroughly with a whisk or electric beater for about 5 minutes. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan; do not let boil, just “scorch” it until it is near-boiling hot. Turn off heat. Very slowly pour in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, beating rapidly with a whisk. Once it is all beaten in, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk mixture while beating. Heat mixture under medium low, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped in. Turn off heat.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the liquid. Chill overnight or until completely cool. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow machine’s directions for how long it should churn. Add the 1/2 cup of the strongest coffee you’ve ever brewed (chilled thoroughly beforehand) halfway through churning. If using chocolate chunks, pour into the mixture during the last minute of churning. Recommended: freeze for 2 hours before serving. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Cost Calculator:
(for 1 quart, or about 8 1/2-cup servings)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream (at $2.99/pint): $2.50
1 1/2 cups whole milk (at $3.29/half gallon): $0.61
2 whole eggs (at $3.00/doz): $0.50
3 egg yolks (half of 3 eggs at $3.00/doz?): $0.38
3/4 cup sugar: $0.20
1/2 cup strong coffee using about 5 Tb ground beans: $0.75

Total: $4.94

Health Factor

Eight brownie points: the health calculator is hurting today. I’ve been piling on way too many brownies lately, I may need to give it a rest. I’m searching… dark chocolate has antioxidants? Milk, lots of all-natural calcium-rich milk! And lots of cholesterol from the cream and egg yolks. Something had to give.

55 Responses

  1. Jason Truesdell

    We still find the Starbucks ice cream readily in my ‘hood (more specifically, a bit north of downtown Seattle), but I’ve used fresh espresso for ice cream and fresh coffee for a sorbet before, to generally respectable ends.

    Though it doesn’t sound quite as nice, instant espresso granules actually work reasonably well for coffee flavored desserts because they can produce a more intense flavor. Side-by-side and tasted blind, I’m not entirely convinced you could tell the difference.

    However, I’d never drink instant espresso… walking two blocks to my neighborhood coffee shop is instant enough, and I usually have a stash of beans at home, so I’d rather use what I have 🙂

  2. Aoife

    You’re kidding. Java Chip doesn’t exist anymore? I must go to my grocery store posthaste to confirm.

  3. cathy

    I stand corrected: Java Chip must still be around… but just not right in front of my eyes. Which is a completely lame basis upon which to assume it no longer exists. Also, I haven’t tried the instant coffee ice cream so I couldn’t say, but thanks for the interesting points, Jason!

  4. Eliane

    The coffee ice cream looks great! I must ask, how do you cook every single one of your meals and bring them to work though, do you prepare lunch in the morning and bring it along to work in a thermos?

  5. cathy

    Hi Elaine! Yes, I look like a complete dork, basically. It can be pretty gratifying bringing my own lunch, though, when everyone else is complaining about this or that mysterious or unwanted object in their take-out salads or sandwiches… although mine can get pretty boring. On usual days I’ll bring leftovers or something simple like a pita and hummus, along with fruits, yogurt, all kinds of other stuff — I always figured it’d be way too boring to post a whole explanation about my lunches on this blog. Thanks for asking, though!

  6. Sue

    I second the instant coffee thing – I would never actually drink it,(ewww) but it works for cooking. An excellent addition to a dark chocolate cake or choc sauce, as it adds and intense flavor and makes the chocolate flavor deeper/more pronounced.

  7. Deborah Dowd

    This sounds delicious. I love coffee ice cream ,and a scoop of it srinkled with heath bar chips and drizzled with Kahlua is the easiest company dessert ever!

  8. Michelle

    That ice cream looks really delish…. On Mark Bittman’s TV show last night, David Chang made an instant coffee mayonnaise!

  9. Ryan

    I just made this ice cream two weeks ago, but couldn’t bring myself to have instant coffee/espresso in the apt. Not wanting the extra water in the ice cream, I brewed some “cowboy coffee” on the stovetop using the cream and milk, then strained out the grounds. It was excellent! The next batch was a stout ice cream – also delicious.

  10. MadWithMuchHeart

    Yeah, Java Chip is definitely still around, at least in the Northeastern US- I bought some a week ago. 😛

  11. Brian

    We’re freezing it tonight. I’ll report back once it’s done.

  12. Sarah

    Starbuck’s ice cream is still very much available in Los Angeles…I have, sadly, moved to Indiana and it is less prevalent, but shows up every now and again.

  13. Bob

    Though your ingredients list “1/2 cup the strongest coffee you’ve ever made in your life,” the body of your recipe makes no mention of coffee whatsoever. I assume the coffee can be added at any stage. This is still the most reasonable coffee ice cream recipe i’ve been able to google up.

  14. Ken and Jody

    Thanks for the recipe, this was the first ice cream we ever made and it came out perfect. We not only made the strongest coffee we ever made, we probably made the strongest coffee anyone has ever made. We ran it through our espresso maker twice fresh ground both times. and we used 1 cup of coffee , 2 cups cream and 1 cup milk to adjust for the extra liquid. We both love starbucks ice cream and believe this recipe nailed it. Thanks again.

  15. […] I went searching for a fresh coffee icecream, and after much research, finally found Fresh Coffee Premium Icecream over at Not Eating Out in New York. Much rejoicing was had, custard was made, and icecream was […]

  16. Ed

    The picture you have really looks tempting..I had to place to in my blog but I did put some links there. Great article on coffee ice cream. I really have to try this some day, hopefully soon..:)

  17. Robin Drimmer

    at what point do you add the 1/2 cup of strong coffee?

  18. Faith H

    Has anyone tried making coffee ice cream using the cold-brew coffee method (if you Google you will find great recipes where you basically make a very strong brew by pouring half normal amount of water over medium grind beans and leaving overnight, use filter the next day). Woudl seem to me a great way to do ice cream. If no one else has, I may try.

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  21. ablue2

    Two tablespoons of crush coffee beans works like a charm. You strain them out when you finished cooking the custard. Very simple very tasty!

  22. Steven Luscher

    This recipe still kicks some serious ass. I refer to it every time I get a craving for the best coffee ice cream found anywhere!

  23. Jane Moody

    I made this and my entire office love it. I got promoted to office manager 3 weeks later. Im not saying it had anything to do with it but….:) Thanks for a great recipe ! – Jane

  24. Mle

    Fantastic recipe. Added ground up chocolate cover espresso beans and dark chocolate. If you need a small, cheap & dirty espresso maker, I recommend this one:

  25. fmannino

    So at what point do you add the coffee according to directions … could use better instructions for how strong is strongest coffee.

  26. […] and used real coffee. The recipe was found on a blog called Not Eating Out In New York. The ice cream recipe turned out as delicious as it sounded. (the only change I made was to use a pint of cream and 1 cup […]

  27. amy

    Huge thanks! I was doing the same thing as you…I couldn’t find one recipe that didn’t use coffee beans or instant granules. THANKS!!

  28. […] From Not Eating Out in New York […]

  29. Moris

    I do not have an ice maker machine, the, what will be the steps to replace the machine in the recipie ?

  30. Moris

    I do not have an ice maker machine, what will replace the machine in the recipie?

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  43. Marissa

    I used this recipe to christen my stand mixer’s ice cream attachment. I just finished eating some of this and I’m hooked. I used a french press to brew some espresso (a no-no in the coffee world, but that’s okay) and then ran some of the grounds through a fine sieve and stirred them in. The outcome was amazing!

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  45. Mary Jane

    This was the inaugural recipe in our new ice cream maker today. Fantastic! For the “strongest coffee” I’ve ever made, I just used my little Italian stovetop 2-serving espresso maker, which makes precisely 1/2 cup. I live in Australia where a pint of the good stuff costs $14, so this is a huge boon for us. Thanks for the great recipe.

  46. Greg

    The Starbucks Java Chip changed my life! It’s the BEST ever. It’s harder to find now because they only sell it in pints. When it first came out, they sold it in quarts that looked very “Starbucks”-like and it was easy to spot. Then, a couple of years ago, the big quarts disappeared and you could only get it in small white pint containers that still have Starbucks markings but are less distinct. I live in Los Angeles and get it at several grocery stores. But, I’m going to make this recipe this weekend!

  47. Kerrie Gallagher

    I don’t understand why some of the comments here say something to the effect of…. that adding the “strongest coffee ever made” isn’t in the recipe, or the coffee wasn’t mentioned etc…. It’s in the second paragraph of the recipe. Just trying to help!

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