Valentine’s Day meal dinner with homemade dessert

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Valentine’s Day is synonymous with many things, including chocolate. Many sweethearts exchange chocolate on Valentine’s Day, making chocolate confections as essential to a successful holiday as flowers and romance.

Those who want to make this Valentine’s Day extra special can forgo store-bought chocolates in favor of homemade confections. The following recipe for “Swiss Mountain Ice Cream” from Maxine Clark’s “Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers” (Ryland, Peters & Small) is a great way to end a romantic holiday dinner.

Swiss Mountain Ice Cream

Makes about 2 quarts

White Chocolate Sauce (see below)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 14 ounces premium milk chocolate (over 32% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 1-1⁄2  cups whipping or heavy cream, chilled
  • 6-1⁄2  ounces white nougat, roughly chopped
  • 1 ice cream maker (optional)
  • 1 freezer-proof tray or container
  • 1 mountain-shaped mold (optional)

Put milk, condensed milk, sugar, and cocoa in a pan, bring to boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in chocolate and let melt, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely, then add vanilla essence and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Stir the cream into mixture, then churn-freeze in an ice cream maker in two batches. This will take 20 to 30 minutes. It will increase in volume as it thickens and freezes. Stop churning when thick and smooth, add nougat, and churn to mix, then transfer to chilled freezer-proof tray, cover, and freeze.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put mixture in a freezer-proof tray or container and freeze until frozen around the edges. Mash well with fork and return to freezer. Continue mashing with fork and freezing mixture until thick and smooth, about 2 hours. Stir in nougat. At this stage, you can pack it into a mold and return to the freezer.

If the ice cream is in a mold, remove from freezer and dip briefly in hot water to melt outside. Invert onto chilled plate, lifting off mold. If ice cream is in a container, transfer to refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes before serving in scoops. Drizzle with White Chocolate Sauce and serve.

White Chocolate Sauce

Makes about 21⁄2 cups

  • 1 cup light or heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 8 ounces white chocolate (over 25% cocoa butter), chopped

Put cream and milk in a small pan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Add white chocolate and stir until completely melted. Serve warm.

If reheating, do so over gentle heat. Do not allow to boil or the sauce can thicken and seize.