When I first started playing with this ice cream recipe several weeks ago, I was curious as to how much difference the type of chocolate used would impact the flavor. I made three different batches, each identical except the brand of chocolate – Baker’s, Ghriadelli, and Dagoba. My husband and I did a taste test. He liked the Ghiradelli batch the best because it was the sweetest. For me, Dagoba produced the richest and deepest flavor. Good flavor is more important than sweetness. The batch I made with Baker’s chocolate is still sitting in the freezer with only two tiny spoonfuls missing.
The chocolate issue was settled. Knowing that a few good, simple ingredients can turn an ordinary dish into something special, I started pondering which direction to go with the ice cream. I was in the mood for something decadent. Orange and roasted walnut seemed to be the solution. I first had orange and chocolate together 13 years ago, and quite honestly, was a little scared to try it. It seemed so counterintuitive at the time. Somehow, though, the two flavors want to be together. Walnuts add a little more complexity and just the right amount of texture.
A note about the cocoa powder: I use Valhrona, which is dutch-processed. If you can’t find dutch-processed cocoa powder, Hershey’s makes a dutch-processeed blend called Special Dark which has a much richer flavor than regular unsweetened cocoa.