Miniature Choc Ices
This is an unashamedly fun recipe, great for special parties and at Christmas, or to serve instead of chocolates or mints at the end of a meal.
But although it's fun, the choc ices are seriously good to eat, particularly if you buy the best-quality ice cream. I have used three different chocolate toppings here, but to make it simpler, you can use just one.
If you want to make these a long time ahead, cover with freezer foil.
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two and The Delia Collection: Chocolate
| 1 x 500 ml tub good-quality vanilla ice cream|
| 5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate (75 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces|
| 5 oz (150 g) good-quality white chocolate, broken into pieces|
| 5 oz (150 g) good-quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces|
| 2 heaped tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped|
| 2 heaped tablespoons toasted chopped hazelnuts|
|You will also need 2 baking trays, a shallow polythene box measuring 8 x 5 x 2½ inches (20 x 13 x 6 cm), with a lid, and a 1 inch (2.5 cm) melon scoop, silicone paper and about 30 cocktail sticks.|
You need to begin this recipe the night before, so as soon as you get the ice cream home, transfer it to the polythene box and spread it out in an even layer, then put the lid on and pop it in the freezer overnight.
At the same time, line the baking trays with silicone paper, place these one on top of the other and put them in the freezer as well.
When you're ready to start making the choc ices, begin by putting a small saucepan of water on to boil.
Remove the ice cream and one baking tray from the freezer, then dip the melon scoop in boiling water before making each ice.
Just draw the scoop all along the frozen ice cream to form little rounds, and quickly transfer each one to the frozen tray. You do need to work at high speed here, so no distractions if possible, but if you find the ice cream is getting too soft to work with, just whack everything back in the freezer and continue later.
(With no interruptions you should be able to do them all in one session.)
Next insert a cocktail stick into the centre of each ice, then put them all back in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours, because the ice-cream balls need to get really hard again.
After the 2 hours, melt the chocolates separately.
For this, first place the broken-up pieces of dark chocolate in a large heatproof bowl sitting over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Then, keeping the heat at its lowest, allow the chocolate to melt slowly – it will take about 5 minutes to become smooth and glossy. Then remove the chocolate from the heat, give it a good stir and let it cool while you repeat this process with the 2 other chocolates (the white and milk chocolates will take 3-4 minutes to melt).
Next it's very important to allow each chocolate to cool completely to room temperature before coating the ices, or the ice cream will melt.
So start off by coating a third of the ice-cream balls with the white chocolate: lift each ice cream up off the tray using the cocktail stick and, holding it over a plate, spoon the chocolate over to coat the ice cream completely.
Now scatter with a few chopped pistachios (but not over the bowl of chocolate!), then return to the baking tray; you'll find the chocolate will harden around the ice cream immediately.
Next, coat a third in milk chocolate, then the rest in the plain chocolate, and scatter these with the toasted hazelnuts.
Pop them back in the freezer as soon as you can and serve straight from the freezer.
Other nuts can be used, or finely chop up 4 pieces of crystallised stem ginger and mix with one of the chocolates before coating the ice creams.