Jeni's Awesome Dirt Road Ice Cream

Molly O'Neill

Adapted from One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 2010)

This dark milk chocolate ice cream with a swirl of smoked almonds is a bestseller at Jeni's Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces smoked almonds, chopped coarsely


Mix about 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Chop the chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the cocoa, whisking until it is incorporated, and continue boiling for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate. Add salt and stir until melted and incorporated. Pour the mixture into a bowl that can fit an ice bath and stir until completely cold.

Pour the mixture into ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is frozen, layer it into a storage container with thin layers of smoked almonds between each layer. Reserve some of the smoked almonds to garnish individual servings.


1 quart