Ahh, saving the best for last, Guinness-week-wise.
As a cook I have a couple of secret weapons. One: the willingness to fail. Two: certain cookbooks that I rely on heavily for recipes that turn out right the first time, making me less likely to need to call on One.
One of those books that I rely on: The Perfect Scoop.
Now, don't get married JUST for the ice cream maker, but that's how I got mine, and boy does it ever get a workout. Ice cream, like the willingness to fail and the foolproof cookbooks, is a great secret. It can be done way ahead of time and people are nearly always impressed by it: "You MADE ice cream?"
Shh, don't tell them how easy it is.
Now, I'm going to contradict myself a little here. One of the things that's so great about The Perfect Scoop is that it has a lot of delicious ice cream recipes that don't require making a custard. Making a custard is, yes, fairly exacting, and there are more ways to screw it up than to get it right. So I generally avoid making custard-based ice creams unless I have to.
Needless to say, for Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, I had to.
(I'll do a longer post sometime on the joy of custard-making, but that can wait for another day; here's the short version: use the instructions in the front of A Perfect Scoop; and also a Thermapen)
This ice cream is... weird. The Guinness provides a dark, nutty-bitter-almost-earthy note that only hits you after the upfront WHAM of the milk chocolate is gone. I couldn't decide whether I liked it or whether it was just too earthy to enjoy.
But I did notice that at least one of our guests had thirds.