Chocolate Ice Cream

My young friend Audrey and I have many things in common. We both like to dress up with pretty aprons. We are both excruciatingly accurate with water guns in a swimming pool. We would both rather read a book than do anything too physically strenuous (water fights excepted). And we both have a serious love for rich chocolate desserts and pretty much any homemade ice cream. So when Audrey (age almost 15) suggested that we make chocolate ice cream, I was all over it. The credit for this recipe goes to Audrey, who has been making it for her family with great results. My own meager contributions were to include some salt and instant coffee (both intensify the chocolate taste), and vanilla to help deepen the overall flavor of the ice cream. The ice cream is rich, creamy, smooth, and super chocolate-y.

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Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz 60% baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2-cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
  • 3 egg yolks, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

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1 Melt chocolate in a double boiler (you can use a makeshift double boiler by placing a metal bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water, just don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). When melted, transfer to a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, turn heat to medium low and add the boiling water, cocoa powder and half of the sugar. Whisk vigorously until there are no lumps. Remove from heat.

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2 Add the milk, 1 cup of the cream, remaining sugar, instant coffee (if using), and the salt to the chocolate base, and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated, then use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. When the chocolate base is smooth, turn heat to medium high, stirring occasionally, wait until the base starts to steam. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Once the chocolate base has heated to point of being steamy, temper the eggs by slowly pouring some of the hot base into the eggs while whisking the eggs vigorously to prevent them from cooking. Once you've incorporated about half of the base with the eggs, pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the rest of the chocolate base and stir to combine.

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3 Turn heat to medium, and heat the base until it reaches 170°F. At this point the base will have thickened slightly and will just be getting steamy again. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining cup of cold cream, to prevent further cooking. Pour the chocolate base through a mesh strainer in to a bowl to strain out any solids or curds, and place bowl in an ice bath to speed up the chilling. Stir in the vanilla.

4 Chill ice cream base for several hours, preferably overnight, until completely chilled. (To speed up this process you can put the ice cream base, still in its bowl in the ice bath, in the freezer for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.) Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. If you like soft ice cream, eat immediately. Otherwise put it in the freezer for a couple hours to firm up. Note that the ice cream may be quite hard when you first take it out of the freezer, so you may want to let it sit for a few minutes to soften before trying to scoop.

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Links:

The easiest chocolate ice cream ever from David Lebovitz, doesn't require an ice cream maker, includes ripe bananas, rum, and Bailey's liquor
Agave-sweetened chocolate ice cream also from David Lebovitz
Double chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Joy the Baker

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18 Comments

  1. Krista

    That looks yummy! I have been looking for a good chocolate ice cream recipe to try with the new Cuisinart Soft Serve ice cream maker I just got for my birthday. Any idea if this would work, or would it be too thick?

    No idea on that ice cream maker. ~Elise

  2. Marge

    I love deep dark chocolate desserts too. I mean what is life without dark chocolate? Not worth living, if you ask me. But I do not drink coffee or use it in cooking. Is there anything else I can use to deepen the chocolate flavor besides adding that mocha taste? I know Ina Garten adds coffee to her rich chocolate cake, but I am hoping you have an idea for me to heighten the chocolate flavor in some other way.

    Salt alone will do the trick. ~Elise

  3. Susan

    This looks perfectly balanced to me. There are so many very dark chocolate ice creams on the market these days and they are so intensely flavored that you almost can’t taste the cream because of the overkill. It is supposed to be a flavored cream, right? It’s not too eggy either, which skews some homemade iced cream flavors. The kid knows her stuff! Can’t wait to make this.

  4. Amy

    I’ve been looking for a good chocolate ice cream recipe that includes cocoa powder (it always lends the deepest chocolate flavor.) Also like that this one uses 3 egg yolks – my others all use 5-6.

    But one question – what do you mean by 60% ‘baking’ chocolate? Do you just mean 60% dark chocolate OR do you mean some sort of UNSWEETENED ‘baking’ type? I kind of think the former (since unsweetened isn’t usually referred to by percentage and also if it were that, I’d imagine the recipe would require more than 1/2 cup of sugar.)

    Hope that makes sense – appreciate the clarification!

    Regular dark chocolate. Sweetened, not unsweetened. :-) ~Elise

  5. karla schlesinger

    Made it tonight…delicious! I never eat chocolate ice cream, it’s just one disappointment after the next. No more! It’s perfect! The only problem is now if I want to eat it, I’ll have to make it. Oh well,it’s totally worth it.
    Used Scharffen-Berger 62% semisweet dark chocolate and used the 3 egg whites to bake tiny meringues to break on top, yummm

  6. Toni

    What kind of ice cream maker do you use, Elise? I’ve never owned one, but have been dying to try avocado ice cream…and now that you’ve made this post about chocolate ice cream, the desire to own an ice cream maker and start churning my own has increased! Thanks :)

    I have both the Cuisinart ICE-20 and the Cuisinart ICE-50BC (both available on Amazon). The ICE-20 is much less expensive, though you need to keep the churning bowl in the freezer. The ICE-50BC is much more expensive, takes longer and is noisier, but you don’t have to pre-freeze the bowl. ~Elise

  7. Purnima

    I love the receipes on this site. They turn out great and are very detailed.

    Made the ice cream today and took to a friend’s for dessert. Everyone loved it. Its well balanced and not too sweet or rich. Perfect! Thanks for a great receipe.

  8. Rosie

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    I don’t have an ice cream maker, but I made this recipe regardless. I poured the final mixture into a standard square baking pan and mixed it thoroughly every 30 minutes or so with a fork, breaking up any ice crystals and parts of ice cream that were freezing more quickly than the rest.
    As I am typing this, it’s about the consistency of soft serve in my freezer… and it tastes OUT OF THIS WORLD. I improvised a bit and chopped up some semisweet and white chocolate and folded it in. It’s just unbelievably delicious.
    What a great recipe for my first foray into ice cream making!
    Thank you Elise!!
    (ps. A batch of your mint chocolate chip ice cream is freezing right next to the chocolate….. and it tastes equally AMAZING. Thank you!!)

  9. Jessica

    I love making homemade ice cream. My young niece requested “special” chocolate ice cream for her birthday. I made this and just added a pinch of cayenne and cinnamon to give it a kick, plus I used espresso powder in place of instant coffee. WOW! Knock my socks off amazing! Thanks for another great recipe.

  10. Heather

    Until I tried this recipe, I had no love for our ice cream maker. The other recipes I tried did not turn out well but this one was fantastic. I can’t believe I am saying this but it was almost too rich. Next times I may add smoked almond pieces.

  11. Erin

    I received an ice cream maker for my birthday, and was very much looking forward to start making the ice cream recipes on your site. We started with this one, and it was delicious!

  12. Yana

    Ultimately a great recipe.
    The coffee flavor is rather strong, so if you’re not a fan don’t add it.
    My only criticism is that it takes a while to prepare.

  13. Michael

    I love dark chocolate ice cream and have been making it for years. Of course it is a lot of work because it is a custard based recipe versus a sweet cream. I have never even tried a sweet cream and only cringe at the thought!

    As for chocolate I always use a couverture versus a baking chocolate for the added cocoa butter. There are many wonderful varieties to choose from Valrhona, Callebaut, to Scharffenberger.

    Over the years I have tried different things with varying success. For example, I always chill the custard overnight in the fridge. Second, I have now started to whip the custard in a mixer (before chilling) to increase the air content and smoothness of the final result. I don’t whip it too much just to increase the volume slightly because my ice cream mixer simply never imparts enough air and I don’t like a dense final result. I now substitute evaporated milk instead of regular milk.

    The thing I have struggled with is a thickening agent. I tried some plain gelatin once but that was a disaster. Lecithin works really well if you can get your hands on some.

    Also, I always freeze overnight before serving. Yes, that means it is a three day process, but without industrial equipment what do you expect :)

    And I constantly vary the amount of chocolate and have been know to put as much as 10 oz in a single recipe! So as you can see, making chocolate ice cream is fun as you can experiment and try different things and always the result is a success!

  14. Cel

    For how many servings can this take? :)

    • Elise

      It’s ice cream, the number of servings totally depends on how big the scoops! I don’t have a standard measure for you, sorry.

  15. Arlene

    I plan to try this recipe soon but I’ve been making ice cream for years with great results. Also buy dark chocolate Haagen-Daz which I really love. Am writing to share a tip about hard frozen ice cream. I put my container in the microwave oven for about 10 seconds and it is ready, much easier to scoop. No waiting on the counter.

  16. Kathy

    Do you use whole milk and heavy cream with this recipe?

    • Elise

      It’s flexible. I use low-fat milk and heavy cream because that’s what I have on hand. The “heavy” in the heavy cream balances out the “low” in low-fat milk. Or at least that’s what I tell myself!

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