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Jun 1, 2008 07:59 PM

Need a really great bittersweet chocolate ice cream recipe...

I don't currently have an ice cream cookbook. I did a board search and did not find a thread on this (although I may have missed it). Looking for a tried-and-true recipe. I have Mark Bittman's recipe from "How to Cook Everything". I would like to use some combo of 62% cacao chocolate and unsweetened (both are Scharffen Berger), using a custard base. Not sure of the proportions, amount of sugar, eggs, cream vs. half & half vs. milk, etc. Basically I want rich, creamy ice cream that features a very pure high-quality bitter chocolate tast. Like eating a 70-80% chocolate bar but creamier (and colder). Thanks. BTW I have seen some that incorporate some chocolate in the custard and some added as a mix-in during the freezing, so there are darker choc flecks within the ice cream.. This could be OK but I don't want discernible chunks.

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  1. I've had great results with this recipe:

    Instead of melting the chocolate in a double boiler, I do it in the microwave.

    It turns out best for me when I chill the base for at least 24 hours before spinning it. Be sure to mix the base well just before pouring it into the ice cream maker. Enjoy!

    10 Replies
    1. re: Non Cognomina

      I've also had great results with the scharffenberger recipe. It's intense.

      1. re: Vetter

        All of their recipes seem good. Their double-chocolate cookies are incredible and so are their brownies. Of course the quality of the chocolate goes a long way!

        1. re: Vetter

          Ok, so I made the custard base from the Scharffen Berger recipe last night and followed it to the letter. I refrigerated the custard overnight and plan to freeze it tonight. This morning I couldn't resist tasting it. It had thickened up considerably and it tasted somewhat granular. Is that just the temperature change? The custard was perfectly smooth last night. I let it cool to room temp before refrigerating as well. Maybe my fridge is too cold?

          1. re: bella_sarda

            Did you end up making the ice cream? How did it turn out? Yes, the base does get thicker when chilled. I haven't experienced this base going "granular," and I hope the finished ice cream turned out well for you.

            1. re: Non Cognomina

              It turned out quite good but not as good as I would have hoped. My guests loved it, but I always strive for perfection. The problem was the slight granularity. The chocolate was not perfectly blended with the other ingredients, although the separation was very minimal and the granules very very small. It just made the texture less smooth than I prefer in an ice cream. But the chocolate flavor was excellent. I must confess that I didn't *exactly* follow the recipe to the letter. When I wrote that I was forgetting that I had used, in place of all 70% bittersweet chocolate, a combination of 3 parts 62% cacao chocolate (Scharffen Berger's "semisweet"), and 1 part 99% cacao chocolate (S.B.'s unsweetened). I figured the cacao percentage of this mixture averaged to about 70%, so I thought it would work fine. I melted the two chocolates together and then proceeded with the recipe as written. I can't be sure if this had anything to do with the granularity, as the mixture was perfectly smooth going into the fridge. I even strained the custard as directed. I have seen ice cream recipes with part unsweetened chocolate before so I'm assuming it's not some kind of no-no, but I also am wondering whether something about the difference in moisture/sugar content may have affected the blending of the chocolate into the custard. It also could have been the temperature of the melted chocolate. The recipe said to cool it after melting it and I did, but I think it may have cooled for too long, as it takes a while to complete the other steps before mixing the chocolate in at the end.

              Anyone else have any ideas why I might have suffered the granularity problem and how it might be avoided in the future?

              1. re: bella_sarda

                So was the granularity just the chocolate, or was some egg? You could cheap next time and use a finer mesh strainer.

                I've never cooled the chocolate much at all before proceeding with the recipe. Did you temper the base before adding the chocolate? Spooning some custard into the chocolate before adding the lightening chocolate into the custard? That's a thought.

                1. re: Vetter

                  I think the granularity was all chocolate but it could have been a mixture of chocolate and egg. Still, remember that the granularity didn't occur until after the mixture had been chilling in the fridge for a while. When I first blended the chocolate into the custard it seemed smooth, and straining (with a rather fine sieve) yielded no clumps. I do think I could have tempered the custard more before adding the chocolate. I *did* let the completed mixture cool most of the way before refrigerating, but perhaps I didn't go far enough, because I didn't use an ice bath the whole time. Next time I will be very careful about cooling thoroughly before chilling; maybe that will help.

                  1. re: bella_sarda

                    Lactose will separate out of solution and form a grittiness in ice cream. If the mixture was smooth going into the frig-- the chocolate was entirely melted and the eggs in the custard were not even in the least curdled -- my bet is that the granularity/grittiness was caused by lactose.

                    To eliminate the grittiness, be sure to cook the milk and cream thoroughly, not to boiling, but just under. Be sure to temper the egg mixture before adding the milk/cream.

                    1. re: maria lorraine

                      Interesting. Any way to prevent this lamentable phenomenon?

                      1. re: bella_sarda

                        last graf above

                        Read more about the phenomenon online.

      2. In David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, there is an exceptional recipe for chocolate ice cream, using bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder (it does have similarities to the scharffenberger recipe). He's definitely not shy about using heavy cream, and you get a rich, creamy, not-so-sweet, intensely chocolate ice cream. We keep it add ins, and it doesn't need any. Based on the description of what you want, this will meet your requirements!

        2 Replies
        1. re: caffeine addict

          Thanks to both of you. I think I really need to get my hands on David Lebovitz's book. And the scharffenberger recipe looks perfect. I'll definitely try it.

          1. re: bella_sarda

            I agree, I must get his book. It keeps coming up. Seems everyone has it but you and me bella sarda.

        2. This recipe doesn't have chocolate in it, but it tastes like it. Alice Medrich's cocoa sorbet in Pure Dessert.

          3 Replies
          1. re: thesu


            Can you paraphrase that recipe for us? Goodness knows I could stand to skip some egg yolk intake this summer :o) I'm intrigued!

            1. re: Vetter

              Not Alice Medrich but I know of two good frozen chocolate dessert recipes that don't involve egg yolks (or egg whites, for that matter):

              1) Mark Bittman's bitter chocolate sorbet, on page 669 of How to Cook Everything. Briefly, it's 3/4 c sugar, 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, "about 2 cups" hot water, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. MIx sugar and cocoa then, stirring constantly, add enough hot water to make thick paste. Add remaining hot water and stir or whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla. Refrigerate until cool then churn in ice cream maker.

              2a) Sicilian chocolate gelato, from Link is here:
              I made this recently and it benefits from being placed in the freezer for about an hour after churning; otherwise it's too too runny, but your results may differ from mine. Also, I would use a shade less corn starch than the recipe calls for.

              2b) On the Scharffen Berger website there is another Sicilian chocolate gelato recipe, credited to Alice Medrich, which is similar but calls for less sugar (2/3 c instead of 3/4) and 1 and 1/2 T cornstarch rather than 2 T. I haven't tried this but I may next time.

              1. re: Vetter

                Vetter, it's...

                Chocolate Sorbet
                paraphrased from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

                1 cup (3.25 oz) cocoa
                Scant 1 cup sugar
                2 tiny pinches salt
                2 cups boiling water
                1/4 tsp vanilla
                1 1/2 tbsp rum (optional)

                Combine cocoa, sugar, salt in saucepan and whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water to make a thick paste. Add the remaining water. Stir over medium heat just until tiny bubbles form at at the edges of the pan. Don't cook any longer, as the heat can damage the flavor of the cocoa.

                Take the mixture off the heat and add the vanilla. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hr. Add the rum. Freeze in an ice cream maker. Harden the sorbet in the freezer for at least 3-4 hrs (it is very soft at first).

                The flavor is so strong that you can sub half of the water with milk.

            2. The best recipe I've found for custard ice cream using bitter sweet chocolate is in The Professional Chef by CIA. It's awesome. I believe that the recipe can be found in early 1100's page wise, but it is certainly worth a try.