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Aug 15, 2010 08:59 AM

Smooth homemade chocolate ice cream

I'm new to making ice cream at home and I'm excited!! I've made chocolate ice cream three times and I've encountered the same problem each time - it's not smooth enough. When it melts in my mouth, it feels powdery.

I have followed three totally different recipes (Ben and Jerry, Adhoc by TK, Bittersweet by Alice Medrich) and they are all powdery.

I sieve the batter even if they don't ask me to.

I thought the chocolate used wasn't bad (Callebaut).

I made sure the sugar is melted in the hot cream.

Oh the hot cream, could I have over boiled the cream?? Overcooked egg yolk?

I'm lost... HELP please!!

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  1. I'm not sure what you mean by "powdery" you mean grainy? So it isn't smooth?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluemoon4515

      It's definitely not smooth. I guess it's grainy.

    2. I'm definitely NOT an ice cream making expert, but I've been having a lot of fun with my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment. I found a recipe on Allrecipes the other day that worked out really well for me: It came out incredibly smooth, even when I added finely chopped (in the food processor) nuts and peanut butter chips... I also added a little bit of Kahlua...

      My husband thought he'd died and gone to heaven.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wenster

        Hmmm, that does look good. I've flagged this one to try later in the week. Thanks wenster. I love your idea of adding the kahlua.

        1. re: millygirl

          Hope you like it! The Kahlua worked well... but now I'm getting greedy and thinking of adding in Mint Bailey's. Or... chocolate port... mmmm.

      2. It's probably your ice cream maker.

        Generally, slow churning produces a smoother texture.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          It's the Kitchenaid attachment.

          Should I try stop and go? Churning it for a few mins and then stop for a bit.

        2. You could be overcooking the yolk/cream. It should just barely coat the back of the spoon. Anymore and you could end up w/ icy/grainy ice cream.

          7 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            If that's the issue, the custard should not be cooked beyond 170°, use the thermometer to check that, and strain the custard, always strain it, then chill down to 40° or below before churning.

            I have heard and read that chocolate ice cream made with chocolate rather than cocoa powder can be grainy due to tiny ice cold cocoa butter globs, for lack of better terminology. Chocolate can be difficult to work with. Much depends on the type of chocolate and cocoa butter content thereof, how the chocolate was melted, how it's incorporated into the custard to prevent seizing, etc. These are some of the reasons why I prefer to use Dutch process cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream and sorbet, and add chunks of chocolate at the end of churning for emphasis.

            Here's a permalink post that may be of interest to the OP when working with chocolate for ice cream:


            And a further discussion at egullet:


            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I've been meaning to research why Dutch process cocoa powder is used in ice cream. I've been making David Lebovitz's ice creams and they all say Dutch process. Why is that?
              BTW, I've found his chocolate sherbert (sub 1 c. milk in the choc sorbet recipe) to be lovely and his chocolate peanut butter recipe (made with cocoa) to be smooth and heavenly. I also use a KitchenAid mixer attachment and I love it. I have been making 2 batches of ice cream a week because i'm addicted now!

              1. re: chuang

                Ok, a few reasons for using Dutch cocoa: one, Dutch cocoa blends better with liquid than natural cocoa; witness the use of it in mixed drinks, hot chocolate, etc. Two, Dutch process is darker in color and has a more pronounced, richer flavor than natural cocoa (that's actually two reasons) due to the Dutching process, which is the removal of acid from the cocoa by treating it with an alkaline.

                So there you have it; those reasons and a lower cocoa butter content for smoother ice cream makes it a very good sub for chocolate. I also love David Lebovitz's ice cream recipes and refer to him often. He has a great blog as well.

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  Ahhh, thanks, that makes sense. I've always made it with Hershey's natural cocoa and it comes out beautifully, but next time I'll buy some Dutch processed cocoa and see what difference it makes. Anyone have suggestions for a brand of Dutched cocoa powder they like?

                  1. re: chuang

                    Sure, I like this stuff alot; a poster in another thread turned me on to this:


                    Nice, but not overwhelming natural vanilla flavor, good price, that's for a 2.2 lb bag, enough cocoa for at least a year. If vanilla is not your thing, I highly recommend Valrhona, also great price for a kilo:


                    Both of these cocoas are Dutch process.

              2. re: bushwickgirl

                you also need to use a low to low-med flame when cooking the custard to the 170 degrees. be patient on prepping the base. bringing the custard base to the 170 degree target too quickly does something bad to the molecule alignment.

                1. re: jfood

                  Exactly. The overnight rest in the frig is important also, on the same molecular level.

            2. I think I did it!! It was a pain in the butt. I kept the concept of choco fat globs well in mind.

              1. Melt chocoate in a bowl
              2. Make the custard
              3. Waited for custard to cool down to choc temp
              4. Slowly poured custard into choc while choc was still sitting on steam.
              5. Warm up another bowl, strain mixture into the clean warm bowl
              6. Turn off the burner for the water bath, put the strained mixture over water bath, let the whole set up cool to room temperature.
              7. Into the fridge it goes.

              Used 100% Callebaut chocolate and half n half (instead of half cream and half milk).

              Maybe some steps are unnecessary, but I got truly smooth choco ice cream. I'm happy :-)

              Thanks for all your help!