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Chocolate 50-54% and Cocoa Powder Ice Cream
with egg yolks (custard)
Chocolate 50-54%
and Cocoa Powder Ice Cream
with egg yolks (custard)

For best results, use a digital kitchen scale and measure the ingredients directly into the bowl/saucepan, as you proceed with the recipe. 

Measuring the ingredients by weight (grams instead of ml) is highly recommended in ice cream making. If you do not have a scale, follow these guidelines:

1 cup (US) = 236 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

– for sugar: only use white granulated sugar (regular).

– for cocoa powder: first, sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and then measure by the spoonful by gently taking a spoonful at a time and levelling it with the flat side of a knife. Measure the cocoa powder right after sifting it, as its volume lessens while it sits.

– for chocolate/couverture: measuring chocolate by volume is impossible because measurements vary depending on how finely chopped the chocolate is. What you can do is calculate the number of pieces you need based on the weight of the chocolate bar as written on the packaging.

– for liquid ingredients: make sure that you thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

This recipe is for chocolate/couverture with 50-54% cocoa solids; for other cocoa solids % click here.

Do not use in this recipe:

  • chocolate which contains nuts, fruits, cereals, etc. 
  • chocolate sweetened with sweeteners, honey, or anything other than regular sugar (although raw cane sugar is ok)
  • milk chocolate, white chocolate, or unsweetened chocolate 

Any unsweetened cocoa powder will do.
Use your favourite unsweetened cocoa powder, or choose a cocoa powder judging by its aroma and colour. A dark brown colour and a lovely cocoa aroma are good indicators for the maximum chocolate flavour in the ice cream.

Dutch-processed cocoa is a good choice for it has a rich flavour and colour, but you can also use natural cocoa powder or raw cacao powder.

Use only regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or raw cane sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara.

Do not use:

  • sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • honey or other liquid sweeteners, natural or artificial

Use heavy cream with 35-40% fat content and pourable consistency. “Ultra-pasteurised cream” and “cream suitable for whipping” with 35-40% fat are ok, too. Avoid any cream which contains sugar or other sweeteners.

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe. To make 350 gr (12.3 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 250 gr double cream (8.8 oz.) (with 50% fat)
  • 100 gr/ml whole milk (3.5 oz.) (3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a large bowl, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 350 gr (12.3 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 100 gr (3.5.oz.) milk is extra to the 425 gr milk (15 oz) asked in the recipe. If using double cream, you need in total 525gr milk (18.5 oz.), from which:

  • 425 gr (15 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

Use a scale to weigh the egg yolks. 

If you do not have a scale, use egg yolks from 4 eggs in the range of 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz, approximately (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell). These eggs are labelled as:

  • Large (L) in the UK
  • Extra-Large (XL) in the USA
  • Jumbo in Australia

TIP: to separate the egg yolk from the white, do it when the eggs are cold from the fridge, as the egg yolks are firmer and are easy to handle.

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.
If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Use a saucepan with a long handle to make the custard in step 2. The long handle makes it easy to hold the saucepan with one hand and pour the boiling cream while you whisk the egg yolks with the other.
Bonus tip: put a towel under the bowl with the egg yolks to keep it in place while whisking.

Think ahead:

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-3) one day before churning it.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the chocolate milk

Place a rubber spatula and a whisk on a plate next to the stovetop to have them close and ready to use interchangeably.

Sift the cocoa powder (25 gr; 1 oz; 5 Tbs.) through a fine-mesh sieve and into a small bowl if you haven’t already done so. Do not skip sifting, even if it seems unnecessary.

Put the chopped chocolate (200 gr; 7 oz.) in a large heatproof bowl; set aside.

Warm the milk and cocoa: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (425 gr/ml; 15 oz.; 1 & 3/4 cups) and the cocoa powder. Warm over medium heat, often whisking often until very hot and steamy and the cocoa has fully dissolved. Do not let it come to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Add the chocolate and stir with the rubber spatula until all the chocolate has melted. If needed, return briefly to low heat to fully melt the chocolate.

Blend with an immersion blender for 30 seconds to fully dissolve any tiny brown lumps left. Pause to scrape with the rubber spatula the bottom and sides of the saucepan, then blend again briefly.

No, you’d better not. The reason is that when we use a regular blender to blend a mixture, part of the mixture stays in the bottom of the blender when we pour it off.
Although this quantity seems unimportant, this loss may affect this ice cream’s balance.
An immersion blender is the most effective tool for blending small quantities of liquid and dissolving all cocoa lumps. If you do not have an immersion blender, read below how to skip blending.

Whisk well and thoroughly until no lumps are visible and pass through a very fine mesh sieve while still hot. 

Pour everything into the heatproof bowl, scraping along any residues left in the saucepan with the rubber spatula. Let it cool down while you proceed with the next step.

Step 2: Make the custard

Prepare the egg yolks: put the cold egg yolks (80 gr; 2.8 oz.) in a large heatproof bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them in the fridge to keep them cold, keeping the whisk in the bowl. Aim to proceed with the recipe as soon as possible, as the egg yolks dry out quickly.

Boil the cream and the sugar: place the heavy cream (350 gr/ml; 12.3 oz; 1 & 1/2 cups) and the sugar (120 gr; 4.3 oz; 1 cups plus 1.5 Tbs.) in a medium saucepan; you can use the same saucepan as in the previous step, no need to rinse. Warm over medium heat, often stirring with the rubber spatula until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to medium-high and remove the egg yolks from the fridge. 

Pour the boiling cream into the egg yolks: when the cream comes to a full boil (large bubbles begin to cover the surface), remove it from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a slow, steady stream into the cold egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.

Stir: with the rubber spatula, stir well and thoroughly for one minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

You have to stir the custard with a rubber spatula while it is still hot, thoroughly scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie. Those residues, which you cannot see, should be incorporated into the mixture while it is still hot. Stirring also makes the custard thicken slightly.

Step 3: Mix and chill the ice cream mixture
Mix the chocolate milk with the custard: pour the chocolate milk into the custard scraping all residues from the bowl. Stir until it is a uniform brown colour with no streaks.

Strain the ice cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and back into a bowl (you can use the same bowl the chocolate milk was in), gently pressing through the sieve leftover cocoa clumps.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture in it, taking care that no water slips into it. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill thoroughly: the ice cream mixture should come to fridge-cold temperature, before you churn it with the ice cream maker; to chill it, use one of the two methods below (click on methods to read more):

When you have time, prefer the slow method to mature the ice cream mixture and improve its flavours. If you are in a hurry, you will be happy to know that most people do not notice this flavour improvement, so feel free to follow the method which suits you.
When choosing the fast method, consider that it needs more ice than an average household usually holds.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your ice cream mixture should always be thoroughly chilled. Otherwise, if the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs fluffy ice cream.

Step 4: Churn the ice cream

Check the ice cream mixture if it is thoroughly cold before churning: it should feel fridge-cold to the touch (or if you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 4ºC–10ºC / 39ºF-50ºF). 

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Stir: this chocolate ice cream mixture may become very thick after chilling, so give it a thorough and vigorous stirring with a rubber spatula to loosen it; this will allow it to churn for longer and to acquire a better texture.

The ice cream mixture will slightly thicken after chilling it, but it should still be pourable and fluid. If the ice cream mixture is too thick (like yoghurt), stir it vigorously to loosen it or blend it briefly for 5 seconds with an immersion/regular blender. Why do we do that? If the ice cream mixture is thick, it will quickly become too stiff to churn; and the ice cream maker will stop before it incorporates enough air into the ice cream mixture, resulting in sloppy ice cream.
So if you are after fluffy, mousse-like ice cream, take the time to bring the ice cream mixture to a pourable consistency before churning it.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker.

Leave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes (see below).

This chocolate ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with a mousse-like consistency. That could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker.
To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will be still soft like soft-serve ice cream. If you lift ice cream with the spoon and a pool immediately starts forming on its edges, you will have to churn it for longer.
In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.
So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.
Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to automatically stop after a specific length of time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 5: Put in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or removing it to a container for storage, you have to put it in the freezer to set. Remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine, cover it and put it in the freezer to set. Setting time depends highly on the type of ice cream maker you use; see notes below for indicative times

If you intend to transfer the ice cream to a container to store the ice cream, place this container in the freezer well ahead of time, too; this will prevent the ice cream from melting upon contact with it.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for storage.

The setting time for the ice cream can be anywhere from 1 to 4 hours and largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use. Check it every one hour or two if it has set by inserting a knife into it, all the way to the bottom:

  • the ice cream is ready when it is firm yet soft enough to insert the knife without melting it, and it has the same firmness from top to bottom.
  • if it is not ready yet, it will feel harder on the top and softer as you go down
  • if it is too hard for the knife to insert, you may have left it in the freezer for too long. You can still bring it to a perfectly scoopable consistency; just read the troubleshooting guide below.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. That makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.
To fix this, after churning it, you have to place it in the freezer to set and reach the right consistency -which is like a store-bought ice cream carton-, then you can serve it or transfer it to a container to store it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to serve or remove to another container.

To soften it, place it in the refrigerator for a few hours. That can take:

  • 4-6 hours for removable freezer bowls (ice cream maker bowls which need to pre-freeze before churn)
  • 1-2 hours for simple aluminium bowls (bowls from compressor ice cream makers)


(Note: the time given is indicative, the actual time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it every one hour or two while it sits in the refrigerator).

After this, the ice cream will be easy to scoop and transfer to another container or serve directly from the ice cream maker.

Storage and serving

Storage: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term. To soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, put it in the refrigerator for one hour. 

If you have an instant-read thermometer, the perfect serving temperature of this chocolate ice cream is when the thermometer inserted midway through the ice cream reads around -11ºC / 12ºF. At this temperature, the ice cream is perfectly scoopable.

Make this ice cream with any cocoa solids % chocolate/couverture!
Make this ice cream with any cocoa solids % chocolate!

Click on the cocoa solids % chocolate of your choice for the recipe. Note that the ingredients and the instructions are the same among the recipes; only the ingredients’ quantities are adjusted so that the final ice cream has the same chocolate intensity and luxurious mouthfeel.

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