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Chocolate 80-85% and Cocoa Powder Ice Cream |
with corn starch
Chocolate 80-85% and Cocoa Powder
Ice Cream | with corn starch

* for cup measurings read “How to measure the ingredients” below

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

For volume measurements:

1 cup (US) = 235 | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

– for sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

– 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 80-85% 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 530 gr milk (18.7 oz) asked in the recipe. If using double cream, you need in total 630 gr milk (22.2 oz.), from which:

  • 530 gr (18.7 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

Corn starch (A.K.A. corn flour or maize starch) thickens the ice cream mixture. Check the packaging: it should contain only corn starch and no other ingredients.

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.

Plan 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-cream

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 (20 gr; 0.7 oz; 4 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 (100 gr; 3.5 oz.) in a large heatproof bowl; set aside.

Warm the cream with the cocoa powder and 1/3 of the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the cream (350 gr; 12.3 oz.; 1 & 1/2 cups), the cocoa powder and roughly 1/3 of the sugar (70 gr; 2.5 oz.; 5 Tbs.). Warm over medium heat, often whisking until the cocoa has fully dissolved and the milk is hot and steamy. 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 thickened milk
Make a corn starch slurry: in a large heatproof bowl, put the corn starch (25 gr; 1 oz; 4 Tbs.) and add two tablespoons of the cold milk (30 gr; 1 oz.) over it. Whisk to dissolve. Set aside.

Warm the milk and rest of the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the rest of the milk (500 gr; 18.7 oz) and sugar (140 gr; 4.9 oz.; 11 Tbs.) and warm over medium heat, often stirring until the sugar dissolves. Do not let the milk boil before the sugar fully dissolves, or the milk may curdle. Stirring also helps the sugar dissolve efficiently.

Let it come to a boil (which is when bubbles pop all over the surface of the milk) and give a last whisk to the corn starch slurry, to dissolve any corn starch stuck to the bottom of the bowl. 

Pour the boiling milk into the corn starch slurry and give a thorough stir with the rubber spatula; it should instantly thicken slightly. If it doesn’t thicken, return it to the saucepan and onto medium-high heat, constantly stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the first bubbles appear on its surface, the milk will thicken. Immediately remove from the heat and pour it back into the bowl.

Step 3: Chill the ice cream mixture

Combine the two mixtures: pour the chocolate cream into the thickened milk 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.

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 thicken after chilling it, but it should still be pourable and fluid for churning. 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 soon stop. If the ice cream maker stops too soon, not enough air will be incorporated into the ice cream, resulting in sloppy ice cream vs. fluffy.
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 moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so: 

  • remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
  • remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl
  • cover the ice cream bowl and put it in the freezer to set

Setting time depends on the ice cream maker you use; see notes below for indicative times.

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

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors. Check it every 1-2 hours while it is in the freezer. To evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when it is ready, it is soft enough to insert the knife into it and yet has the same consistency from top to bottom
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to remove from the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Just read below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning, sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

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

Do not worry though, you can still make it scoopable by leaving it in the refrigerator to soften. This can take :

  • anywhere from 4 to 8 hours for removable freezer bowls which must be frozen before churning
  • 1 hour for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, actual time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it once in a while while it sits in the refrigerator).

After this, the ice cream will be easier to scoop and transfer to another container; or serve directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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.

Use a rubber spatula: 

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

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. 

You can use any cocoa solids % you like; the final ice cream will be the same. What is different among the recipes is the quantities of the ingredients; e.g. the lower in cocoa solids is the chocolate, the more chocolate you need to make this ice cream: with chocolate 50% cocoa solids, you need 200 gr (7.05 oz.) chocolate, whereas, with 70-74% chocolate, you need 115 gr (4.1 oz.); e.t.c., e.t.c. The same is with the rest of the ingredients (sugar, milk, cream); they change so that the final ice cream has the same chocolate intensity and a perfect mouthfeel, no matter the cocoa solids % of the chocolate you use.

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