THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM

Classic Chocolate Ice Cream
• with egg yolks •

Classic Chocolate
Ice Cream
• with egg yolks

With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

This is a Classic Chocolate Ice Cream recipe, which means that we use both chocolate AND cocoa powder. Although you can make chocolate ice cream by using only cocoa powder or only chocolate, there is nothing like combining the two together.  

A French-style ice cream contains egg yolks cooked with milk over the stovetop to make a custard. Making a custard is a little tricky but worth the effort for the velvety ice cream it creates.

Want something easy or eggless instead? We’ve got you covered.

Here are 3 more ways to make this Classic Chocolate Ice Cream:

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now and thank us later. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar, corn starch.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient: xanthan gum. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar, xanthan gum.

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now and thank us later. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar, corn starch.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient: xanthan gum. With chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream, sugar, xanthan gum.

or see:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

• Chocolate/couverture: the taste of this ice cream will be determined by the taste of the chocolate (or couverture), so use one that you like. In this recipe we use chocolate with 70-74% cocoa solids; to make it with any chocolate from 50% to 85% cocoa solids or unsweetened chocolate, click on the cocoa solids content of choice at the end of this page and you will be taken to the recipe.

• Unsweetened cocoa powder: any unsweetened cocoa powder will do. Use your favourite unsweetened cocoa powder, or choose a cocoa powder judging by its aroma.

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.

• Milk: use whole milk; this has approx. 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Heavy cream (for double cream read below): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in double cream – how to use”.

Sugar: you can use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the chocolate’s flavour.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 g; 2.3 – 2.65 oz , (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell), but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It is easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• Chocolate/couverture: the taste of this ice cream will be determined by the taste of the chocolate (or couverture), so use one that you like. In this recipe we use chocolate with 70-74% cocoa solids; to make it with any chocolate from 50% to 85% cocoa solids or unsweetened chocolate, click on the cocoa solids content of choice at the end of this page and you will be taken to the recipe.

• Unsweetened cocoa powder: any unsweetened cocoa powder will do. Use your favourite unsweetened cocoa powder, or choose a cocoa powder judging by its aroma.

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.

Sugar: you can use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the chocolate’s flavour.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell) , but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It’s easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Heavy cream (for double cream see scroll to the right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% – 40% fat. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content.

Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in Double cream: how to use” notes in the recipe.

Overview

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Make the custard: warm the milk & sugar and pour it over the egg yolks, while whisking them vigorously.

Pour back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until it slightly thickens.

Pour into a bowl with the heavy cream and cool it down over an ice bath.

Chill the ice cream mixture overnight or until completely cold.

Churn in your ice cream maker until fluffed up and creamy.

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

The recipe at a glance:

Here is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to making ice cream, read the recipe before proceeding.

Note that the colour of your ice cream mixture depends on the cocoa powder and the chocolate you will use, so its hue may differ from that of the photos.

Chocolate and Cocoa Powder Ice Cream
with egg yolks
Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Ice Cream | with egg yolks
Ingredients:

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 70-74% 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

Only use whole milk (this is around 3.5% fat). Do not substitute with skimmed milk or plant-based milk.

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. Do not substitute with low-fat cream or plant-based cream.

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe. To make 325 gr (11.5 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 225 gr double cream (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 325 gr (11.5 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 100 gr (3.5.oz.) milk is extra to the 470 gr milk (16.6 oz) asked in the recipe. If using double cream, you need in total 570gr milk (20.1 oz.), from which:

  • 470 gr (16.6 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

Egg yolks must be fridge-cold, or else they will cook from the boiling cream when you pour it over them.

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.

Instructions
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-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 (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 (125 gr; 4.4 oz.) in a large heatproof bowl; set aside.

Warm the milk with some sugar and the cocoa: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (470 gr/ml; 16.6 oz.; 2 cups), 30 gr of the sugar (1.3 oz.; 3 Tbs.) and the cocoa powder. Warm over medium heat, often whisking 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 rest of the sugar: place the heavy cream (325 gr/ml; 11.5 oz; 1 & 1/4 cups) and the rest of the sugar (150 gr; 5 oz.) 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.  If the bowl with the egg yolks is lightweight, put a damp towel below to keep it in place while you pour inside the boiling cream. 

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, 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. This is your ice cream mixture.

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 shortcut.
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 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 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 you 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 occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm 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 scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

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

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

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

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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.

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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