Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
Ice Cream |
Philadelphia - style

Chocolate & Cocoa Powder Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

24 January, 2022


© 2022 Biterkin

This Philadelphia-style chocolate ice cream is the most simple chocolate ice cream you can make at home with your ice cream maker; you only need five ingredients: chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, cream and sugar. To make it, you warm the milk with the sugar and the cocoa powder, add the chocolate to melt, blend and combine with the cream. It churns and fluffs up so beautifully that you will want to eat it straight from the ice cream maker during churning.

For this chocolate ice cream, we use both cocoa powder AND chocolate. Although you can make chocolate ice cream by using only cocoa powder or only chocolate, there is nothing like combining the two together. 

In this recipe, we use chocolate/couverture with 70-74% cocoa solids, but at the end of this page, you will also find the links for other cocoa solids % chocolates. These recipes use the same method and ingredients, with minor adjustments in the quantities to achieve the same perfect chocolate intensity. 

Philadelphia-style ice cream is the perfect choice when you are short of time yet want to make something that everyone will love. Its texture and flavour are surprisingly superb, a delightful reminder that you do not need much to enjoy great ice cream at home.

And if you wonder what Philadelphia-style ice cream is and in what ways it differs from other kinds of ice cream, read all about it below.

Philadelphia-style Ice Cream is the most simple ice cream you can make at home. 

But why is it different from other kinds of ice cream? In other kinds of ice cream, we thicken the ice cream mixture before churning to create a more stable ice cream body which:

  1. churns flawlessly in the ice cream maker
  2. melts slowly and uniformly during serving; and
  3. keeps well in the freezer for longer.

Thickening the ice cream is usually done by cooking the ice cream mixture with egg yolks or cornstarch (aka cornflour).

When making Philadelphia-style ice cream, you do not thicken the ice cream mixture. So it is quick to make and requires the fewest ingredients possible. Compared to an ice cream thickened with egg yolks or corn starch, Philadelphia-style ice cream melts faster during serving; and you may find that its texture does not keep well in the freezer for too long. Yet it is still delightful, and everyone loves it. It will become your go-to ice cream when you are short of time and still want to please a crowd.

The Biterkin tricks for a perfect Chocolate & Cocoa Ice Cream:

You can replace regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado, which are very aromatic, thanks to their natural content in molasses and have an earthy, slightly caramelised aroma.
By replacing regular sugar with raw cane sugar like the above, you boost the chocolate flavour of the ice cream, creating the ultimate chocolate ice cream experience.
Choose good-quality raw cane sugar, one which smells divine when you sniff it. The best Demerara sugar is known to originate from the island of Mauritius, so check the label for the origin.

The ingredients:

This is what you will need:

Every ingredient plays a vital role in the recipe. Do not attempt to reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason. Look out for these:

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 & Cocoa Powder Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style
Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

* 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 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 410 gr (14.5 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 290 gr double cream (10.3 oz.) (50% fat)
  • 120 gr/ml whole milk (4.2 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 410 gr (14.5 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 120 gr (4.2 oz.) milk is extra to the 470 gr milk (16.6 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if using double cream, you need in total 590 gr milk (20.8 oz.), from which:

  • 470 gr (16.6 oz.) milk are for the recipe; and
  • 120 gr (4.2 oz.) milk are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

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.

Plan ahead:

Make the ice cream mixture (steps 1-2) one day before churning it. If you plan to serve the ice cream the day you churn it, churn the ice cream mixture at least 6 hours before serving to allow it to set.

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: Prepare the ice cream mixture
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 (15 gr; 0.5 oz; 3 Tbs.) through a fine-mesh sieve and into a small bowl if you haven’t already done so. Do sift the cocoa powder, even if it doesn’t seem to need it.

Put the chopped chocolate (100 gr; 3.5 oz) in a large heatproof bowl; set aside.

Warm the milk with the cocoa powder and sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (470 gr; 16.6 oz.; 2 cups), the cocoa powder and the sugar (170 gr; 6 oz.; 14 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/regular blender for 30 seconds or until all tiny brown lumps dissolve. Pause to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl/blender with the rubber spatula, then blend again briefly.

Add the heavy cream (410 gr/ml; 14.5 oz.; 1 & 3/4 cups) and blend for one minute or until a uniform brown colour is obtained.

Strain the ice cream mixture through a fine mesh-sieve and into a large bowl.

Step 2Chill the 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 be quick.
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 3: Blend and churn the ice cream

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

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

Stir: give a thorough and vigorous stirring to the ice cream mixture.

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 4: Put the ice cream 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. To do so, remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine, cover with a lid and put it in the freezer to set. Setting time depends highly on the type of ice cream maker you use; see bulb 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 to store. If you leave it in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will become too hard to scoop out; in this case, read the troubleshooting bulb below.

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: once churned, Philadelphia-style ice creams are best eaten on the same day, although any leftovers will keep in the freezer for up to one month. To store, cover well to protect from absorbing the freezer’s smells and place in the freezer.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term. To soften it to a 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 and enjoyable.

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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