Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream |
Philadelphia - style

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

April 14, 2022


© 2022 Biterkin

This Philadelphia-style chocolate ice cream is the most simple ice cream you can make at home with your ice cream maker; you only need four ingredients: chocolate, milk, cream and sugar. 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.

This is a chocolate-only ice cream that makes for ice cream lighter in chocolate flavour than a chocolate AND cocoa powder ice cream with a richer chocolate taste. This chocolate-only ice cream recipe comes in handy when you have run out of cocoa powder; or if you want to celebrate an exceptional chocolate bar’s flavour. It is perfect in every way, and it has nothing to be jealous of its chocolate-and-cocoa powder counterpart.

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. The recipes are more or less the same, with small changes which result in the same chocolate intensity and luxurious mouthfeel.

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-only 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 a good-quality raw cane sugar 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 chocolate you will use, so its hue may differ from that of the photos.

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | Philadelphia-style
Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

For best results, use a digital kitchen scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, as you proceed with the recipe. Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the ingredients instead of measuring them by cup; it provides accurate results, very much needed in ice cream making.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:

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

– Chocolate/couverture: chocolate cannot be measured in a cup because the results vary depending on how finely chopped the chocolate is. Instead, you can calculate the number of pieces you need based on the weight of the chocolate bar as written on the packaging.

– Sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Do not use a regular tablespoon: you need a 15 ml measuring tablespoon; this is 12 gr of sugar. To measure, scoop the sugar to fill the tablespoon, then level it with the flat side of a knife. Repeat scooping and levelling.
If you do not have a measuring tablespoon, use this conversion:
white granulated sugar: 225 ml
raw cane sugar (such as demerara): 250 ml.
Note: the above requires that the sugar is of good quality, with distinctive granules, visible to the naked eye. If the sugar appears to be somewhat pulverised, reduce the measuring by 1 tablespoon (both for cups and tablespoons).
Do not convert the sugar into cups with the usual “1 cup=200 grams” conversion; this is too much sugar, which results in sloppy ice cream.

– 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 

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 of 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 470 gr (16.6 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 330 gr double cream (11.6 oz.) (appr. 50% fat)
  • 140 gr/ml whole milk (4.9 oz.) (appr. 3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a 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 470 gr (16.6 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 140 gr (4.9 oz.) milk is extra to the 410 gr milk (14.5 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if using double cream, you will need in total 550 gr milk (19.4 oz.), from which:

  • 410 gr (14.5 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 140 gr (4.9 oz.) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

Only use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or raw cane sugar such as Turbinado or Demerara.

Do not try to reduce the calories of the ice cream by cutting down the sugar or replacing it with low-calories or “healthy” sweeteners. Do not use:

  • sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia, liquid or granulated. Sweeteners mixed with sugar are not suitable either.
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • honey or other liquid sweeteners, natural or artificial

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 1-2) 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 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.

Warm the the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (410 gr; 14.5 oz.) and the sugar (168 gr; 5.9 oz.) 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 often helps the sugar dissolve efficiently.

Bring it to a rolling boil: as soon as it starts boiling, (this is when bubbles pop up vigorously), remove from the heat and pour the boiling milk into a large, heatproof bowl.

Add the chopped chocolate (125 gr; 4.4 oz.) and whisk to melt, then stir with the rubber spatula until it is a uniform brown colour with no streaks.

Add the heavy cream (470 gr; 16.6 oz.) and stir, until it is a uniform brown colour with no streaks.

Blend the ice cream mixture with an immersion/regular blender for 30 seconds to ensure a smooth texture.  

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

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

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 ways below (click to read more):

When you have time, prefer the slow way 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 way, 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: Churn the ice cream

Check the ice cream mixture if it is thoroughly cold before churning: it should feel fridge-cold to the touch (if you have an instant-read thermometer, this is at 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 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 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: Philadelphia-style ice creams are at their best if they are eaten the day they are churned. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

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 45-60 minutes.

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 at its best to scoop and enjoy.

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. The difference between the recipes is in the quantities of the ingredients. For example, with 50% cocoa solids chocolate, you need 200 gr (7.1 oz.) chocolate, whereas, with 70-74% chocolate, you need 125 gr (4.4 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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