Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream |
with corn starch

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | with corn starch

March 23, 2021


© 2022 Biterkin

The usual way to make chocolate ice cream is with chocolate AND cocoa powder. However, you may want to skip the cocoa powder and make a chocolate-only ice cream; in this case, this chocolate-only ice cream recipe is perfect in every way and has nothing to be jealous of its chocolate-and-cocoa powder counterpart.

The chocolate flavour shines through the ice cream, so use a bar of chocolate (or couverture) that you like. You do not need to get the most expensive one; if you enjoy snacking on it, it is perfect for this chocolate ice cream, too. 

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.

But why do we use corn starch in this ice cream? Corn starch is the Italian way to ice cream making and the next best thing after making ice cream with egg yolks. You will love ice cream made with corn starch, especially in summer when the weather is hot, as corn starch thickens the ice cream mixture and creates a stable body, resistant to melting. It also creates a refreshing and satisfying mouthfeel, perfectly welcomed on a warm day.

Other options: for the easiest chocolate-only ice cream, check this fantastic Philadelphia-style ice cream, with just four ingredients: chocolate, milk, cream and sugar. Or head over to all chocolate ice creams, the ultimate collection of ice cream recipes.

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 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 chocolate you will use, so its hue may differ from that of the photos.

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | with corn starch
Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream | with corn starch

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

If you have a kitchen scale, prefer to weigh the ingredients instead of measuring 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

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

– 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 

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

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 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 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. So, if using double cream, you will 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

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

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.

Make a corn starch slurry: in a large heatproof bowl, put the corn starch (20 gr; 0.7 oz; 3 Tbs.) and 3 tablespoons of the cold milk (45 gr; 1.5 oz.). Whisk to dissolve. Set aside.

Warm the rest of the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the rest of the milk (485 gr; 17.2 oz.) and all the sugar (180 gr; 6.3 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 (this is when bubbles pop up vigorously); at this time, give a thorough whisk to the corn starch slurry to re-smooth it.

Pour the boiling milk into the corn starch slurry and stir counting slowly to ten; you will notice that it instantly thickens slightly.

Just a tad. The difference in the thickness will be from that of milk to the thickness of heavy cream. That may seem too little, but it is enough for now, as the ice cream mixture will continue to thicken as it chills (step 2).

If the milk 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 it starts to thicken (or when the first bubbles appear on its surface), immediately remove it from the heat and pour it back into the bowl.

Add the chocolate (125 gr; 4.4 oz.) and whisk until all the chocolate has melted.

Add the heavy cream (350 gr; 12.3 oz.) and whisk until it is a uniform brown colour with no streaks, stopping once to scrape with the rubber spatula the insides of the bowl.

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

Before adding the heavy cream, whisk well and thoroughly until no lumps are visible, stir with the rubber spatula scraping the insides of the bowl and pass through a very fine mesh sieve while still hot. Then add the heavy cream and stir well,

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: 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.

This ice cream mixture thickens after chilling. But before churning it, we must bring it to a pourable thickness. If the ice cream mixture is too thick (say, like yoghurt) blend it briefly with an immersion/regular blender. Why do we do that? Well, if the ice cream mixture is too thick, it quickly becomes too stiff during churning; this makes the ice cream maker stop before incorporating enough air into the ice cream. In this case, the ice cream will be sloppy instead of fluffy.

So if you are after fluffy ice cream, take the time to bring the ice cream mixture to a fluid consistency before churning it.

If you feel unsure about the ice cream’s thickness, prefer to err on the side of fluid and give the ice cream mixture a blend nevertheless 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 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: 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 45-60 min (or if you have a thermometer, when it reads around -11ºC / 12ºF, inserted midway through the ice cream).

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. 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 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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