Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream |
with xanthan gum

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

13 May, 2022


© 2022 Biterkin

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 adjustments to achieve the same chocolate intensity and perfect mouthfeel.

Xanthan gum is a stabiliser that thickens the ice cream mixture, creating ice cream with a lovely body that churns beautifully, melts uniformly during serving, and keeps well in the freezer. 

If you do not have xanthan gum but still want to make this 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 cream recipes to find the one that suits you.

About xanthan gum: gums like xanthan gum, carob gum, guar gum and locust bean gum are some of the gums used in making ice cream; each gum plays a different role in the ice cream’s texture. Pastry chefs and food industries mix them together to create the creaminess and mouthfeel they want. But for the rest of us, most gums may be hard to find and expensive. Thankfully, there is a gum that works well on its own and gives a terrific ice cream texture; this is xanthan gum. You can find xanthan gum online or in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Click here to learn more.

Plain Ice Cream (it’s just milk, cream and sugar – MY FAVOURITE) 

Vanilla Ice Cream with vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with vanilla bean

Strawberry Ice Cream  with fresh strawberries

Chocolate & Cocoa Powder Ice Cream to make it really rich in chocolate

Cocoa Powder Ice Cream with cocoa powder only 

Chocolate Ice Cream with chocolate only 

The Biterkin tricks for a perfect Chocolate only Ice Cream with xanthan gum:

Here are some tricks used in the making of this chocolate ice cream, which take it to the next level.

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.

When using xanthan gum for ice cream making, you need to bring the ice-cream mixture to the right temperature (approx. 55ºC/131ºF) before adding the gum. That is the ideal temperature for the gum to dissolve effectively without clumping; and then fully hydrate during blending.

While it is good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home. For this reason, I have developed a simple method, which uses the laws of physics to guarantee that you bring the liquid to the right temperature before adding the gum.

How does it work? To bring a mixture to the desired temperature, you need to combine two mixtures of the right amount and the right temperature. There are two standard temperatures of a liquid that you do not need a thermometer to measure. By standard, we mean that they are always the same:

  1. the one is the boiling temperature the milk with the sugar, which is always approx. 95ºC; 203ºF
  2. the other is the temperature of the milk and cream cold from the fridge; that is approx. 8ºC; 46ºF.

What you do, is bring the milk and sugar to a full boil and then combine it with the rest of the cream and milk, which are cold and straight out of the fridge. By doing so, the mixture immediately reaches approx. 55ºC/131ºF; you then sprinkle the xanthan gum and blend for two minutes to fully hydrate. That works every time, and it is an easy way to use xanthan gum without a thermometer. And fear not for minor differentiations in the above temperatures, as xanthan gum is quite forgiving.

Note: if you live at a high altitude up to 6000 ft (1850 mtr.), you can still use this method as xanthan gum is quite forgiving. A minor differentiation in the boiling mixture will not affect the outcome. If you live at an altitude higher than that, you’d better use a thermometer to bring the total mixture to the desired temperature (appr. 55ºC/131ºF), sprinkle the xanthan gum and blend.

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:

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

Chocolate (only) Ice Cream | with xanthan gum
Chocolate (only)
Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

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) = 235 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 chocolate 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.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.

– Milk and cream: make sure that you thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

You can find xanthan gum in speciality shops, health food stores and online. 

You can adjust the quantity of the xanthan gum in the recipe to your liking, depending on the texture you want to achieve:

  • To slightly stabilise the ice cream without affecting its texture and mouthfeel much, use 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum and decrease the sugar by 10 gr (0.35 oz.)
  • To create a firmer texture, which has a fuller body and mouthfeel, use 1/2 teaspoon as per the recipe.
  • For a stretchy texture similar to Booza/salep ice cream, use 1 teaspoon xanthan gum and increase the sugar in the recipe by 15 gr (0.5 oz.)

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 315 gr (11.1 oz.) heavy cream, you need:

  • 220 gr double cream (7.8 oz.) with approx. 50% fat
  • 95 gr/ml whole milk (3.3 oz.) with approx. 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 315 gr (11.1 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

*this 95 gr (3.3 oz.) milk is extra to the 585 gr milk (20.6 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if using double cream, you will need in total 680 gr milk (23.9 oz.), from which:

  • 585 gr (20.6 oz.) are for the recipe; and
  • 95 gr (3.3 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 1-3) 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 ice cream mixture

Pour the cold heavy cream (315 gr; 11.1 oz.) and 1/5 of the cold milk (120 gr; 4.2 oz.; 1/2 cup) into the blender jar (or in a large bowl, if using an immersion blender). If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, place it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

Warm the rest of the milk with all the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the rest 4/5 of the milk (465 gr; 16.4 oz.; 2 cups) and all the sugar (192 gr; 6.8 oz.). Warm over medium heat, often stirring with the rubber spatula, until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy.

Bring to a boil: when all the sugar dissolves, increase the heat to medium-high and when it comes to a boil (95°C; 203°F; or when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface; or if it starts to overflow) immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the blender jar with the cold cream.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; this is the temperature where the xanthan gum dissolves efficiently. 

Add the xanthan gum and blend: with the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ tsp.) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum.

Add the chopped chocolate (125 gr.; 4.4 oz.) into the blender and blend until the mixture is a uniform brown colour with no streaks.

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

Strain the ice cream mixture over 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 over it, taking care that no water slips into the ice cream mixture. Let it cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or until completely cold; and up to 3 days.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your ice cream mixture should always be fridge-cold. 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 (approx. 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 (or a quick blitz with an immersion blender); this will allow it to churn for longer and to acquire a better texture.

If the ice cream mixture is too thick (say, like yoghurt), blend it briefly with an immersion/regular blender before churning it.

Why do we do that? If the ice cream mixture is too thick, the ice cream maker may stop before it incorporates 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 (pourable) thickness 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 makerLeave 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 moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream machine and: 

  • 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 below for indicative times.

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.

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

Storing and serving

Storing: 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 minutes.

If you have an instant-read thermometer, the perfect serving temperature of this ice cream is when the thermometer inserted midway through the ice cream reads around -11ºC / 12ºF. At this the temperature, the ice cream has a lovely mouthfeel and 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. 

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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