Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

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Video Dark chocolate ice cream

Dark chocolate ice cream amplified with honey and sea salt is a bit of a frozen revelation. Expect intensely rich and bold flavours in this double chocolate ice cream, combined with a mellow sweetness and an enviably creamy texture. Best of all, it can be scooped straight from the freezer – waiting around for it to soften is not necessary.

Dark chocolate ice cream in a tub with scoops being balled from it.

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This recipe for dark chocolate ice cream featuring honey and sea salt has been on my agenda for several years. It’s a spin-off from my hugely popular salted honey ice cream.

Let me assure you, this salted chocolate ice cream is just as impressive as my first dalliance with salt, honey and ice cream.

Expect an explosion of flavour from this frozen treat. If you think you know what to expect from a dark chocolate ice cream recipe, then think again. This one re-writes the rule book. It’s incredibly rich, intense in chocolate flavour, mellow and utterly remarkable.

And that’s just the taste. It’s also sublimely smooth, creamy and scoopable straight from the freezer. That’s right, there’s no waiting around for this baby to soften up. The honey works a little magic to make the texture perfect for serving without having to wait around.

Dark chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone with sea salt and chopped chocolate.

Why you’ll love this salted chocolate ice cream

I think I’ve talked up this recipe enough already, but in case you’re wondering why I’m raving so heartily about it, let’s just clarify:

  • It’s particularly creamy and smooth.
  • With a wonderfully bold chocolate flavour thanks to the use of 70% cocoa dark chocolate.
  • It’s really a double chocolate ice cream as it contains both cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
  • The use of honey rather than sugar keeps this ice cream soft enough to scoop straight from the freezer.
  • And the sea salt elevates both the dark chocolate and the honey to an entirely new level.
  • It can be made with or without an ice cream maker.

All-in-all, this double chocolate ice cream is quite different to most chocolate ice creams. And it has plenty of brazen attitude it likes to impress you with. Without a doubt, this is the best chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted plenty).

Ingredients notes

Labelled ingredients for double chocolate ice cream with honey and sea salt.

Chocolate: go for quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids. I used Callebaut Belgian chocolate but think along the lines of Green & Blacks or Lindt too.

This is not the place to use milk chocolate as the resulting ice cream will be far too sweet. It’s the blend of intense dark chocolate with honey and sea salt that makes this dark chocolate ice cream so spectacular.

Honey: the use of honey and no other sugar in this double chocolate ice cream helps to create a smooth and soft texture. Honey gives extra body and creaminess to the ice cream whilst also lowering its freezing point. This means that it doesn’t freeze rock solid but is instead scoopable when pulled straight from the freezer. (That’s either blissful or incredibly dangerous news, depending on your willpower).

Use any runny honey. It doesn’t have to be fancy, although if your budget stretches, there’s no harm in upgrading this ingredient.

Sea salt: use only sea salt flakes. Do not use table salt. Sea salt is grainier in texture and so a teaspoon of table salt is not the equivalent of a teaspoon of sea salt flakes.

Egg yolks: these help to thicken the custard base and add richness & smoothness to the ice cream. I’ve used 6 in this recipe to work alongside the very dark chocolate.

Double cream: this UK cream has a high fat content (around 48%). Readers elsewhere in the world should use a cream with an equivalent level of fat.

Step-by-step instructions

There is nothing particularly challenging about making this dark chocolate ice cream recipe. There are really two stages to making it:

  1. Make & chill the custard base.
  2. Add the cream and churn it.

Although I recommend churning using an ice cream maker for the very best of results, I’ve also included instructions for churning by hand should you not own a dedicated ice cream machine.

MAKE THE CUSTARD:

  1. Crush the salt in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Gently heat the milk and honey in a medium-sized pan to melt the honey. Continue to heat to scalding but don’t let it boil.
  3. Meanwhile use electric beaters to beat the egg yolks until pale and thick (about 3 minutes).
  4. Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture slowing, beating constantly.
  5. Next, pour the custard into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
  6. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, take off the heat and add the salt, cocoa powder (sieved) and the chocolate. Stir until melted and combined.
Collage of images showing a custard base being made.
  1. Strain through a sieve into a clean bowl.
  2. Cover with a layer of clingfilm (to stop a skin forming), let cool, then chill for at least 6 hours (but preferably overnight).
  3. When ready to churn, pour in the double cream and stir well.
Collage of images showing ice cream being made in a machine.

CHURNING BY MACHINE

  1. Pour the custard base into the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Once fully churned either serve straight away (soft-set) or transfer to a freezer-proof container, cover with parchment and freeze for several hours until firm.

CHURNING BY HAND

  • Pour the ice cream into a large freezer-proof bowl, cover and put it in the freezer for 1-1½ hours. The sides should be beginning to freeze, but the centre will be soft and slushy.
  • Remove from the freezer and use electric beaters to beat the ice cream until the ice crystals are uniform. Cover and place back in the freezer.
  • Repeat this process 6-8 more times at ¾ – 1-hour intervals. The more times you are able to repeat this process, the better the texture of this dark chocolate ice cream will be.
  • Once fully churned transfer to a freezer-proof container, cover with parchment and freeze for several more hours until firm.

Expert tips

  • When making any homemade ice cream always ensure both the churning bowl of your ice cream maker and the custard base are sufficiently frozen/ chilled before churning begins.
  • If churning by hand it’s best to make the custard base and let it chill overnight before starting the churning process the next morning. This leaves plenty of time to fit in 6-8 churns with electric beaters.
  • And if churning by hand, set a timer between each churn to ensure it is not left too long between each churn.
  • Put the container that you intend to store the churned ice cream in into the freezer before churning begins. Putting the ice cream into a chilled container rather than one at room temperature means the ice cream will melt less at the point of transfer.
  • Cover the top of the ice cream with parchment to help stop ice crystals from forming in the freezer.
  • Eat within 2 weeks to enjoy this double chocolate ice cream at its prime. It’s still safe to eat after this time but the flavour and texture may begin to deteriorate.
  • Provided your churner can handle the extra volume the recipe can be doubled.

Frequently asked questions

Variations

There are a few ways to take this dark chocolate ice cream recipe if you fancy ringing the changes:

  • Make it very dark by using Dutch cocoa powder instead of standard cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa powder is darker and richer in colour than typical cocoa powder.
  • Toss 2 tablespoon finely chopped chocolate in at the last moment of churning. I really enjoy adding in dark chocolate.
  • Alternatively, try finely chopped white chocolate for visual contrast and flavour.
  • Chopped hazelnuts add in a great flavour too. Again, around 2 tablespoons will be plenty.
  • Go fancy by finely chopping Stroopwafel cookies and stirring them through at the end.
Close up of double chocolate ice cream.

More unusual ice cream recipes

Have you made this dark chocolate ice cream recipe? Please give the recipe a rating or leave a comment – I love to hear how you get along with my creations. And of course, if you have a question, just drop me a line and I’ll do my best to help you out.

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