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The richest, creamiest, dark chocolate ice cream made with double Dutch dark cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. To enhance the flavor of the chocolate, there’s a little espresso powder, as well as dark brown sugar, and milk, cream and egg yolks for a luxurious texture.
Looking for more dark chocolate recipes? You’ll love chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate zucchini bread, and chocolate cream pie.
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Why You’ll Love This Ice Cream
For Chocolate Lovers. This incredible dark chocolate ice cream is for chocolate lovers! With deep, dark cocoa powder and dark chocolate, there’s enough chocolate to satisfy any chocolate craving.
Creamy and Smooth. The fat in the egg yolks, whole milk and cream ensure a smooth, creamy, rich texture.
Easy to Customize. You can use any cocoa powder and chocolate that you like, and your ice cream will be delicious. And if you like more texture, add a handful of chopped chocolate or toffee bits, or a swirl of salted caramel sauce or peanut butter.
See the recipe card at the end of the post for the full ingredients list and instructions.
- Milk + Cream. A good ice cream needs fat for richness and a creamy texture, so be sure to use whole milk + heavy whipping cream. Lower fat options just don’t make the best ice cream.
- Sugar. In today’s recipe, I used a very dark brown sugar, as well as a few tablespoons of white granulated sugar. The molasses in the brown sugar contributes to the rich, nuanced flavor and deep color. You can also use light brown sugar.
- Cocoa Powder. For a really dark chocolate ice cream, you have to use a dark cocoa powder. I wouldn’t go as far as to use black cocoa powder, so I used King Arthur Baking Double Dutch Dark Cocoa Powder. The flavor and color is just fantastic. Drost is another wonderful premium dark cocoa powder that I love to bake with. I’ve also made this ice cream with Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder, and while the color isn’t as dark as the Double Dutch, the flavor is just outstanding.
- Chocolate. In addition to cocoa powder, there’s melted chocolate in the ice cream base. I love using Chocolove 55% Dark Chocolate, which I just buy at my grocery store.
- Egg Yolks. With the addition of egg yolks, this is technically a frozen custard, or even a gelato, and they give the ice cream a more dense, rich texture than you’ll get with just a milk-based ice cream.
- Espresso Powder. The espresso powder enhances the flavor of the chocolate, making it even more chocolatey. I keep this espresso powder on hand for my baking.
- Salt. A pinch of coarse Kosher salt balances the sweetness and enhances the flavors.
- Vanilla Extract. Flavor.
- Bourbon. Although optional, a little alcohol helps homemade ice cream freeze with a smoother texture, and the bourbon adds complementary flavor.
TIP: It’s important NOT to boil the ice cream base. It only needs to be briefly heated, to dissolve the sugar and cocoa powder, and to heat the egg yolks to a safe temperature.
- In a saucepan, whisk together the cream, milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, egg yolks, espresso powder and salt. The mixture will look lumpy, but it will smooth out as you cook it.
- Over medium heat, warm the custard while whisking constantly, just until it begins to steam and is barely bubbling around the edges. Don’t let it come to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and the chopped chocolate until smooth. Pour the custard into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend for 30 seconds to ensure all the cocoa powder is broken down for a very smooth texture.
- Cover the bowl of custard, with plastic wrap resting right against the surface of the custard, and refrigerate until well chilled, preferably overnight.
- Pour the chilled custard into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until it has a soft-serve consistency. During the last minute of churning, add the bourbon.
- Scrape the ice cream into a lidded container and freeze until firm, at least 8-10 hours.
TIP: If adding ingredients like chopped chocolate, toffee bits, caramel sauce or peanut butter, fold/swirl them in after churning the ice cream.
Be sure to read all of my BAKING FAQs where I discuss ingredients, substitutions and common baking questions, so that you can be successful in your own baking!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best cocoa powder and chocolate to use for ice cream?
For a really dark chocolate ice cream, you have to use a dark cocoa powder. I wouldn’t go as far as to use black cocoa powder, so I used King Arthur Baking Double Dutch Dark Cocoa Powder. The flavor and color is just fantastic. Drost is another wonderful premium dark cocoa powder that I love to bake with. Of course, you can use any that you like, even natural cocoa powders, if that’s what you prefer, although natural cocoa powder is lighter in color with a more acidic flavor. So I strongly recommend Dutch processed cocoa powder for ice cream making. I’ve also made this ice cream with Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder, and while the color isn’t as dark as the Double Dutch, the flavor is just outstanding.
In addition to cocoa powder, there’s melted chocolate in the ice cream base. I love using Chocolove 55% Dark Chocolate, which I just buy at my grocery store. Again, though, use what you love. I wouldn’t use melted chocolate chips, though, since they don’t melt as smoothly, and could affect the texture of your ice cream.
Do you have a no churn chocolate ice cream recipe?
I sure do! Click here for a no-churn version.
Why do you add bourbon?
Although optional, a little alcohol helps homemade ice cream freeze with a smoother texture, since it lowers the freezing point of the mixture. A good-quality bourbon adds complementary flavor, too.
How long does homemade ice cream stay fresh?
It’s usually best eaten within about 2 weeks.
How can I avoid a gritty texture with homemade chocolate ice cream?
A common problem when making homemade chocolate ice cream is a gritty texture. This is usually due to either the chopped chocolate not fully melting into the custard, or the cocoa powder not totally dissolving. Cocoa powder is notoriously difficult to dissolve into liquid, which you’ve probably noticed whenever you’ve made hot chocolate, and need to frequently stir it back up as the cocoa powder settles at the bottom of your cup.
To ensure a perfectly smooth texture in your ice cream, simply use an immersion blender to blend the hot custard for about 30 seconds to smooth out any chunks of unmelted chocolate and tiny lumps of cocoa powder.
What are some good add-ins for this recipe?
For texture, crunch and other flavors, my favorite add-ins for chocolate ice cream are crushed toffee bits and chopped dark chocolate, or swirls of salted caramel sauce, peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread.
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