Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

by Sep 6, 2017

Jane and I mixed up a couple batches of chocolate ice cream over the long weekend and this was our favorite—creamy texture, not too sweet, 70% chocolate from Scharffen Berger (thanks for stocking it in Bozeman, Tara!)


Our first batch was good, but we didn’t really like the little flecks of chocolate that showed up. I suspect that we either didn’t melt the chocolate properly (too much hot cream over the chocolate in the melt step) or that unsweetened chocolate naturally contains tiny flecks of cocoa nibs, I’m not 100% sure. We ended up making Calvin a big milkshake with most of it. He seemed pretty happy.



There are many ways to play with sugar level and type of chocolate in baking and ice cream making, but to minimize waste (or extra milkshakes), start with Alice Medrich’s meticulously researched book, Bittersweet:  Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate. I have adapted my recipe from Alice’s “Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream” and David Lebovitz’s “Chocolate Gelato” (Room for Dessert, 1999).  Bon Appétit!

Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

Servings 6 servings


  • 5 ounces 70% chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream for best flavor, NOT ultra pasteurized
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine cream, milk, sugar, and the salt in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a simmer.  

  2. Put the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the hot cream from Step 1 into the yolks. Transfer back into the saucepan and continue to cook for a minute or two until slightly thickened and temperature reaches 175°–180° F. Strain through a fine sieve into a 4-cup glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

  3. Put chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour just enough of the hot cream over the chocolate to cover it. Stir with a spatula until melted and the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the rest of the cream, stirring until blended and smooth. Transfer back into the glass measuring cup and refrigerate until cool, overnight for best results.

  4. Freeze according to the instructions for your ice cream maker.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • For an even more bittersweet version, substitute 2 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate + 3 oz. bittersweet (70%) chocolate for the "5 oz. 70% chocolate"
  • Make it Mexican Chocolate, à la David Lebovitz, by adding 1 tablespoon cognac and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the cream and milk.  When I do this, I use the above combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate.


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