28 August 2007

Day 17: Chocolate Sorbet

Despite not being much of a chocolate fan, I am endlessly captivated by cocoa powder. Did you know that if you heat cocoa powder and water in a saucepan it will thicken up much like pudding? The natural properties of cocoa give it great thickening power and also lend a wonderful tenderness to baked goods like cakes and cookies and a smooth mouthfeel to ice creams and gelatos.

P., who is much more of a chocolate-eater than I am (I find this role-reversal rather disconcerting), for a period took to pointing out when I did enjoy chocolate desserts, and we found that they were all of the cocoa-powder variety: silky chocolate pudding, tender chocolate shortbreads, and a wonderful cocoa Bundt cake. Freed from the heft of cocoa butter, I find that desserts made with cocoa powder take on an even more intense chocolate flavor, and are satiating without being overly rich.

All these principles exhibit themselves splendidly in chocolate sorbet. Despite the lack of dairy, and only the tiniest bit of chocolate, this is a wonderfully smooth frozen dessert that will defy you to define it as sorbet. Made primarily with cocoa powder, each mouthful packs intense chocolate flavor (and very little caloric heft). I cannot think of any better way to serve this than with a big bowl of sugared raspberries, but it’s full flavor pairs well with a multitude of desserts, from cake to tarts to my favorite beet ice cream. And I’m sure it won’t surprise you all that I actually like this even more than those rich chocolate ice creams.

Chocolate Sorbet
Smooth and full of intense chocolate flavor, this will redefine your concept of sorbet. Also, because it is wheat and dairy free it’s good choice for people with food allergies. A handful of cocoa nibs is a nice addition.

2 1/3 cups water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
3 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbl instant espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place the cocoa powder and sugar in a saucepan. Slowly add the water in a stream, whisking until there are no lumps. Place the pan on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. When it has come to a full boil, lower the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate and espresso powder. Stir with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and combined (you can also put the mixture into a blender and blitz). Add the vanilla, cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (at least 3 hours).
3. Give the mixture a good stir, then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Store in the freezer.

Mexican Chocolate: Use Ibarra chocolate and add 1 tsp cinnamon.
Espresso-Chocolate: Use coffee in place of water, add chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Aztec Chocolate: Add 1/2 tsp red pepper.
Chocolate Mint: add a splash of Creme de Menthe or a drop of peppermint extract.
Chocolate Coconut: Use coconut milk in place of the water, add 1/2 tsp coconut extract.


Anonymous said...

What??? Did I just read chocolate? You mean you actually resorted to a somewhat normal flavor? :) Hehe, looks good, as always (except for the beet ice cream...)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

What a gorgeous photograph! I love the pink background you've chosen to highlight the sorbet. Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

LUCA Chocolate said...

I have been so impressed with your month of ice cream! I'm definitely going to try several. As a matter of fact, I think when the month is up, I'll be copying them all into a pdf for quick reference. Keep up the good work!

Anh said...

Impressive and wickedly delicious!

Mercedes said...

Thanks cindy, it was actually a red background, but the camera ended up making it look pink.

love chocolate- well, that's the most flattering compliment I've had in a long time. However, if you really want to get into ice cream making, I recommend you get David Lebovitz's book if you don't already have it. It's got lots of classic and unusual flavors. I will be doing a round up at the end, so stay tuned for that.

Brilynn said...

I definitely need to make this... it looks amazing. A while ago I had a chocolate-chili ice cream which was really good, I might try to add some to this sorbet.

whatweatelastnight said...

This recipe could totally be vegan depending on what semi-sweet chocolate is used. Accidentally you did make one vegan ice cream. Well sorbet. Which is usually vegan anyway. Close enough : )

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just had to tell you I made this sorbet a few days ago and just loved it! It's so rich tasting, I like it even better than chocolate ice cream! Thanks so much for this recipe, it definitely is a keeper!

Mercedes said...

lyb- Oh, thank you for the feedback, I'm so glad you liked it!

Anonymous said...

I'm another fan of this recipe—intense chocolate, none of the fat. Question: though my mix seemed to be smooth, when my machine was done it had small meltable pieces of chocolate in it. Ideas?

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