Bitter Chocolate and Buttermilk Ice Cream

Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream  Recipe

I remember going to Sally Clarke’s shop in the early ’90s when I worked in Oddbins in Kensington, London. Sally’s recipe for chocolate ice cream uses buttermilk, which is actually low in fat (it was originally what was left over after churning cream into butter), but has a certain amount of acidity. It works very well here with the dark chocolate to create an ice cream that’s perfect for those, like me, don’t like their “sweets” too sweet. Sally suggests serving with plain cookies such as freshly baked langues de chat or vanilla shortbread.–Micah Carr-Hill

LC Um, Did Someone Say Chocolate? Twice? Note

Yup. Two types of dark chocolates lend this ice cream its lavishness and lusciousness, though it’s still not too bitter. And not too sweet. Just bittersweet–perfectly so.

Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Makes 1 pint

Ingredients

  • 3 large or extra large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (you can make your own simply by blitzing granulated sugar in a blender)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces 70% dark chocolate, grated
  • 3 1/2 ounces 85% dark chocolate, grated
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

  • 1. To make the bitter chocolate ice cream, place a bowl in the freezer to chill it. Place the egg yolks and half the sugar in another bowl and whisk until light, fluffy, and pale in color.
  • 2. Heat the milk, cream, and the remaining sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until just below the boiling point. Slowly pour a little of the cream mixture into the yolks and whisk until blended. Slowly, slowly pour in the rest of the cream mixture, whisking constantly, until combined. Immediately return the mixture to the pan and place over medium heat, whisking fairly frequently, until it begins to thicken. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  • 3. Add both the chocolates to the pan and stir until they’re melted and smooth. Stir in the buttermilk until blended. Strain the mixture into the chilled bowl from the freezer and let it cool, then cover the bowl and refrigerate the ice cream mixture anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
  • 4. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep in the freezer until you can’t stand the wait anymore. (Bitter chocolate ice cream is best served within 12 hours of churning, but will keep well for at least 1 week in the freezer.)
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Virginia L.

Jul 07, 2011

Chocolate lovers will flip over this ice cream. It’s very rich with a deep, dark chocolate flavor. Clearly it was designed for the Green & Black’s chocolate cookbook, because it’s the only manufacturer I can find in the grocery store that makes 85 percent cocoa solids chocolate! Some tips: After turning the mixture into the chilled bowl, put the bowl in the refrigerator for at least two hours. It took about 30 minutes in the ice cream maker to reach the correct texture, but you could eat it sooner if you like it soft.

Testers Choice
Anne Wallace

Jul 07, 2011

This recipe is quite easy to make. For fans of Ben & Jerry's NY Super Fudge Chunk, this is a good recipe to use as a base when making your own version. Although it calls for grating the chocolate, the heat from the cream mixture is sufficient to melt the two types of chocolate if you simply break it into small squares. I always add a pinch of sea salt to my ice cream to pull out the flavors, and I recommend doing so with this recipe. I let the cooked mixture cool for 45 minutes to reach room temperature before adding it to my Cuisinart ice cream machine. You can speed up the process by chilling it in your refrigerator. A warning: This is a very rich recipe. I suggest cutting back on the cream by half, and increasing the milk to make this less rich. It still will be scrumptious. My next batch will include add-ons of chopped toasted walnuts or dry roasted almonds, and perhaps white and dark chocolate, if I really want to be bad!

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jul 07, 2011

This is a fantastic chocolate ice cream recipe. It was quick and easy to prepare, and although I was skeptical about pouring it into the ice cream maker within a half-hour of cooking the custard, it worked perfectly! When I tasted it directly from the ice cream maker, it had the texture of a creamy mousse, almost like gelato. It was full of chocolate flavor, but wasn’t too sweet. I served it a couple of hours after it was churned. The light, creamy, mousse-like texture held, and the flavor was truly decadent. It was both rich and refreshing at the same time. The only thing I’d add would be a dollop of whipped cream.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Jul 07, 2011

My tasters loved this ice cream. It’s about as perfect as chocolate ice cream can be, with a rich, chocolate flavor and a moderate level of sweetness. It’s as easy to prepare as any custard-based ice cream. The mixture took about two hours to cool in the refrigerator. A bit longer or overnight would’ve been better, but we just couldn’t wait to taste it. The next time I make this, I’ll put the mixture in the freezer to cool so we won’t have to wait quite so long!

Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Jul 07, 2011

This is a super-rich, dense, chocolate ice cream. The texture is superb. There’s just the slightest tang from the buttermilk, which combines well with the bitter, but somewhat fruity, taste of the chocolate. This is not a very sweet ice cream, which is just fine if, like me, you don’t have a big sweet tooth. You could have a little fun with this recipe by adding some chile pepper and/or cinnamon. But as-is, this is a winner if you like an intense chocolate ice cream, with a dense, smooth texture.

Testers Choice
Carrie S.

Jul 07, 2011

The deep, dark chocolate flavor in this ice cream is wonderfully pronounced but thankfully not bitter, and the accompanying tang of buttermilk is subtle and very welcome as it cuts the richness of this luscious ice cream. One small scoop of the creamy, rich goodness was plenty for the adult tasters (the kid tasters weren’t around, but I suspect that some would have preferred a milk chocolate ice cream). So far, my favorite way to serve this ice cream is with something fresh and tart like raspberries or blackberries. For this batch, I used Valhrona chocolate, but I wonder how different the taste would be with a different brand. I rarely make ice cream so I wasn’t certain how light and fluffy the egg yolks and sugar should be—the mixture turned a pale yellow color quickly, but seemed far off from light and fluffy. I kept whisking for a few more minutes but did wonder if it was enough since it never reached the fluffy stage. I might try a handheld mixer for this step the next time to speed this step up. It took about four hours to cool in the fridge. If I make this again, I’d probably leave it overnight.

Comments
Comments
  1. Wonder if you could replace the buttermilk with plain whole milk yogurt? The fat content of the yogurt is higher, so perhaps reduce the heavy cream at the same time?

    Purely a situational request — I always have yogurt on-hand, but rarely have buttermilk (I use thinned yogurt in almost all recipes calling for it).

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I’m going to ask some of our more experienced ice cream makers to weigh in, Katy. Without trying it, I can’t say for certain. You’ll lose a little of the tang, and I wonder if perhaps the texture may be not quite as smooth, depending on that fat content. I wouldn’t tinker with the amount of heavy cream…but stand by, we’ll get some more opinions for you…

    • Allison Parker says:

      Not sure about the yogurt, but a common way to substitute for buttermilk if you don’t have any store-bought on hand is to put about a Tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup and add milk (to bring total liquid to 1 cup). Mix and let stand about 5 mins or so.

      I think I’d try this before adjusting the fat content via yogurt or the reduction of cream. But I’m also curious to know whether you try the yogurt, if it works. I usually have yogurt (and lemons and milk) on hand, but not as often buttermilk.

      Of course, I also like cornbread and when I make that I have leftover buttermilk. Now, with this ice cream, I know what to do with the leftovers!

  2. Jared says:

    This looks simply amazing. The picture makes me crave ice cream!!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      It is truly a delectable photo. Worth blowing a diet or two.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Wait till you give this a whirl, Jared. It is Every Bit As Amazing as it appears. Honest.

  3. Christine Chronis says:

    Most intense, smoothest, creamiest, deepest, darkest chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had!

    • David Leite says:

      I made this with the aforementioned Christine Chronis, a food writer, at her Mount Desert Island home, and I have to say it was the most intense punch of chocolate I’ve had in a ice cream in years. It’s sinful.

      All that grating does take time. You can dispense with it by putting the chocolate in a mini-chop, but be very, very mindful the heat from the motor doesn’t melt the chocolate.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      (Happy chocolate dance!)

  4. The One says:

    A day without some type of deep dark chocolate for me is a day almost not worth living. This ice cream gave me two of my favorite things–intensely deep, dark chocolate in an incredibly smooth and delicious ice cream. I absolutely loved, loved, loved it!! It was definitely worth the effort. A true chocholic’s perfect fix!!!

  5. O. says:

    An ice cream maker in this house would be very dangerous for the resident waistlines, so when I came across this recipe, I merely printed it and dreamed. However, when some friends, who just happen to have an ice cream maker, invited us over for dinner I asked if I could suggest the dessert. The lady of the house confessed that she had never made a custard-based ice cream, but she was certainly willing to give it a try. So, I don’t know if it is fair to offer a comment on a recipe that one has not personally made (is it?), but I feel compelled to get the word out about this FABULOUS ice cream. It’s intense without being bitter, silken in texture, rich, seductive – just downright scrumptious! Try it! I wonder what just a teensy pinch of cayenne powder would add to it?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Splendid to hear, O! I like the way you think. (And yes, completely fair to comment on a recipe that someone else made especially for you.)

  6. Nice post. Ice cream seems like the best dessert any child would ever want. Thanks for sharing.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi, Ice Cream Magic. Yup, you are so right. Ice cream is the perfect dessert for kids and adults alike.

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