Spiced Chocolate Sorbet (Dairy Free)

By Sally Cameron on September 13, 2011

Dairy Free, Dessert, the daniel plan

Rich and smooth, this spiced chocolate sorbet is a chocolate lovers dream dessert. It’s easy to make with just a few ingredients. And because it’s a sorbet, it’s dairy-free for your dairy-sensitive friends and family. It’s my go-to chocolate “ice cream” recipe, always enjoyed with rave reviews and cleanly–licked bowls.

chocolate sorbet | AFoodCentricLife.com

Spiced Chocolate Sorbet

When a cookbook automatically opens to a certain page, you know that recipe is often made and well loved. Such is page 120 in my copy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz . I adapted David’s recipe for chocolate sorbet by adding espresso powder and Chinese Five Spice for a fantastic, frozen, chocolately treat.

With a simple ingredient list and good quality chocolate in the pantry, the base for this sorbet takes just minutes to make. It’s easy to make because there is no tricky custard base to prepare. Just bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, organic cane sugar (or reduce the sugar with stevia), water, vanilla and my extras of espresso powder and spices

Discovering Chocolate Sorbet

I first encountered chocolate sorbet while apprenticing in a restaurant kitchen. The pastry station made a rich tasting chocolate “ice cream” I was surprised to find was really a sorbet. Technically a sorbet is made without dairy, so no milk or cream as with ice cream or gelato.  As bittersweet chocolate is dairy free, it’s a real treat for people with dairy sensitivities.

Although I love making homemade ice cream, I never tried to recreate it at home until I discovered this recipe. We were totally surprised at the deep, pure bittersweet chocolate flavor and smooth texture. I made it for a friend who is dairy allergic and he was thrilled. The base comes together quickly, followed by a chill down in an ice bath and chilling in the refrigerator until cold. Finally, process in your ice cream maker and allow it to firm up in the freezer.

chocolate sorbet | AFoodCentricLife.com

Tips on Making the Base

When cooking the base use a large pan of at least 5 quarts. Combine the water, cocoa and sugar (or stevia) and bring it to a boil for 45 seconds. At boiling, the chocolate base bubbles fiercely and rises quickly in the pan. Keep whisking. You do not want it to boil over. If it starts to get away from you, remove the pan from the heat briefly, keep whisking, and it will calm down. With a large enough pan you should not have a problem.

chocolate sorbet | AFoodCentricLife.com

Choosing Chocolate

This is a recipe that calls for high quality bittersweet chocolate (70% or higher). Chocolate stored in a cool pantry, well wrapped, lasts a long time. To order in quantity, or if good chocolate is not available where you live, shop online at Chocosphere. Use raw, natural, unsweetened cocoa powder.

Spice Options

Chinese Five Spice is a blend of cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger and clove. It has a great affinity for chocolate. You can use just cinnamon instead. Adding espresso powder accents the rich flavor of chocolate with no coffee flavor. It’s available in most grocery stores and online.

How to Reduce or Eliminate Sugar

If you want to reduce sugar in your diet, try using stevia. To make this sorbet I use 1/2 cup of natural organic sugar and two droppers full of the chocolate flavored liquid stevia made by Sweet Leaf. It’s available at many stores and online.

Tool Tips

If you don’t have a digital kitchen scale, I highly recommend you get one. Weighing ingredients is always more accurate. You will also need an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, here is your excuse to buy one.

Spiced Chocolate Sorbet with Espresso

Rich, smooth and a chocolate lovers dream, I adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz’s marvelous ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop by adding espresso powder and Chinese Five Spice for a surprising twist. To reduce sugar, try liquid chocolate flavored stevia drops. You’ll need an ice cream maker and a digital scale for tools.  
Course Dessert


  • 2 ¼ cups water divided use
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, 72%-85% chopped fine
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice or cinnamon
  • 2 droppers chocolate flavored liquid stevia


  • First prepare an ice bath in either a large bowl or the sink. Fill a large bowl about half full of ice and cold water and set aside. Or, if you have a double sink, plug and fill the small side with ice and cold water as your ice bath. Measure out all ingredients, chop your chocolate and set aside. The cooking goes quickly.
  • In a large saucepan (5 quarts), whisk together 1½ cups of water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking. Do not walk away from the pan as the mixture boils up and expands rapidly while cooking. Boil and whisk for 45 seconds then remove the pan from the heat. Immediately stir in the chocolate, vanilla, espresso and five spice, and if using, the chocolate stevia drops. Whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in the balance of the water (3/4 cup). Pour into a stainless steel bowl and place in the ice water bath. Stir occasionally until completely cool, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least an hour.
  • Pour chocolate base into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturers directions. It will be soft when finished. Freeze for several hours to firm up, then serve.


The original recipe uses 1 cup of sugar. To reduce sugar, use 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup granular stevia or two droppers full of chocolate flavored liquid stevia drops (which is what I use). Made by Sweet Leaf and available at many stores in the baking section and online.
No Comments
  1. susan - September 13th, 2011

    wow – that is such a great combo, Sally! I love the idea of adding Chinese Five Spice and would have never, never have thought of it. Sounds fantastic and I am sure everyone around you enjoyed it. When we get together, I would love to talk ALOT about coconut sugar! Let’s make our field trip plans!

  2. Sally - September 13th, 2011

    New Englanders are famous for eating ice cream all year long. I don’t put my machine away for the winter! and you can be sure I will be making this for my next party. Actually, I may just be making this for myself. The five-spice powder is a nice touch!

  3. Laura @ GotChocolate - September 17th, 2011

    Can I dive into that bowl of Chocolate sorbet??? Hmmm…

  4. Karen - October 29th, 2012

    Sally, can you hold the base until you want to make the ice cream, or should you just make it, then freeze? How long does it keep? Can you double instead of just 1 and 1/2 it?
    Loved this last night!!! Can you suggest a little garnish for it, shopped nuts? a syrup? any sort of flourish?

  5. Sally - October 29th, 2012

    Karen, yes you can make the base and refrigerate it for a few hours, even a day, then put it into the ice cream maker. The colder it is, the faster it freezes and turns into sorbet. This weekend I did a 2 1/2x batch which filled a 9.3 cup OXO container to the brim. For garnish, don’t even worry about it. Not needed! The intense chocolate flavor with the spice and espresso speaks for itself. Simplicity is good in this case. Any more questions email me! So glad you enjoyed it.

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