Rich and smooth, this dark 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.
When a cookbook automatically opens to a certain page, you know that recipe is often made and well loved. Such is my copy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (the best ice cream book). To David Lebovitz's genius recipe I add espresso powder and Chinese Five Spice, but you can make it perfectly without. It's hard to believe it is dairy-free.
With a simple ingredient list and good quality chocolate in the pantry, the base for this sorbet takes just minutes to make. Please see the recipe card for measurements.
- Sugar: Use organic cane sugar or substitute monk fruit blend for part to reduce sugar. You can also add chocolate stevia drops.
- Cocoa powder: You'll need unsweetened natural cocoa powder.
- Dark chocolate: High quality bittersweet chocolate provides the best flavor, choose 72%-85%.
- Vanilla extract: Get the real stuff, not fake. Here is my favorite brand.
- Espresso powder: It's optional, but it brings out the best in the chocolate and you won't taste it.
- Spice: Another option. Try Chinese Five Spice or cinnamon.
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.
- First, set up an ice bath (note below). Get all ingredients ready and near the stove as the cooking goes quickly.
- Whisk together water, sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.
- Bring the base mixture to a boil in a large pot. The chocolate expands and rises very quickly as it comes to a boil so be aware and watch for it. Control the heat, whisk, and don't take your eyes off it. Cook for 45 seconds.
- Immediately remove the pan form the heat, stir in the chopped chocolate, espresso and spice if using, and vanilla extract.
- Add the rest of the water, pour the base into a stainless steel bowl and place the bowl into the ice bath to chill.
Chef's Tip: Set up an ice bath by filling a large wide bowl half full of ice and cold water. It needs to be large enough to get another bowl inside for cooling after cooking.
Tips on Making the Sorbet Base
When cooking the base use a large pan of at least 5 quarts. 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.
Choosing Dark 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.
How to Reduce or Eliminate Sugar
If you want to reduce sugar in this chocolate sorbet, use a monk fruit blend like this one or liquid chocolate stevia drops.
If you don’t have a digital kitchen scale, I highly recommend you get one. Weighing ingredients like chocolate 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.
For more ice cream, try the lemon recipe below. It's amazing if you love the flavor of lemon. And for more chocolate, try this super easy chocolate pudding called Pots de Creme.
⭐️Did you Make This?
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Spiced Chocolate Sorbet with Espresso
- Ice Cream Maker
- 2 ¼ cups water divided use
- ½ 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 (¾ 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.
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?
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.
Laura @ GotChocolate says
Can I dive into that bowl of Chocolate sorbet??? Hmmm...
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!
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!