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Today: The creamiest vegan chocolate sorbet you'll ever meet.
There's a reason people eat a small, easily moderated square of dark chocolate after meals. It's intense, satisfying, life-affirming. It's all you need. You're not going to accidentally scarf a whole bar of 83% single-origin fancy stuff. (Unless you're pregnant, or on deadline -- and that's okay.) Scatter it through a cookie or stir in hot cream to make a ganache, and we have a different end to the story.
But you hear chocolate sorbet -- no milk, no cream, no eggs -- and perhaps you imagine something severe. You wouldn't want a bowl of 83% squares, so what are you supposed to do with this?
If milk chocolate ice cream is your childhood best friend, dark chocolate sorbet is her cool, sort of mean older sister. You want to be her friend, but what if she's bitter and aggressive and too deep? What if she makes you want to run back to the simple comforts of your old milky-sweet pal (or regress further, to shakes and fudgesicles)?
Yes, the chocolate flavor is deep and true, with low notes of cocoa powder mingling with the epic aria of bittersweet chocolate. But despite having no dairy or eggs (that's right, vegans!), it's impossibly creamy. How? Why? I can only imagine there's some nature-defying emulsification going on in there, a la a certain genius chocolate mousse.
It also remains perfectly scoopable -- it doesn't go hard or icy in the slightest, even after several days in the freezer. Lebovitz credits this remarkable consistency to the high proportion of bittersweet chocolate. This also means that it's quick-melting: it is a sorbet that thinks it's a gelato on line at the Vatican on a steamy August afternoon. Here, like there, you'd best eat quickly.
It should be noted that when I made it this recipe with standard-issue Dutch-processed cocoa and Baker's bittersweet chocolate, it was life-changing -- and you can only go up from there.
I've been known to spoon some up not just as an after work pick-me-up, but also first thing when I wake up, and as my last sweet bite before bed. I suppose I'm treating it like hot weather medicine (and it's working).
But you can also eat it in normal, guest-appropriate ways. Lebovitz himself points out, "This makes a great milkshake in the summer -- add a few shots of espresso for a delicious mocha shake." And our Assistant Editor Nozlee Samadzadeh -- who tipped me off to this recipe -- has served scoops of it at dinner parties with tiny buckwheat cookies.
Clearly, chocolate sorbet is still the cool older sister. But you just got invited to her party.
David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2007)
Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)
2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Photos by Nicole Franzen