David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet

By • June 12, 2012 71 Comments

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Author Notes: Despite having no dairy or eggs, this sorbet is impossibly creamy. It also remains perfectly scoopable without going 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. Recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2007)Genius Recipes

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
  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it's melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.

More Great Recipes: Ice Cream|Chocolate|Desserts|Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts

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Comments (71) Questions (2)


24 days ago Juju Sprinkles

Oh wow, no need for ice cream machine! This is fantastic! Here are 30 ice cream to try for the summer in SF: http://bit.ly/1hlILpT


about 1 year ago LLStone

I'm late to the party, but this is really great! I just made a batch for an ice cream social at work, and it's fantastic.


about 1 year ago Betsy Traub

I accidentally mixed all of the water to cook ingredients instead of some of the water and it still turned out beautifully. Super creamy and very rich. A little dollop of fresh whipped cream would be a great addition!


about 1 year ago ellencooks

Diana - see Robert Cardinalli's comment below how he made it without an ice cream machine.


about 1 year ago Diana

how do i make this without an ice-cream machine?


over 1 year ago Barney Wrobel

Why add the water in 2 parts? I'm going to try adding all the water in stage 1 and see what happens...either way, with both cocoa AND dark chocolate, this proves to be an intense sorbet. (love the espresso & amaretti addition, ellencooks)


over 1 year ago ellencooks

Barney - hope I caught you before you made the sorbet. Yes, you are right, it is a very intense chocolate dessert and very tasty. Do not make the same mistake I did. Forgetting the recipe called for adding the water in stages, I just did it in one. The result was a very hard sorbet, so hard as a matter of fact, it had to come out of the freezer 30-40 minutes before serving. Do the two stage water...you will be happier!


over 1 year ago Sharon

I am thinking of trying this onto try this on the frozen dessert setting in my Vitamix. Any thoughts?


over 1 year ago Vitaj

Try a tablespoon or so of vodka or some other alcohol in the recipe - it seems to keep a coconut-milk ice cream that I make pretty scoopable.


over 1 year ago Perrin Harkins

I enjoy the flavor of this, but I'm amazed at the description that it doesn't get hard in the freezer. In my freezer (set to the recommended 0 F and checked with a thermometer) it gets so hard that it has to sit out for 20 minutes before it can be scooped. My guess is that the Lindt 70% chocolate that I used has less sugar and more cocoa solids and cocoa butter. That would cause the mixture to freeze more completely. I'm experimenting with invert sugar to try make a softer version that can be scooped directly from the freezer, but that may not be possible without a lot more sugar.


over 1 year ago LilyB612

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can always just use your food processor by putting the bowl in your freezer (with the makings of cold deliciousness inside) and taking it out to process your sorbet every hour or so until it's done. Works great!!


over 1 year ago palakh jain

can we make the chocolate sorbet without the icecream maker?


almost 2 years ago Diane

Oh. My. Frozen brownie batter is the closest way I describe this. Don't make my mistake and skip the "cool completely" step, my mixture didn't even budge into a slushy state in the ice cream maker. I threw it in the freezer and found dreaded ice crystals this morning. I melted it slightly and ran it through the food processor, good as new, creamy, lush and utterly divine!


almost 2 years ago Felicia Smith

I don't have 6 oz of semisweet chocolate. I do have cocoa powder that has a recipe on the side to convert the coca powder to baking chocolate. Could I just make that? Will it be the same?


almost 2 years ago Robert Cardinalli

My ice cream freezer did not operate at the last minute so I just froze this in a container. It worked perfectly, not a hint of ice crystals. It was a little more dense than it would have been using the ice cream freezer but this just added to the decadence of the experience. All my guests swooned.


almost 2 years ago fhp

I have never owned an ice cream maker. Does anyone have any suggestions for a first timer with little need for big batches.


almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

fhp, check out Robert Cardinalli's comment above if you haven't seen it already.


about 2 years ago tota

We just made this again for a birthday dinner---for a chef, no less. It was perfection,everyone loved it, and easy as long as you have good quality chocolate on hand. Am curious about the espresso addition tho, so next time will try this.


about 2 years ago ellencooks

I have been using a T of espresso powder in the water mixture. Fabulous! And finish with a sprinkle with crushed amaretti cookies. I make this every month for the husband.


about 2 years ago Kat Gál

can i use coconut sugar?


about 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I haven't tried it, but I think it would be fine -- let us know if you do!


about 2 years ago Sondra

I made this yesterday in a Cuisinart ice cream freezer, but the sorbet did not freeze after 45 minutes in the freezer. So I put it into a container and into the freezer overnight and it still didn't freeze. What's up with that? I followed the directions exactly as listed. The flavor was to die for, but the product did not freeze!


about 2 years ago kiki's cucina

Sounds like your freezer may not be cold enough? It sounds as though it not set to a low enough temperature to either freeze your ice cream maker insert or a slightly thick liquid. There is nothing wrong with the recipe and I suspect you will find that your ice cream machine will work (with any recipe, whether ice cream, sorbet, or gelato) within 20-25 minutes, if it is properly frozen:-)


over 2 years ago shoka2005

I don't have ice cream machine
could you tell me what to do in this condtion ,please ?