David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet

June 13, 2012

Every week -- often with your help -- FOOD52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: The creamiest vegan chocolate sorbet you'll ever meet.

Shop the Story

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)?

I am happy to report that you needn't worry about any of that with this chocolate sorbet from David Lebovitz -- ice cream whisperer and patron saint of all things sweet. No, you needn't worry at all.


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

See a slideshow and the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Nicole Franzen


Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Janneke Verheij
    Janneke Verheij
  • lisabu
  • Mlouise
  • NYanne
  • srcerer
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Janneke V. June 30, 2013
Nice writing. And delicious ice cream. A teaspoon of orange blossom water gives a nice extra fragrance. I want to try to use date syrup instead of sugar, anyone tried this already?
lisabu March 21, 2013
I never thought i'd like this because of the lack of cream but it is FABULOUS. Making it with Alice Medrich's coconut macaroons for Passover (pareve).
Mlouise March 19, 2013
I am somewhat sceptical that the consistency would be right. Worth a try if you have the time. There are several types of sugar substitute that are designed for baking so who knows?
NYanne March 19, 2013
has anyone made this sorbet with sugar substitute? If so what are the measurements?
srcerer June 26, 2012
"This is a home run," my partner exclaimed! My bread didn't do so well today but I'm thrilled this sorbet was delectable. We are new to making ice cream and this was my first sorbet. I used Valrhona cocoa & Araguani. The finish was a slightly powdery and I'm not sure if it the product or the process. I'm going to try the next batch with Manjari to see if there is a difference.
belby0 June 20, 2012
Wow! So easy and delicious. I'm so excited to have this in my recipe arsenal! And it's so much more justifiable - dark chocolate's health benefits and all :-)
kate H. June 19, 2012
I made this for Father's Day for my chocolate loving dad and my husband and it was wonderful. It was creamy and rich and fabulous. I lover David's recipes and am enjoying following this blog as well.
CocoJ June 18, 2012
Made this in a flash last night for last minute dinner guests! F A B U L O U S! Doesn't take much, served in small ramekins with a little dash of fleur de was the perfect ending to a wonderful Fathers Day meal! I used 30z bittersweet and 3 oz semi....
Casey2 June 16, 2012
I made this following the recipe exactly and sorry to say, it turned out pretty grainy/icy, not what I would call "creamy". Tasted great, however. Too bad!
mcs3000 June 14, 2012
Alway love reading your work - beautiful writing, Kristen. David's recipes are genius. The way he folds melted chocolate into his mint-chip ice cream is a game-changer.
Mlouise June 13, 2012
As I read, I am sneaking tastes of this fabulous sorbet ..hope to have enough to serve my guests tonight. Found the recipe in some old notes so glad that i made it.
Kenzi W. June 13, 2012
I'm guessing that the way this was devoured in the test kitchen does not fall under "guest-appropriate?"
LillyHeather June 13, 2012
If you're making this for vegans, make sure you use vegan chocolate. Some brands, like Baker's, are made with dairy like "milk solids."
The T. June 13, 2012
Must try this! Just love this blog!
isabelita June 13, 2012
OMG! What's not to like.
jbban June 13, 2012
David's chocolate gelato recipe (from Ready for Dessert) is the most intensely chocolate experience I've ever had.
inge June 13, 2012
In France I ate the most fine icecream/sorbets ever. This reminds me on it, the chocolate, i ate, was also a sorbet, but more flavor then the one made with milk ....
Look at :
Colleen F. June 13, 2012
Oh. Oh. Oh. I cannot wait to make this. J'adore dark chocolate. Thank you for a fabulous-looking recipe. Summer just got better!
Coffeecat June 13, 2012
Looks luscious - I've worked with David before and his recipes are flawless. Of course, I'm sure we followers of Food52 would not be averse to receiving Nozlee's recipe for buckwheat cookies either!
Nozlee S. June 13, 2012
Sadly, it's not my recipe -- but it's from Alice Medrich, of the genius coconut macaroons! Here it is, reprinted on Orangette:
Fairmount_market June 14, 2012
I just discovered these cookies, which are fabulous. Now I'll have to try them with this amazing sounding sorbet.
aargersi June 13, 2012
We are having vegans for dinner Friday. I mean, feeding them, not eating them. This just went on the menu!
Amanda H. June 13, 2012
Just read this aloud to everyone in the office. You're too much, aargersi!