July 13th, 2012

Chocolate Sorbet


The first time I tasted Chocolate Sorbet, it spun me into a state of denial. I could not believe that this creamy-dreamy, deepest-darkest chocolate confection had no cream, no milk, no eggs, nada.

“It’s basically chocolate and water, ” the waiter informed with a shrug.

“Impossible,” I muttered, and then dipped my spoon in for another bite. Firm yet silken, ice cold yet melty, the sorbet dissolved on my tongue, cloaking it in über-rich layers of flavor. Hints of cinnamon, butter, berry, coffee, and caramel emerged. And lingered. I looked over at my friend Wendy, who was having a St. Teresa of Avila moment. Ecstasy.

“This is the best dessert I’ve ever put in my mouth,” she finally spoke.

We were guests at a fundraising dinner held at a fine restaurant. The dessert course, two bourbon-pecan squares sidled by this sublime scoop, was the highlight of the evening. That was almost two years ago. I filed the experience away as one to revisit and, with luck, recreate.


So you can imagine my excitement when I came across this Chocolate Sorbet recipe last month. Created by ice cream maven and Parisian food writer, David Lebovitz, it is the ne plus ultra of frozen chocolate treats. The concise list of ingredients aligned with the information from that waiter:

Water-Sugar-Cocoa Powder-Chocolate,
pinch of salt, drop of vanilla.

This had to be it.

I had everything in my pantry.
Well, almost.
No ice cream maker.

I dashed out to buy one.


I located a small (one quart) and cheap ($22.) machine. As soon as I got home, I put its inner canister into my freezer to get super-cold. The next day was Father’s Day, and I had planned a food gift for my dad. At 85, he doesn’t need or want any thing, but a special meal always pleases him. Especially when chocolate is involved. The sorbet would be the pinnacle for the chocoholic.

Manufacturer’s directions recommend a 24 hour freezing period. We didn’t have that full cycle; 16 hours would have to suffice.


Like anything you cook, the quality of the ingredients is key to success. When faced with such a terse ingredient list, that axiom becomes all the more crucial. Your sorbet will only be wonderful as your bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. I had two bars of 70% Scharfen Berger artisan chocolate and a container of Ghirardelli premium unsweetened cocoa.


I’ve made the sorbet three times now. The first time, for my dad, yielded rich and creamy results—yet it was soupy. The canister needs the full 24 hour deep-freeze time prior to churning. My dad didn’t mind. He ate a bowl of sorbet soup and moaned. “This is too good. Maybe the best.” he said. “The chocolate just stays in your mouth.”

He was right. There is something so pure, so direct and immediate about the sorbet experience–an intense chocolate delivery system!

He let the rest harden overnight in his freezer, and blissfully devoured it within a couple of days.

The second time I was over-anxious, and forgot a critical step: the hand-held blender part, where the mix is initially whirred and frothed before cooling. It was still a delicious batch, but denser.


Third time’s a charm: I followed all the steps, and modified the recipe slightly. I substituted Turbinado sugar for 1/2 of the sugar requirement, and increased the vanilla. Incredible, I tell you.

I also learned that regardless of freezer time, the sorbet has a high meltdown factor, once scooped.

No matter. You’ll not be able to let this pure chocolate delight languish in a bowl for any time, at all.


CHOCOLATE SORBET, adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 1/4 c. Water, divided ( 1 1/2 c. and 3/4 cup)
3/4 c. Cocoa
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Turbinado Sugar
pinch of Salt
6 oz. high-quality bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1 t. Vanilla

Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of water, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a 2 quart saucepan set on medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let it boil for almost one minute, while you continue to whisk.

Remove from heat, and pour into mixing bowl. Add chopped chocolate, stirring until melted throughout.
Whisk in vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup water.
Pour into a blender, or use your hand-held blender, and mix for 30 seconds.
Place into the refrigerator and allow to cool completely. Mixture will be thick.
Place mixture into frozen canister and churn for at least 20 minutes.
Return canister to the freezer and let set.

Scoop and enjoy immediately.


Posted in Chocolate, Desserts, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan

29 Responses to “Chocolate Sorbet”
  1. mark Says:


    gives me a case of the wants…

  2. Eileen Says:

    Sometimes the simplest things are just the best, right? Love the ease of this beautiful sorbet!

  3. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    Even though I am reading this in early morning, you have jump-started a craving. Beautiful.

  4. Barbara Says:

    Sorbets are perfect for summer, aren’t they? And David Lebovitz recipes are the best! This one looks dark and dangerous!

  5. Kath Says:

    Oh my goodness, that sounds and looks very good indeed.

  6. Wendy Says:

    Yeah! You did it. Now when may I have some—i’ve been needing another St Teresa moment–

  7. Renee Says:

    Dang! I’m so impressed.

  8. ernestine lawson Says:

    Oh, this sounds wonderful.
    No freezer container
    but will have to purchase one.
    All your recipes are winners :)

  9. heather Says:

    Wow and imagine this with Venchi chocolate!

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    I know, Heather—it would be incredible. I used my last 3 oz. bar in the batch for my dad, which held 3 kinds of chocolate. Really really really amazing taste.
    Someday–To make the batch entirely with Venchi!

  11. Beth Says:

    If it’s a David Lebovitz recipe, it must be awesome! Nicely done!

  12. Candy Cossuth Says:

    I recently learned here is a way to make ice cream without an ice cream maker: the way it was done before there were home ice cream makers.

    After cooking your favorite ice cream mixture, put in bowl and freeze. Mix it again and then put small bowl into a larger bowl that has ice and rock or kosher salt and return to fridge or freezer. Stir every half hour until it is consistency you like. The more you whip it the creamier it gets.

  13. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thank you, Candy—that is a terrific tip that I’d like to try, and I’m sure many others, who don’t have an ice cream maker.

  14. Amy (Savory Moments) Says:

    What a lovely and simple dessert. It looks so chocolatey and refreshing!

  15. fluffy Says:


    I would love this

  16. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    you had me at chocolate and then I saw the word SORBET behind it and I am immediately craving it! Love icey cold sorbet and the idea of it tasting like chocolate is music to my ears!

  17. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    I didn’t know how much I was missing chocolate, beautiful dark chocolate, until now.

  18. Teresa, foodonfifth.com Says:

    My ice cream freezer is almost my favorite kitchen electric gizmo. It is always in my freezer ready to be filled and plugged in when inspiration strikes. What wonderful things can be made in one. Your sorbet is so perfectly perfect. I can almost close my eyes and taste it.

  19. Mary Says:

    This looks wonderful, Nancy. I have made many of David’s recipes and they never fail to impress me.

  20. Tammy Says:

    Nancy, it looks amazing. I’m quite taken with some of David L’s recipes. My old icecream maker broke and I just re-invested so will have to delve into this one.

  21. Magda | My Little Expat Kitchen Says:

    Nancy, you are a woman after my own heart. I am a declared chocoholic and this recipe is my dream come true. I will definitely try this. I’ll let you know how it went! Thank you for sharing it!

  22. Juliana Says:

    Wow, I didn’t know that you could make chocolate sorbet…love it! Like the idea of not to have to use an ice cream maker ;-)
    Thanks for the recipe Nancy and hope you are having a wonderful week :)

  23. Rach Says:

    A woman on a mission – you went and bought a machine, brilliant and clearly a wise and extremely delicious investment There is a gelateria in Rome called setimo gelo that does a fantastic chocolate sorbet, i think you should come visit and we can go tasting (all in he name of research) obviously.

  24. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    This chocolate sorbet sounds sensational and something that I will be eager to try. Did you end up adding cinnamon to the sorbet? I see a picture of it but not in the ingredients list. Pinning this!

  25. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Christine–I didn’t add cinnamon—but the bittersweet chocolate that I used conjured up that taste, along with other flavor notes. Adding a pinch of spice would be delicious.

  26. Faith Says:

    I am looking at this very longingly right now, lol. I have an ice cream maker that doesn’t get nearly enough use and I think this is just the remedy. ;)

  27. Shaila Says:

    I’m curious–why the switch to turbinado ?

  28. goodfoodmatters Says:

    I had turbinado on hand, and I like the richer sweetness that it imparts. But you can make this with plain sugar as well.

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