I really like the chocolate sorbet by Double Rainbow ice cream (a San Francisco company, by the way), but as I was hovering over the freezer case at Trader Joe’s, I thought to myself–I can make this at home. I had a chocolate sorbet recipe that came with my ice cream machine that I liked, but it was only good, not great, so I went hunting for a new one. And then I came across this one in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. It uses both chopped chocolate and cocoa powder, a combination that reminds me of the fantastic hot chocolate recipe from Pierre Hermé in Jeffrey Steingarten’s It Must’ve Been Something I Ate. I’m not certain exactly what using both powder and chopped chocolate does chemically, but it results in an incredibly rich concoction–almost like eating frozen fudge. Once we tried this recipe, we knew we didn’t have to go searching any further.

Chocolate Sorbet


  • 2 1/4 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (the bittersweet Pound Plus bar from Trader Joe’s is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, or 1/2 a vanilla bean. If using a vanilla beam split and scrape out the seeds with a knife.


  1. In a four-quart saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.
  3. Let it boil, whisking constantly, for 45 seconds. If it begins to boil over, remove quickly from heat until the foaming subsides.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.
  5. Let sit a few minutes and then stir to combine.
  6. Add the remaining water and vanilla extract (or vanilla bean) and pour into a blender.
  7. Blend for 45 seconds and pour mixture into a bowl.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
  9. Freeze in an ice cream machine following the manufacturer’s directions.
  10. If it’s too soft when finished freezing, it can help to put the sorbet in an air tight container and freeze for a few hours to firm the mixture.


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