Oh, my...

Wait a minute – you say I can make this ridiculously decadent looking treat at home?

Sure – I did. Which means you can, too.

All you need is...

Chocolate – as in cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Plus water, sugar, and vanilla; easy enough, right? A touch of salt and espresso powder add flavor, but both are optional. As is the Kahlua (or alcohol of your choice). While highly recommended to enhance "scoopability," give it a pass if you don't do hard liquor.

Wait a minute – where's the cream? Isn't ice CREAM made out of heavy cream?

Indeed it is. But this isn't ice cream – it's sorbet. I know, usually when you think sorbet, you think strawberry or mango – something made with fruit, right?

But chocolate sorbet?

Well, why not?

Sorbet, a fruit ice typically made with water, sugar, and fruit purée, is a delicious vehicle for chocolate, as well. You'd never guess this rich, creamy treat is dairy-free.

There are many chocolate sorbet recipes available online; our thanks to authors Ina Garten and David Lebovitz for the inspiration responsible for this version: a rich (yet low-fat), silky-smooth, intensely chocolate dessert.

PicMonkey Collage2

Combine the following in a medium-sized saucepan:

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa; our All-Purpose Baking Cocoa is a good choice
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups water

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the chips and sugar are dissolved.


Remove from the heat, and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons Kahlua or vodka. The alcohol is optional, but will prevent the sorbet form becoming rock-hard in the freezer. If you prefer not to use it, just make sure to remove the sorbet from the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it, to soften.

Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; overnight is best.


Start making the sorbet at least 4 hours before you want to serve it. Pour the chocolate into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker, and freeze for 25 minutes or so.

Can you make this without an ice cream maker? Yes, you can; it will taste the same, but will be crunchy/granular rather than smooth. See instructions at the end of this post.


After 20 to 25 minutes, the sorbet will still be quite soft; that's just fine.


Transfer to a storage container, and freeze for several hours before serving, to firm up.


Isn't that just the deepest-darkest chocolate ice "cream" you've ever seen?

With the only fat coming from the half cup of chocolate chips (plus a tiny bit from the cocoa powder), this is a much lower-fat confection (5g fat per serving) than my other favorite chocolate ice cream: Ben & Jerry's Phish Food (13g fat per serving).

Less guilt, more pleasure – in every bite!

Read, make and review (please) our recipe for Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

To make sorbet without an ice cream maker: Make the chocolate mixture, but omit the alcohol. Place the mixture in a shallow pan; an 8" x 8" square pan or 9" round cake pan are both good choices. Place the pan in the freezer. There's no need to cover it.

After 2 hours, use a fork or spoon to stir it around, bringing the frozen edges into the center. Return to the freezer.

Continue to stir every hour or so, until the sorbet is nearly as firm as you like. This may be as little as 4 hours total, start to finish; or it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer.

Once the sorbet is entirely icy (like a slush drink), add the alcohol, if you're using it. Rather than add the alcohol while the sorbet is still in its shallow pan, transfer the sorbet to a lidded storage bowl. Stir in the alcohol, then cover the bowl and place it in the freezer. Let the sorbet "ripen" (freeze), undisturbed, for several more hours, until it's as hard as you like.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.&nbsp...
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