Midnight Chocolate Ice Cream

Made with a combination of black cocoa and dark chocolate to produce the deepest chocolatey taste imaginable. Perfect for those indulgent summer afternoons when only a rich frozen treat will do. 



darkest chocolate ice cream


If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know I have a deep appreciation for the darker side of chocolate. My cookie recipes tend to favor 70% chocolate, and every cocoa-based recipe on the site uses dutch process. A beloved recipe here is this chocolate mascarpone buttercream, and although my primary focus for that recipe was the cheese; it gets a lot of attention because of the dark & rich color of the cake and the buttercream which had some black cocoa in it. And while we are on that…


What is Black Cocoa?

If you haven’t heard of it before, it might sound like an exotic ingredient, but chances are you’ve already tasted (and loved!) it because it’s what’s used to make Oreos. Black cocoa is exceptionally dark in color and rich in taste a result of the removal of all the fat in the alkalizing process (sometimes you might hear it referred to as double dutch cocoa).


Midnight Chocolate Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe uses a combination of black cocoa and dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) to make super dark, aka ‘midnight’. As much as I love using black cocoa, I rarely go all in with it because it tends to be bitter in taste – very different than the chocolate we as a society have become accustomed to consuming (which frankly, is a lot closer to milk chocolate). But in this recipe, I go all in with the black cocoa for a deep effect. And, because I also use melted chocolate which rounds out the chocolatey taste. Together the two ingredients produce the deepest, richest homemade chocolate ice cream recipe.



darkest chocolate ice cream


Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream

Most chocolate ice cream recipes are custard based; this means they use a combination of egg yolks and dairy which make the ‘cream’ part of our dish. The fat in the yolks is what keeps the consistency smooth, even when frozen. Alternatively, Philadelphia style ice cream doesn’t have eggs and gets its smooth consistency from other ingredients or methods; this NYT recipe uses quite a bit of corn syrup (you guys know corn syrup is not a favorite ingredient of mine) and Jeni uses a mix of corn syrup (though not nearly as much as NYT), cream cheese and cornstarch to achieve the custard texture without the eggs.

Guess what? We need none of those here! The fat from the chocolate, even though it’s heavy on the cocoa solids, is enough to give us perfectly creamy and smooth ice cream – even when frozen solid, like this popular David Lebovitz sorbet. In developing this recipe, I kept David’s chocolate method in mind and I remembered an eggless chocolate recipe from Amy over at Chew Out Loud which I had made and loved a few years ago (I especially appreciate her use of brown sugar).

Note: this ice cream can be a bit grainy from the cocoa. That doesn’t come through when you eat it, it’s very smooth, but you might be able to see small granules when it’s frozen. Make sure to cook the cocoa & sugar enough so that you get rid of most of those. 


darkest chocolate ice cream

darkest chocolate ice cream


How to make midnight chocolate ice cream

  1. Warm the cream, pour over the chocolate. Mix to make a thin ganache.
  2. Heat the sugar, milk, cocoa and salt until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add ganache to the mix and whisk to combine.
  4. Remove from heat, add vanilla and then chill the base overnight.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker the next day.


Speaking of that, yes you’ll need a machine! I used to use an ice cream bowl attachment to my stand mixer but was recently gifted the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence machine and I much prefer it. The bowl is smaller (fits easier in the freezer) and it works quicker too. Definitely recommend! The machine itself is also not so huge that it takes up so much counter space (bonus for my small kitchen lol). 


darkest chocolate ice cream


Ingredients & Substitutions

Chocolate: At least 70% cocoa solids. Lindt is widely available at grocery stores and is one of my favorites. Theo Chocolate is another favorite (so smooth!). Do not use chocolate chips, even if they are dark. The chips contain wax to help them keep shape and won’t melt as well. 

Cocoa: For the darkest effect I use KAF’s black cocoa. If you don’t want to invest in a new ingredient, you can use dutch process cocoa. I recommend Guittard’s Rouge (the hue of the ice cream will be lighter and possibly a bit reddish brown). 

Heavy Cream: aka heavy whipping cream. It’s possible you could use canned coconut milk as a substituion but I haven’t tried it. 

Milk: Whole milk is best and 2% will work fine. I wouldn’t use a lower fat percentage as it might affect the creaminess of the final product. If you are trying to make this vegan, you might use soy or almond (but if you have it or know how to make it I bet hazelnut milk would be amazing here!) 

Vanilla: use pure vanilla, not artificial. If you are using the extract and not the paste (the paste is thicker, shows the bean speckles) you’ll need a little less. Use your judgement by tasting it. Also, if you feel very fancy you could scrape down a vanilla bean. 

Sugar: Dark brown because of the increased molasses flavor which adds a deeper caramel-y dimension. You can substitute with light brown if you only have that. 

Salt: I use fine sea salt so this is how I wrote my recipe. If you have something else, start with 1/2 teaspoon and taste it to see if you like more. 


5 from 2 reviews

Midnight Chocolate Ice Cream

August 5, 2020
: Easy

A creamy dark, rich chocolate ice cream featuring 70% chocolate and black cocoa.


  • Β½ cup black cocoa
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate 70-75% cocoa solids
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
  • ΒΎ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Step 1 Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  • Step 2 In a pot, warm the cream until bubbly around the edges. Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has fully melted and you have a thin, smooth ganache. Set aside.
  • Step 3 In the same pot add the milk, sugar, sea salt and black cocoa. Whisk to combine then cook over medium heat while whisking until the sugar and cocoa granules dissolve, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the ganache to the pot and whisk mixture together until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Check that salt/vanilla is to your taste.
  • Step 5 Pour base into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, to catch any unmixed lumps. Cover the bowl and set in fridge overnight or for at least 8 hours. Freeze ice cream machine bowl, if using.
  • Step 6 The next day churn the ice cream according to machine instructions.


dark chocolate ice cream

6 thoughts on “Midnight Chocolate Ice Cream”

  • Very good! rich chocolate flavor which is lovely. I used the Cuisinart ice cream maker that she used and it worked really well. a lot of the recipe is waiting and the active mixing part doesn’t take very long, so it was pretty easy for a first timer. Only thing was that I found as the ice cream froze for longer that it became more grainy in texture. still good, but not as creamy as some in-store ice creams. Not sure if it’s something I did. my mom says that can be more typical of home made ice creams

    • Hi Lexy, yay can’t believe you already made it! It does get grainy with time in the freezer, I think that is the cocoa. Have you ever bought Dolcezza’s ice cream? Their dark chocolate does the same thing. I speculate it has something to do with the cocoa separating from the base. I have it on mind to find a way to prevent this

  • Hi! Maybe my brain is tired and this is a stupid question, but I usually bake by weight and I’m so puzzled trying to figure out how exactly you measure 1 cup of chopped chocolate since it varies so much by how finely you chop it! πŸ˜… like the Lindt bars are 3.5 oz, do you have a typical number of bars you use that I can go off of? Thanks! πŸ™ƒ

    • Hi Kelsey! Not a stupid question at all. Honestly, I just chop into ‘chocolate chip’ sizes and pile it in until I reach a cup. I love those lindt bars! I’d say 1 bar would equal about 3/4 cup. So for this recipe, a bar and a quarter of another? if that makes sense!

      • Okay perfect! I got two just in case πŸ€— I need to do a cake order over the next two days and then I am TOTALLY rewarding myself with this ice cream πŸ˜‚πŸ™ŒπŸ» Thanks!

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