Category Archives: Recipes

Triple Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Recipe

Organic Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

The richness of three chocolates and the textures of berries plus cacao nibs has made this our favorite summer indulgence

The best thing about having a home ice cream maker is not only can you dream up some remarkably imaginative flavors, you can also control every ingredient you use.  A home ice cream maker isn’t about saving money – it’s about unleashing this creative license and using exotic and top quality  ingredients.  For instance, you can bring into play completely organic ingredients or draw from what’s local and fresh.  Most ingredients I use in this recipe are not particularly exotic, except the cacao nibs.  I’ll tell you where to easily find those.

Now, I’m an extremely busy guy, so I like simplicity.  This recipe is easy, but still results in a decadent, super-rich ice cream that everyone loves.  Many chocolate ice cream recipes ask you to start by making an egg custard – not a complex process, but one that involves standing over a stove and eventually cleaning a pan.  Forget about it.  Eggs will make the ice cream richer, yes, but we’re talking about triple chocolate here!  This is rich enough, trust me.  No eggs required.

Organic Triple Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

Mashing Rasberries in a bowl

Mashing the raspberries in a bowl releases more intense flavors into the ice cream

You don’t need to make this organic, but it’s so easy to do, why not?  When I went shopping, the supermarket had organic raspberries for the same price as conventional, a no-brainer.  We also have a local farm where organic raspberries will be ready to pick later in the summer.  Try to take advantage of this healthy option in your area, if you can.

The links below show you where you can get top quality organic chocolate ingredients.  We will use three types of “chocolate” to make this ice cream:

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Key Ingredients

Three types of chocolate make for intriguing texture and dimension. Clockwise from top: organic cacao nibs, organic cocoa powder (unsweetened) and organic dark chocolate, 82% cacao.

1) Organic cocoa powder.  I used Grenada Chocolate Company organic cocoa.  They grow the cacao on the island of Grenada and use a low pressure cocoa press for the best flavor.

2) Dark chocolate – 70% cacao or higher.  I used 82% dark chocolate from Grenada Chocolate Company.  There is plenty of sugar in the ice cream, so go with at least 70% on the chocolate.  This was plenty sweet even for my four-year old.

3) Organic cacao nibs.  Cacao nibs are ground up bits of roasted cacao beans.  Nibs are the main starting material for a chocolate bar, so you can think of them as a “raw” form of chocolate.  In fact, I used Pacari Organic Chocolate raw nibs for their light nutty flavor and un-roasted flavor profile [2].

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounce container of fresh organic raspberries.   Frozen is fine – use about 2/3 cup in that case.
  • 1 cup organic half-and-half.
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder.
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
  • 2/3 cup organic sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 oz. organic dark chocolate 70% cacao or higher.  If you use Grenada Chocolate Company, this is about 1/2 a bar.
  • 2 tablespoons organic cacao nibs.  I recommend Pacari Raw Organic Cacao Nibs.
  • A home ice cream maker.  I used the Cuisinart ICE-21.  If you’re also using this particular model, I’ll give you a few extra tips at the end of the recipe.

Preparation

The final cream mixture

Use the same bowl and whisk to stir in everything but the chopped chocolate and nibs. Cover this bowl and chill.

Chop up the raspberries into quarters and put them in a medium bowl.  You might think that whole raspberries will look more impressive in the ice cream, but it’s better to mash them up to release the juice.  This will result in a much more flavorful treat as the raspberry flavors meld beautifully into the cream.  Mash the raspberries in the bottom of the bowl with a whisk until they are uniformly mashed up.  Remember – keep it simple.  Keep the food processor in the cabinet.  One bowl. One whisk.  Less to clean. Now stir in the half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder [1].  Once all the cocoa powder looks wet, stir in the cream.

Cover the bowl and put the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 to  1 1/2 hours.  In the mean time, chop the dark chocolate into pieces about the half the size of a pea.  I recommend a heavy, kind-of clunky knife for the job.

Take the chilled cream mixture and pour it into the machine and start churning.  After only about 5 minutes of churning or when you see a slight thickening of the mixture, slowly pour in the chopped chocolate and nibs.  Depending upon your machine, you should see the whole thing set up and expand in about 20 minutes or less.  The ice cream will still be relatively soft, but perfectly ready to eat now.  Put the rest into a tight-sealing container in the freezer and you will have hard ice cream in four to six hours.

My wife preferred the softer ice cream right out of the machine with the contrast of textures – soft raspberries, crunchy, but melt-able chocolate and grainy nibs.  I liked the dense-packed version that comes from freezing.  Either way, this stuff didn’t last long in our house.

Tips on Using the Cuisinart ICE-21 Ice Cream Maker

In some of the online reviews for this product, it seems a few people had trouble getting the machine to work well.  I’ve never had any real problems, so I’d like to share some ideas on how to get good results:

  1. Freeze the freezer bowl for at least four hours.  Overnight would be best.
  2. Make sure to place the freezer bowl in the bottom of the freezer so it’s resting against the bottom surface.  Placing it furthest from the door should help too.
  3. Don’t take the freezer bowl out of the freezer until just before you are ready to pour the ingredients in.
  4. Chill the mixed ingredients in the refrigerator for more than an hour before churning.  If you have room, put them in the freezer for an additional 10-15 minutes.  When I did this, the ice cream set up in the machine in only 10 minutes!  Be careful not to leave the mixture in the freezer for too long – you really don’t want it to freeze before churning.
  5. If you’re working in a real hot room, place a small dish over the hole in the top of the machine and put a few ice cubes in the dish as things are churning.
If you take some care to make sure things are really cold, you’ll easily make great ice cream.

Notes:

[1] If your ice cream maker does not allow you to add ingredients as you go, then stir in all the other ingredients now.

[2] Most cacao nibs would come from fermented and then roasted beans.  Pacari ferments their beans, but doesn’t roast them so that they can preserve more of the high antioxidant content and bright flavors of the original bean.

[3] I paid for all the ingredients used to make this recipe.

Whisking Up Some Zotter Bourbon Vanilla Drinking Chocolate

Zotter organic drinking chocolate in cup. The color varies from cream to light tan.

Zotter Bourbon Vanilla Drinking Chocolate is nothing like what your grandma made. Potent floral vanilla aroma rises up from the cup.

Wine drinkers usually fall into one camp or the other – “I usually drink red” or “I usually drink white” and the agnostics, those who happily drink whatever they’re handed are few and far between.  So knowing that I am a deep red kind of guy (think Cabernet, Red Zin, Syrah), I was a little reluctant to try this “blond” drinking chocolate.  Then I remembered this was Zotter – I guy who excels at breaking the rules to create something fun and unexpected from his Austrian chocolate factory.

Organic Drinking Chocolate

Zotter Bourbon Vanilla Drinking Chocolate Bar

The 20g bars use organic fair trade ingredients.

This unusual drinking chocolate is made from a blend of fair-trade certified organic ingredients including:  raw cane sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, almonds, sweet whey powder, and vanilla.  Now, I know that some of you are worried that there’s some kind of distilled spirit mixed in there somewhere, but you can relax knowing that “bourbon” is just a term given to vanilla from the Indian Ocean islands – such as Madagascar.  Of course if you want to throw some dark rum into your cup of drinking chocolate, it’s not a bad idea, but try it straight first – to get a sense for the subtle flavors and aromas.

The 20g bars use organic fair trade ingredients.

Even if you've never made hot chocolate from a bar, these will melt easily into warmed milk.

Because of the high cocoa butter content, it’s hard to imagine this in anything but bar form – something a bit alien to us Americans when it comes to hot chocolate. Have no fear, this uniquely European approach [1] is no more difficult to prepare than powder if not a bit easier. The bars melt readily into warmed milk and prep time is far less than 10 minutes even if you are fond of ritual and want to stand over the stove whisking gently and drinking up the natural aroma.  I basically followed the instructions on the back of the box that go something like this (edited for clarity):

Melt a bar of Zotter Drinking Chocolate in 100 mL to 200 mL hot frothy milk, then stir it well with a whisk.  Give the drinking chocolate a little bit of time to develop its flavor.  Enjoy it!

Whisking Zotter Vanilla Drinking Chocolate into Milk

Keep the heat on medium low to avoid burning the milk. You don't need to whisk as enthusiastically as I did, but its nice to create a little froth.

Their recommendation of one bar for 100 or 200mL of milk is pretty loose giving you wide latitude to make it mild or splurge with something more intense. Of course, I did the 2 bars for 200mL to get the full-on experience. Pausing for the flavors to develop was the hardest part, but real or not, I imaging the flavors diffusing and melding throughout the milk while I waited.

Tasting Zotter Hot Chocolate

Despite the light creamy color, the taste was plenty satisfying although unlike anything your grandma called hot cocoa (unless she makes home somewhere near the Austrian Alps). We’re talking about a luscious blend of sweetness, vanilla with notes of rum and toasted nuts.  The potent vanilla aroma rising up from the cup is at once seductive and therapeutic with complexity that you can only get from real vanilla bean.  All in all, I found it smooth and comforting.

I don’t plan to give up my rich dark drinking chocolate anytime soon, but I’m feeling a bit more agnostic than before and that can’t be bad.  Zotter Drinking Chocolate is available online at NewLeaf Chocolates.

Notes:

[1] You also see these drinking chocolate bars in parts of Latin America such as in Mexico.

[2] I paid for all the materials myself.