Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ice Cream #13: Mexican Chocolate

I love this take on traditional chocolate ice cream. In my opinion, Mexican chocolate gives this ice cream magical qualities. The chile adds a great kick, creating a hot, cold, and sweet sensation all in one bite. In years past, I've served this ice cream for dessert on our annual Dia de los Muertos dinner and it was a big hit. It's a great dessert to make for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day to add a little spice to your love life...

Mexican chocolate differers from conventional American chocolate in that it is traditionally stone ground and contains undissolved sugar granules and cinnamon. The most common brand of Mexican chocolate is Ibarra, made in Guadalajara, Mexico. I also love the Taza brand Mexican chocolate, from Somerville, Massachusetts, which I've used below.

This ice cream is intensely chocolaty with the comforting heat provided by the chipotle chili. Every time I make it, I can't help but think of the movie Chocolat. It always makes me feel like I'm in a tiny chocolate shop somewhere in France. Or more approriately, Mexico. In any case, it's daydreamy good!

Adapted from Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes 

2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
4 oz. Taza Mexican chipotle chili chocolate, chopped (see notes below) 
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Pinch cayenne, chile powder, or piment d'espelette 
1/2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Fill a large metal bowl with about 2-inches of ice water. Put a slightly smaller metal bowl inside and pour in 1 cup of cream. Place a fine mesh strainer or sieve over the two bowls and set aside. 

In a small saucepan, bring the remaining cup of cream just to a simmer. Whisk in the cocoa powder and remove the pot from heat. Stir in the the chopped Mexican chocolate until completely incorporated. Set aside.

In a medium size saucepan, add the milk, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cayenne or piment d'espelette, and coffee and bring just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg yolks in a medium size mixing bowl. Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or reaches 170 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the cream and chocolate mixture.

Pour the custard base through the fine mesh strainer or sieve into the prepared bowls, working it through with a rubber spatula. Whisk the base with the cream and stir in the vanilla extract. Continue stirring over the ice until cool. Cover the surface of the custard with a sheet of plastic wrap and place another sheet over the bowl. Refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.

Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to quart containers and freeze until ready to use. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes just prior to serving. 

Yield: about 1 quart

  • If you are using Ibarra brand Mexican chocolate, increase the cayenne, chile powder, or piment d'espelette to taste. If you can't find Mexican chocolate at your local market, substitute the chocolate with bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and increase the cayenne, chile powder, or piment d'espelette to taste. 


  1. An explosion of mexican flavors! As a matter of fact, the original chocolate comes from México, and that's why its flavor is so special!