chocolate {chili} ice cream

I’m conflicted.

No, truly.

It’s because I can’t recommend that you make this ice cream the way I did.  But at the same time, it’s the most richest, creamiest chocolately-est chocolate ice cream I’ve had in a while.

I was obviously not thinking straight when I used four (yes, count them, FOUR) scotch bonnets so you don’t even have to ask, “what were you thinking?”  Clearly, I was being overly ambitious and optimistic about how much heat I could handle.  I didn’t pay close enough attention to how damn hot these chilies are.

I’m actually terrified of this ice cream.  It starts off innocently enough with the big chocolate flavour, but a few seconds in, my mouth and throat are completely engulfed in what I can only describe as a very painful sensation.  OMG.  This… really confuses me.  Isn’t dairy supposed to suppress the heat?  It actually tastes so delicious so I just keep going back for more and more, until the heat builds up too much that I’m almost reduced to tears.  And then there’s Mark who has some serious spice tolerance and doesn’t feel a thing while eating spoonful after spoonful of this devil’s concoction.  Hmmm.  Perhaps I’m just a wuss…

Anyways, the chocolate ice cream itself turned out beautifully.  I used a recipe found at Bon Appetit.  I was initially intrigued by their instruction to wait five days before consuming it.  What?  Five days?  For why?  How can anyone not touch homemade chocolate ice cream for five friggin’ days?!

Apparently something magical happens because it was totally worth the wait.

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s dive in!

We start off with the usual ice cream components – eggs, whole milk, cream, and sugar.  What’s surprising is that the base is made solely from whole milk.  The cream is used to make a caramel to incorporate into the custard.  Oh, you see those beautiful little orange chilies?  DO NOT BE FOOLED.  They’re actually atomic-level spice bombs.  For the chocolate, you’ll want to go with good quality dark chocolate (70% to 75% cacao); the Baker’s variety I picked up is 70%.  And of course, cocoa powder, for that deep chocolately flavour.

Start by chopping the chocolate into little chunks.  It helps the chocolate to melt faster and more evenly.

Place it in metal bowl over a pot of simmering water (aka the double boiler method).  This ensures that the chocolate melts gently on indirect heat from the steam of the water below.  I find it tricky to melt chocolate using direct heat (eg. the microwave) because it tends to burn very easily.  The double boiler method keeps the chocolate from heating up too quickly.

It doesn’t take very long for the chocolate to melt.  Stir the chocolate gently to melt the last few bits and remove it from the heat.  Set aside while you prepare the custard.

Place the milk in a saucepan and sift in the cocoa powder.  I prefer sifting it to get rid of the clumps.  Give it a good whisk.

At this point, you can decide whether or not you want to use chilies.  Like I mentioned above, I do not recommend using four scotch bonnets.  One would be plenty to get enough zip.  You can opt to use other types of chilies if you wish.  Just cut them into large chunks, keeping the seeds intact, and take care not to get your bare hands involved too much.  I recommend using gloves while handling chilies.  The last thing you want is to rub your eyes after handling chilies with your bare hands and enjoying a lovely burning sensation for hours to come.

Once you’ve chopped the chilies (if you’re using them), throw them into the milk mixture and heat on medium heat until the mixture begins to boil.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

This recipe specifies the egg yolks and sugar get beaten together until the yolks thicken and very thick ribbons form.  At that point, whisking constantly, gradually add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them.

Once tempered, add the egg mixture into the milk and add the melted chocolate.  Whisk it all together and cook the custard over low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Time to make the caramel.  Heat the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water until a dark amber colour forms.  Adding the cream is my favourite part because it bubbles up vigorously.  Take care to whisk the mixture constantly while adding the cream.


Whisk the caramel into the custard, then strain the mixture into a large container.  Cover the top with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and let it do its magic in the fridge for 2 days.  After the 2 days, process the mixture in your ice cream machine, transfer it into a container, and freezer for 3 days before consuming.  Sigh.  Such a long time to wait.  But then you get this…

Gorgeous, rich, chocolate ice cream.  Besides the mouth burning factor from the chilies, it’s like eating a frozen chocolate truffle.  It’s incredibly decadent with a deep, dark chocolate flavour.  I recommend trying it without the addition of the chili to get the full effect of the chocolately goodness.  Unless you like pain, in which case by all means, please do add as many scotch bonnets as your heart desires, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Chocolate Ice Cream (the original recipe from Bon Appetit)

  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (70% to 75% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 13 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Place chocolate in a medium metal bowl.  Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water.  Stir chocolate until melted and smooth.  Set melted chocolate aside, let cool slightly.

Whisk milk and cocoa powder in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in another medium bowl until very thick ribbons form, about 2 minutes.  Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolk mixture.  Return mixture to saucepan.  Add melted chocolate and whisk to blend.  Stir over low heat until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 175 degrees, about 5 minutes.  Transfer chocolate custard to a large bowl and place over another large bowl of ice water.  Stir until chocolate custard is cool.

Bring remaining 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil in a small heavy, deep saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush (do not stir), until a dark amber color forms, about five minutes.  Gradually whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously).  Whisk caramel into chocolate custard.  Strain into a large container; cover and chill for 2 days.

Process custard in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer to another container; freeze for 3 days before eating.


3 thoughts on “chocolate {chili} ice cream”

  1. Ouch!!! I can feel and taste all that heat just reading this!! I’m going to make this ice cream though, it looks sooooooooooo damn good that I just have to have some! With just a little bit of chilies. Your pictures are fantastic! Thanks for the step by steps, I’ll need them :)

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah! :) It really is an epic chocolate ice cream. SO DELICIOUS! I’ve stopped eating it because I really can’t handle the heat, which is a shame.

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