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dark chocolate sorbet

April 18, 2011

Ready for another tale of conquest?

So there was this AMAZING gelato place near Chris’s college. The portions were ginormous, they had all these weird/interesting flavors to go along with the normal ones, and they discounted their costs by a certain percentage for every degree below ummm…was it zero or freezing? Bowdoin peeps, help me out…it got outside—which, given that it was Maine, happened fairly frequently.

One of their flavors was dark chocolate sorbet. And man, that stuff was intense. I mean, usually you only think of sorbet as meant for people who are interested in losing weight and keeping their hearts healthy and silly things like that—icy, meh-y stuff that could never possibly live up to ice cream and/or gelato.

But man, this place’s sorbet. It was basically a mound of the chocolate-iest frosting you could possibly imagine. And it was essentially impossible to finish off any serving size without instantly regretting it for about a half hour afterwards (although obviously, it’s always worth it to enjoy those shots of chocolate goodness).

Don’t believe me? When I spent a semester there, my parents came and visited me, and I forced them to come check it out/buy me gelato. And my dad innocently (because we, um, failed to warn him) ordered a medium bowl of the sorbet. And it steamrolled him. He almost didn’t make it to dinner two or three hours later.

So obviously I had to try to make some. The recipe was super-easy: boil water, sugar, and corn syrup + pour over chocolate and cocoa + mix. I even followed directions and used an ice bath! Honestly, the hardest part was the waiting. If you have more patience than we do, you could freeze it for even longer after putting it in the machine and end up with something more sorbet-textured and less soft-servey. But that clearly wasn’t an option for us.

And the verdict? It was a pretty good match. I mean, nothing’s going to match the churning abilities of that place, so it was a tiny bit icy, but the chocolate flavor was pretty spot-on. Chris probably ate about three tablespoons of the stuff and couldn’t talk for about twenty minutes afterwards. N00b. I obviously bounced right back and would’ve gone for seconds if there were enough.

Dark Chocolate Sorbet
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar [I left out the extra tablespoon because I was using regular cocoa, which is not quite as dark as Dutch-processed, and a mixture of Ghirardelli squares and chips that probably didn’t quite balance out to the 61-65% chocolate]
3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 oz. dark chocolate (61-65% cacao), chopped into half-inch pieces
4 oz. Dutch-processed cocoa powder (about 1 cup)

1. Run the paring knife down the center of the vanilla bean, if using. Split it open with your fingers and use the knife to scrape out the tiny black seeds into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
2. Add 2 1/4 cups water, the sugar, the corn syrup, and the vanilla pod and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
3. Remove from heat and allow the bean to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the pod, dry it, and save it for another use. If you are using vanilla extract, add it after the syrup has been removed from the heat.
4. Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium-sized bowl. Gently whisk in 1/3 of the hot vanilla syrup. (The chocolate will begin to seize a bit.)
5. Whisk in the remaining syrup in two more parts and continue to whisk until the sauce is shiny, thick, and smooth, about 4 minutes.
6. Pass the chocolate sorbet base through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps of cocoa powder. [I ignored this step. An ice bath is effort enough.] Place the sorbet in an ice bath to cool completely.
7. Transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 1 week. [After 4 hours, it should be the consistency of runny pudding.]
8. Churn the sorbet in an ice cream machine according to the machine manufacturer’s directions. The sorbet is finished once it has increased in volume and it holds whisk lines from the stirring mechanism and mounds like softly whipped cream.
9. Transfer to the freezer for 4 hours to attain scoopable consistency. [Or don’t. You know, whatever.]

Source: Joy the Baker

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