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Unsweet chocolate icecream recipes.
April 26, 2012 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Unsweetened chocolate ice cream: I would like to make a chocolate ice cream/gelato without sweetening it at all (no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no fruit juice), how would I do that?

I had a recipe that that I've lost that worked like this, but I can't seem to find it now. Searching for chocolate ice cream and unsweetened is pretty much useless, because unsweetened chocolate seems to be on every recipe.
posted by Brent Parker to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I did one that was non=dairy too with banana. The only problem with it was that it froze REALLY hard after taken out of the ice cream freezing device.
posted by kalessin at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2012

Maybe you'll find something here?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2012

Do you mean, use sweetened chocolate but no additional sweeteners in the custard/base?
posted by rtha at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2012

Sorry, I mean it froze really hard when it was taken out of the ice cream freezer and let rest in a our normal freezer. Still, it was damned tasty.
posted by kalessin at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2012

All ice cream recipes I've found call for added sugar. Can't you just try making a chocolate ice cream recipe and leaving out the sugar?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2012

I don't have a recipe for you, but I am going to recommend that you do not just make a regular chocolate ice cream recipe and leave out the sugar - sugar is essential to the texture of ice cream, because it doesn't freeze solid. If you just leave out the sugar, your ice crease will be very, very hard (like kalessin's did, but probably much worse).
posted by insectosaurus at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

I stand corrected; thanks, insectosaurus.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:14 PM on April 26, 2012

Do you really mean absolutely no sweeteners at all? Most people find the taste of unsweetened chocolate much too bitter to enjoy. Or do you mean no sweeteners beyond what would be in the chocolate itself?

Sugar in ice cream serves two functions: first, for taste as a sweetener (and it's generally used in larger quantities because cold numbs our perceptions of tastes, so flavors need to be stronger), and second for texture to reduce the formation of ice crystals and keep the ice cream from freezing too solidly.

You'll have the most luck in the texture department removing the additional sugar from an existing ice cream recipe that calls for semisweet or bittersweet chocolate if you use a custard base (with egg yolks) rather than a Philadelphia-style base (just milk and cream), and add a couple of tablespoons of alcohol (brandy or rum if you like the flavors, pure vodka if you don't), which also helps keep the ice cream softer as it freezes.

For 2 cups of dairy, you can use as few as 3 egg yolks in your custard, but without the sugar I would look for a recipe that calls for 4 or even 5. Using heavy cream for at least half your dairy base will also help.

You'll also have the most luck if you eat it in the first day or two after you churn it...hopefully that won't be hard.

Good luck!
posted by psycheslamp at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

When making sorbets, I usually use a little bit of vodka (like, a tablespoon or two) to make sure it doesn't freeze solid. I don't know if that would work in an ice cream concoction, but it might be worth a try.
posted by ourobouros at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2012

There's a very good manual for making ice cream by Robin Weir called Frozen Desserts that discusses the solids/liquids chemistry of making ice creams, and what you may be able to substitute for what when you come up with your own recipes. It even provides templates for spreadsheets you can use to try to help figure out a starting point recipe that you can tweak to get the right texture, taste and behaviors.

It even talks about using alcohol, but I think the blind spot is primarily in how you would incorporate thickening starches into ice creams.

I've used it even to come up with formulas that I put in Google Docs (which I'd be happy to share if folks are interested), but you still have to tweak and experiment to get the correct behaviors, usually.
posted by kalessin at 1:18 PM on April 26, 2012

There are several recipes at the site I linked for coconut milk and almond milk ices. Those milks are much sweeter than cow's milk or cream, so the "no added sweetener" might work better.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:20 PM on April 26, 2012

You could use bananas and add alcohol (either a liqueur, for flavoring, or a neutral spirit like vodka) to soften the ice cream and offset the banana effect. More alcohol should soften the ice cream further.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on April 26, 2012

Another freezing inhibitor (i think it is also an emulsifier) that you might try is xanthan gum, available in many health food stores.
posted by R a c h e l at 1:24 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

FWIW. Ice cream is sweetened beyond what would usually be considered a desirable level of sweet because the temperature affects one's perception of sweet, and frozen desserts need to be sweeter than non-frozen to taste as sweet as non-frozen.

Also, as mentioned:

In addition, the sugars, including the lactose from the milk components, contribute to a depressed freezing point so that the ice cream has some unfrozen water associated with it at very low temperatures typical of their serving temperatures, -15° to -18° C. Without this unfrozen water, the ice cream would be too hard to scoop.
posted by kmennie at 1:26 PM on April 26, 2012

Probably not useful info, but... There are a lot of savory sorbets that are used as "palate cleansers" in the restaurants in San Francisco. I haven't eaten any besides a tomato one, which wasn't sweet, but tomatos are still a fruit. I wonder if you looked up sorbets, and then added cream if it would work.

My guy and I make a lot of "sorbet" sorts of things by just dumping things in the ice cream maker, and I think if you whipped the cream up first, it wouldn't come out too terribly hard, though it probably wouldn't last in the freezer without developing a bad texture.

I have a kulfi recipe that is evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream, plus the pistacio/cardamom/rose water. If I were trying to do what you're doing, I'd make up some hot chocolate with the evaporated milk, and then put it in the ice cream maker with the (already whipped) cream and see what happens.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:33 PM on April 26, 2012

Oh- you'd have to chill the "hot chocolate" before you put it in the ice cream maker, of course.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:34 PM on April 26, 2012

To have a soft edible texture at freezer temperature, you need something that is not just water/milk/chocolate. A lot of fat is probably essential, i.e. no milk, all heavy cream. If you don't want the fruity flavor of banana, avocado can have similar texture effects for less flavor and less naturally occurring sugar. Another method to get scoopable instead of popsicle-like is adding a small amount of alcohol (a tablespoon or so of rum or vodka, for example) to lower the freezing temperature.

Reading up on other savory flavors, it seems like there's usually either a fruit or a cheese base, and that even flavors that are intended to be savory rather than sweet often have at least some sugar in them.
posted by aimedwander at 1:49 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is the chocolate ice cream I make for diabetics in my family, which uses both alcohol and sugar alcohol for softening. If you were to eliminate the sweeteners, you’d want to add at least one more shot of liquor, and it would still probably freeze a little hard.

4 tablespoons high-quality dutched cocoa powder
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 shots of vodka (I think that comes to 4 tablespoons. You could use another liquor if you wanted, say, chocolate-bourbon ice cream.)
½ cup erythritol
Liquid Splenda to taste
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon decaf espresso powder

In a heavy saucepan, mix the cocoa powder with one cup of the heavy cream and stir until smooth. Heat until boiling and then remove from heat.

Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Add the remaining cup of heavy cream and the cup of almond milk. Test a drop on your wrist – once the mixture has cooled to about blood heat, you can add the egg yolks. Return to heat and stir constantly until mixture is thickened enough to coat the spoon.

Remove from heat. Pour into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve (don’t skip this step – it gets out any little clumps of now-cooked egg white that were clinging to your yolks). Add vodka, erythritol, and flavorings. Add additional liquid Splenda to taste, remembering that ice cream tastes less sweet once frozen.

Cool thoroughly and churn in ice cream maker.

Note: Erythritol and other sugar alcohols have a laxative effect in a lot of people, so consume with care.
posted by timeo danaos at 2:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you can get your hands on some polydextrose, that might help. It provides the bulking effect of sugar but very little sweetness, maybe 10% of the sweetness of sugar.
Honeyville is temporarily out of stock, but usually has it for a good price.
posted by bink at 3:16 PM on April 26, 2012

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