Originally written for Chocolatier (now Dessert Professional) magazine, this recipe is wonderful (and easy) with or without the rosemary. But seeing as I grew up with a mom who had a predilection for all things green, I’m partial to the rosemary myself! It lends an interesting, almost minty note that will leave guests happily guessing about the magic you’ve worked.

It Couldn’t Be More Chocolate-y!
It Couldn’t Be More Chocolate-y!

About 10 (4-oz/113-g) servings

Prep Talk
  • Be sure to read the instructions for your particular ice cream/sorbet maker before you start. I use a Cuisinart model with a bin that must be frozen until the cooling agent inside is completely solid, typically overnight. Don’t rush this step; if the bin isn’t completely solid, your ice cream will never freeze.
  • Also thoroughly chill the ice cream base before attempting to churn it. If the base is too warm to start, it can thaw your freezer bin, again preventing the freezing of the ice cream.
  • 1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (12.0 oz/359 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves, or more or less to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup (6.9 oz/196 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs (4.0 oz/113 g), chalazae (white protein globules attached to yolk) removed and eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 large egg yolks (1.0 oz/28 g), chalazae removed and yolks lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup (2.1 oz/60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces (227 g) premium semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 | Steep the rosemary in the cream and milk. Combine the cream, milk, and rosemary leaves in a medium (3-qt/3-l) nonreactive* saucepan. (*Avoid uncoated aluminum or copper pans, as they can impart a metallic taste to the mixture. Stainless steel or enamel-coated pans are considered “nonreactive”.) Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture just to the scalding point. The mixture should be steaming, but no bubbles should be breaking on top, or the cream can break. Turn off the heat and let the rosemary steep in the hot liquid about 30 minutes. (The heat will draw the flavor from the herb into the liquid. In culinary-speak, this technique is called “infusing,” and the hot mixture is referred to as an “infusion.”) Remove the spent rosemary by straining the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. Return the flavored cream-milk mixture to a clean nonreactive saucepan.

2 | Complete the ice cream base. Gently whisk the sugar, eggs, and egg yolks into the cream-milk mixture; then do the same with the cocoa powder and melted chocolate. Take care to break up any lumps of cocoa powder. Place the pan over medium heat and stir regularly until the mixture thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil the mixture or the eggs can cook – and no one likes scrambled eggs in ice cream! Immediately strain the mixture into a large bowl (to remove any egg particles or rosemary pieces you may have missed before), stir in the vanilla extract, and then cover flush with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let the mixture come to room temperature; then chill completely, at least a few hours.

3 | Freeze the ice cream base. Pour the chilled base into the chamber of your ice cream/sorbet maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will nearly double in volume as it churns, so be sure to leave spare room at the top. With my Cuisinart, I typically churn no longer than 30 minutes, after which point the ice cream rarely gets any firmer because the freezer bin starts to warm up.

Immediately after churning, the ice cream will still be rather soft, so I typically wrap the bin tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil and place it in the freezer for another 2 to 3 hours before serving. Or, if I have more ice cream base to churn, I’ll transfer the ice cream to another container (see photo 1 in the gallery below) and freeze as just directed.

4 | Serve it forth. Scoop the ice cream and serve it straight up, or sandwich it between dacquoise (crunchy nut wafers) for delicious summertime ice cream sandwiches (photo 2). For more information about dacquoise, check out this post. And for more scoop – pun intended – on the making of ice cream, take a look at my ice cream basics video in this post.