Dark Chocolate Custard Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Pieces

It is summertime and a person can never eat too much ice cream. Here’s a recipe I found while sorting my recipe file box; it is from an old Bon Appetit magazine. It’s a custard-type ice cream made with egg yolks and dark chocolate squares. The ice cream is incredibly smooth and rich. For fun, I served the ice cream with chopped Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel slivers and homemade waffle cone pieces.

Custard-Type Ice Cream

I think that the ultimate ice cream is a custard-type ice cream. It takes a little more effort to make this type of ice cream; but it is worth the effort. Custard ice cream has a wonderful flavor and texture. It’s a cooked ice cream made with cream (I used half-and-half), egg yolks, sugar and flavorings–chocolate squares and vanilla extract. You have to be careful when cooking the egg custard so that it does not curdle; but otherwise the recipe is simple.

The original recipe is for “bittersweet chocolate” ice cream but I couldn’t find bittersweet baking bars, only chips. While searching for the bittersweet bars, I  noticed alot of other interesting chocolate bar flavors. For fun, I purchased an assortment of Ghirardelli and Lindt chocolate bars. I made chocolate ice cream with chili — this batch had an interesting aftertaste and and chocolate salted caramel ice cream.  There’s really no limit to the kinds of ice cream flavors a person can make.

The difference between semi-sweet, bittersweet and dark chocolate is the percentage of cacao. As the proportion of cacao increases and the amount of sugar in the bar decreases the chocolate flavor is more intense. Why not use dark chocolate (you are adding sugar to the ice cream custard) to get the most intense flavor? When I melted the salted caramel chocolate bars, the caramel and salt flavor got lost, so instead I think it is most practical to chop or break the bars up and add after the ice cream is made.

Making the custard ice cream

This is a cooked ice cream; traditionally made using a double boiler. I’m lazy and just  turned down the heat on the stove. But a word here, watch the stove carefully. The half-and-half cream is first scalded — or heated until steam appears (don’t boil the cream) — over medium heat. This denatures the proteins and makes a smoother ice cream. Let this cool a little.

Then whisk together the egg  yolks and sugar until they are light yellow and creamy. Add some of the cooled cream to thin down the mixture.

Add more of the cooled cream; stir and then transfer this back to the scalded half-and-half cream in the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon, and cook over low heat until the mixture begins to thicken and you can feel some resistance. It will coat the wooden spoon. It shouldn’t boil and won’t really be very thick.

Transfer this to a clean bowl. Either set in the refrigerator to cool to room temperature or set over an ice bath to cool down. It doesn’t need to get really cold — or the chocolate won’t dissolve.

Carefully melt two chocolate bars over low heat on the stove. Here I did use a make-shift double boiler with a bowl set over a pot with water. You just want to quickly melt the chocolate — without over heating or accidentally adding any water — or the chocolate will “seize” becoming grainy and clumpy. Add the melted chocolate to the cooled custard and stir to carefully mix. Even with care, I had small solid pieces of chocolate in the custard. But this added flavor!

Add to the ice cream maker of your choice and freeze. Here’s my Cuisinart Ice Cream Churner with the chocolate ice cream. After the ice cream is finished, I transfered it to a freezer-proof container to harden further.

The Cuisinart Ice Cream Churner contains cooling liquid between a double-insulated wall to create fast and even freezing. The double wall keeps the bowl cool and at an even temperature. It must be completely frozen in order for the ice cream to freeze which takes between 16 and 24 hours of being held in a cold freezer (below 0 degrees), according to the Cuisinart instructions. I store my double-insulated bowl in the freezer so it is always ready to use.

Here’s the finished ice cream with a  homemade waffle cone. You can’t beat this ice cream anywhere.

Dark Chocolate Custard Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Pieces

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


  • 4 cups (1 qt) half-and-half cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 (90 gram) Ghirardelli Intense Dark (92% Cacao) Chocolate Bars
  • 1 (90 gram) Ghirardelli Intense Dark Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar

Method and Steps:

  1. Scald the half-and-half cream in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Heat over medium heat until steam escapes from cream. Do not boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. With electric mixer, in small bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow and “slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted.” Alternately, beat egg yolks and sugar with wire whip until pale yellow, adding several spoons of the cream to thin.
  3. Slowly mix in 1 cup of warm half-and-half cream into egg yolks and sugar mixture. Then stir this into remaining half-and-half in saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat until mixture thickens and coats spoon, about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
  4. Remove from heat and set in refrigerator to cool to room temperature. Or set over a large bowl of ice water to cool down.
  5. Coarsely break up the two 2 dark chocolate bars and melt on stove in a small bowl set over a small pot with water. Stir melted chocolate into the room temperature ice cream custard mixture. Some bits of chocolate will remain.
  6. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. When finished,  chop half of the bar of salted caramel chocolate into tiny pieces and stir into the ice cream. Reserve the remainder of the bar to serve as a garnish with the ice cream.
  8. Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze until firm.



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