Dark Chocolate Chile Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Chile Ice Cream

So let me start by saying that this may actually be one of the best ice creams I have ever made.  I’m thinking it could be because of the flavor profile.  The custard base for this ice cream is made with bittersweet chocolate, complex pasilla negro, fragrant vanilla and sweet coffee liqueur.  If you’ve never enjoyed the combination of chocolate and chile, you are seriously missing out.  The chile doesn’t really add heat.  Instead, it imbues a deep complexity that accents the bittersweet chocolate perfectly.  Vanilla extract and coffee liqueur also work to enliven the chocolate flavor resulting in a one flavor packed bite.  Another reason why this ice cream may be one of my favorites is its texture.  Prepared in a double boiler, the custard is cooked gently and for a longer period of time.  Flavorings are then whipped in right before churning.  The finished texture is silky smooth and impossibly creamy.  Häagen-Dazs status for reals.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Pasilla Negro Chile Ice Cream Base Dark Chocolate Chile Ice Cream

5.0 from 1 reviews
Dark Chocolate Chile Ice Cream
Adapted from here.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 quart
  • 1 large dried pasilla negro chile
  • 1 1/3 cups half and half
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
  • Cayenne pepper, for dusting (optional)
  1. Start by preparing the chile. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice from the stem end to the bottom end on one side of the chile. Pull off the stem and discard. Open the chile like a book. Using your knife, scrape out the ribs and seeds.
  2. Warm a small skillet over medium heat then toast each side of the chile until very aromatic. Use a spatula to press down on the chile to ensure even toasting (about 10 seconds per side).
  3. Place the chile in a small saucepan and cover with half and half. Warm over medium heat until you see steam rising from the surface of the liquid (but not boiling). Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Transfer the entire mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Pour the mixture through a medium mesh basket strainer back into the same saucepan, using a spoon to help the liquids pass through. Also gently press on the solids to extract the most liquid. Discard solids.
  4. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl (ice and water). Set a medium sized bowl in the ice bath and have a fine mesh basket strainer ready.
  5. Place a medium sized saucepan filled with 1 inch of water over high heat. Choose a medium sized bowl that will fit snuggly into the saucepan without touching the water. We will be using this bowl below. Bring the water to a boil.
  6. Reheat the half and half mixture over medium heat just until steam rises from the surface. Spread the bittersweet chocolate out in the bottom of a bowl. Pour the half and half mixture over the chocolate, stirring to melt the chocolate.
  7. In the medium size bowl selected above (that will fit in the saucepan), add sugar and egg yolks, whisking until slightly thickened and lighter in color. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture. Reduce the heat under the pot of boiling water to a simmer then set the bowl with the custard base (half and half, eggs, sugar, chocolate) on top of the saucepan. Whisk frequently and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Test for doneness by dipping a spoon into the mixture. Run your finger down the back of the spoon in a straight line through the custard. If the line holds clearly (and doesn't run), it's done!
  8. Pour the custard through the mesh basket strainer into the bowl sitting in the ice bath and stir until cool. Refrigerate for at least for 4 hours (preferably overnight).
  9. Stir in heavy cream, vanilla extra and coffee liqueur. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Finish by freezing the ice cream until hard or enjoy soft immediately.
  10. If you want to bump up the heat level a bit, serve with a dusting of cayenne pepper.


  1. says

    I was at TJs recently and they were sampling hot chocolate with a bit of chile powder in it…and I wasn’t expecting it (I just thought it was regular hot choc) so I was surprised…but then went back for a second sample :)

    Your ice cream sounds fab!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks! Yeah, I love getting Mayan Mochas at Chuao (local SD chocolatier). They are fairly spicy leaving a slight burning sensation in your mouth after each sip!

  2. says

    HEY THERE Brandon! I am reading your blog from Saboba, Ghana! 😀 First blog I’ve accessed in over 2 weeks :) And this is the first thing I want to eat when I get back to the states!! It looks amazingggg. Even though Ghana is the #2 chocolate-producing country in the world, the only kind that stays here is full of additives, and even Hershey’s tastes worlds better. Thus I am longing for something bittersweet and COLD! This ice cream sounds absolutely perfect.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Oh WOW!!! That’s awesome Ann. I hope you are having a great trip. So happy to hear KK was your first blog stop :) That’s interesting about the chocolate in Ghana. Are you able to bring back some cocoa?

  3. says

    This sounds fabulous. It’s a perfect example of why I enjoy visiting here. I never leave empty handed and I always have something new to add to my recipe collection. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • Brandon Matzek says

      You got it. The flavor is deeply complex, but won’t make your mouth burn (unless you add that extra dusting of cayenne).

  4. Kristie-Marie says

    I was reading the ingredients and the 2nd ingredient says how much but doesnt state what it is that is needed- ◦1 1/3 cups half and half??
    I would love to try to make it but want to make sure I do it correctly

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Kristie-Marie, Half and Half is an ingredient. You should be able to find it in any grocery store. It’s half milk and half cream.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      After chilling, the ice cream is hard, but still very smooth and creamy. Neither liquid or pudding though.


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