When I was much younger, I backpacked through Europe for a few months. I had no itinerary and was as free as the wind. Ah, those were the days! I remember making a quick decision to go to Belgium for their renowned chocolates. My taste buds were jolted! This was the best chocolate I've ever had. Rich and creamy and tasting so fresh. Even the cheap supermarket Belgium chocolate bars were far better than anything I tasted back in the United States. I loaded my backpack with about a dozen Belgium chocolate bars to bring back to the US. I wanted all my friends to share in this amazing experience. Unfortunately, I don't think any bar made it on my plane ride back. But I always consider Belgium chocolate as the best you can buy.
Recently a friend who works at the United Nations told me of his office mates returning from trips to Russia with loads of dark bittersweet chocolates. He scoffed at Belgium chocolate and said they were too creamy and milky. I was interested and had to try some...
Coincidentally, I live by a small Russian deli and I rarely go inside this place. In New York City, there are hidden surprises in small stores nestled between blocks filled with nail salons and bodegas. New York is like that and you never know what you will find in one of these stores. I bought a huge bar of chocolate for just $5. Now, that is a NY deal. I couldn't read the packaging as it was all in Russian, but that luscious picture of dark chocolate on the cover told me all I had to know. The chocolate flavor was quite good and it was a nice deep dark color, though not quite as sweet as other chocolates. The cocoa content was a nice high 72%. Not bad at all. They say the higher cocoa content has more antioxidants.
I couldn't eat the whole bar so I thought making a bittersweet chocolate sorbet. Here are some of the few ingredients for the sorbet. Try shopping for high quality cocoa such as Ghirardelli.
Here is the sorbet after churning in an ice cream maker. Notice how it starts to form big chunks of sorbet. If the sorbet is still runny after churning for the recommended amount of time (for me it is about 25 minutes), you may need to either chill the mixture more or freeze the ice cream bucket for a longer period of time.
Enjoy in bowls or in cones! We had it both ways at my house last night.
Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet
(Adapted from David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop)
2 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Pinch of Salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (72% cocoa, preferably)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place the bittersweet chocolate into a food processor and chop fine.
2. In a large saucepan, combine the 1-1/2 cup water, sugar, cocoa and salt. Bring to a boil and whisk frequently. Continue boiling for 45 seconds and continue whisking.
3. Remove from the heat and add chocolate until it is melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and remaining 3/4 cup of water.
4. Transfer to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. I use the "liquefy" setting on my blender. This adds a bit of air into the mixture and makes the sorbet extra creamy.
5. Chill mixture thoroughly. Transfer to the ice cream maker and whisk the mixture while pouring into the machine. Freeze according the ice cream maker's instructions.