Chocolate brain freeze

chocolate sorbet

Joe is driving East at 60 miles per hour. Andy is driving in the same direction at 70 miles per hour. If Andy started one hour after Joe, how long will it take for them to meet?

The only test that I failed in school was for word problems. Maybe it’s because I think too much and make them more complicated than they are. Or maybe it’s because I don’t see their practical application and don’t care about the question. Unless the question were, “How do I re-create my favorite chocolate sorbet?” then I could get serious.

Ciao Bella chocolate sorbet

As noted in my gelato post, Ciao Bella Gelato makes unbelievably rich chocolate sorbet. It is creamy and rich like ice cream, but there is no dairy, so it’s virtually fat-free.

In my quest to make this sorbet at home, I looked at the ingredient list/nutrition information and deduced a recipe.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1/2 cup (112g)
Servings Per Container: 4
Calories 157
Calories from Fat 5
Amount/Serving %DV*
Total Fat <1g 2%
Saturated Fat <1g 3%
Trans Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 31g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 7%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your needs.


Water, Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Powder (Processed with Alkalai), Corn Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Rum Extract.

Not only does the ingredient list tell you what to use, but it also tells you how much. Everything is listed in descending order by weight. For example, there is more water than rum extract.

Since it’s such a short list, the 31 grams of sugar listed is essentially granulated sugar. 31 grams x 4 servings = 124 grams for one batch. The dietary fiber gives a clue as to how much cocoa/chocolate is involved: one tablespoon of cocoa has 2 grams of fiber, according to Nutrition Data. There’s also corn syrup, vanilla, rum extract, but they’re listed at the bottom of the ingredients, so their presence is minute. I guessed how much there was based on other sorbet recipes I’ve seen. The chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate) gave me some trouble, because there’s no way the sorbet could be low-fat if there were more chocolate than cocoa powder. I made an estimated guess, then subtracted the weight of the ingredients from the total weight to yield the amount of water. I came up with this preliminary recipe:

Ingredient Grams Volume
Sugars (total) 124
Granulated sugar 115 ½ cup
Corn syrup 33 3 T
Dutch-process cocoa powder 42 ½ cup
Unsweetened chocolate 10
Vanilla 4 1 tsp
Vodka/rum 1¾ tsp
Water 258 1 to 1¼ cup
Total 448

Boy, was this CHOCOLATE sorbet. The flavor was very intense, and it didn’t freeze solid. It melted as quickly as Frosty the Snowman in the Mojave dessert. I used too much sugar and liquor, which keeps frozen desserts soft. Part of the problem is that the supermarket’s “light corn syrup” actually contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is sweeter.

Rather than tweak my recipe (guessing the amount of cocoa liquor gave me a headache!), I tried an Ultimate Ice Cream Book recipe for my second attempt. Here is the recipe, courtesy of Recipe Link. It had a better flavor but was still a little icy. (I don’t have an ice cream maker, so I froze the mixture in ice cube trays and broke it up in a food processor.)

For my third attempt, I just bought a pint at Whole Foods. It was the best $4 I spent.


The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More

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  1. Kieran said,

    Wow. That’s pretty ingenious! I am very impressed! I have a recipe for chocolate sorbet on the blog you can try if you wish . It’s true that the alcohol will help with the ice crystals, but do invest in a small domestic ice cream machine. It will make the biggest difference, and they are not very expensive…

    September 10, 2006 at 6:59 am

  2. jane said,

    I soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo LOVE NUTELLA! I’M LICKING IT OF A SPOON RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT!

    September 25, 2007 at 1:06 pm

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