This creamy, almost chewy base is packed with cocoa flavor, but because it’s a mellow chocolate made milky with the addition of evaporated milk, it will play well without overwhelming any add-ins. Unlike a traditional French custard-based ice cream, this recipe is egg-free and relies on evaporated milk for both flavor and body.

Don’t be tempted to leave out the corn syrup. It’s less sweet than granulated sugar and keeps the ice cream from getting icy.

Recipe note: The ice cream base needs to chill overnight in the refrigerator or, if you are using an ice-water bath (see NOTE, below), at least an hour on the counter. The churned ice cream needs at least 4 hours to set in the freezer.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (55 to 70 percent cocoa)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (one 12-ounce can) evaporated milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Step 1

Whisk about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to form a smooth slurry.

Chop the chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.

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Step 2

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, evaporated milk, sugar and corn syrup in a large (4-quart) saucepan, over medium-high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and add the cocoa, whisking until it is incorporated, reducing the heat as needed to make sure the mixture does not boil over; cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat just long enough to gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry; return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 1 minute, stirring with a spatula until slightly thickened, with a consistency a little thicker than heavy cream. Remove from the heat.

Step 3

Gradually whisk the hot-milk mixture into the chocolate. Add the salt and whisk until the chocolate is melted and incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it until thoroughly chilled, at least overnight. (At this point, you can whisk in flavor add-ins, such as extracts or liqueurs.)

Step 4

When you are ready to churn, assemble your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions and turn it on. Pour in the chilled ice cream base and spin until it’s thick and creamy — about the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.

Step 5

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layers of your solid add-ins of choice, if using; do not stir (to retain the layering). Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

NOTE: To chill the base mixture faster, pour it into a gallon-size resealable zip-top bag and seal. Submerge the sealed bag in an ice-water bath in a large bowl. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, at least 1 hour.

Adapted from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home” (Artisan, 2011) and “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts” (Artisan, 2014), both by Jeni Britton Bauer.

Tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.


Calories: 310; Total Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 13 g; Cholesterol: 65 mg; Sodium: 160 mg; Carbohydrates: 33 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 24 g; Protein: 4 g.