Do you have a chocolate craving that you just can’t satisfy? Do you like chocolate ice cream? Do you like dark chocolate and maybe cocoa nibs? Then my friends this latest semifreddo we cooked up will rock your little chocolate-smeared world. Behold, an chocolate semifreddo so intense and creamy you’ll be breathing out a cloud of chocolate with every exhale.
My husband challenged me to make an ice cream (well, a semifreddo in this case since we have no ice cream maker) that he said needed to be so extremely chocolatey, smooth, and rich that it would satisfy even the worst craving. From the word go I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I needed to layer chocolate flavors into each step of the process, so when everything came together at the end you would get this massive hit of chocolate.
Attempt number one was great in flavor but I had messed up on an important step. I put the chocolate into the cold whipped cream, which caused it to seize. This resulted in lots of bits of chocolate in the final result (so don’t do that). It was not bad but there was just too much going on texture-wise with all of the little chocolate shards it ended up with. I fixed the mistakes from the first batch and the result of the second attempt was a dark, smooth, rich, cold and amazing pan full of chocolate happiness.
To create the layers of chocolate flavor, I made a chocolate caramel with a dutch cocoa powder. Then I made a chocolate chantilly by combining melted dark chocolate with the whipped cream, which is then folded into the egg mixture and cocoa caramel. The semifreddo was capped off by adding in a few (ok a lot) of cocoa nibs.
Adding the cocoa nibs makes it healthy right? Sort of? Well all of the antioxidants and flavanols in this semifreddo along with the happy chocolate rush makes this an all around Good Thing. This should be my final installment of the cocoa nib obsession we have had this past month. Hopefully we’ve peaked your interest a little bit. I suggest you try adding them to your granola, ice cream sundae in place of nuts, in cakes, cupcakes and cookies. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
If you want to try this at home, please use a good-quality dark chocolate. A good dark Valrhona like we used or a similar high quality bar of plain dark chocolate will do fine.
Double Dark Chocolate Semifreddo
Yield: One full 5×9 loaf pan
For the dark chocolate semifreddo:
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 16 fl oz heavy whipping cream
- 6 oz dark 55-60% chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup cocoa nibs
For the cocoa caramel:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 fl oz Kahlua (you can use water if you would prefer)
- 3 tbsp dutch cocoa powder
- 2 fl oz heavy cream
- Prepare a large loaf pan by lining it with a double layer of cling film. (If you’re not going to turn it out once frozen and would prefer to just scoop it out like ice cream you can skip the cling film.) Divide the eggs by putting the yolks into a large bowl fitted for your stand mixer, separating the egg whites into a medium-sized (3 quart) bowl. Put the heavy cream into another medium-size bowl (3 quart) and place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Over a double boiler in a large bowl, melt the chopped chocolate until completely smooth and set aside to cool a little.
- Add the 1/3 cup of sugar to the egg yolks and on medium speed whisk it in your stand mixer until it has tripled in volume. While the yolks are whisking, begin to make the caramel.
- Pour the cream in a small bowl and heat and up in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until warm but not hot. Add in the cocoa powder to the warm cream and whisk. You’re looking for a hot chocolate type of look to the mix, with no lumps of cocoa powder. Next combine the sugar and Kahlua (or water) in a 2-quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk it until it all the sugar is wet and it begins to bubble. Keep a close eye on it while it cooks at this point. Once it turns a lovely deep golden bronze color remove it from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and heavy cream mixture. It will bubble up high once you add in the cream and this is why you want a bigger pan. Keep whisking until the mixture has calmed down and is bubbling and looking more like a caramel. At this point it is ready to add to the egg yolks.
- With your mixer still on medium speed slowly trickle the caramel into the whisked yolks. Once all the caramel has been poured in scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the mixer back on medium-high speed and let it whisk until cool and thick. While the yolk mixture is whisking to cool down move on to your egg whites and heavy cream.
- With a hand mixer (or by hand) whisk up the egg whites until foamy. While whisking gradually add in the remaining 1/3 c of sugar. Continue whisking until you form stiff peaks then set aside.
- Remove the bowl of heavy cream from the refrigerator and with clean beaters of your hand mixer – or a new clean whisk if doing by hand – whisk until thick and forms stiff peaks. Be VERY careful as heavy cream can go from stiff peaks to sweet butter in a second if you take it too far. Once it is whipped, add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate, and mix to lighten. Fold in 1/2 of the remaining whipped cream into the lightened chocolate cream mixture until incorporated. Fold in the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate cream mixture until completely incorporated.
- By now your egg yolk caramel mixture should be fairly thick and cool. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk caramel mixture to lighten it. You don’t have to be too gentle when folding in the first bit. Then fold in half of the remaining whites gently until incorporated. Fold in the remaining whipped whites until completely incorporated. You do not want streaks of whites in the mixture.
- Into the mixture gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped chocolate cream, once incorporated fold in half of the remaining whipped chocolate cream. After the second portion of whipped cream has been incorporated, sprinkle the cocoa nibs into the mixture and add the remaining whipped chocolate cream on top of the cocoa nibs. Begin to gently fold in the cream and cocoa nibs until completely incorporated. Once it is completely incorporated, pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle some nibs over the top (for good measure) and freeze 8 hours or overnight.