Monday, August 15, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Sorbet

I have had the pleasure of knowing so many wonderful families thanks to the semi-nomadic life we live courtesy of the U.S. Navy.  The constant coming and going can be both a blessing and a curse and a source of joy, sadness and camaraderie.  At times, it seems as if we are experiencing all of these emotions at the same time.  Over the course of the past 12 years I have had the privilege of meeting and becoming close friends with some of the most loyal, courageous, selfless and hilariously funny women I will ever meet.  Together we have shared the blessings of marriages and births as well as personal struggles, loss and heartache.  And when the Navy calls on us to move on, we part, but we know that we will forever be family to each other no matter the distance.

I love to cook for my friends, it's a way of sharing what's in my heart with them that I could never speak with words.  And of course I always try to cook with flavors and ingredients that my friends enjoy.  Over the years a few of these wonderful people I've known and some of their children have had food allergies and intolerances.  I would never want someone to feel deprived at my table, as if everyone else is sharing a fantastic meal and they have to sacrifice because of an allergy.  I do my best to include everyone in all aspects of my meals.

It is with this in mind that I developed the sorbet recipe I'm sharing with you today.  We were having a meal with our neighbors recently and their youngest daughter has a dairy allergy.  I have a hard time coming up with a dessert that doesn't include dairy in some form, but sorbet came to mind after a bit of searching the net and my favorite blogs.  With the abundance of fruit available right now, sorbets are an easy choice, but I'm never content to make the expected.  That's when I found a recipe for chocolate sorbet on the Smitten Kitchen blog.  A bit of ingredient altering- I wanted Mexican chocolate not dark chocolate- and I had what I was looking for.  A rich, satisfying dessert for both adults and kids alike.  No one was feeling deprived that night.

Mexican Chocolate Sorbet
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (who adapted it from David Lebovitz, god of ice cream)
This sorbet is extremely rich.  In fact, I used my tiny ice cream scoop that I usually only break out to scoop cookie dough and two scoops was plenty.  I found that serving it with slightly sweetened strawberries lightened the richness a bit and by the time the sorbet melted I had a lovely chocolate and strawberry soup.  The sorbet itself is a bit like a extra fudgy fudgesicle with a bit of a cinnamon hit at the end.  In fact, if you don't have an ice cream maker, I bet you could whiz the cooled mixture in the blender for a few minutes to give it some air and then freeze it in popsicle molds.

6.5 ounces of mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra, in which case you will use 2 discs), chopped
2 1/4 cups water, divided
2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa*
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

*You can make this a dark chocolate sorbet by using dark chocolate instead of the mexican chocolate, omitting the cinnamon, and increasing the sugar to 1 cup.

Mix 1 1/2 cups water, the cocoa, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, whisking.  Let the mixture boil for about 45 more seconds, still whisking.  Remove from the heat and pour in the chocolate.  Stir until the chocolate is fully melted.  Add the vanilla and the remaining 3/4 cups water.
Just after mixing in the chocolate
Refrigerate the sorbet mixture until cold.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Transfer to a lidded container and freeze for at least 6 hours.  Serve with sliced, slightly sweetened strawberries. 

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