Reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate, this Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips boasts a double-chocolate egg custard base infused with ancho chile, cinnamon stick and cloves, and finished with Mexican chocolate chunks and fresh grated nutmeg. This rich ice cream is truly decadent and a dark chocolate lovers delight!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About the Best Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
Homemade ice cream was a favorite family pastime growing up. Our large extended family met to celebrate, and we took turns churning several freezers full of ice cream. The favorite was always my mom's custard ice cream. I created a pumpkin custard ice cream a few years back, and I wanted that same creamy richness and mouth feel in this recipe.
When I set to work on this spicy chocolate ice cream, I knew I wanted to do a custard ice cream, and I wanted deep, dark chocolate flavor... think dark chocolate ganache. I borrowed the Mexican flavor profile from my chocolate mousse recipe - cinnamon and red chile.
This Mexican hot chocolate ice cream recipe is a little more trouble than a basic ice cream recipe. The "Mexican" flavor comes from the red chile, cinnamon stick, and cloves steeping and infusing the half and half mixture. It's worth the 30 minutes extra IMHO!
I normally make this chocolate frozen custard recipe in my ice cream freezer, but on photo day, it decided to die. After having an anxiety attack, I took a deep breath, and decided to do it "no churn" style. It worked out fine. I will probably go back to doing it in an ice cream machine when I replace mine, but you can get the same creamy, rich texture by the no churn method.
What is a "custard" ice cream?
Custard and ice cream share 2 or 3 ingredients - sugar, milk, and/or cream. It is the addition of cooked eggs that make it a custard ice cream, and give the ice cream its smooth, creamy texture.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- cocoa - Quality ingredients make a quality ice cream! Choose a high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder. I particularly like this Guittard Cocoa Rouge.
- half and half - I have also used a non-dairy creamer like So Delicious original.
- eggs - You'll only use the yolks. See Best Uses for Egg Whites for some great ideas for using the leftover egg whites!
- red chile - I almost always have ancho, guajillo, and New Mexico dried red chiles on hand. Any of the 3 work great to provide the hint of heat we're looking for.
- cinnamon stick
- sugar - I like turbinado sugar for this frozen custard recipe. Regular white sugar or brown sugar should be fine.
- sea salt
- dark chocolate - Use a good dark chocolate that melts well. I use 70% dark chocolate, and it balances well with the quantity of sugar. Again, Guittard is my "go to" choice. The wafers melt quickly, and it's really good quality.
- nutmeg - Fresh grated nutmeg is amazing, and always my choice for this ice cream. I keep several whole nutmegs and a grater at the ready in my kitchen. You can substitute ground nutmeg in the ice cream mixture, and omit as a garnish.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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These are a few items that I recommend that are related to this recipe, and either the same brand or similar to what I use in my own kitchen!
- Combine cocoa and half and half - Whisk together 1 cup of the half and half and the cocoa powder. Continue whisking together until ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Steep the red chile and spices - Add the remaining half and half, ancho (or other red chile peppers), cinnamon stick, cloves, sugar, and salt to the cocoa mixture. Bring to just below a boil over medium-high heat (watch closely). Lower heat to very low, and let the mixture steep 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Temper the egg yolks - Strain the steeped chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the melting chocolate pieces or wafers. Let them melt into the hot mixture, stirring to hasten the process. After thoroughly beating the eggs, add a ladle of hot chocolate mixture into the eggs, and beat again. Repeat 2 to 3 more times to slowly warm the eggs without cooking the yolks.
- Stir the tempered egg yolks into the remaining chocolate mixture.
- Finish the chocolate ice cream base - Once the eggs and chocolate mixture are thoroughly combined, add back into the saucepan, and gently reheat to just below a boil. Stir constantly until the base thickens. Cool to room temperature before stirring in the vanilla and nutmeg.
- Chill the chocolate ice cream base - If you're using an ice cream freezer with a frozen bowl, this step is critical to completing the ice cream successfully. I like to make the base the day before, and refrigerate it 24 hours. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.
- Freeze the chocolate ice cream - Either churn according to your freezer's instructions, or spread into a loaf pan, and freeze until firm.
- Serve - To serve your divinely chocolatey chocolate chip ice cream, scoop into appropriate bowls or cones, grate a little fresh nutmeg or sprinkle some cinnamon, and ENJOY! Of course the pepita bark is optional, but we love to garnish with a piece...
- I have found that a serrated bread knife makes quick work of turning a chocolate bar into chocolate chunks.
- I recently discovered our local Sprouts Market is carrying Taza Mexican Chocolates. The 70% dark Mexican chocolate made great chocolate chunks, and added another layer of flavor.
Can I make the ice cream in advance?
Yes. The ice cream needs to be thoroughly chilled before freezing if using a freezer. I made the base on a Sunday, and froze it the next day. I highly recommend doing this, and putting it in your ice cream freezer just prior to serving. Most ice cream freezers need about 25-30 minutes to get to soft-serve consistency. If you want a firmer ice cream, scoop the ice cream into an airtight container, and freeze an additional hour or two.
How long do I need to freeze using the no-churn method?
I started with the mix very well-chilled. It was frozen but scoopable in 3 hours.
How long can I store leftover ice cream in my freezer?
Frozen custard is complex (fats, chocolate, eggs). It will keep in the freezer for up to a month, but the texture may suffer.
How do I make the pepita bark garnish?
I have photos and instructions on my blood orange flan post. It's essentially toasting pepitas, salting them, and covering them with melted chocolate. I've been known to melt the chocolate in the microwave to save time!
- non-dairy ice cream - Substitute plant-based creamer for the half and half.
- non-spicy - Omit the dried red chile (but I'll be sad 🤨).
We aren't regular dessert-eaters at Andersen casa. Most nights we have a square of chocolate with the rest of a glass of wine after dinner. However, special occasions call for special food, and we splurged on this spicy Mexican frozen custard for Valentine's Day at home. I think it's my favorite ice cream to date, and definitely worth those extra calories!
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups half and half - divided use!
- 1 large dried red chile - such as ancho, guajillo, or NM red chile
- 1 fresh cinnamon stick
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 cup sugar - I like turbinado
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 ounces dark chocolate - see Tips in post
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3 ounces dark chocolate for chunks - see Tips in post
- Whisk together 1 cup of the half and half and the cocoa powder. Continue whisking together until ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Add the remaining half and half, ancho (or other red chile peppers), cinnamon stick, cloves, sugar, and salt to the cocoa mixture. Bring to just below a boil. Reduce heat to very low, and let the mixture steep 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the cocoa and half and half mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the melting chocolate wafers or pieces. Let them melt into the hot mixture, stir to hasten the process.
- After thoroughly beating the eggs, add a ladle of hot chocolate mixture into the eggs, and beat again. Repeat 2 to 3 more times to slowly warm the eggs without cooking the yolks. Stir the tempered egg yolks into the remaining chocolate mixture.
- Add back into the saucepan, and gently reheat to just below a boil. Stir constantly until the base thickens slightly. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. Chill completely. Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.
- Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions, or in a loaf pan in the freezer.
- To serve - Scoop into bowls or cones. Garnish as desired.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
This was just an incredibly fantastic dessert. My new favorite ice cream flavor.