When I first started playing with this ice cream recipe several weeks ago, I was curious as to how much difference the type of chocolate used would impact the flavor. I made three different batches, each identical except the brand of chocolate – Baker’s, Ghriadelli, and Dagoba. My husband and I did a taste test. He liked the Ghiradelli batch the best because it was the sweetest. For me, Dagoba produced the richest and deepest flavor. Good flavor is more important than sweetness. The batch I made with Baker’s chocolate is still sitting in the freezer with only two tiny spoonfuls missing.

The chocolate issue was settled. Knowing that a few good, simple ingredients can turn an ordinary dish into something special, I started pondering which direction to go with the ice cream. I was in the mood for something decadent. Orange and roasted walnut seemed to be the solution. I first had orange and chocolate together 13 years ago, and quite honestly, was a little scared to try it. It seemed so counterintuitive at the time. Somehow, though, the two flavors want to be together. Walnuts add a little more complexity and just the right amount of texture.

A note about the cocoa powder: I use Valhrona, which is dutch-processed. If you can’t find dutch-processed cocoa powder, Hershey’s makes a dutch-processeed blend called Special Dark which has a much richer flavor than regular unsweetened cocoa.

  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 24 hours
  • Active: 1 hour

Ingredients (10)

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cup 1% milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon frozen, unsweetened orange juice concentrate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup raw agave nectar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Melt unsweetened chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa. It will clump together. This is ok. Just start to add a little milk, and continue whisking. Once all of the cocoa is incorporated, add the remaining milk, vanilla, zest, orange juice concentrate, and coffee. Continue to heat and whisk until completely blended. Pour mixture into a medium sized sauce pan and put on medium-low heat. Sitr in heavy cream.
  2. Whisk eggs in a medium-sized bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add agave and continue mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Temper eggs by adding 1/3 cup of warm milk mixture to eggs while whisking. Pour egg mix into chocolate mix and cook until ice cream base has thickened and will hold a line when you draw your finger through the back of a metal spoon. It should temp at 160 degrees.
  3. Strain mixture into a bowl. Cover mix by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream base – this prevents it from forming a skin. Chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Stir-freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Add walnuts during the last few minutes of freezing.
  4. Let ice cream harden in the freezer for 4 hours before enjoying.