Genius Chocolate Sorbet

Every week on, we're digging up Genius Recipes -- the ones that make us rethink cooking myths, get us talking, and change the way we cook.

Today: The creamiest vegan chocolate sorbet you'll ever meet -- just in time for Valentine's Day.

- Kristen Miglore, Senior Editor,

There's a reason people eat a small, easily moderated square of dark chocolate after meals. It's intense, satisfying, life-affirming. It's all you need. You're not going to accidentally scarf a whole bar of 83% single-origin fancy stuff. (Unless you're pregnant, or on deadline -- and that's okay.) Scatter it through a cookie or stir in hot cream to make a ganache, and we have a different end to the story.

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But you hear "chocolate sorbet" -- no milk, no cream, no eggs -- and perhaps you imagine something severe. You wouldn't want a bowl of 83% squares, so what are you supposed to do with this?

If milk chocolate ice cream is your childhood best friend, dark chocolate sorbet is her cool, sort of mean, older sister. You want to be her friend, but what if she's bitter and aggressive and too deep? What if she makes you want to run back to the simple comforts of your old milky-sweet pal (or regress further, to shakes and fudgesicles)?

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I am happy to report that you needn't worry about any of that with this chocolate sorbet from David Lebovitz -- ice-cream whisperer and patron saint of all things sweet. No, you needn't worry at all.

Yes, the chocolate flavor is deep and true, with low notes of cocoa powder mingling with the epic aria of bittersweet chocolate. But despite having no dairy or eggs (that's right, vegans!), this chocolate sorbet is impossibly creamy. How? Why? I can only imagine there's some nature-defying emulsification going on in there, a la a certain genius chocolate mousse.

It also remains perfectly scoopable -- it doesn't go hard or icy in the slightest, even after several days in the freezer. (Lebovitz credits this remarkable consistency to the high proportion of bittersweet chocolate.) And it should be noted that when I made this recipe with standard-issue Dutch-processed cocoa and Baker's bittersweet chocolate, it was life changing -- so you can only go up from there.

Clearly, chocolate sorbet is still the cool older sister. But you just got invited to her party.

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sorbet

From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press, 2007)

Makes about 1 quart (1 liter)

2 1/4 cups (555 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces (170 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk for 45 seconds.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it's melted, then stir in the vanilla extract and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. If the mixture has become too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.

Save and print this recipe at Food52.

Photos by Nicole Franzen