I sometimes try to make “chewy” ice cream using evaporated milk or dulce de leche made using the “boil a can of sweetened condensed milk” method in the base.

For the batch I’m wrangling now, I used a 14oz can of dulce de leche, 3 cups of heavy cream, a uhh... lot(?) of cocoa powder (I just added more until the dairy looked like it’s not getting darker anymore) and a 4oz bar of dark chocolate. (The dulce de leche adding around 220g of sugar.)

When chilled, this thickened into a puddingy paste that barely flows without coaxing, and my (cheap) ice cream machine started being unable to move it in about 10-15 minutes. (Although a thermometer registered the mixture as below freezing near the middle-ish.)

I usually just pry this out of the machine and into the freezer because what else am I going to do, and end up with fairly tough, albeit not icy icecream.

Is there anything that would make this base easier to work with without significantly changing the ingredients? Recipes for this style of ice cream usually have even more evaporated milk compared to the rest in them, sometimes even adding egg yolks which would likely thicken this even more. (Based on my experiences making chocolate+caramel icecream, replacing sugar in the recipe with caramel made out of it seems to make it so that using egg yolks is the difference between having the base churnable or not.)

I’ve been debating whipping the liquid up (or maybe just tossing it into a blender) before and after chilling to aerate it before it goes into the churn - after all it’s mostly cream and should be around 25% butterfat, but I have no idea if this would be helpful, and maybe there’s better tricks.

  • Are you happy with the end product and just want to improve the process, or is there something about the end product that you want to change as well?
    – Onyz
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 11:33
  • @Onyz The end product is... okay? But I have a hunch the only reason it’s not icy on the tongue is it’s so loaded with fat and milk protein it would end the same if I just froze it without churning. I’d like to improve the process because it’s frankly annoying - yesterday I lost too much time having to race to the kitchen hearing the churn make ugly creaking noises, cleaning out the bowl, and re-melting hoping I can do something that will let me rechurn and put the icecream away that evening.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 11:39
  • @Onyz I hope that fixing the process so that the ice cream is churned thoroughly and evenly will improve the texture of the final product and like… let me spoon it out of the container without prying chunks of it out, but I wouldn’t know whether there will be any difference until I figure out how to get there.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 11:42
  • Okay, thank you. Have you used "a lot" of cocoa powder + 4oz chocolate every time you've attempted this recipe? Were the results and recipe generally the same each time you attempted it?
    – Onyz
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 12:09
  • 1
    Hi millimoose, I`m working on a small tool that should help to balance the right proportions of ingredients for ice cream mixtures. Find it on GitHub if you are intrested: github.com/JoernMueller/Ice-Ed
    – J. Mueller
    Commented Aug 30, 2020 at 20:29

4 Answers 4


From the clarification in your comments, it sounds like the amount of solids that you are introducing to your recipe is effectively absorbing almost all of the liquid ingredients that are typically added.

If you want the mixture to be easier to manipulate for the churn, I think your best options are to either introduce more liquid (and thus dilute the other solid ingredients) or to reduce the quantity of solid ingredients that you are using in the first place.

Note that as far as I can tell, for the purposes of this recipe with regards to ease of churning, I consider the cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and to a lesser extent egg yolk and evaporated milk as "solids". These are all things that will cause the liquid in your recipe to solidify faster when chilled vs. the usual liquid ingredients.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck!

  • this is entirely possible, and I am personally leaning towards just not using SCM/EM with a base this chocolatey; this is a good answer, but I’d still be interested in a way to salvage what I have without spending forever to make the diluted stuff flavorful again
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 15:09
  • like I maybe mentioned, usually I just use caramel+dairy+cocoa+chocolate because that’s thick enough without egg or extra milk protein; but I have a roomie that really likes the EM/SCM icecreams despite my protestations they’re invariably a frustrating nightmare so here I am :D
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 15:12
  • @millimoose In that case, I think you'd either need to drop the EM or drop the quantity of caramel/cocoa/chocolate (or add more other liquid), but I think either approach would work. :)
    – Onyz
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 15:48
  • a longshot idea I had was churning just cream+chocolate+cocoa, then drizzling in the dulce at the end with a piping bag; but I’m not sure if an almost sugar-free base would churn right, even though the high fat and solids content could help. (I tried it before for a sweetened base and it half disperses and half leaves in bits of fudge which isn’t at all unwelcome, but the result was cloying; the friends loved it, I uhh graciously let them eat most lf the batch. I should stay away from the US South, I’d probably mortally insult somebody’s grandma over banoffee or shoofly pie.)
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 16:54
  • I agree with Onyz approach. Otherwise your last option probably is to go for a stronger (semi-)professional machine that can handle such a sturdy mass.
    – J. Mueller
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 18:20

I don't think you can use this recipe with a standard machine.

Ice cream machines are supposed to only freeze ice cream to a certain temperature (the "draw" temperature) and the rest happens in the freezer. To ensure that you don't overchurn, modern cheap home machines have some kind of sensor for the resistance of the mass, and professional machines have a special type of bearing such that the dasher stops moving at a certain viscosity even though the motor continues turning. Machines in between those two classes (such as home compressor machines in the 200-2000 Euro range) are notorious for having short lifetimes if not stopped before the ice cream has frozen too hard.

I am pretty sure that the sticky mass you are describing has higher viscosity than your machine has been designed for, so you won't be able to continue with this machine.

You could try a manual method (either entirely with your hands or with a hand cranked machine) or go some kind of DIY route and build something to churn for you, using some kind of motor adapted to the task (high torque, low speed). This may not be sufficient though, since a normal dasher design won't be able to exchange the just-frozen mass from the wall with the warm mass in the middle when the viscosity is too high. In the end, you might be looking at either direct freezing (which will still produce something scoopable with this kind of recipe, just not too similar to what we usually regard as ice cream) or high-tech tomfoolery with liquid nitrogen and the like.

  • Bummer. I’m pretty sure mine has a sensor since it changes direction when it snags on something presumably to see if that dislodges, what I mean by it acting up is it starts going back and forth. Since yesterday I’d remelted the base then threw it into the blender and it’s significantly less viscous even after chilling so I’ll give it another whizz and try again; if that doesn’t work I’ll settle on dilution.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 18:28

When creating ice cream you always have to balance a couple of parameters of the product. The two of most importance of them are the desired sweetness and the freezing point depression that directly affects the hardness at the serving temperature. This is usually gained by choosing a mixture of different sugars that differ in their sweetness and anti-freezing properties. As I nowhere read "sugar" in the ingredients you list, I assume you just rely on the sugars already contained in the other ingredients, which are some sucrose from the choclate and some lactose from the dairy. They are both disaccharides and both have a medium freezing point depression. In general I would recommend to replace some of the sugar in your mixture with dextrose/d-glucose, that lowers the freezing point much more effectively than sucrose. Adding more milk powder also would have a similar effect, as it is high in lactose content that has the same anti-freezing effect as sucrose but a much lower sweetness, but you should also aim to not exceed the amount of it over ~10% of the total mixture as it then could affect the texture in a negative way.

If nothing of this is an option adding some alcohol, ideally some sort supporting the taste, also could serve this purpose.

  • My bad, I didn’t exactly specify that I’m using sweetened evaporated milk. (Boiled-can dulce always starts with that to the best of my knowledge.)
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 20:43
  • If I remember the label correctly, the sweetened EM starts at north of 55g total sugars per 100g; the chocolate bar has 27g sugar in it; so (give or take the thermal decomposition that occurs) the base will contain around 247g sugar in 1275g of base for 20% sugar content. To the best of my knowledge that’s more than enough for icecream with this much fat.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 20:47
  • And my problem isn’t necessarily that it freezes too hard due to the composition; but that the base before it’s churned is so thick and viscous my machine fails to churn it fully, and it only really freezes up in the freezer. Given the thickening power of milk solids, adding milk powder would only make this problem worse.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 20:51
  • The exchange with Onyx and your guess, and having done a vanilla+dulce base with even more dulce piped in at the end that ended up super cloying gave me a longshot idea though that you might have an input on: could a base with just the dairy+cocoa+chocolate, give or take some yolks churn acceptably? (Being over 30% butterfat and cocoa butter, and over 15% sugar from the chocolate bar, and some lecithin from the same.) I could then swirl in the dulce and bypass the viscosity problem completely.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 18:50
  • I don´t know for sure, but making a dense premium ice cream on the edge of what is possible and then mix in the caramel or dulce at the end of the churning as a variegato sounds like a step in the right direction to me.
    – J. Mueller
    Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 19:17

This is very anecdotal, but I finally finished fiddling with this batch. Throwing the mixture into a blender made it flow a lot easier - wildly guessing long protein chains got broken up, it didn’t gain much in volume for aeration to explain this. (I might try whipping up in a future experiment but my stand mixer is close to falling apart.)Still very thick, but less paste-like.

It also churned without messing up the machine for 40-50 minutes; but moving between containers made me lose a significant amount of the base so that could have contributed.

As far as the final texture goes: marginal improvement if any. Still not easily scoopable, and very “chewy.” (To each his own, but my teeth are acting up this week and really don’t like biting into anything cold.)

  • Tooth sensitivity is frequently fun in the summer this way too. I’d def had exchanges about watermelon with ppl commenting on me slicing it like 1/4” thin because “it’s less juicy that way” and me having to point out that not wincing from pain makes up for that handily.
    – millimoose
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 14:49

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