A spoonful of a favorite liquor or liqueur lends a heady uplift to this rich, deep, dark brown sorbet and it also softens the texture to a lovely spoonable consistency. It is important to swirl the pan, rather than stir the sugar as it caramelizes, to avoid crystallization.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water, divided
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons dark rum, Grand Marnier, cognac, or amaretto
Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water.
Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally; until the sugar melts and caramelizes to a light amber color, 5 to 7 minutes. (Do not stir.)
Be careful, as the sugar is very hot. (If the sugar should crystallize on the sides of the pan before melting, put a lid on the pan to help wash down the sugar crystals, rather than try to stir them in.) When the sugar is completely melted, carefully pour in the remaining water and continue to heat, stirring, until the caramel dissolves.
Whisk in the cocoa and salt. Immediately place the pan in the ice bath and stir the mixture occasionally until it cools to room temperature.
Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture is almost frozen, spoon in the alcohol, and churn until blended in, about 1 minute more.
Or, to freeze without an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a 9-inch nonreactive square pan. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze just until solid, 2 to 3 hours.
Scrape out into an electric mixer or food processor, spoon in the alcohol, and process briefly until light and fluffy: Serve at once or transfer to a container, cover, and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
Nutritional information is based on 8 servings.