So you’ve got a summer party going on and are serving all kinds of ice cream. There’s just one problem though, the chocolate flavor just won’t scoop nicely. Worse, it takes longer to scoop and form into a single ball. There’s no problem with the vanilla or strawberry, so what gives ?
Well, it turns out there’s something special about chocolate ice cream that makes it all that different from all the others. Here’s what’s happening.
Why is chocolate ice cream harder to scoop ?
Chocolate ice cream is harder to scoop because it always ends up as a more solid product, even if you use the exact same recipe on all flavors. The reason behind this is the extra cocoa solids that make the ice cream stick together much more. Cocoa solids are much different from powdered milk or freeze-dried fruit flakes.
Chocolate ice cream contains more solids
In order for chocolate ice cream to really get a good flavor, you need a fairly large amount of cocoa. How much each company adds depends on their prestige. As in, most companies have two lines of products: common products and high-end. The higher end products almost always taste better because they have some extra ingredients, or more of a single ingredient.
Read also: Chocolate Mousse VS Ganache
In chocolate ice cream, there’s extra cocoa and possibly some chocolate syrup or chips to give it that extra oomph. Lower end chocolate ice cream has less cocoa, and possibly more water. A higher water amount leads to faster melting, but also a duller flavor.
If you’re wondering just how the cocoa solids make it harder, it’s pretty much like thickening it with flour.
Vanilla often contains vanilla extract (alcohol based)
Compared to chocolate, vanilla ice cream has way less products and is a little easier to make. Most contain milk, sugar, cream, possibly eggs, and vanilla extract. Some may even have actual vanilla beans.
Because the vanilla extract is alcohol based, it ends up loosening the other ingredients and you get an easier to scoop ice cream.
The salt in salted caramel doesn’t allow a full freeze
This also happens with salted caramel, but for a different reason. This one has more salt than other ice cream types, and if you remember salt is often thrown on sidewalks and roads to thaw ice.
We’re not particularly sure about the way salt works on ice, but we’ve definitely noticed it also has a say on how thick salted caramel ice cream will get.
Oh it will thicken alright, but it will be looser than chocolate and thus much easier to scoop.
Hot to scoop ice cream that’s too hard
If you find yourself with a tub of ice cream that’s just stubborn, there’s a few ways to fix it. Of course, we’re assuming this is ice cream you’ve bought, not made. If you’ve made the chocolate ice cream, know that you can make the next batch softer by adding more sugar or adding an alcohol-based extract to loosen the final product.
For now, here’s how to scoop some real stubborn ice cream, chocolate or not.
Thaw ice cream in fridge 20 minutes before serving
The main problem when we want to have ice cream is that we want it right then and there. Well, unless out freezer is closer to a fridge setting, it can’t offer us immediately-scoopable ice cream. It wouldn’t be a freezer if it did that.
So we need to take out the ice cream and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving. Yes, the whole thing. If it’s half empty then you can leave it for 10 minutes.
The whole point is to provide an even thaw. If you leave it on the counter the sides will get soft and eventually completely liquid by the time the middle is easier to get to. And if you’ve got ice cream that’s in three colors, you don’t really want just the sides.
So thaw it in the fridge, and then you can pick from any part you like.
Run scoop under hot water, pat dry
Another idea is to make sure your scoop is warm, possibly even hot. The easiest way to do that is to get hot water in a bowl, and dunk the scoop before each scoop.
This not only reduces residue from one ice cream type to another, it also makes for a faster serving.
If the ice cream is particularly stubborn you can also chop it up with a very hot knife. Run it through the ice cream in any pattern you like, the point is to create smaller bits that will come with the scoop much easier than a whole block.
And that’s pretty much it. Now you know to let chocolate ice cream thaw a little longer than other flavors. Know that not all ice cream is made equal. Some have more water and will melt faster, they’re usually the lighter colored ones.
If you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.