Makes about 2 cups; serves 4
(From The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate (Hyperion, 2006), by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg)
For lovers of chocolate ice cream, this is the final word. This dark chocolate ice cream is deeper and richer than any ice cream you can buy. What's especially intriguing is the hint of dark caramel flavor you'll taste beneath the chocolate.
Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Set a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar until slightly paler in color. Add the cocoa and whisk until a paste forms.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the milk into the cocoa mixture, and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 3 minutes.
Strain the hot mixture onto the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Place the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the caramel is dark brown, swirling the pan occasionally so the caramel colors evenly. If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan, brush with a wet pastry brush. Test the color of the caramel by drizzling a few drops onto a white plate. When the color is medium to dark amber, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately pour the caramel into the chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. If any of the caramel solidifies into small chunks, strain the mixture.
Let cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least several hours, or overnight.
Place the ice cream base in an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Because the mixture is so thick to begin with, it may take less time than most ice cream to freeze to the desired consistency. For a firmer texture, transfer to a covered container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.