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½ cup Dutch-process cocoa*

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons Instant ClearJel* or cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 tablespoon vanilla; or 1 tablespoon espresso powder; or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, all optional

2 cups (1 pint) whole milk

1 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

For adults only: ¼ cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa) or the liqueur of your choice, optional

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, ClearJel or cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the water, then the flavor of your choice and the milk or cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently as the mixture warms, then almost constantly as it becomes hot; you don’t want the mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, whisking until chocolate melts. Pour into a bowl, and stir occasionally as it cools, to prevent a skin from forming. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the chocolate, again to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until it’s well chilled; overnight is good.

Make sure the canister for your ice cream maker is in the freezer, too; it needs to be as cold as it can be. Next day, pour the chocolate into the ice cream maker, and freeze for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s quite stiff. Scoop the ice cream into a bowl. For best texture, stir in ¼ cup coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa), or the liqueur of your choice. This will keep the ice cream soft and scoopable indefinitely in the freezer. Serve the ice cream immediately, if desired; it will be very soft. For harder ice cream, store in the freezer. Ice cream without liqueur will become nicely hard in 3 hours. With the addition of liqueur, it will take 6 hours or more to become quite solid. Ice cream without liqueur will become unpleasantly hard within 5 hours or so; to soften, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before serving. Yield: 3¾ cups, a scant 1 quart.

*Kitchen Ade note: Find superior Bensdorp Dutch-Process Cocoa, Instant ClearJel and Espresso Powder, at King Arthur Flour, www.kingarthur.com, or by calling 1-800-827-6836.

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