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We were looking for an ice cream that had a rich chocolate flavor and smooth, balanced texture. Combine sugar, milk, salt, and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. But with dozens of brands from which to choose, how do you know if you’re buying the right pint? We decided that the best way to compare brands would be to test them by the quality of the most classic ice cream flavor: chocolate. To find the best of the best, we went to our local grocer and scooped up 10 of the most popular ice cream brands. Without question, it was my personal favorite from this round of tastings. That means there were no swirls, cookie chunks, fluffy mallows or extra mix-ins. Of the milk chocolate varieties we tried, Graeter's had the most complex chocolate flavor, but that didn't take away from its supreme milky, creaminess. There are some people who just want their chocolate ice cream to taste like a Wendy's frosty. (Selfless, we know.). It wasn't quite as rich as Van Leeuwen's, but it received high marks for texture and nuanced flavor. These people think about food all day long (they create our magazines and books), so they have some qualified palates. This decadent treat took top prize in our tasting, and it's no wonder: The dark-chocolate coating is richer and thicker than other brands, and the chocolate ice cream … To find the best chocolate ice cream, we gathered seven nationally available products and asked 21 tasters to sample them plain and in mini ice cream cones. It has both rich, nuanced chocolate flavor and an airy lightness that make it refreshing. In this tiny test group, some judges didn’t care for caramel, while others adored it. Just pure cocoa flavor. Finally, all selections had to be available in grocery stores, and while some of our winners may not be present across all states, they are making their way into more and more markets, and can be purchased online. Breyers held its own, even among the specialty brands. ", BUY IT: Naturally Friendly's Premium Chocolate Ice Cream, $5 for 1 1/2 quarts on Instacart. ), So how’d we choose the best ice cream? We taste-tested 50 store-bought flavors, from chocolate ice cream to caramel cookie crunch, in the GH Test Kitchen to pick the best ice creams for dessert. Additionally, of every single carton, it was Breyers that was emptiest at the end of the tasting. We lined up scoops of each ice cream side-by-side, without any indication of branding, packaging or price. As we were tabulating our results, it became … Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Food Styling by Joe Sevier, The Best Chocolate Gifts for Any Occasion, Naturally Friendly's Premium Chocolate Ice Cream, $5 for 1 1/2 quarts on Instacart, Graeter's Dutch Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, $80 for a six-pint sampler pack at Williams Sonoma, Van Leeuwen Chocolate Ice Cream, $89 for a six-pint sampler pack at Goldbelly, Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream, Turkey Hill All-Natural Belgian-Style Ice Cream. It should be something that we wouldn’t mind spooning straight from the tub or mixing into a milkshake. Ad Choices, The Best Chocolate Ice Cream You Can Buy at the Store. All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. With this criterion in mind, we started tasting, one by one. Because it’s low-fat, there’s simply no chance that it’ll have that same creamy, delicious flavor as, say, Blue Bunny or Edy’s. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla … They might be higher or lower by you. The flavor and texture were so good that a few judges went back for seconds. My colleagues insist that the very best brand of chocolate ice cream comes from Friendly's all-natural line. This scoop definitely packed that creamy flavor, leaping bounds above the rest of the pack. That a “healthy” ice cream like Halo Top came in last place wasn’t a huge surprise. Edy’s chocolate delight was a standout among the bunch. Our team took on the challenge to find the best tasting chocolate ice cream among common supermarket brands. Meijer Purple Cow Chocolate Ice Cream: $2.99 3. All rights reserved. We considered two major characteristics: flavor and texture. By taste, of course! (And they’re just begging to be paired with these indulgent desserts!) We tasted 15 brands of chocolate ice cream (from dark to milk and Belgian to Dutch) to determine the very best one. Taste of Home is in Milwaukee, so we had to see if the dairy state could live up to its reputation! Eh, good luck finding space. Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. To gather a non-biased opinion, we decided to conduct a blind taste test. Breyers maintained a great balance of fluffiness and chocolate flavor without going too far in any one direction. This way you can customize it to your personal preferences. (Upscale brands or cool packaging can unfairly sway people’s opinion, even though it doesn’t have a thing to do with flavor.) All ice creams were scooped into separate chilled bowls and left in the freezer until the tasting commenced. Learn how to make ice cream without a machine. Dove Chocolate Ice Cream Bars with Dark Chocolate ($4.08 for 3) Runner-up: Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Peanut Butter Bars ($4.39 for 3) The Best of the Best. Make it from scratch! The ice creams themselves were on trial. Learn how to make ice cream without a machine. Target Market Pantry Chocolate Ice Cream: $2.99 2. Like that vanilla ice cream taste test, we wanted to find a more natural chocolate ice cream: something with minimal stabilizers and no artificial sweeteners. Yep, plain-Jane chocolate. Want the ultimate ice cream? We rounded up eight ice cream fanatics from around the office. Bring the mixture to a simmer over med-low heat and then turn the heat off. It's also not as light as the ice creams labelled "milk chocolate." Some preferred a soft scoop, while others liked their ice cream firm and frozen. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. I was shocked when I realized that expensive ice cream like Haagen-Dazs didn’t make the top three (it finished fifth). This dark horse captivated the testers with its creamy texture and balanced chocolate flavor, and its larger size makes it a great party staple. Epicurious may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. They were sampled blind by a panel of Epicurious editors and staff in order from lightest to darkest, since chocolate experts generally recommend tasting in a similar order when sampling bars. Best on a Stick. BUY IT: Graeter's Dutch Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, $80 for a six-pint sampler pack at Williams Sonoma. It's just a sweet, sweet fantasy, baby, when I close my eyes you come and take me on and on and on. It beat out other ice cream brands by a mile, but came in just shy of the toop. Making homemade chocolate ice cream is really simple to do but for the best ever recipe some practice in patience must be exercised. Kemps Old Fashione… I couldn't get over how wonderfully fudgy the texture was. We tried a total of 11 different brands of chocolate ice cream … BUY IT: Van Leeuwen Chocolate Ice Cream, $89 for a six-pint sampler pack at Goldbelly. I’ll definitely think twice before spending big bucks on a name brand again. The winner here was clear. But therein lies the ultimate question: are you a dark chocolate person or a milk chocolate person? Just pure cocoa flavor. We're all for ice cream innovation, but we also like digging into a bowl of a classic flavor, and remembering how good it can taste. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. The only way to know your favorite is to try it yourself. We decided that the best way to compare brands would be to test them by the quality of the most classic ice cream flavor: chocolate. We chose only plain chocolate ice creams (including labels that called out Belgian, Dutch, milk, and more), but avoided any ice cream with nuts, chips, ripples, or other mix-ins. On any given Sunday, you’ll find me in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. Did your favorite scoop the competition? Like most ice creams, it's best if you let it sit on the counter for a bit before digging in—straight out of the freezer it's slightly cocoa-powdery on the tongue, but once it starts melting around the edges, it can't be beat. https://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/08/the-best-chocolate-ice-cream Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. And while I think it's a great option, if you ask me, my colleagues are crazy, because the ice cream that I picked from the lineup of 15 nationally available brands was much darker and more deeply flavored than Friendly's (more on that below). Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce, Christmas Tree Delivery Is a Thing and We’re So on Board, Our Baking Pros Found the Best Chocolate Chips for Cookies and More, Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Vanilla Extract Brands for Baking, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. In her spare time, you’ll find her thumbing through vintage cookbooks or testing out recipes in her tiny kitchen. But we didn't rule out stabilizers completely, because they contribute to superior scoopability and longevity. As a hostess, I wouldn’t try to serve this ice cream for a crowd, but knowing its guilt-free nutrition facts, I may just sneak a scoop or two for myself. Taste of Home wanted to help. … A new-to-the-supermarket brand that's been kicking around New York and LA for years, Van Leeuwen's chocolate ice cream is so rich, dark and delicious that it's practically like eating frozen fudge. Check it out here.). That means there were no swirls, cookie chunks, fluffy mallows or extra mix-ins. To find the best of the best, we went to our local grocer and scooped up 10 of the most popular ice cream brands. In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream and cocoa powder. Rhoda also loved its "clean and classic dark chocolate flavor," which has fruity/berry notes that round things out. It's good, it's straightforward, and it'd be great scooped on top of decadent desserts or eaten all on its own. This extra-rich ice cream definitely impressed our judges. Got something else to squeeze in there? When my sweet tooth strikes, I find myself aimlessly scanning through the sea of ice cream, each carton vying for my attention with the promise of creamy, dreamy satisfaction. After all, there’s no way to take a sample scoop. Unbeknownst to the testers, this ice cream was from a Wisconsin company. Surprisingly, our ultimate winner is neither—call it an all-purpose chocolate if you will. Nicole is a writer, editor and lover of Italian food. Trader Joe's Ultra Chocolate was a dark option we liked. Going in we knew we would need to taste the milk chocolate and dark chocolate specimens separately, but both had to have real chocolate flavor—nuanced with complex background flavor that came from the chocolate itself and not artificial agents. (Fun fact: We taste test all of our recipes before they’re published. Here’s our lineup: 1. Several of my colleagues, however—namely Anna Stockwell—thought it had a "nice, custardy milk chocolate flavor" and praised its nostalgic creaminess. Come to Publix for the chicken tender sub, stay for the choco… Here’s our lineup: (Prices based on our Milwaukee stores. For over a month, our freezer at SEHQ was filled with only one thing: chocolate ice cream. And while it'll definitely give you those familiar childhood vibes, we'd wager it tastes better than that frosty ever did. 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