Introduction: Black Forest Mocha Ice Cream Sundae

About: I live in a forest garden by the sea in an old Celtic longhouse in the Baie de Mont Saint Michel, France, which I share with Andy and our poultry. Before I escaped and became a happy peasant, I had three jobs …

Coffee is our first drink of the day and we've spent quite some time trying to find one we really like. Recently and thanks to my brother-in-law, who is also a big coffee devotee, we found a new one, in bean form. So, I thought I'd put it to the test by making this mocha aka coffee-chocolate sundae which comprises:

Coffee ice cream

Coffee with dark chocolate ripple and chocolate chip ice cream

Coffee and dark chocolate sauce

Coffee and cocoa truffles ....and


A Dip Into Coffee History

The picture of the sundae above right, is taken in front of an engraving that hangs in our kitchen, it's of the Jamaica Coffee Tavern circa. 1885. This was one of the first of the very popular London coffee houses and was opened in 1666 after the Great Fire. Coffee taverns in their thousands, sprung up and prospered throughout the country, after the introduction of coffee to Britain from Italy and Turkey in the early 17th century. They provided a venue, where, for the price of a penny entrance fee, people could meet and enjoy local and international gossip. They could also read the current newspapers and journals, take coffee and sandwiches and most unusually for such a hierarchical society, enjoy them on an equal footing, no matter who they were or what they did outside its walls. The only proviso being that the coffee houses usually catered for men, although there is some debate about this, as although coffee houses were sometimes owned by women, they were not socially acceptable for them but that is not to say that women did not frequent them.

In university towns such as Oxford, the coffee house became an alternative place of information gathering, debate and exchange of ideas and knowledge, in fact they were known as the 'penny universities'. A tavern where the patrons were drinking coffee rather than alcohol, allowed them to continue to read and converse with ease, rather than in the rowdy gin shops of the period. This did not mean however, that heated arguments didn't occur but when they did, patrons were expected to forget and forgive and buy each other a coffee. Many of the houses were involved in trade and shipping and were also the foundation for businesses and institutions, such as Lloyds of London and the London Stock Exchange. Coffee Taverns remained popular but over the centuries and as they became ever more fashionable, they began to take on a more narrow, exclusive membership with individual political affiliation and so evolved into the 'gentlemen's', business and political clubs of today. This coupled with the fact that both the government and the East India Company began to champion tea as the fashionable British drink.

Why Sundae?

I'm really fond of ice cream sundaes and I always make them from scratch. It is very easy for me to get all the basic ingredients as I live in Normandy where the whole region is famous for its dairy - think Camembert, Pont-L'Evêque, Salted Caramel and the ancient Normande cows, resembling large friendly Dalmatians. I also raise hens so have a plentiful supply of eggs. Add to that to the jar of Morello cherries I've been saving for just such an occasion and we're ready to try a take on a Black Forest Sundae.

A Foreword About the Recipe and Ingredients

As the basis on which to build my coffee/mocha sundae I'm using a Victorian rich vanilla ice cream recipe and as the Victorians, including the Queen, had a very sweet tooth I've cut the amount of sugar in half. This is also because all the ingredients I'm using are organic and I find organic sugar much sweeter than conventional. Therefore, you may need to taste as you go along and add more sugar if necessary. However, given all the additions to this recipe in sauces, truffles and fruit, you may find that the sugar levels are fine.

I'm adding desiccated coconut and coconut oil to my coffee truffles but that is because I do not have any dried cherries at the moment but I usually do make truffles with all kinds of dried fruits, it gives them a really luscious taste. If however, you do have dried fruits to compliment this sundae then use them instead and replace the coconut oil with more butter.



I've put links to the supplies that are maybe more difficult to find in organic and to the coffee I used, if you are interested. My brother-in-law bought it for us at Costco

sf bay organic coffee rainforest blend whole bean

milk - I'm using raw


dark chocolate minimum 70% cocoa

dark chocolate chips


cream - raw

butter - raw

coconut oil

coconut sugar

cane sugar

desiccated coconut

preserved cherries


Is you have one an ice cream machine would be great but I don't.

A small French press or cafetière

One large and one small heavy-bottomed pan

A heavy, solid mixing bowl, I have a Mason Cash

A wooden spoon or spatula

A potato masher

An electric whisk

A large freezer box - glass is the best if you can get it

A freezer-proof tray

A freezer bag - I use the ones made out of sugar cane

Unbleached baking paper

Cocktail sticks

A large martini/cocktail glass - I find modern sundae glasses are too clumpy and this dessert looks good on a grand scale - so it's great for sharing with a friend!

A fine grater - to grate chocolate

Small heart-shaped cutter (optional) This is from a set of cutters I bought and I use them all the time because I have a recipe blog and also I love making fancy food!

Step 1: Making the Basic Rich Vanilla Ice Cream


4¼ cup - 2 pints - 1 litre of full cream raw milk

¾cup - 6oz - 175g of coconut sugar

1⅔ cups - 400ml - ¾ of a pint of raw, heavy/double cream

1 Bourbon vanilla bean/pod


Split the vanilla bean down the middle lengthways with a sharp knife and place in a heavy-bottomed pan with the milk.

Put the pan onto the stove and heat gently until the milk is warm, above all make sure the milk doesn't boil!

Meanwhile whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy.

Add the warmed milk and whisk again until frothy.

Now place the mixture into your milk pan and cook slowly on a low heat, (put on a film!) stirring all the time (about 20 minutes) until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.

Leave to cool and set.

You can now remove the vanilla bean - I usually leave it in.

Add the cream and whisk again.

Place in a box and freeze until it is just beginning to harden on the top surface but the underneath is still soft (see first picture above)

Step 2: Brewing Up

I decided reading through my recipe books that a concentration of coffee at 3 to 4 times more than our usual morning brew would be the best to give me a good flavour for both the ice cream, truffles and mocha sauce. I've provided a shade card just to illustrate the difference.

In order to have sufficient to cover all the recipes, I made:

1 cup - ½ a pint - 250 ml of coffee from 2 tablespoons of beans

Step 3: Making the Mocha Sauce

This is a very easy but delicious sauce and it is again an old Victorian recipe. I find the modern recipes I've looked at for coffee sauces seem to boil the ingredients together, which I personally don't like. I think both coffee and chocolate need to be heated gently both from a taste and a health point of view.


¼cup - 2oz - 50g of dark/plain chocolate

½cup - 3½oz - 100g raw blonde cane sugar

½cup - ¼ of a pint - 125ml of my triple strength coffee


Break up the chocolate.

Add all the ingredients to your pan.

Put the pan on a low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate and the sugar have melted into the coffee.

Remove from heat and stir vigorously to obtain a glossy sauce.

Step 4: Building on the Vanilla - Coffee and Mocha Ripple With Chocolate Chips

Once my ice cream had reached the stage as mentioned in Step Two I removed it from the freezer and emptied it (in two lots) into my large mason bowl. I found it much easier to deal with it like this and incidentally, as I was making two flavours of ice cream, it meant that I could make both within the one freezer box.

I applied the potato masher to the first lot of semi-frozen ice cream. You will now understand why you need a heavy duty bowl. This process is to break up the ice crystals which have formed and to obtain a smooth ice cream.

Once I had broken it down sufficiently, I then whisked it up with my electric beater and placed it back into half of my freezer box.

I then took the other half of the vanilla ice cream and repeated the process.

I put the box back in the freezer and waited again until the ice cream was part-frozen* and repeated the mashing, whisking and freezing.

On the third and final breaking down of the ice crystals, I was now ready to add my flavours.

To one half of the vanilla ice cream I added ¼cup - ⅛ of a pint - 65ml of my triple strength cooled coffee and whisked it until it was well mixed.

To the second half I added a handful of chocolate chips and I swirled in three quarters of my cooled mocha sauce.

I now had my two flavours in one box and returned it to the freezer to set.

* how long it takes for your freezer to achieve this stage will depend on your individual freezer. I left mine for several hours, even over night in the first stage.

Step 5: Making the Mocha Truffles

This is a recipe I sort of made up. Every-time we feel like something sweet to go with a coffee I tend to make a batch of these truffles and I always add coffee but just taken from the cafetière, so at the normal strength. This time however, I wanted the full coffee flavour to predominate, so I used my triple strength brew. These truffles take the place of the cake in the Black Forest Sundae.


(makes 10-11)

1 tablespoon of cocoa

2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons of coconut or blonde raw cane sugar

2 dessertspoons of butter

1 dessert spoon of raw coconut oil

2 dessertspoons of warm triple-strength coffee

extra cocoa for dusting

grated plain/dark chocolate for decorating


Put all the ingredients into a bowl and pour the coffee over them. Using a fork, mash the ingredients together until well mixed and leave aside to set.

Prepare a freezer-proof tray by lining it with baking paper.

When the mixture has cooled, dip the cutter in cocoa powder and then taking a small walnut-sized amount of truffle mixture and using the cutter as a mould, press it evenly into the cutter.

Put the cutter down on the baking paper and gently press the mixture out.

Repeat until you have made the amount of shapes you require.

I used the rest of the mix to make some small round traditional-shape truffles.

I then placed the tray inside a freezer bag and put it in the freezer.

Step 6: Composing the Sundae

I drained my jar of cherries and got ready my large martini glass.

I started with a layer of the Morello cherries, they are quite tart so make a great foil to the rest of the sundae.

I then added 4 small scoops of coffee ice cream, then some mocha sauce and then just a few more cherries before building up a pyramid of Mocha ripple/chocolate chip and Coffee ice cream scoops. I placed cherries around the perimeter and added some more Mocha sauce and a few of the round truffles. On the top I placed one heart-shaped truffle dusted with chocolate and threaded through a cocktail stick with a cherry atop. I added another un-dusted heart-shaped truffle to give a contrasting colour and texture. It also was threaded through with a cocktail stick.

I took some pictures in the glorious Winter sunshine which graced today after a week of rain.

Then Andy and I sat down and ate the sundae between us! I'm planning another tonight.

I really enjoyed making this sundae and I hope you will too. There are so many variations you can make to it and if you are interested in other recipes, including Scottish traditional cuisine and French iconic desserts then take a look at my blog: Simply Organic Recipes

All the very best from Normandie, Sue aka Pavlovafowl

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