First Place Winner in the Zupan's Chocolate Decadence Contest!
The Mayans turned cacao beans into a drink, but it was the Aztecs who added vanilla and honey to make it sweet. If they had invented sorbet, I'd like to think they would have made something like this.
I've added cinnamon for spicy-sweet tones, ancho chile powder for sweet-hot notes, and chipotle powder for smoky heat. The Scharffen Berger Chocolate doesn't contain any dairy, but isn't labeled vegan, so a substitution might be necessary. Glucose is a viable substitute for the honey I've used, and it will produce the same texture. Pernigotti is a very fine Dutch process cocoa powder, but it isn't labeled vegan either, so a substitute might be required.
A bite of this sorbet is an interesting experience. The cinnamon appears first in the interior nasal passages, followed by a rich, deep chocolate flavor. Then the cinnamon appears on the palate, followed by the heat of the chiles just about when you swallow. I found that the heat became much more intense if I ate faster.
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Pernigotti Cocoa
2 ounces Scharffen Berger Bittersweet 70% Cacao Chocolate
1/3 cup honey
pinch Australian pink flake sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
Mix the water, sugar, and cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. As soon as the sugar and cocoa powder are completely absorbed into the water, remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir in the remaining ingredients after the chocolate melts. The mixture will thicken as it cools, so strain while still somewhat hot.
Refrigerate at least six hours, or overnight, to let the flavors develop completely. Process in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions.