A Rationalization for Cocoa Frozen Yogurt

I am two weeks away from being done with this semester.  Which means my summer officially starts April 25th.  Break out the bourbon sours.  I may still need my winter coat and I probably have at least one upturned umbrella in my future between now and Memorial Day.  But still.

It’s odd to think of April in Boston as the beginning of a four month vacation, especially since I’ll still be working 40 hours a week, mostly discussing bowel irregularities and finding sly ways to convince folks to eat more root vegetables.  But 40 hours is not (what seems like) 140 hours at the moment.  This is the life of a dietitian in graduate school for what seems like an eternity (actual time, 3 years).

I’ve had some requests for items other than dessert to be posted on the blog. And I intend to honor them this “summer.”  I’ve wanted to make quiche since February.  I know.  Quiche is just an excuse to make pie. With cheese.  But I’ll throw a fistful of greens in there too.  Other savories will be discussed, as well.  I swear.

For now, I have a chocolate frozen yogurt for you.  But it’s not that kind of frozen yogurt.  It’s thick, full-fat and reminiscent of milk chocolate pudding. 

The yogurt is still in there though.  Which makes it seem, in many ways, healthier than other creams and custards on ice.  Just as creamy and cocoa-dusted, mind you, but also lighter and a bit breezier.  Perfect for summer come early.

You see, I am a dietitian pursuing a liberal arts degree in gastronomy.  I can rationalize anything.

Cocoa Frozen Yogurt


1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
1½ cups whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


The day before you intend to make this yogurt base, place a strainer or colander over a bowl and line the strainer (or colander) with cheesecloth.  Secure the cheesecloth (I usually tie it with string or rubber bands.)  Pour in the yogurt to drain, cover everything with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (6-8 hours).  During this time the yogurt with get thick. 

The next day, discard the liquid in your bowl and measure out 1¼ cups of the strained yogurt; set aside.  (You’ll have a little extra.) 

Mix 3 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.  Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup and heat on medium-high until it boils (stir occasionally to make sure the milk doesn’t burn at the bottom).  Keep at a rolling boil for 4 minutes and then add in the cocoa powder and pinch of salt; whisk to combine.

Remove the cocoa mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch.  Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened (this will only take a minute or so).  Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. (You may need to strain the liquid if you notice bits of cream cheese lingering about.) Add in the vanilla and reserved 1¼ cups of yogurt; whisk to combine.

Place a metal bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice.  Pour the yogurt mixture into the metal bowl and allow to come to room temperature before placing it into the fridge until fully chilled (ideally overnight).

Pour the yogurt base into a frozen ice cream canister and spin until thick and creamy (the base will pull away from the sides of the canister when it is done; this should take about 25 minutes).  Pack the yogurt into a freezer-safe container with an airtight lid.  Press parchment paper directly on the surface of the frozen yogurt and seal with a lid.  Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yield: a little less than 1 quart

-This could probably take up to 6 tbsp of cocoa quite comfortably.  I tasted at ¼ cup of cocoa and liked what I had.  So I stopped.  (I wanted a nice mellow chocolate flavor that didn’t overwhelm the yogurt.)

-You don’t have to refrigerate the cocoa yogurt base overnight, but I like to let the flavors have time to get to know each other.

-This freezers hard, so take it out a few minutes before you want to serve it.


  1. Hooray for Jeni's!

    And I feel you on grad school taking forever. I'm a fifth (almost sixth) year and graduation is finally in sight (but still a year away, a year filled with lots of unappealing labor). The world needs more dual degrees for dietitian + gastronomer. We'd eat even more delicious and nutritious food!

  2. Chocolate frozen yogurt doesn't need any rationalization for me! :)

  3. The chocolate frozen yogurt sounds amazing! Congratulations on the end of the semester and the start of your summer :)