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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

It's a good time to be alive when a legitimate complaint about our luxury food is, "This hot chocolate is too rich." But so it goes at some bakeries where "hot chocolate" has come to mean "a melted chocolate bar with just enough milk to be pourable."

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Recipes that label themselves as "super-thick" or "decadent" make hot chocolate this way; in New York, you'll find it at venerated spots like Dough and City Bakery. At the former, the drink is so rich you'd be excused for calling it melted ganache. The latter's is lighter and less sweet, but only just. I can get through a third of a cup of hot chocolate like this—which is admittedly awesome—before feeling like Bruce Bogtrotter on his fourth pound of cake.

Chilling in an ice bath.

So if you've had hot chocolate along these lines, you've probably had leftovers. And if you have an ice cream maker, the solution for dispatching them is staring you right in the face. That's right: spin that stuff into ice cream.

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After all, thick hot chocolate is more or less an ice cream base waiting to happen: there's dairy, chocolate, sugar, and plenty of fat—enough to make a lush, not-too-sweet soft serve ice cream that's arguably better than the hot chocolate you started with. All you need to do is chill your leftover hot chocolate in an ice bath or the fridge until it's cold, then churn it. Really thick hot chocolate, the kind that turns into a soft pudding when cold, doesn't need anything else.

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There are two caveats. One, you obviously have to start with that too-rich hot chocolate—normal, drinkable, milky hot chocolate or hot cocoa won't work here. Two, you have to eat it as soft serve; the ice cream sets up into a brick once it sets in the freezer. But if you're looking for a quick dessert that does away with leftovers and tastes like something from a pro scoop shop, go give it a spin.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor and ice cream maker in residence at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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