The hubs really loves dark chocolate and he really loves ice cream so how do you think he feels about this Rich Dark Chocolate Gelato? He really-really loves it! I've said this before, but sometimes the most simple recipes are the most flavorful and that's certainly the case here. This easy recipe has no egg yolks and you don't need a thermometer to ensure it reaches a certain temperature as it cooks. You'll also notice the recipe doesn't call for heavy cream which can mute the flavor of chocolate. The addition of cornstarch provides excellent water absorbing properties to reduce the ice crystals that so often plague homemade ice creams and gelatos. For the best flavor, be sure to use a high quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder rather than common grocery store varieties. I've listed several recommendations below.
A word about ice cream makers. I have two Cuisinart ice cream makers, the kind with the coolant-filled bowls that have to be frozen for 24 hours between batches. They work very well and I would recommend them to anyone, but I recently had the pleasure of testing two self-refrigerating compressor machines. They're more expensive than the freeze-ahead models, but the convenience of being able to make consecutive batches on a moment's notice makes the increased price so worth it to me.
Of the two models I tested, one was the clear winner - The Breville Smart Scoop. The Breville is the quietest machine I've ever used; purrs like a kitten. It also has 12 hardness settings so you can freeze your sorbet, frozen yogurt, gelato, or ice cream just the way you like it; it has a super neat "hold" feature to keep your frozen creation at the desired consistency for up to 3 hours; and it sings a cute little ditty to let you know when the cycle is done. Oh, and extra bowls for this machine only cost about $10 compared to the $30-45 you have to pay for the freeze-ahead models. I can't say enough good things about the Breville Smart Scoop and it's going on my list of favorite small appliances.
Cioccolato Scuro e Ricco Gelato
(Rich Dark Chocolate Gelato)
makes 1 quart
- 3 cups whole milk, divided
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of fine salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of milk, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining 2 cups of milk just below the boiling point (bubbles will appear around the edges of the pan).
- Add the cocoa mixture to the hot milk and continue to heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (about 10 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Allow mixture to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and chill overnight (for quicker results, see my note below).
- Process in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer (I love this one).
- Soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 1 quart.
Note: If you're in a hurry and want to skip the chilling overnight step, pour the gelato base into a glass or metal bowl which is then placed into a larger bowl containing a lot of ice water. Stir the mixture frequently until it reaches 40F; then proceed as directed above. Base can be made up to 5 days in advance - store in refrigerator until ready to churn.