In my hometown there was this little gelato place in a strip mall across town when I was growing up. It was on the really far side of town, like all the way past campus and the hospital, and the bagel place. I’m talking far, guys.
But when I was a kid, my aunt and uncle lived all the way over on the far side of town and when we were very lucky, after visiting with them, my parents would let us stop for gelato.
In my admittedly not great memory, this happened several times a year every year of my childhood. In reality, and I’m sure my mom will set me straight, it probably happened twice. But I still remember the gorgeous vibrant red of the raspberry gelato, which was my favorite because it was the prettiest. I have no memory of how it tasted, and that lack of memorable flavor may be the answer to what happened to that little gelato place.
I just got an ice cream maker and the very first thing I wanted to make was. . .gelato. Not raspberry because I’m no longer a fan of fruity desserts (although I’m still into vibrant red desserts so who knows where the summer will take me?).
And make gelato I did. The king of gelatos (gelati? my Italian is as bad as my memory) actually. To be precise, it’s chocolate hazelnut gelato and it’s the stuff dreams are made of—of course, because chocolate and hazelnut. Have two words ever conjured such drooling? Nope. They have not.
This is some decadent, deeply chocolate-y stuff. (The recipe comes from Ina Garten, so you know it’s good.)
It’s just the thing for a late-spring/early summer celebration. (BTW, is anyone else as ready as I am for SUMMER??? It can’t come fast enough!) It’s also just the thing to eat while you’re sitting on your couch with the curtains pulled tight so you don’t have to look at how hard it’s June Glooming outside.
In short, chocolate hazelnut gelato makes a perfect afternoon snack or sweet end to any meal.
Or you could just go all in and have it instead of real food for dinner. I won’t tell a soul.
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Kahlua
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup blanched toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- Heat the milk, heavy cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat in a medium saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Whisk in cocoa powder and chocolate until smooth. Pour into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup.
- Place the egg yolks and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes on low speed, until mixture is light yellow and very thick. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the warm chocolate mixture and mix until combined.
- Pour back into the medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and mixture registers 180 degrees on a candy thermometer. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in Kahlua, vanilla, and salt. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard and refrigerate until completely cool, 3 to 4 hours. Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Add the chopped hazelnuts in the last 5 minutes of mixing. If your gelato is not as thick as you would like, place in the freezer until it has thickened. Otherwise serve and enjoy.