Monday Meltdown: Chocolate Hazelnut GelatoPosted: July 16, 2012
Summer is in full swing. Because this weekend it was H-O-T. So a frozen treat was a necessary way to beat the heat. This week, it was time for some gelato. Gelato is an Italian creation that’s similar to ice cream but usually softer and creamier. I like it a lot. What do I also like? Nutella, that heavenly chocolate-hazelnut spread. In college I worked at the student newspaper and we spent many nights dipping cookies into Nutella while we prepared the paper for the printer. I know, not that smartest thing to eat in the wee hours of the night, but we were young and silly. And now I’ve discovered that it’s just as great — if not better — as an ingredient in gelato.
Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato
– 2 cups of whole milk
– 1 cup of heavy cream
– ½ cup of sugar plus ¼ cup
– 4 egg yolks
– ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
– ½ cup of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread
– ½ cup of toasted hazelnuts, for topping
In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream and ½ cup of sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks and ¼ cup of sugar until it’s thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour a quarter of the warm milk mixture into the eggs and stir, and then add the eggs to the saucepan. (This will help the eggs warm up and not turn into scrambled eggs in the pan.) Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and Nutella until it dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until cold.
Place the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the machine’s instructions. Most machines take 20 to 40 minutes to make ice cream. When the gelato is thick and creamy (mine was ready at about 40 minutes), eat immediately for a soft, Frosty-like consistency. Or place into a freezer-safe container for a few hours to let it firm up, and then eat. Since gelato is supposed to be softer than traditional ice cream, if you do decide to eat it later, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften. To give it a little crunch, top it with some toasted chopped hazelnuts.