This mouthwatering gelato was born from a 1/2 cup of Nutella I had left in my pantry and the end of a bottle of Frangelico in my liquor cabinet. Frangelico, Nutella, a quart of whole milk and 15 minutes before I need to leave the house sounds like gelato to me.
What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato? That is open to debate, but generally gelato is made with more milk than cream and has less air incorporated into it.
Also, now that Summer is practically here, it seems like a good time to go over my three primary techniques for making ice cream and gelato. Once you know how each works, you can get creative.
So here we go:
A. Make a custard on the stove with tempered egg yolks, chill, churn & freeze. This is my least favorite way to make ice cream, but just because I’m spoiled by the other two methods. Although this technique is classic and produces a rich and creamy dessert, it can also be tricky. If not monitored carefully, you may end up with very sweet scrambled eggs which isn’t particularly appetizing (and yes, I’ve done it). For a detailed illustration of this method done correctly, check out my Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
B. Make a pudding on the stove with corn starch, chill, churn & freeze. This is my favorite method because it allows for a lot of creativity without a lot of risk. This technique is eggfree and works for almost any flavor. As a bonus, you get rich ice cream or gelato with lower fat dairy like whole milk which makes me feel better about eating more dessert. Examples include Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream, Cookie Dough Ice Cream, or most recently Chocolate Malted Ice Cream.
C. Make a boozy base in a blender and freeze. You may have noticed that while methods A and B have four steps, C only has two. This only works for ice creams and gelatos containing alcohol, but is definitely the quickest and easiest method. As a bonus, C is the only method that produces amazingly rich and creamy frozen dessert without an ice cream maker. This is a great way to make ice cream to make on the fly…or after a few drinks when your diet seems suddenly less important than creating a new flavor with your favorite liqueur.
I have made many concoctions using this boozy blender method. They are all good, but only a few recipes have been blogworthy. This is one of them.
I was surprised that the final gelato was not particularly boozy. The Frangelico is practically undetectable. You could add more if you prefer a stronger Frangelico flavor.
Chocolate Hazelnut Blender Gelato
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, I use Ghiradelli
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup Frangelico
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk (See? Milk, wholesome milk. So it’s kind of healthy. You could also use half-and-half or some combination of milk and cream. The more fat, the richer the final product…but you knew that, right?)
- GARNISH: hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Place the chocolate chips, Nutella, egg, egg yolk, Frangelico, sugar and kosher salt in a blender and blend until fairly homogenous.
NOTE: I don’t usually add this much salt to my gelato, but this time the salt was needed to bring out the hazelnut flavor. Somewhat ironically to me, the salt made the final dessert taste more like Nutella.
In the meantime, put the milk in a small saucepan on the stovetop and heat just until it boils (watch it carefully so it doesn’t boil over). Turn on your blender again and pour in the scalding hot milk. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Taste and add additional salt or sugar if needed. Pour into a chilled container (a large cocktail shaker works great!) and freeze for 10 hours or more.
Scoop into serving dish and garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts.
Like most ice cream recipes, this boozy blender method is open to all sorts of interpretation. As long as you have the basics, dairy, egg and booze in roughly the same proportion, it will turn out. If you do experiment, be sure to taste your ice cream base before you freeze it. That is the time to add a little sweetness, flavor, spice, salt, alcohol or whatever. Sometimes I blend in a very ripe banana for flavor and consistency. If you do add a banana, you can use less sugar, but it also adds water, so you may want to use a higher fat cream in place of some of the milk.
If you like this recipe, you may want to try my other favorite blender ice cream. My crack, my cryptonite is Bailey’s Chocolate Ice Cream. If I make it, I will eat it…all.