Monday, August 5, 2013

creamy chocolate gelato




Creamy.  Dark.  Chocolate.  

Need I say more?  

Probably not, but I love a good story, and I love to tell them even more.

Every time I hear the word chocolate, I can't help but think back to my Daniel's potty training days.  And trust me here.  This isn't e-w-w-w at all.

Daniel was an extremely picky eater as a toddler.  A sufferer of "silent reflux" from the time he was born, he built up a great aversion to food, because... well... it just hurt to eat.  So, being the first-time mom I was, wanting nothing more than to fill up my child, I resorted to whatever I could get in him.  Carbs, carbs, and more carbs became his diet in his toddler days.  John and I tried desperately to break him of the cravings and found ourselves, many times, having to hide our own "sneakings" of different foods - especially all things sweet.  

One night the family was down in the den, and while Daniel was not looking I quickly tiptoed up to the kitchen and slid my fork under the foil covering my just-made chocolate cake, hoping to grab a couple of bites without getting caught.  No sooner than I got the second fork-full in my mouth, here comes Daniel, "Mommy, I gotta go potty.  Mommy..."  We had been working so hard trying to perfect this, I ran behind him hoping for the best, as I choked down the cake.  

He boosted himself onto the pot, I squatted down next to him, and tried to talk him through being patient.  We sang a song.  We giggled.  We read a book.  And then he slowly got closer to my face, those precious brown eyes sweetly looking at me... I thought an, "I love you, Mommy," or a butterfly kiss, which we were known to do, was following.  But, no.  Instead I got a...

Sniff-sniff... 

"Mommy.  Is that chocolate?"  

Rats.  Caught red-handed.  But, oh my goodness, was it worth it.  I laughed so hard, I fell over. And our family has laughed tons since, recounting that moment over and over.  

If you like a rich chocolate, you will love this recipe.  It's not a traditional chocolate ice cream at all.  It's different.  It's good.  Really good.  And... as a plus to those who might care to know, it's a non-dairy option.  

By the way, now that I've tried this original version, I'm throwing around some mix-in ideas. I'm thinking a little toasted coconut and toasted sliced almonds might make a great frozen Almond Joy-like treat.  Love those things, by the way!!

So, here's to Daniel's chocolate story.  Funnily, he's not even a chocolate fan to speak of.  But Luke and I don't mind.  It just leaves more for us!

Creamy Chocolate Gelato
makes one quart
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural
  • about 3 1/2 cups original almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
~ Put cocoa in medium bowl and whisk in enough milk (about 2/3 cup) to make a smooth 
    paste.  Stir in vanilla.

~ Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan.  Gradually whisk in remaining milk.
    Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or spatula, until 
    mixture begins to barely simmer around edges.

~ Stirring constantly and scraping the sides and corners of the pan to prevent scorching, let 
    the mixture simmer for 2 1/2 to 3/ minutes to fully cook the cornstarch.  

~ Scrape the hot mixture into the bowl with the cocoa mixture.  Whisk until well blended.  
    Let cool, undisturbed, about 45 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 
    hours. 

~ Pour the gelato mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker.  Freeze according to 
    manufacturer's directions.  

Recipe slightly adapted from Eating Well, January/February 2011