It’s funny how things work. I was finally able to go to the nursery this past Sunday to choose plants for the patio project I’ve been working on for the past few weeks, and was so pooped lifting those 5-gallon containers I decided to put off planting them until the next day. Bear in mind that lifting them into place and moving them around to decide which looked best next to what was just as physically taxing as planting, so quite a bit of stepping back to stare at the results was involved afterwards.
At some point Sunday evening, the clouds rolled in and the wind whipped the trees around, surprising us with rain lasting through much of Monday morning. In this land of perpetually sunny days and palm trees, I always welcome the rain but like to be able to look forward to it and have time to think about closing windows in the house I forget are open. Yes, there were two open, and though I wouldn’t willingly risk having the rain come in and ruin the flooring, the soothing sound of a steady rain and scent of fresh moisture wafting through the house is what I was left with. Not bad. Not bad at all.
It also leaves me with a gelato recipe to write about instead of rainy day food like a nice bowl of creamy asparagus soup, or cute little fruit handpies, but it’s a gelato recipe well worth writing about. Flavor you might find in a paper pint on a night when a good movie you’ve seen a trillion times is what’s in order and your couch has a spot with your name on it.
Chocolate Toffee Gelato
1/2 c. sugar
2 T cornstarch
1-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
pinch of sea salt
2 c. milk, divided
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c. heavy cream, chilled
1/2 c. Heath candy bar, crushed
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cardamom and salt. Add 1/4 c. of the milk, stirring until all ingredients are well blended, then add the rest of the milk. Cook over medium high heat, stirring continuously until the mixture starts to thicken and just reaches a boil — about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and continue stirring for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the burner and add the chocolate making sure to submerge all the pieces and allow to sit for 1 minute before stirring until smooth.
Prepare an ice bath by adding ice cubes to a bowl. Scrape the chocolate mixture to a bowl and set the bowl into the ice bath. Carefully add water in the exterior bowl and allow to cool, stirring occasionally until chilled.
Pour the chocolate mixture into an ice cream maker and process about 30 minutes, or until the gelato is beginning to firm. Add the toffee bits and continue to process briefly to distribute them. Scrape the gelato into a sealable container and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours before serving.
To serve, allow to sit at room temperature 5 minutes before scooping. Enjoy with chocolate sprinkles, or if you’re in a triple chocolate overload sort of mood, top one of these Salted Fudge Brownie with a scoop and drizzle some chocolate dulce de leche over the top.
- This is a Dorie Greenspan recipe originally published in the June 2006 issue of Bon Appetit which called for cinnamon, not cardamom. I like cinnamon quite a bit (a lot?) but like to use cardamom which has the most lovely citrus flavor and isn’t as sharp as cinnamon can be to some palates.
- As far as volume goes, this is a nice recipe because it doesn’t overflow the ice cream maker and make a huge mess. No chocolate covering everything in the kitchen. Yes, it’s happened before.
- I used 2% milk for this recipe because that’s what I usually have in the fridge, but if I can get away with reducing calories in ice cream, I usually try. There are gelato recipes I’ve tried that skip the heavy cream completely — like this Fresh Cherry Gelato which was quite the hit.
- The salted fudge brownie chocolate Toffee gelato drizzled with chocolate dulce de leche was my oldest son’s birthday “cake” this year and was well received by all.
- Although I’ve made my own dulce de leche quite a few times using a variety of methods, when I don’t feel like making yet another thing when I’m putting a dinner together (in this case, it was caramel sauce) I decided to use a jar of La Salamandra Dulce de Leche con Chocolate I’ve had in the pantry since before Christmas. I was saving it for something special, so this fit the bill. It’s an amazing jar of chocolatey caramelly wonderfulness you just might want to treat yourself to at least once.
- A bit of after the fact searching has turned up a recipe for chocolate dulce de leche if you’re in the mood to experiment. Make the dulce de leche like I did for this recipe, then finish by adding the chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Easy peasy.
- Just think of all those lovely antioxidants your body is loving from that dark chocolate. Treat!