A mouthful, you might say. And you would be right. I am intensely dark and complex. No sugary base for me, my sugars are all deeply caramelized.
A chewy coffee marshmallow cream swirl adds just a bit of a bitter edge. Bittersweet coffee.
To add crunch, peanut brittle. Peanut brittle made with demerara sugar for more rich flavor.
Peanut and coffee? you ask. Yes. I say yes.
I am the most interesting gelato in the world. I am Triple Chocolate Coffee Peanut Crunch.
Get lost in the symphony of flavors. Of textures. Of chocolate upon coffee upon peanut upon caramel. Bitter. Sweet.
My base, while so dark as to almost seem forbidding, rests lightly on the palate. While I am creamy and seem rich, it is largely due to the magic of starch and not fat. My coffee swirl is fat-free, leaving more room for flavor.
I am the most interesting gelato in the world.
I am not the gelato your three year old reaches for, unless your three year old is an old soul with a highly evolved palate. I am not to be handed to a child to buy his silence in the library or his cooperation in the line at the bank. I am the ice cream chosen by world travelers. By lovers of the mysterious. By those who have learned that only by experiencing the bitter can we truly appreciate the sweet.
You will not find me on an ice cream truck. While a chocolate taco is a child’s song played on a toy piano, I am writ in full symphonic score.
Meet me. Meet me at the freezer. Fall into my depths, one bite at a time. Close your eyes between bites, the better to savor the experience. I will transport you.
For the Gelato Base
- 12 oz (by weight) granulated sugar
- 4 oz water
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 24 oz whole milk
- 1 oz natural cocoa powder, (I used Hershey's)
- 1/2 oz very dark cocoa powder, (I used Black Onyx from Savory Spice Shop)
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, , chopped fine
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Marshmallow Swirl (measured by volume until I figure out the conversions)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 egg whites
- 3-4 Tablespoons freeze-dried coffee, (it dissolves really well in the meringue. I used Cafe Bustelo)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
For the Brittle (back to weights again)
- 8 oz demerara sugar, (you can use regular granulated, but the flavor won't be quite as deep)
- 4 oz light corn syrup, (you can use dark if you have it. I didn't)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 4.5 oz salted peanuts, (you can use whatever nut you like, but make sure they're salted)
- 1/4 oz butter, (a "pat" of butter)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the Gelato
- Mix the sugar and water together in a heavy sauce pan that is much bigger than you think you need.
- Whisk together the milk, cocoa powders and corn starch until well combined. Set aside convenient to the stove.
- Put the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a large bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Set aside.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and let boil for a minute or two.
- Uncover, reduce heat to medium/medium-high, and continue cooking the sugar, swirling the pan occasionally, until it caramelizes. You're going for a very dark caramel. It's done when it starts to burn your eyes.
- Immediately remove from the heat and pour in the heavy cream all at once. It will bubble up and hiss and spit, so be careful. Add the salt, and stir until the cream is well combined.
- Whisk in the milk mixture and heat over medium/medium-high heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Let boil for about ten seconds, whisking the whole time.
- Pour through the strainer. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two to melt the chocolate and then whisk until smooth.
- Cool in an ice bath and then chill until the temperature is no higher than 40F. Press plastic wrap directly on top of the base to prevent a skin from forming. The chilled mixture will be almost as thick as pudding, so don't think you did anything wrong.
For the Marshmallow Cream
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water and salt together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.
- Place the egg whites, coffee and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Bring the sugar mixture to a boil. Cover and let boil for a minute to wash down any sugar crystals.
- Remove the lid and cook over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches 240F.
- When the sugar is at about 225F, start whipping the whites on medium speed. Once foamy, increase the speed to high and whip to very soft peaks.
- Once the whites are at very soft peaks, the sugar should be at 240F. If you have to err, err on the side of slightly underwhipped whites.
- With the mixer on medium, stream the hot sugar mixture into the mixer making sure not to pour the sugar on the whisk. Pour down the inside of the bowl.
- Whip on high speed for about 8 minutes, until cooled to room temperature.
- Scrape into a gallon zip-top bag or large pastry bag and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
For the Brittle
- Line a half-sheet pan with Silpat (or spray with pan spray). Set on a cooling rack convenient to the stove.
- Spray an offset spatula with pan spray. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan,bring the sugar, corn syrup, salt and water to a boil.
- Cover and let boil for a minute or two to wash down any sugar crystals.
- Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 265F.
- Pour in the nuts and salt, and stir well.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 315F.
- Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. It will foam up like shaving cream.
- Pour onto the waiting sheet pan and spread out a bit with the offset spatula and let cool completely.
Putting It Together
- Remove the marshmallow cream from the freezer so it will be easier to pipe.
- Break up about half the peanut brittle into small pieces. You'll have about a cup of brittle.
- Churn your gelato according to manufacturer's instructions until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream, about 25 minutes for me.
- While the gelato is churning, snip the tip off your zip-top bag (or use a round tip) to pipe some of the marshmallow cream in the bottom of your container.
- Thoroughly fold the brittle into the gelato and layer on about 1/3 of the mixture on top of the marshmallow. Pipe on some more marshmallow cream.
- Spread on another third of the gelato, pipe on some more marshmallow cream and finish with the last of the gelato.
- You can add a few pieces of brittle to the top if you want.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the gelato and freeze for several hours or overnight.
- This gelato stays nice and scoopable, even straight from the freezer.
Thanks for joining me for Ice Cream Tuesday!
I must admit, the gelato was only mildly hyperbolic about its awesomeness. I do hope you give it a try. The ingredient list seems a bit…much, but you can make all the components on different days and have them all ready to go for when it’s churning day.
Other Fantastic Ice Creams From Around the Hinternets
- Brown Butter and Wildflower Honey Gelato from Chez Us
- Cranberry Walnut Ice Cream from Scoop Adventures
- Strawberry Balsamico Ice Cream from Ice Cream Nation
- Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream (Silken Tofu-based) from Namely Marly
- Tin Roof Ice Cream from Ambrosia Baking
Thanks so much for spending some time with me today, and the very self-important gelato. I hope you take a bit of time and read about these other fantastic-sounding ice creams.
Have a lovely day.