Tuesday, April 28, 2009

i scream: ice cream!

On a hot spring day, I glued my eyes to Food Network and watched Giada, in all her cleavage-baring glory, talk about Nutella gelato and then...and then! make Gelato Coolers out of it. It was almost too much for a girl to handle. So I said "I have to make that. Now."
And I did. And it is...holy crap.
One taste and the only words I could muster up were "oh my god".
Nutella is a fabulous - and I mean fabulous - concoction of chocolate and hazelnuts. A sort of chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination that is so divine, so rich, so creamy, so good. I hadn’t had Nutella in ages, but my undying love of chocolate and peanut butter is indication that I love Nutella just as much.
Funny enough, my all-time, hands-down, absolute favorite ice cream is Haagen - Daaz’s Chocolate Peanut Butter.
I can’t say this tops it, but it is super close. The hint of the hazelnuts in the background add for this really distinctive, really fabulous flavor.
It’s slightly rich, but it’s not terribly chocolatey. It’s just plain good. Great, in fact.
And it’s so easy.
Homemade ice cream is a term that just comes across as so daunting. But homemade ice cream is easy. It’s a simple process and the rewards are fabulous.
I mean Nutella. And ice cream.
On a hot day, even on a cool night, one bowl of this is the perfect remedy for anything.

Giada DeLaurentiis' Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella (or any other chocolate-hazelnut spread, though I can't say I know any others. And I'm not too sure I'd want to...)

1. In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup of sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and it comes slightly under a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar until it reaches the ribbon stage: pale yellow, thick, and falls back in ribbons.
3. Temper the yolk mixture by slowly adding ladle-fuls of the milk mixture and whisking to incorporate. Do this until half of the milk mixture has been added to the yolk mixture.
4. Pour the yolk mixture into the milk mixture and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This can take anywhere from 5 - 7 minutes. But keep your eye on it. No scrambled eggs, please.
5. Once thickened, strain to make sure everything is smooth and add in the vanilla and nutella. Whisk to melt and combine. Chill the mixture completely.
6. Once chilled, pour into ice cream maker and follow the ice cream maker's instructions. Once it's churned you could do as I do and attack it right there, as is. No need for scoops or other bowls. Just the ice cream maker and me.
Or you could freeze it until it hardens up a little more, garnish it with some chopped hazelnuts, and float away into a chocolatey heaven.

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