Friday, October 9, 2009

Cacao Nib Gelato

When I ordered my ice cream maker from costco.com last Fall, I had no idea how much fun I'd have exploring the world of frozen desserts - sorbet, frozen yogurt, sherbet, gelato, and good old ice cream, both custard and Philadelphia-style.

I've tried recipes from a variety of sources, and one source of inspiration and advice for me has been Wendy of the blog Pink Stripes. She always makes the most amazing ice creams, so when she mentioned that she was going to make the Cacao Nib Gelato from the September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit I was instantly interested. Even though we live 3000 miles apart, we made this ice cream together - virtually that is, each of us in our own kitchens, connected by our computers. (You can read about Wendy's ups and downs with this ice cream here.)

n.o.e.'s notes:

- You can find the recipe here.

- I was very intrigued by the method of this ice cream: heat the steep the cream with cacao nibs, let it steep, combine it with eggs and sugar to make the custard and chill overnight. The next day the nibs are strained out and discarded and the custard is churned.

- I made 1/2 recipe.

- Isn't it funny how scents can take you back? As the cacao nibs simmered with the milk and cream, the smell reminded me strongly of the hot chocolate that we made when I was growing up by heating milk on the stovetop. No session of playing out in the Western Massachusetts snow was complete until we'd made hot chocolate in a saucepan.

-It was hard to imagine how simple steeping was going to make this ice cream very chocolatey tasting; in fact it's closer to vanilla in color!

the verdict:

This ice cream is quite sly and deceptive. The color may be an innocuous creamy tan, but every spoonful packs an intense chocolate flavor. It's cocoa-ish but at the same time lush and dense and creamy. This would be perfect to serve for a dinner party - it's unusual and so delicious! In fact, of all the flavors that I've churned so far this ice cream is my favorite, hands down.

14 comments:

Tracey said...

The ice cream looks fantastic Nancy! I think it's so cool that it's a chocolate ice cream that doesn't look like typical chocolate ice cream! I still haven't found the elusive cacao nibs but I am dying to try this flavor, especially with the rave reviews from you and Wendy. I might need to turn to the internet soon to fill the cacao nib void.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I keep reading about cacao nibs on the net but I have never seen them here. What a wonderful gelato, I can't wait to try it one day.

margot said...

It looks great! I have made this one twice already and it's definitely in my top three flavors. Your post is making me crave hot chocolate (and more gelato).

jillbert said...

This really sounds interesting. How cool that the nibs add so much chocolate flavor even though they're strained out!

Sarah said...

Alice Medrich has a recipe similar to this in one of her books, though I can't remember which one. I was eyeing it, but wasn't sure that it would be very chocolatey just from steeping. I'm so glad to hear that it is! Now that I've read such favorable reports from both you and Wendy, I'll definitely have to give it a try.

Audrey said...

I'm still trying to figure out what cacao nibs ARE, but I'm so glad they turned into a delicious gelato (and that two of my favorite bloggers were able to share the deliciousness!)

Laura said...

I love my ice cream maker and I love cocoa nibs, they are terrific!

I am glad you are making ice cream, it is quite simple and delicious.

Keep on churning...


Laura

mike said...

I'm going to start dubbing you "cream queen" on ice. Looks awesome - and I am going to have to hunt down nibs... I know I've seen them - just never knew what to do with them. Maybe at World Market (as Whole Foods and Trader Joes are miles away, hundreds and hundreds)! Gelato - mmm - I'm sure it tasted heavenly - a true Italian treat!

Di said...

Yum! I've made Alice Medrich's version of this flavor, and it was really good. Like you said, deceptive.

pinkstripes said...

They sell cacao nibs at williams-sonoma. Probably also whole foods.

Thank you soo much for churning along with me. This really was delicious. I HAD to make it twice.

Leslie said...

This looks so pale that it's surprising that it has a strong chocolate flavor. Poor Wendy! I'm glad this wasn't only good, but that it brought back memories.

Debinhawaii said...

I have a package of cacao nibs I need to use up and didn't see this recipe in BA. I am going to have to try it for sure now. It looks and sounds amazing!

Eliana said...

Both you and Wendy have me surper intrigued over this wonderful creation.

Kayte said...

Looks great in that mug with those little bits on top! You and Wendy are the ice cream QUEENS!