Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato

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We’ve had two weeks in a row of very high temps here on the Cape.  It’s not a coincidence that during that time I’ve made three batches of strawberry sorbet; one batch of peach sorbet; and, now, a batch of chocolate-hazelnut gelato.  Mmm…

Chrissa, a dear family friend, asked me for the strawberry sorbet recipe and then told me that she had been making lots of ice cream and gelato this summer for her family.  She kindly passed along the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis recipe for this fabulous chocolate-hazelnut gelato which she said she had made about 50(!) times for her family.  Well, with an endorsement like that and a big jar of Nutella in my pantry, how could I not make it?

In addition to sharing a love of cooking and trying new recipes, Chrissa and I share being the moms of identical twin girls—only 20 years apart!  Way back when, Chrissa used to babysit for my kids who adored her—in fact, the whole family adored her.  She was a high school student when we first met her, a music major, and a very talented flute player.  My daughter Sara became her first flute student.  When I heard that Chrissa had had identical twin girls herself, I marveled at the coincidence and wondered where the past 20 years had gone!

My daughters Amy and Sara with Chrissa at Sara’s flute recital:

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Twenty years later, Chrissa and her beautiful family:  Chrissa (hardly looking a day older) holding baby Evelyn, hubby Jason with Ethan on his shoulders, and her adorable twin daughters, Ellie on the left and Viv on the right:

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You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.  If you love ice cream and love puttering in the kitchen, it’s an appliance you’ll enjoy having.

As with all fabulous ice creams, you first make a custard base.  If you’ve never made custard or pudding before, don’t be put off by it.  It’s super easy to temper the eggs.  You don’t have to add the warm milk mixture a spoon at a time as some recipes direct—just throw in a half cup of the warm mixture, stir, and you’re good to go.  Once I poured the rest of the egg mixture into the warm milk mixture, my custard thickened up in just a few minutes.  Then all you have to do is chill the mixture until it’s refrigerator cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and let it churn for about 30 minutes.  At that point, it has a “soft-serve” texture.  Put it into the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up a bit more.

Then, sit back and enjoy a dish of frantastic deliciousness while you listen to the mmm’s of your friends and family members enjoying it with you!

One year ago:  Homemade Fudge Pops aka Fudgsicles

Two years ago:  Buttermilk Pound Cake

Three years ago:  Green Tea Ice Cream

Four years ago:  Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

Five years ago:  Peanut Swirl Brownies

Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato

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  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish, optional


In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat.  Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes.  Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir.  Add this mixture back into the saucepan.  Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer.

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Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves.  Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions to freeze.

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To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls or cones.  Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts if desired.

Fran’s Notes

Be sure that your ice cream tub is thoroughly chilled.  I always put mine empty in the freezer overnight.  Also, make sure that your ice cream ingredients are properly chilled in the refrigerator before processing them in the churner.  The ice cream may not get to the proper texture before you freeze it.  It will still taste just fine, but it may form ice crystals which will change the final texture.

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Source:   A Giada de Laurentiis recipe via my friend Chrissa

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