mocha gelato

gelato is another food that brings me to a distinct place and time.
a mere ten years ago, although it seems like yesterday, my parents, sister, and i set out on one of our best vacations ever: italy. we saw it all - the colosseum and vatican in rome. what remains of pompeii with mt vesuvius in the background. the amalfi coast. the cinque terre. st francis of assisi's church. more churches and relics than i can count. the ponte vecchio and statue of david in florence. the towers of san gimignano. my mother trying to pronouce moltepulciano the first ten times. the bridge of sighs and kicking our feet in the water when st mark's floods in venice at night. and gelato every single day, sometimes more than once.

so it's no surprise that any time i eat - or even think - of gelato, it brings me back to that trip. it's always a different memory, but always a great one.

mocha gelato
adapted from ready for dessert
makes 3 cups

a half cup of coffee beans gives the perfect balance of chocolate and coffee. if you aren't a big coffee fan, reduce it to a quarter of a cup of beans or skip it all together for plain chocolate gelato.

1/2 cup whole, unflavored coffee beans (decaf or regular)
2 cups whole milk, divided
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
  1. in a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of milk to just barely a simmer. add the coffee beans, turn off the heat, cover, and steep for at least thirty minutes. strain the coffee beans & discard them and place the milk back in the saucepan.
  2. put the chocolate in a large bowl, preferably one with a spout, and set aside. 
  3. add the cocoa and salt to the coffee flavored milk. bring to a boil and pour over the chocolate. stir until the chocolate is melted. place a mesh strainer over the bowl and set aside.
  4. place the remaining 1 cup milk in the now empty saucepan. heat on low and add the sugar until dissolved.
  5. in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. gradually add some of the warm milk to the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you add the warm milk. pour the warmed yolks into the saucepan. whisk continuously over low heat until the custard thickens. when thick, it will coat the back of a spatula and will leave a line when you run your finger through it.
  6. pour the custard through the strainer into the chocolate mixture and mix well until blended.
  7. chill the mixture for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions, typically about 25 minutes.


  1. I someday would want to visit Italy...Meantime, I'll settle with my homemade gelato! Chocolatey-and coffee-o! Love it! Thanks for sharing.

  2. it looks so dark and hauntingly beautiful!

  3. There is no salt listed in the ingredients. How much do I need to use? Also, do I have to have an ice cream maker? Thanks.

    1. Hi andrea, good catch on the salt - you only need a pinch. I use my ice cream maker for gelato and have never tried making it without one, although I have seen other bloggers post instructions for making ice cream without an ice cream maker. If you try it, let me know how it goes.


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