Dark Chocolate Gelato
Dairy was not a food group that I thought would be difficult to remove from my diet when I did my first Whole30 back in January. I never thought I ate much dairy, I didn't like milk or yogurt, and though I loved cheese, I never had too much of it.... what I forgot about were the creamy, frozen desserts, like the ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt that I frequently enjoyed. Looking back, I had a serious addiction to those foods, I ate them way too often. My friends from school and I would always go to Pinkberry when we weren't in class––that is, until we discovered 16 Handles on 13th and 6th... it's self serve, enough said. We would walk there from school to get frozen yogurt multiple times a week. And then, they opened one up on 8th and 19th––even closer to school, it became our go-to spot for breaks from class, or as lunch! It's really crappy how often I replaced a meal with a cup of fro-yo. In addition the frozen yogurt, I've had an affinity for gelato since my trip to Northern Italy last Summer. I can't even tell you how many times (pre-Paleo) I've nixed cooking my own dinner and gone to Eataly for a meal and a scoop of chocolate gelato! You can ask anyone I went to Italy with, what kind of gelato I like, and they will likely immediately answer chocolate, because though I tasted other flavors, I always ended up ordering a cup of chocolate, so naturally this would be my first ice cream recipe! After my Whole30 was over and I reintroduced food groups to test my reaction, I was very surprised at how intolerant I was to dairy! Though I'd gone through major changes because of my new diet and felt better all around, I blamed all of my prior feelings, habits, and minor ailments on gluten, I really didn't think dairy would be one of the culprits! I recently found this article from Science Daily about how a person's tolerance or intolerance to dairy is actually based upon where their ancestors lived a hundred or so years ago or more. If your ancestors were from a region that was abundant with cattle, where dairy farming was common, and with a diet high in milk and milk products like cheese and cream (like in Northern Europe), you're much more likely to be tolerant to dairy than someone whose ancestors were from parts of Africa, where it was too hot to raise cattle and dairy would never have been a part of a regular diet. So interesting, right? But it really makes sense! I did some further research and found that up to 70% of Italians are lactose intolerant––the number increases the further down the boot you go. Northern Italians are much more tolerant to dairy as with their cooler temperatures and their landscape, dairy farming was common. Northerner's always cooked with cheeses, dairy sauces, and creams. In Southern Italy, this wasn't the case. Seeing as how I've got Neapolitan and Sicilian blood in me (where the lactose intolerance percentages were the highest), the odds have been against me since day one in regards to dairy. So, I was excited to finally get an ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer and to finally be able to make dairy free ice cream in my own kitchen! This recipe tastes just like the dark chocolate gelato I had in Italy. It brought me right back to this little corner gelateria just south of the Ponte alla Carraia in Florence, when I first tasted the sweet italian treat on the first night of my trip!
Dark Chocolate Gelato
Prep Time: 4 hr 35 min
(4 hr, 30 min, inactive) Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 4 hr 45 min Serves: 6-8
2 cans full fat coconut milk
2 egg yolks (optional, they make the gelato creamier)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp brewed coffee or coffee liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract
Freeze the mixing bowl of your ice cream maker overnight (for at least 12 hours).
Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-size saucepan and bring to medium-low heat. Continue whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to lightly simmer (about 8 minutes). Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from heat, pour the mixture into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until completely cooled (about 3-4 hours).
When the mixture is fully cooled, process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. For traditional gelato, serve immediately. If you would prefer a thicker consistency like ice cream, simply freeze the processed mixture in a covered container until firm (about an hour). Enjoy!