This Christmas season was one of the best ever. My sister, brother-in-law, and six year old niece traveled from Missouri, not only to spend Christmas with us, but to be here for a surprise birthday party for my mom who turned 60 years old. My sister and I had been planning it for probably six months, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. I can't believe it, but it did. My mother had no idea about the party, but also no idea that my sister and her family were coming, so it was a double surprise.
|My mom and I on her 60th birthday.|
Candy canes on their own are very undesirable to me, but finely crushed in some peppermint gelato with tiny bits of milk chocolate chips (stracciatella)? I can totally go for that. And I did. Several times.
So what makes this recipe special is that basically I make a homemade magic shell that hardens instantly upon hitting the cold, churning gelato, and breaks into tiny chips. Stirring the coconut oil and chocolate chips together make the chocolate much easier to drizzle into (or onto) the gelato. I love it when I can make something homemade (easily) and it turns out to be just as good or better than the processed store bought version. (Oooh! This chocolate syrup recipe is like that too!)
Here are my notes:
-If you are concerned with portion control, how about spooning some of the gelato into some cute little jelly jars? You could layer with some more magic shell and store them in the freezer.
-I have the 2 quart Cuisinart ice cream machine. This recipe slightly overflowed when it was done, so you may need to prepare yourself for that if you have the same size. It worked, it was just very full. See pic above.
-The homemade magic shell is nothing I invented. This recipe is all over the Internet in various forms, but these particular measurements work well for me. I have also made this with dark chocolate chips.
-The magic shell really needs to stay at room temperature. If it hardens, just zap it on the microwave for a few seconds and stir until smooth.
-You could substitute organic virgin coconut oil if you can find it to make it healthier (or so I've read). I used LouAna coconut oil that I found by the regular cooking oils.
-I like to transfer mine to a squeeze bottle to make it easier to stream in.
Candy Cane Stracciatella Gelato
4 cups whole milk
10 large egg yolks
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2-3 drops red food coloring, if desired
1 cup very finely crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candy, divided
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut oil
Place milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to about 175 degrees (just before scalding), whisking often. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well blended, about 1 minute.
Gradually whisk about half the hot milk into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine wire mesh into a medium bowl. Stir in heavy cream, peppermint extract, and red food coloring, if desired. Chill custard until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Stir chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth; remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
Freeze custard in a 2 1/2 quart or larger ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. During last 5 minutes of freezing, add all but 3 tablespoons of the crushed candy canes to the gelato. When that is mixed, slowly drizzle half of the chocolate mixture into the gelato. (The chocolate will immediately harden and break into tiny chips as gelato continues to churn.)
Serve the gelato in soft form straight from the ice cream maker, or place in a large freezer safe container and freeze until desired firmness. Top each serving of gelato with a drizzle of the chocolate, followed by a sprinkling of the reserved crushed candy canes. (I like to transfer the chocolate mixture to a squeeze bottle for easier drizzling.) About 2 1/4 quarts.