There’s chocolate chip ice cream. And then there is stracciatella gelato. Don’t you dare think one is a direct translation of the other because that is grossly untrue. And if you’ve ever had true stracciatella gelato, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Stracciatella is… otherworldly. You’d think plain vanilla ice cream with bits of chocolate would be boring, but you’d be wrong again (sorry, I’m not trying to school you or anything, but some things just need to be clarified).
The chocolate shards are what make stracciatella gelato so much more than chocolate chip. Literally translating into “rags” or “shards,” stracciatella is made by drizzling a fine stream of melted chocolate into the churning ice cream. The chocolate solidifies on contact, freezing into ethereal flakes that fuse with the ice cream and literally melt in your mouth.
In an effort to highlight the fresh flavor of the dairy, I used fewer egg yolks than usual, and a higher proportion of milk to cream. (Look, ma! It’s healthy…. er!) The result was an ephemeral ice cream with a texture not unlike that of a frozen cloud (if one were able to taste such things). Granted, it was a bit short, meaning it didn’t ball up into gorgeous, rotund scoops like a frozen custard with a higher fat content, but Taylor and I decided we loved the unfettered milk flavor and the light crystalline texture, vanilla snowflakes that dissolve instantly on your tongue.
As to how exactly to get those fine chocolate shards, I found a simple ziplock bag worked beautifully. I simply filled the bag with my melted chocolate (bonus – you can keep the bag in a bowl of warm water until you are ready to drizzle). Snip off the tiniest corner of the bag, and drizzle it right into your ice cream maker. Granted, this would probably work better with a standalone machine where you could drizzle right into the center. With my mixer model a lot of the chocolate stuck to the paddles as they passed under the drizzle. The key is you want a fine drizzle here… too thick and you’d end up with hard chunks and chips instead of flakes.
I’m not going to argue the differences between ice cream and gelato here. If you want to be totally literal, one IS simply a direct translation of the other, gelato meaning ice cream in Italian. However, if you want to get technical, Italian-style ice cream does have some distinct differences that make it unique. Gelato, for starters, is lower in butterfat, is churned quicker while incorporating less air, and is served softer, at a higher temperature than American ice cream. Recipe-wise, this could definitely be considered gelato, but because of the limitations of home ice cream makers, it is very hard to acheive the luscious texture that the Italians have perfected. If anyone has any tips for recreating legit gelato at home, I’m all ears!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeded
- pinch salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Stir in vanilla bean seeds and add the whole bean pods. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks.
- Return milk to medium heat until it starts to steam again. Slowly whisk some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, 1/4 cup at a time, until about half of the milk has been incorporated and yolk mixture is warm to the touch. You want to do this gradually; doing so will temper the egg yolks rather than cook them.
- Pour yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165 to 170ºF. Do not allow it to boil. Pour mixture through sieve, discarding any solids and what’s left of the vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature in an ice bath, or in a zip-top bag submerged in ice water. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 3 hours or overnight if possible.
- Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- While ice cream is churning, melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in 15 second bursts. When chocolate is melted and smooth, transfer to a zip-top bag and seal well, pressing out as much air as possible. If necessary, place bag in a bowl of warm water to keep warm while the ice cream finishes churning.
- When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, 1-2 minutes before being completely done, cut 1/4 inch off the corner of the bag. Slowly drizzle most of the chocolate into churning ice cream, allowing the chocolate to swirl throughout. Transfer to a freezer safe container, drizzling a bit of remaining chocolate on top, and freeze 2 to 3 hours or overnight until firm.
Did you make this recipe?
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I tried your recipe and it tasted more like a very sweet vanilla ice cream with some chocolate. It is supposed to be a little bit tart, not sweet at all, almost like the difference between regular and greek yogurt. The bits of chocolate gives the contrast with the ice cream.
This recipe makes me want it to my plate right now. But can you please propose me something to use instead of the corn syrup because the place I live is not provided with this product. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to taste this incredible gelato
Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!
Can I use vanilla extract if I don’t have a vanilla bean?
Definitely! 1 vanilla bean = 2 teaspoons of extract (or so). You can also use vanilla bean paste which will give you the same flecks as a full bean. :)
Thank you for this recipe! I made this 3 times and each time i modified a little bit.. i did add cornstarch in place of corn syrup and it came out wonderful without any crystalized water..the sweetness is perfect and thank you for your tip on the chocolate shards! So lovely! 5 out of 5
Made a simpler gelato with milk, cream and sugar and drizzled in the chocolate. Got best results with a pinprick rather than cutting a corner off, that let too much chocolate escape at a time; a slim thread was better than a thicker string or ribbon, good call with the ziplock bag.
Made it twice now. Excellent and easy to make
my current favorite ice cream .I use 85 % dark chocolate
This was very good. I used it for my first recipe on my new ice cream machine (which has a compressor, woot!). It seems more like a cross between ice cream and gelatos I like but is one of my son’s favorite flavors. So I think I can double the base and use the first half as a good vanilla and the second half using the chocolate. Since I was unfamiliar with my machine I thought I had plenty of time to get back to it to add the chocolate but it finished ahead of the recommended time the manual said it would go (compressor works most excellently!). Bit of a set back but got there.
Other than that, vanilla has really skyrocketed in price since this first came out. So less vanilla is just fine with me.
stracciatella icecream is best made with sweet cream milk and not adding vanilla
This is the best. I’m going to double it and halve the eggs this time and we should have Hagen daaz quality ice cream. Even with 3 eggs it tastes very eggy. I’d rather it be a little firmer and less eggy.
Hagen Das is hardly high quality ice cream, so a useless comparison.
If your custard base tastes too eggy then most likely the eggs reached too high of a temperature and lightly cooked.
Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Very useful info particularly the last part :) I care for such info much.
I was looking for this particular info for a very long time.
Thank you and good luck.
Oh wow, you are SO right. It’s been years since I went to Italy and the only flavour I ate everywhere I went was Stracciatella. You have nailed it! Thank you so much for the recipe which is a very exciting find! Grazie mille!!
What a disaster!!!
We don’t have a Kitchen-aid attachment like it looks like you do, so tried to make this in a traditional ice cream maker.
The lid is what spins the ice cream maker, so I couldn’t run the machine and access the ice cream to drizzle the chocolate in, so I had my husband manually turn the beater while I poured the chocolate in. We ended up with giant chocolate worms that clung to the beater…. horrible…. After we realized this was not working, we tried taking the beater out and having my husband stir really fast with a spoon. This worked better, but still not at all what is pictured above. If I ever get brave and try this again, I think I will use hand-held beaters while I pour the chocolate in and hope for better results…
do I have to use corn syrup? Can I substitute?
The corn syrup adds to the texture of the ice cream, making it less icy than if it was made without. However, any invert sugar should work similarly, so feel free to substitute with honey, agave, or golden syrup.
i would like to make this low carb. can u tell me what is good low carb substitute for corn syrup. thank u
Thanks for this! Stracciatella is one of my daughters absolute favorite ice creams, but I had yet to find what looked like a good recipe. We tried yours this weekend, and it was spot on and very popular with everyone.
Will definitely be making this again; I predict it will become a house standard ;-)
Hi – what % Cacao in the dark chocolate do you recommend?
I used a 75% I believe, but any % would do… I say use whatever you like best!
I’ve always described stracciatella to my friends who’ve never experienced it as “chocolate chip ice cream + magic.” Glad you share the same sentiments!
Oh.my.yum. I can hardly handle it, this looks so good!!
This recipe is dangerous. I can easily picture myself eating this on the daily.
Even though I can’t spell it to save my life, stracciatella gelato is the best! Gorgeous photos as always!
Obsessed with that container!!!
That looks absolutely delicious!
I love gelato and this will be perfect to make once I get my ice cream freezer unpacked in the new house,
Lovely! Perfect for when you need just a touch of chocolate.
your photography is stunning & the gelato looks wonderful. yum!!
My husband and I gave up ice cream (and all things like it) for 2014. We are realizing now how awful of an idea that was…
Oh gelato is not ice cream in any form! Whenever we want an indulgent treat we go for gelato…not ice cream. Pinned!
Oh I want to make this soon. Gelato is much better than ice cream in my book.
I ate sooooo much of this stuff when I was in Italy – it was like water!! Love that I can make it at home now :)
Yessssss! Even being one of -those- people that doesn’t like chocolate, I love this stuff!
I’ll have to try this out this weekend. Looks delicious!
Friendly proofreader’s tip – it’s actually spelled “Stracciatella” (with two C’s). :)
Of course the word I use a dozen times in a single post (and on a photo) is the one I misspell. :) Thanks for the correction!
Hehe – no worries; it happens to the best of us!
p.s: it’s Stracciatella with 2 c’s ;)
Whoops. That’s what I get for trying to spell in Italian…
I always wondered how they made the chocolate shards! Now I know and it’s so brilliant! Looks delicious!
Also, LOVING the spoons!!
WOW, this is so beautiful! I’ve never been a fan of chocolate chip ice cream because the chocolate pieces are always too big and frozen and crunchy when what I really want is just smooth creamy ice cream. But THIS! This I could be on board with. I can’t wait to try it!!
Sounds delicious, I can’t wait to make it! What brand is that ice cream tub in the pictures?
It’s by Tovolo. Williams Sonoma has it, and Amazon has it in colors: http://amzn.to/1ismmq5
Is it bad that I want this for breakfast? :)
I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream” the first time I was met with Straciatella gelato. Then I tasted it and totally 100% understood. Delicious!
I had no idea how they made straciatella (although I’ve eaten my fair share…); this is so clever!
I’ve never attempted my own gelato, but make plenty of ice cream, so I need to try this! It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Mmmm…I love gelato and I can never get enough of it. Gotta try my hand at making it soon because this looks amazing. Totally drooling over here ;)
This sounds delicious!
That sounds awesome! I love gelato, but I’ve never tried making it. Will have to someday! :)
I LOVE straciatella gelato. You’re right- it doesn’t sound all that special, but it IS.
I have that Kitchenaid Ice Cream Attachment, and it is the best – I must try this! Pinned :)
Oooooh. That is my absolute favorite.