Do you ever just get an idea stuck in your head and it won't go away until you do something about it? It may not even be a very good idea, but there it is, keeping you up at night, noodling it's way in your brain like an ad jingle. This happens to me all the time.
And, most recently, it happened to me when Matthew introduced me to the 3400 Phinney Chocolate Factory Bread and Chocolate candy bar... dark chocolate with little crunchy bits of very salty crumbs throughout.
I fell in love with that chocolate bar, and have been intending to do something with it now for months... I just wasn't sure what (other than EAT!) So, with this month's Sugar High Friday, and it's chilly theme, the answer finally came. Bread & Chocolate Gelato. That same salty crunch should beautifully mix with a smooth, dark and creamy spoon of heaven (and let's face it... isn't that what chocolate gelato is?) It also didn't hurt that I still had some left over focaccia croutons.
The trick was to find the right gelato recipe. Luckily, I didn't have to look far. Melissa at Traveler's Lunchbox has a fantastic comparison of 3 different chocolate gelato recipes. I went for her favorite, the epicurious recipe that incorporates evaporated milk and the highest ratio of cocoa to chocolate. I only made a couple of minor tweaks: I used evaporated goats milk because that's what I had on hand... and I used whole eggs instead of just yolks because I'm a ninny and I can't follow directions and it was too late to undo my mistake. However, the gelato didn't seem to suffer from either of these substitutions.
This gelato should really come with a warning label. It is chocolatey. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate gelato. It couldn't be more chocolatey. It is the black hole of chocolatey, sucking in all of the chocolate taste from the universe. Each of the tiniest nibbles fills your mouth with richness and sitting down and eating more than a quarter cup in a single seating. It also needs no addition to be perfect, so I kept half of the concoction safe from anything that might ruin it.
To the other half, I added the bread. My concern was that the bread would simply get soggy and instead of adding little crunchy respites from the chocolate, would just be mushy or gritty. Luckily, this didn't turn out to be the case. The larger chunks, about the size of a largish crouton, held up well. My only regret was that they weren't salty enough. I wimped out some when salting them for fear of making the whole batch inedible. The result was that unlike the candy bar, the bread mainly added texture and not much on the flavor side. So next time, more salt. But, I'm pretty sure there will be a next time...
Bread & Chocolate Gelato
Chocolate Gelato recipe
Coarsely chop the bread into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes. Lightly mist with water, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake at around 350F until they are crunchy, turning once halfway through. Set aside.
Follow the instructions for the gelato of your choosing, and add the bread crumbs right after you've poured it into the ice cream maker to churn. Store and serve as usual.
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Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a food writer and photographer, you might spy her learning to make kim chee in the back rooms of a local church, foraging for wild berries, or snapping away in the some of the Seattle and Portland's finest kitchens. You can find her work in publications such as Epicurious.com, Gourmet.com, Edible Communities (Seattle, San Francisco), Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan as well as numerous cookbooks, including Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.