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Dark Chocolate Gelato (Vegan Option)

This indulgent gelato is for true chocoholics: a spoonful provides a rich, strong hit of cocoa, reminiscent of biting into a square of 70% chocolate. {Jump to Recipe}

Dark Chocolate Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

Dark chocolate is my go-to weeknight dessert: I end most meals with a square of 70% chocolate. I eat it slowly, let it melt on my tongue, and enjoy its luxurious texture. I find dark chocolate to be the perfect palate cleanser: a single square of this bittersweet treat leaves me in an uplifted mood.

A few years ago, I had the idea of transforming my favorite dark chocolate square into a rich, indulgent dark chocolate gelato. The resulting dark chocolate gelato is everything a square of dark chocolate is: it’s rich, silky smooth, and indulgent—with the bonus of being refreshing, too. Dark chocolate gelato is an impressive dessert to serve to company, and by far the most popular gelato flavor I make.

The secret to this chocolate gelato is the use of dark cocoa powder. Also called Dutch-processed cocoa powder, this ingredient gives a rich, earthy flavor to chocolate gelato, but also provides a gorgeous, deep, dark brown color. I recommend using Valrhona’s cocoa powder, which is incredibly rich and smooth. It’s pricey, but one package will last you a long time and push your favorite chocolate desserts from good to exceptional.

Dark Chocolate Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Gelato 

For the best flavor and texture, I suggest combining oat milk with coconut cream. Oat milk has a smooth, subtle flavor that is very close to that of dairy milk, whereas coconut cream delivers an unbelievably rich texture. Coconut milk and coconut cream both have quite a strong flavor, so using only coconut cream and combining it with oat milk creates the perfect balance.

Be aware that the terms “coconut milk” and “coconut cream” are sometimes used interchangeably. To make sure you’re buying real coconut cream, choose a product with at least 20% fat content. The label of quality coconut cream products will always clearly indicate the fat content.

If you don’t mind an underlying coconut flavor (it marries really well with the taste of dark chocolate!), you can use a combination of coconut milk and cream. Alternatively, you can use other plant-based milks and cream, keeping the same milk-to-cream ratio for the best texture. Always make sure the vegan products you choose can withstand being heated and boiled to avoid the chocolate gelato turning grainy. Products labeled with the word “Barista” are sure picks: it means they can withstand high heat.

Dark Chocolate Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

Dark Chocolate Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

How to Make Gelato Video Class

If you’ve never made gelato, I invite you to read my detailed how-to post about the process. You can also watch my video class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat. In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master. Watch Now!

 

Dark Chocolate Gelato

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield about 1 quart (4 cups/1L)

This chocolate gelato is for true chocoholics: it provides the strongest hit of cocoa you’ll taste, short of biting into a square of dark chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (560 ml) whole milk (see note for vegan options)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream (35% m.f.)
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup (43 g) dark cocoa powder (also called Dutch-processed cocoa powder), sifted
  • 4 oz (113 g) top-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahluà) (optional)

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, whisk 1 1/4 cup (310 ml) of the milk with the cream, sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. When it boils, lower the heat to the minimum and simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Mix in the coffee liqueur, if using, and finally, whisk in the remaining milk. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Strain the dark chocolate gelato custard through a fine-mesh strainer (straining the mixture will ensure a silky smooth gelato). Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is icy but still soft.

STORAGE: Transfer the gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. The gelato will keep, frozen, for up to 1 month.

SERVING: Always take the gelato out to room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before serving to soften it, make it easier to scoop, and return it to its optimal texture.

NOTEVEGAN OPTION: For the best flavor and texture, combine oat milk with coconut cream. Oat milk has a smooth, subtle flavor that is very close to that of dairy milk, whereas coconut cream delivers an unbelievably rich texture. Coconut milk and coconut cream both have quite a strong flavor, so using only coconut cream and combining it with oat milk creates the perfect balance.

Be aware that the terms "coconut milk" and "coconut cream" are sometimes used interchangeably. To make sure you're buying real coconut cream, choose a product with at least 20% fat content. The label of quality coconut cream products will always clearly indicate the fat content.

If you don't mind an underlying coconut flavor (it marries really well with the taste of dark chocolate!), you can use a combination of coconut milk and cream. Alternatively, you can use other plant-based milks and cream, keeping the same milk-to-cream ratio for the best texture. Always make sure the vegan products you choose can withstand being heated and boiled to avoid the chocolate gelato turning grainy. Products labeled with the word "Barista" are sure picks: it means they can withstand high heat.

Courses dessert

Cuisine Italian

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How to Make Classic Vanilla Bean Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

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Mandorla e Arancia Gelato // Almond and Orange Gelato // FoodNouveau.com

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Pistachio Gelato, Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste // FoodNouveau.com

What do you think of this recipe? Got any questions? Let's chat!
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8 Responses to Dark Chocolate Gelato (Vegan Option)

  1. I just wanted to double check that the measurements for the ingredients were correct, I noticed the corn starch, sugar, and coca powder were in (mL). I thought it was standard to put solids in grams rather than mL.

    • Hello Kimberly! Providing volume measurement equivalents is common practice in North America. However, I’m currently in the process of updating all my dessert recipes to add metric (gram) measurements for precision! Happy to report my dark chocolate gelato recipe is now updated with new mouth-watering photos, a vegan option–and, of course, metric measurements. I hope you’ll find this update useful.

  2. the chocolate gelato recipe is OUTRAGEOUS. My husband keeps saying it’s the best he has ever tasted. He keeps the ingredients in the fridge stocked and ready to go. I could not find the Valrhona, but used Droste cocoa and Belgian dark chocolate. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • So happy to read this Sarah! Don’t tell anyone, but this is my favorite gelato as well. I love that it’s so rich and not-too-sweet. It’s the perfect way to end any meal!

  3. Gorgeous photos, Marie! You’re fueling my desire to buy an ice cream maker!

    The next time you’re in Paris (or New York), try the chocolate sorbet at Grom. It’s as rich and luscious as any old ice cream.

    • I’d say an ice cream maker is worth it, if only to make this gelato! I use it for that purpose 9 times out of 10 ;)
      Thanks so much for the tip, I’ll actually be visiting both New York and Paris in the next few months, so I’ll make sure to go to Grom to taste their chocolate sorbet! David Lebovitz also has a chocolate sorbet recipe (in his ice cream book) which is pretty similar to the gelato, he switches water for milk and adds more melted semi-sweet chocolate. I think I should try it next time!

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