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achieving "freckles" of chocolate in ice cream

  • h

Making homemade ice cream in a cheapo electric freezer, the kind with a fixed dasher & rotating frozen gel canister. Would like to get delicate chocolate "freckles" in the ice cream (I'm thinking of the vanilla/chocolate gelato locally called straciatella). Tried drizzling cooled, melted bittersweet chocolate into the mostly frozen ice cream, but it immediately hardened into chunks/short ribbons. Anybody have success with something like this? Heating the chocolate didn't make much difference, just seemed to take a little longer to harden into globs.

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  1. Maybe I'm not understanding, but why not just mix in chopped chocolate before the final freeze? That way you can completely control the size of the pieces.
    If you want some fudgy flavor in addition, just use your method as well, and you'll have chunks and ribbons.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Aaron

      If you want something actually approximating the size of "freckles", why not grate the chocolate into the mix?

      1. re: Aaron

        I once achieved this using a lazy alternative - crumbling a Flake choc bar (Cadbury? Or Nestle? I don't remember who makes it) into the ice cream. It was inspired by the UK's ubiquitous "cone and Flake" combo.

      2. j
        JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

        I had two thoughts, the first instinct, the second after searching around online. My first thought is to temper the chocolate before adding it to the gelato mixture. It may also help to drizzle it veryvery slowly, in as thin of a stream as possible. My second thought (after searching around) is to chop the chocolate up into fine flakes before adding it. However, stracciatella gelato gets its name from the Italian egg drop soup, where beaten eggs are slowly drizzled into the hot broth. I'm thinking experimentation with the drizzling is the way to go.

        Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

        3 Replies
        1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)
          h
          Hungry Celeste

          The chocolate was tempered, I did drizzle it very slowly in a tiny thin stream, and it still solidified into lumpen chunks. I think that the ultra-fine flakes I'm seeking must be made with a machine turning at a much higher rotation that my little home freezer. My next try will be with a "pre-flaked" chocolate...whizzed in the food processor until suitably small. I just hope that the small flakes don't all collect on the bottom/sides of the canister. Oh, well...I'll keep trying. Besides, even the "mistakes" are quite edible.

          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            You have to mix in the flakes by hand after you make your ice cream base, as you're getting ready to put it into a container for the freezer. That's the only way they won't pool on the bottom or stick to the sides.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste
              b
              babette feast

              Or, melt your chocolate, spread it very thin on parchment, pop in the freezer,(or just temper it) then crumble the thin sheet into flakes. Or, you can pipe little dots of chocolate and fold them in, if you're obsessive-compulsive like I am.

              For fudgy chunks, make a firm ganache and either grate it or smoosh it through something with holes, like a square-grate type cooling rack. Or I suppose you could pipe little truffle bits too, that might be easier.

          2. I achieve the 'freckles' you're describing in whipped cream by putting coarsely chopped chocolate in the food processor and pulsing until it gets to the desired size. This creates the most incredible whipped cream, both in flavor and mouth-feel. Maybe that would work for your ice cream?

            1. In one of her books, Alice Medrich says to get the best texture of chocolate chips (of any size) in ice cream you should melt, cool, then chop the chocolate. It changes the crystal structure so the chips don't freeze too hard. So I'd say for the freckles you should freeze, cool, then grate or even Microplane it.

              1. I have tried to do chocolate chip ice cream where the "chips" are really flakes, kind of like the texture in the Baskin-Robbins chocolate chip ice cream (not their other ice creams with chips where the chips are more solid). I've failed so far, but I have learned that nooodles is correct that you have to mix it in by hand. I have a Krups 1 quart machine and it can't handle any add-ins.

                I read a tip, maybe a Nick Malgieri tip, that mixing a bit of flavorless oil like canola oil into melted chocolate and then drizzling it into the ice cream in the last seconds before it's done churning will yield these flakes. I tried this and it was utter disater, with globs and clumps of chocolate. Ick.

                I think the idea of processing the chocolate in the food processor until it's flaked, then mixing it in by hand, may be the way to go.