When I was young enough to only appreciate the flavours of toffee candies and M & M’s, my parents made the hard decision to move from Toronto to my birth place, Hong Kong, this was already my second move across the Pacific, something I had to learn to get used to. My dad got a new job in Hong Kong and my mom couldn’t leave her work in Canada, so my dad, grandpa and I packed up to go back to Asia. In the past twenty four years, I’ve endured too many painstakingly long flights, eaten bad airplane meals more times that I’d like to remember, but little did I know this would be the toughest move ever.
We were all packed and ready to go, having arrived at the airport early with plenty of time to kill before boarding. We ate some breakfast, I double-checked that my toys were packed safely in my carry-on and went to the bathroom for the umpteenth time at my mom’s insistence. Finally, with my dad’s rough hands clasping mine and my other arm suffocating my stuffed animal, we walked to the departure gate.
I looked back at my mom behind the barrier, she looked sad, lonely and far away, questions ran through my mind: What if she forgot to lock the door? And the house got robbed? My mom would be in danger. Who would take care of her? What would happen? Who would buy me white frilly socks then? The thoughts were too much to bear, I couldn’t help but burst into tears.
But this was no ordinary crying. Oh no, I had a meltdown. It started out as trembling then tears spilled out, progressing into deep sobs and as I strugged for breath, loud, obnoxious screams exploded, “Mommmyyyy!!! MOMMMYYY!!!! Don’t go!” I was uncontrollable, my dad tried to pull me towards the horrified customs officer, but I glued myself to the rail, proceeding with hysterical and desperate cries. This went on for minutes before my dad finally pried my hands apart and my mom disappeared behind the partition.
My grandpa bought me an ice cream cone to calm me down, apparently this worked, my sobbing slowed, I found my breath again and was soon licking the ice cream dripping down my fingers, my broken heart healed. My parents love telling me this story just to prove how much I love ice cream and all things sweet. It’s still holds true, give me a box of chocolates and I’ll crown you my best friend.
I’ve been very good at bookmarking ice cream recipes but not so good at making them. With the hit of two heat waves in Toronto, nothing seems to tame the humidity but greedy scoops of milky gelato. This recipe uses only six ingredients: cream, milk, sugar, chocolate, cinnamon and cookie crumbs. It comes together in a breeze, you will wonder, like I did, why you don’t make ice cream more often and resume eating spoonfuls straight out of the container.
As you know, I’m a big Speculoos fan, it’s warm, spicy flavours of cloves, ginger and cinnamon marry well with chocolate. It’s much more subdued in this ice cream though the cinnamon helps to heighten its flavour. This is very thick gelato, much less airy than your traditional ice cream, but if you like flourless chocolate cake or chocolate mousse and other intense chocolatey desserts, this will sure to win your heart and cool you down lest another heat wave strikes.
Chocolate GelatoAdapted from Bon Appetit
If you don't have Speculoos Cookies, try using gingersnap cookies instead, or if you're an Oreos lover, I'm certain they would work splendidly here too.
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk, divided
5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup coarsely crushed Speculoos cookies
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until blended. Gradually add 1/4 cup milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in remaining 1 3/4 cups milk. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and comes to boil, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute longer, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth.
Transfer gelato base to medium bowl. Mix in cream. Place bowl over large bowl filled with ice and water and cool, stirring often, about 30 minutes.
Process gelato base in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding toffee during last minute of churning. Transfer to container; cover. Freeze at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.