I need help. I need someone to come here and pry this spoon from my right hand. I need someone to wipe the chocolate off my mouth and dress me, because I can’t focus on anything other than what’s in those bowls up there. My favorite shirt is stained with chocolate and I don’t care. I’m in a trance. A creamy, salty, chocolatey trance and it’s all Graffiato’s fault.
Graffiato is Top Chef’s, Mike Isabella’s new place in DC. I’ve been twice now. And I’d be lying if I told you the sea salt gelato had nothing to do with my return. We ordered it for dessert on our first visit. It was love at first bite. The second time…Good God. I think I blacked out.
It should come as no surprise that the combination of sea salt and ice cream hasn’t left my mind since. The salty-sweet combination is one that is hard to beat, and so I went with it, adding a chocolate twist. Because when has adding chocolate ever been a bad idea?
If you’ve never made ice cream before this is a good reason to start. And if you’ve never been to Graffiato before, well, you should really just bookmark this and meet me there. I’m the one with the melted ice cream down my shirt.
Salted Chocolate Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee (optional)
3 cups half and half
1/3 cup cocoa powder
6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon and 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the chocolate, coffee and agave nectar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl.
- In another sauce pan (or wipe out the one you just used) heat 1/2 of the half and half (1.5 cups) over medium heat whisking in cocoa powder. Stir until combined and warmed through (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and pour into the chocolate, agave mixture bowl.
- In another sauce pan (or just wipe it out again – really, just wipe it out or you’ll be doing dishes all night) heat the other 1.5 cups of half and half over medium-low heat. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks. When the half and half is warm, slowly drizzle about 1/2 a cup of the warmed half and half into the egg yolks, whisking vigorously while drizzling. Once combined, stir the egg yolk mixture back into the sauce pan over the heat. Stir the mixture over the heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Should only take a few minutes. Remove from heat.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl with the chocolate agave mixture and carefully pour the yolk mixture into the bowl. Push the mixture through with a rubber spatula if too thick. Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the mixture in the bowl and stir.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill. I’m impatient and put mine in the freezer for about an hour stirring every 20 minutes or so.
- Once cool (doesn’t have to be completely cooled, just not piping hot) pour mixture into a blender and blend. Pour back into the bowl and allow to completely cool over night or for a few hours in the refrigerator. Again, I put mine in the freezer for about 2 hours stirring it frequently.
- Once completely cold, add the 1/3 teaspoon sea salt and stir, add the mixture to your ice cream maker and churn.
- Enjoy soft serve or allow to harden in freezer.
- I’ve made this a few times with different amounts of salt. This was the best one leaving a slight saltiness. Even just a 1/4 teaspoon more made it almost inedible, so measure the salt carefully. You can always add more salt but you can’t take it out. It also seemed to get saltier with time so don’t add any more salt until you let it sit for at least a day.
- You’ll notice this ice cream is sweetened with agave nectar. You wouldn’t know it by tasting it. And somehow I feel like it’s healthier.