Chocolate Walnut Gelato

As a kid, I was the one who always chose the ice cream loaded with chunks – nuts, chocolate, marshmallows, peanut butter cups – the chunkier, the better. In more recent years, I’ve been making my own ice creams and gelato. I’m not a kitchen gadgety sort of person, but I do adore my ice cream machine. Making your own is easy, fun and saves not only money, but fat and calories: all that goes into this creamy gelato is sugar, cocoa and a small quantity of chocolate, which gives it a creamier mouthfeel; the grated orange zest and crunchy walnuts give it a more grown-up appeal.

Chocolate Walnut Gelato

3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Dutch processed, unsweetened cocoa powder
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
1 cup California walnuts, finely chopped

Toast the walnuts in a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water, sugar and cocoa powder to a boil, whisking constantly.

Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and cocoa is well blended, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Let cool completely.

Stir in orange zest and California walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold, about 4 hours.

Spoon chilled chocolate into shallow metal pan; freeze until almost firm, about 3 hours. Break into chunks; purée in food processor. Pack into airtight container and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Alternatively, transfer chilled mixture to ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe and photo courtesy of

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