Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Captain Greg’s Ghirardelli Mocha Chip Gelato

Living in my little neighborhood close to the sea comes with more benefits than the beach.  I have neighbors who get the mail when I'm gone, friends who walk with me in the mornings and dads who lend helping hands with leaking pipes when my husband is out of town.  Most importantly though, I have neighbors who bring treats.

You may remember my gelato-making neighbor and good friend, Captain Greg (he tirelessly coaches for Team in Training), of Plum Perfect Gelato fame?  Or perhaps it's his Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk version that caught your eye?  Well, in my opinion, today's Ghirardelli Mocha Chip Gelato takes the cake.

Bringing us his fifth Liv Life Guest Post (and my personal favorite!), I hereby give you... Captain Greg!


When I was just 4 years old, my Granddad would sneak my brothers and me into his kitchen for a treat that drove my Mom nuts.  He would pour us each a cup of coffee, then add lots of cream and sugar until it was a crazy delight that little resembled the “cup of Joe” that got me through college. Mom was not happy… “Oh Dad”, she’d say, “Coffee is terrible for the kids!”  And he’d chuckle and ask “Who wants a refill?”  So my love affair with coffee got off to an early start, and when it collided with a passion for chocolate there was no looking back. 

Mocha, that magical blend of coffee and cocoa, owned me from the first time I tried it.  Growing up, Wednesday was Baskin Robbins night, and one of my two scoops was always Jamoca Almond Fudge.  And at 16 my first job was a soda jerk at the Carnation Ice Cream Restaurant.  My first day, the Manager handed me a 2-gallon tub of Mocha Chip -- and a spoon.  Big mistake.  2 hours later, what wasn’t inside me had melted into a delicious drink that made milkshakes for a week!

So fast forward to now.  I’ve fallen in love with gelato.  Crisp, sharp flavors that far surpass their heavier confectionery cousin -- ice cream.  And it’s a passion that takes little more than patience, great ingredients and a trusted ice cream churn.  And like I needed an excuse!  My Team in Training runners preparing for a marathon in San Francisco challenged me to whip up something with a taste of the City by the Bay.  Too easy… for a guy that pounded 2 gallons of Mocha Chip as a teen?  What says San Francisco more than Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and that silky blend of cocoa and sugar that draped many a sundae at Ghirardelli’s?  Way too easy.

So today’s recipe is a flavor sensation that’s straightforward and simple.  Start with a sweetened custard base, combine it with the essentials of any fine mocha, and amp it up to another level with Ghirardelli chocolate chips and slivered almonds.  Then join me back in Grandpa Rathel’s kitchen for a celebration of coffee and chocolate!  Give it up Mom…  I’ll take another scoop please!

Captain Greg's Ghirardelli Mocha Chip Gelato
Mocha at its finest, I can imagine a bowl topped with a shot of espresso for an even bigger coffee punch!
4 cups whole milk
2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 large egg yolks
2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. ground instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tsp. vanilla
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
2 Cups Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips

Separate the egg yolks and lightly beat them with a wooden spoon.  Combine yolks with the sugar, stirring until the mixture is creamy, pale yellow and very thick.  Transfer into a large saucepan (3 Quarts).

In a separate saucepan, combine the milk and cream.  Warm the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until steaming.
Whisk the milk and cream into the yolk and sugar mixture.  Hint:  Start with just 2 cups of the milk whisked vigorously into the yolk mixture so the eggs don’t cook solid.  Then whisk in the remaining milk and cream, adding slowly.

Cook over a low heat stirring constantly until thick enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Stir in the cocoa, coffee and vanilla.

Strain the mixture into a large bowl through a fine mesh strainer.  Cool completely in the refrigerator (at least two hours).

Process in an ice cream making following the directions included with your model.

Turn the gelato into medium container with lids.   Swirl in the chocolate chips and slivered almonds using a cold bread knife, stirring as little as possible.  Cover and freeze at least 24 hours.

Yields 2 Quarts


  1. Well, here you go. You've landed on one of my guilty secret pleasures. Even though I'm not a chocolate fan, I love mocha. I would absolutely devour this gelato. It's so wonderful to meet you, Captain Greg! If you're a friend of Kim's you must be awesome because she is. Thanks for creating and sharing this gelato. It's been saved for some day soon.

  2. I took the Captain Greg's Ghirardelli Mocha Chip Gelato because it is very delicious Food I think.
    Can not waiting more LoL.

  3. I love this recipe. It has all the right flavors blended together! Can't wait it try it!

    1. Thanks Jodee! Anything with coffee, chocolate and vanilla scores in my book too! Hope you try this one -- it's an easy recipe. Enjoy, and thanks. -- Greg

  4. It's been years since I've been to San Francisco but have family there and even took my honeymoon there. We love Fishermans Wharf and Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory - it's always fun to visit.

    Mocha Chip has always been a favorite of mine back when Haggan Daz was around so this sounds wonderful. Nice recipe, I can't wait to try it.

    1. I remember Haggan Daz and how incredibly rich all their frozen desserts were! They are still around in the supermarket, but only for prepacked ice cream. Wish they still had as many stores -- but maybe not because I'd look like a blimp!

  5. Well this is dangerous! That sounds fun!

  6. Living at the beach definitely has it's perks - but I don't have a neighbor that brings me treats like this! I'm moving in ;) Greg, I love the story and your Mocha Chip Gelato!

  7. HOLY MOLY. Coffee and chocolate ice cream is my absolute favorite. The hubby doesn't like coffee, which means the big beautiful batch I whip up will be all for yours truly! Thanks fro the great recipe Captain Greg (and Kim for sharing it with us too!)

  8. Oh, man, I wish I had a bowl of this decadent gelato in front of me now! Coffee ice cream/gelato is at the top of my favorite list...but mocha will do any day of the week!! YUM. Thanks to Captain Greg :)

  9. I'm still jealous Greg is your neighbor and not mine. I loved his plum gelato and I know I'd love this one too, my grandma brought me to their ice cream shop many times as a little girl. The beach and great neighbors, if I didn't like you so much Kim I might be upset. He he. Will bookmark this one. Thanks Greg.

  10. Captain Greg, how beautiful written. Love San Francisco and what it offers. I enjoy gelatos and mocha is pretty much the only thing I order when I am there.
    So we have a great recipe here, will try this one out for sure.

  11. oh yes please.. i love that.. can i go with a hot latte?

  12. I enjoy Captain Greg's posts but they do leave me feeling like my neighborhood is sadly lacking! This mocha chip ice cream is truly a masterpiece!

  13. A great post from your friend, Captain Greg. I am craving a bowl of this gorgeous gelato. Thanks for sharing another great gelato with us, Greg!

  14. Yum! Bravo Captain Greg, I would be happy to down some of this!


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