By Lisa

I have this fantasy: Someday I will give them something so good they will be happy forever. Once and for all, they will love me without complaining.  They will stop fighting.  They will remember gratitude. They will be transported, their minds and mouths silenced by perfect joy.  This joy will last, and last, and last.

Magical thinking, I know.  But it’s the kind of magical thinking that turns a warm day daydream…nutella…vanilla ice cream…hazelnuts...into a batch of cold, sweet bliss.  Some mothers might think the magical thing is a hug, or a kind word, or a pony.  For me, on this day, it was ice cream.

It didn’t silence them. It did fill them with joy. It didn’t stop the complaining. It did conjure gratitude.  It didn’t last. But I can make it again. And again. And again.

Nutella Swirl Ice Cream with Hazelnut Crunch

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2-1 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, more or less to taste (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks until well blended and smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, salt, and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Pour a small amount of the warmed milk into the egg yolks and stir gently to loosen the yolks, then pour the yolks back into the pan containing the warm milk and sugar.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  6. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. At this point, you are supposed to set the custard into an ice bath and cool it thoroughly.  I almost never do this.
  7. Refrigerate the custard until it is thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  8. Gently toast the hazlenuts until they are aromatic. Rub together to remove the skins and roughly chop.
  9. After the custard is chilled, set the Nutella in a double boiler and simmer until Nutella is pourable.
  10. Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions.
  11. When ice cream is finished, add the hazlenuts and continue churning until incorporated.
  12. Once nuts are incorporated, pour the warm Nutella, very, very quickly, in one or two large spoonfuls into the churning ice cream. Churn for only a few seconds–just until the Nutella is incorporated.
  13. You can return the ice cream to the freezer to finish freezing.  Or you can give in and eat it immediately.