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dessert recipes/ vegetarian recipes

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato on Spoon

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato on SpoonIf you love your ice cream rich and decadent, you will love this Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato recipe. Pretzels + caramel + chocolate = bliss!

Use a Freezer that Works

This is the recipe that finally made me realize that our freezer does not get as cold as it should.

All last summer, I was on a Zoku kick and I made popsicles at least once a week, if not more. It was our first summer in North Carolina and it was hot. I had never been much of a popsicle person, but in that hot weather, suddenly they were all I wanted to eat. In my popsicle making frenzy, I noticed that the Zoku was taking much, much longer than it should have to freeze my popsicles. So naturally, I blamed the Zoku.

In December, I got my ice cream maker. I’ve used it a few times and each time, the ice cream turned out a little bit soupy. I blamed the ice cream maker. So when I made this Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato, it was the same story—it just barely set in the ice cream maker, so I decided to Google it and see what was going on. There were virtually no bad reviews for it and the few bad reviews there were had comments saying, “Your freezer probably isn’t cold enough!”

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato
Oh. So that’s why the Zoku doesn’t work well and that’s why none of my ice cream sets. And that’s why all the cardboard boxes in the freezer are slightly soggy. And probably why there’s no rush of cold air when we open the freezer door. So suddenly it all makes sense—our freezer is the problem.

It’s Delicious, Soupy or Not

Anyway, I hope you’ll excuse the soupy looking gelato in these photos. After making my Fat Elvis Ice Cream, my husband kept bugging to make something like that again, so I came up with the chocolate, caramel, and pretzel combination. We’re both big fans of desserts that are both salty and sweet. And who doesn’t love caramel and chocolate together?! Soupy or not, this gelato is crazy good.


Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Gelato

Rich chocolate gelato swirled with ribbons of caramel and pretzel pieces. Chocolate base from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto.

  • Prep Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart (8 servings) 1x


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pretzels, broken into small pieces, divided
  • 3/4 cup caramel sauce, divided (I like making my own—this recipe from Martha Stewart is perfect)


  1. Combine milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 170°F. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Next, whisk in chopped chocolate until mixture is smooth and chocolate has melted.
  2. Add egg yolks to a medium heat-proof bowl and whisk until smooth. Slowly add sugar, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens. Gradually add milk and chocolate mixture to egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return contents of bowl to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches a temperature of 185°F and custard coats the back of spoon. (Don’t allow the mixture to boil!)
  3. Place a mesh strainer on top of a second heat-proof bowl. Pour custard mixture through strainer and cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes. Once mixture has cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Freeze gelato according to manufacturers instructions. Add 1/2 cup of caramel and 1/2 cup of pretzels in last 5 minutes of the churning process or fold in after churning has completed. (Personally, I prefer folding the add-ins after churning has stopped, especially something like caramel, which has a tendency to disappear.)
  5. Transfer gelato to a sealed container and freeze at least 2 hours before serving. Top with remaining pretzel pieces and caramel sauce.


Prep time includes time spent chilling custard.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup

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  • Reply
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh
    April 2, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I make something similar, it’s such a great flavor combo! YUM!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      We used to get ice cream at a place that had a flavor with chocolate malt ice cream, Milky Way bar pieces, and pretzels–completely random, but SO good. So this was kind of inspired by that ice cream.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Are you kidding me?!?!?! What an awesome flavor combination!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    This looks so good as always! I love the flavor combination, so yummy!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you! Yup, you really can’t go wrong with chocolate, caramel, and pretzels. 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    April 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Salty and sweet is my thing too, and pretzels are my #1 favorite snack in the entire world! I have them with me all the time, ALL the time! Delicious, and I’m going to make this one for sure!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:22 am

      I actually don’t like pretzels too much, unless they’re covered in chocolate. Then I love them! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim of Mo'Betta
    April 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Even a little soupy, it looks delicious! I SO need an ice cream maker. We certainly do have some HOT summers in NC! I just realized we probably live less than an hour from one another! For a couple more months anyway…

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Everyone needs an ice cream maker! I’m sure there will be a lot of deals on them coming up soon since it’s almost summer, so it’s probably a good time to get one. I got mine from the Steamy Kitchen store when they had one of the $50 off $100 promos.

      I’m in Wake Forest, just north of Raleigh. Are you moving out of state?

      • Reply
        Kim of Mo'Betta
        April 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

        We are just east of Raleigh, outside Rocky Mount but we are moving to the coast this summer. Going to start looking for those ice cream maker sales!

        • Reply
          The Type A Housewife
          April 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

          Good luck with your move! We still haven’t been to the coast yet, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to go for a long weekend soon–I’ve heard it’s beautiful there!

  • Reply
    Virginia from That Bald Chick
    April 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I had gelato for the first time ever last week. It was oh SO good!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

      SO good, right? I love the texture of it. We used to live 5 minutes from a really great gelato place and I miss it!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Mmmm…..this looks heavenly. Caramel is my weakness! Love the sweet and salty tastes in your recipe!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

      After making those sweet potato caramels a few weeks ago, I’m totally on a caramel kick. It’s so fun to make! Not to mention the taste…

  • Reply
    Jamie @ Thrifty Veggie Mama
    April 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Oh wow! This looks so good! Love salty and sweet combos

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Thank you! Yes, I don’t think you can go wrong with salty and sweet–I love that combination too.

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    April 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Just eat it faster and it won’t get soupy. This really looks yummy. I love the salty sweet combo too.

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

      I had the ice cream in the freezer for 4 hours and these pictures were taken immediately after I took it out! I like soft ice cream to eat, but photographing it isn’t too fun. 🙂

  • Reply
    Raquel @ Ovenmitts Vegan Blog
    April 2, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    That is the most delicious-looking gelato I’ve ever seen! And the flavor combination sounds incredible. I NEED to get an ice cream maker. Stat.

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Thank you! Yes, you do need an ice cream maker. 😀 I have the lower-end Cuisinart one and it seems to go on sale all the time!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Pretzels with chocolate is one of the happiest combinations in the world. Caramel puts it over the top. I am bookmarking this for ice cream season! (I eat ice cream in all seasons, but for some reason the machine mostly comes into use in summer.) Bummer about your freezer! Will you be getting a new one?

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 3, 2012 at 8:07 am

      I’m hoping the issue with the freezer is just dust on the coils or something that’s easily fixed. My husband is going to attempt to figure it out & if that doesn’t work, I think it should still be under warranty because we moved in less than a year ago & it was new at the time. I’m a little bit embarrassed that it took me so long to realize it was the freezer that was the issue, though. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

    When I saw the title of this post, my jaw dropped. I LOVE gelato and this is just way too amazing. I will definitely be trying this! [:

  • Reply
    April 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    that sounds amazing! I am not a fan of pretzels unless they are covered with something sweet!

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Me too. The only time I eat plain pretzels is when I have a migraine. Pretzels and saltines!

  • Reply
    April 5, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Ummm…. seriously, I think I could eat the entire container in one sitting. My sister has one of those zuko makers and loves it for the kids. I wonder if you could do an alcoholic version??

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      I think my instruction booklet for the Zoku says something about how the popsicles don’t freeze as well with alcohol in them. So I think you’d have to make them not very boozy for it to work right. I haven’t tried it!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Amazing! With flavors like sweet and salty caramel and delicious chocolate, I wouldn’t care if this ice cream soup was piping hot. Looks wonderful 🙂

    • Reply
      The Type A Housewife
      April 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Yeah, we definitely didn’t mind that it was a little bit soupy when it came to eating it–it just bugged me when I was trying to photograph it! 😉

  • Reply
    April 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Wow, this looks amazing!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing! I am going to have to try this!

  • Reply
    July 6, 2012 at 9:51 am

    This looks great. Do you have a suggestion or an alternative to using egg yolks?

    • Reply
      July 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      I’d look for an eggless (or vegan) chocolate ice cream recipe and then add the caramel and pretzels to that. Gelato is custard-based, so there’s really no way around using egg yolks. Sorry!

  • Reply
    Josie Robinson
    August 13, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Hate to be a troll but have you ever heard of a themometer? I think they cost under 10 bucks and you will never be surprised again by a lot of rotting food! a dip of 10 degrees my fridge guys says is normal when you open the door and stand there looking at it. if it is over 30 it isn’t doing a good job and should be fixed or replaced under frozen fgood is also a health hazard some things will continue to degrade at underfrozen temps. The stuff looks fattening and delicous always that’s been a downfall for me.

    • Reply
      August 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      We didn’t have problems with rotting food, but we did have issues with some things being a little soft in the freezer. Luckily it’s fixed now! 🙂

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