september 28, 2021
An abundance of mint graced my garden this summer. I grew chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint and lemon mint. Guess which one flavored this ice cream? Chocolate mint plus some spearmint gave maximum flavor. For texture, cacao nibs are the crunchy bits that make this ice cream unique.
I rarely use the word healthy when describing food, since healthy means different things to different readers. Low fat, low calorie, low sodium, low everything. However, I will convince you that this dessert is indeed good for your body, as explained in this medical article. Occasionally, listing the health benefits of eating or not eating certain things will take away your appetite. Boo. My opinion is that just about everything in moderation (key word here) is fine in the grand scheme of eating.
You’ve seen cacao nibs before on my site, when they were baked into quinoa cookies for ice cream sandwiches. These crunchy little bits are high in antioxidants. And since chocolate is a vegetable —cocoa beans, right?—it seems fitting to call them healthy .
Meanwhile, your eyes are glazing over as I wax poetic about the health benefits of enjoying chocolate and its many derivatives. Let’s get to the recipe.
Electric ice cream makers do all the work for you. Heat sugar lightly with dairy to make this mixture smooth, then steep with fresh mint overnight for herbal flavor. No egg custard is involved. A bit of vodka keeps the mixture smooth; chocolate ice cream may be stiffer because of the cocoa. When the churning ice cream begins to thicken, add the cacao nibs in several additions and you are done.
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about one quart
1 cup dark cocoa (aka dutch process; less bitter)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
pinch fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk
3 ¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup packed fresh mint, leaves and stems lightly chopped to release oils
1 tablespoon vodka
⅓-½ cup cacao nibs – unsweet or lightly sweetened *
*use larger amount if you like more “solids” in your ice cream
- In heavy quart saucepan, whisk together cocoa powder with salt and both sugars.
- Gradually whisk in milk and over medium to medium low heat, stir with spatula just until sugar melts.
- Add cream with spatula (avoid whisking – will whip), then fresh mint.
- Chill at least 6 hours or, best, overnight.
- Strain to remove mint – mint can be rinsed and used to flavor iced tea.
- Add vodka to mix.
- While electric ice cream maker is running, add strained mixture and when it begins to thicken after about 20-25 minutes, add cacao nibs in several additions.
- Freeze at least four hours; you may need to soften ice cream in fridge before serving.