Spearmint Ice Cream with Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs
Makes ~1 pint, recipe can easily be doubled
- 1 c packed fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
- ½ c whole milk
- 1 c heavy cream, divided
- 1/3 c sugar
- ¼ t salt
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ t vanilla extract
- ¼ c - ½ c chocolate covered cacao nibs (try the Pure Dark brand available at Fresh Market or sub regular cacao nibs and/or mini chocolate chips)
Place mint leaves in a small saucepan with the milk, ½ cup of the cream, sugar and salt. Heat over medium heat until steaming but do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and allow mint leaves to steep for one hour. Meanwhile, pour reserved half cup cream into a medium bowl and keep chilled.
Strain mint and milk mixture through mesh strainer, pressing on the mint leaves to extract as much flavor as possible. Discard mint leaves. Return mixture to medium heat until steaming.
Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. Pour a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly, to bring egg yolks to temperature without curdling. Scrape yolks back into saucepan with remaining milk mixture. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (~170 degrees F.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour milk mixture through a mesh strainer into the bowl with the reserved cold cream from step one. This will chill the milk mixture and help stop the cooking.
Chill mixture overnight in an airtight container. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding cacao nibs in the last few seconds of churning. Serve immediately or let set up in freezer until firm.