Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (#12)

31 05 2012

My dear family friend Grace is getting married this weekend!  In her honour, Week #12 will be her favourite ice cream flavour: chocolate chip mint.  But wait!  There’s a healthy twist: sub out the chocolate chips, sub in cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are made by roasting, hulling, and gently crushing cacao beans.  They are, essentially, the natural source of all chocolate products.  Cacao nibs have a strong, dark, bitter chocolate flavour, delightfully crunchy texture, and are one of the hottest superfoods on the market.  They’re packed with vitamins and minerals including beta carotene, zinc, and a whack load of magnesium.  They also contain more antioxidants than blueberries, red wine, and green tea.

cocoa nibs

Cocoa nibs – crunchy little nuggets of chocolatey goodness packed with antioxidants!

Grace introduced me to cacao nibs earlier this month and I have to say I’m hooked.  How can something that is so good for you taste SO AMAZING?  I’m sprinkling cacao nibs over oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt, whirling them up in smoothies, and eating them by the handful.  And now, cacao nibs are working their way into my ice cream recipes.

The cacao nibs add an amazing crunch to the ice cream, and the mint ice cream itself has just enough sweetness that you don’t need to use a sweetened (and processed!) chocolate chip.  Enjoy, and eat often!

Cacao Nibs and Mint Ice Cream (Makes about 1 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups half-and-half cream
1.25 to 1.5 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 to 7 drops green food colouring (optional)
3/4 cup raw unsweetened cacao nibs (or substitute with high quality miniature chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate)

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