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Cinnamon Cocoa Nib Brittle Ice Cream

Decadent Cinnamon Cocoa Nib Brittle Ice Cream combines spicy, flavorful cinnamon ice cream with crunchy cocoa nib-studded brittle. For best results, use fragrant, fresh cinnamon sticks. Ice cream recipe adapted from David Lebovitz. Cocoa Nib Brittle Recipe adapted from Food52. Makes about a quart of ice cream with extra brittle for garnishing and snacking. If you're looking for something to do the with the leftover egg whites, try making meringues!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Steeping / Chilling / Churning Time8 hrs 40 mins
Total Time9 hrs 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: brittle, cinnamon, cocoa nibs, dessert toppings, homemade ice cream, sweets, toppings


Cinnamon Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream divided
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 10 cinnamon sticks broken up with a mortar and pestle or with a hammer in a seal-able bag
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cocoa Nib Brittle

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Cinnamon Ice Cream

  • Place a 1-quart container in the freezer to chill.
  • Whisk together milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, salt, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Warm the mixture over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around the edges and steam just begins to rise from the surface. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for an hour.
  • Rewarm the cinnamon-infused mixture. Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon shards with a slotted spoon. It's okay if smaller pieces get left behind.
  • Set a mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl. In several additions, add a some of the warmed cinnamon-infused mixture to the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the yolk-milk mixture back into the sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and immediately pour the custard through the strainer, discarding solids. Whisk in remaining 1 cup heavy cream and the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is cold.

Cocoa Nib Brittle

  • Line a rimmed baking pan with a silicone baking mat.
  • Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan, stirring to combine. Cook over moderate heat until the syrup turns a deep caramel color.
  • Remove the pan from heat. Add cocoa nibs, butter, vanilla extract, baking soda, and kosher salt. Taking care as the mixture will be quite hot, mix until the butter has melted and the bubbling subsides, about a minute.
  • Transfer the mixture onto the prepared baking pan. Working quickly, spread it out with a lightly-greased offset spatula. Let cool until solid, about 15 minutes.
  • Chop a portion of the brittle into bite-sized pieces to mix into the ice cream (about 3/4 cups, more if you like lots of crunch). Break the remaining brittle into larger pieces for garnishing or snacking. Store in an airtight container until needed.


  • Freeze the cinnamon ice cream base according to the instructions for your ice cream mixer.
  • When it's almost finished, add about 3/4 cup chopped Cocoa Nib Brittle to the mixer, allowing it to churn for about a minute to incorporate the pieces.
  • Transfer the ice cream to the pre-chilled container, cover, and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
  • Top scoops of ice cream with additional Cocoa Nib Brittle, if desired.