Light, bright watermelon becomes a scoopable ice, with roasty, bittersweet cocoa nibs subbing for seeds.
Notes: You can scale this recipe up or down as needed. 1/4 cup of sugar per cup of strained watermelon purée will yield a scoopable ice that isn't overwhelmed with sweetness. If your watermelon is very sweet, add more lemon juice; if less sweet, add less.
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- 2 1/4 pounds chopped watermelon (about 6 cups)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vodka, white rum, or cachaça
- 5 teaspoons juice from about 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted cocoa nibs (optional)
Working in batches if necessary, combine watermelon and sugar in work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour purée through a strainer into an airtight container; you should have 1 quart of strained purée. Stir in and lemon juice to taste, 1 teaspoon at a time (see note above). Stir in alcohol, then salt to taste, just enough to bring out natural flavor of the watermelon, and transfer to refrigerator to chill until very cold, 2 to 3 hours.
Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Optional: In last minute of churning, add cocoa nibs. Transfer to airtight container and chill for 2 to 3 hours in freezer until firm. Let sit on counter 10 minutes before serving to soften.