Do you like the taste of chocolate and peppermint together? Then you should enjoy this easy chocolate mint extract recipe. It's made in a similar manner to the vanilla, almond and lemon extracts (check out the other homemade extract recipes and get the printable labels). I use the chocolate mint plant as the basis for my extract, but peppermint will also work in combination with cacao nibs. Homemade extracts are great for holiday gift giving, although the flavor gets stronger the longer you allow the extract to steep, so sooner is better if you'd like to gift them this year. I haven't purchased commercial mint extract in years.
You can use your homemade chocolate mint extract for all sorts of things – add a little to your brownies, hot chocolate or hot chocolate eggnog, ice cream, homemade peppermint patties – use your imagination!
Easy Chocolate Mint Extract Recipe
80 Proof (40% alcohol by weight) vodka
Fresh chocolate mint leaves
Fresh peppermint leaves and 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs
Harvest mint in the morning after the dew has cleared. Remove any spoiled leaves and debris, rinse with cold water if needed and pat dry. Keep in mind that any excess water will dilute the extract. We've have a LOT of rain here recently, so I didn't bother with a rinse. I snip off the tender tops, and then strip the rest of the mint leaves from the stem by running my hand from top to bottom. Chop the mint leaves coarsely to create more surface area. A little rough handling/smashing as you pack them in the jar also helps release the oils.
Place chopped mint leaves in a small jar, enough so that the jar is filled but there is still some room for the leaves to wiggle and the booze to fit in. (I used a recycled jam jar, but a cup or half cup canning jar would work well, too.)
Add 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs per cup jar for chocolate mint extract, if you are using peppermint leaves, or if you'd like to add a little more chocolate flavor to your chocolate mint.
Fill jar with vodka to cover the mint leaves. Place lid on jar. Store out of direct sunlight, stirring or shaking daily, for at least 6 weeks. Longer is better if you have the time.
Strain out the mint leaves and cacao nibs with a fine mesh strainer, cheesecloth or flour sack towel. Store in a dark bottle out of direct sunlight.
Use in your favorite recipes that call for mint extract, or anywhere you'd like a little chocolately-minty flavoring.
You can use a similar method with whatever sort of mint you have on hand. (I do think catmint might taste a little funny.) Spearmint, gingermint and applemint would be lovely, I'm sure. (There are over 600 varieties of mint, so you have a lot of options.) Don't have fresh mint? You can also make mint extract with dried mint. Can't find chocolate mint at your local nursery? Via the wonder of the internet, you can order a chocolate mint plant online.
Once you've established an herb garden, or even tucked in a few herb plants here and there (many of mine are free range, like chickens, and wander around the yard), you can enjoy years of harvests. Mints do like to spread, so plant them in a pot, or where they have plenty of room to grow or where you can mow around them to keep them in check. I made up this extract after we had already had our first fall frosts. (These plants are tough.) On the same day I filled the dehydrator with chocolate mint, catnip and spearmint. (Chocolate mint makes wonderful herbal tea!)
What's your favorite low maintenance herb, and how do you like to use it? It's always a pleasure to exchange information and get new ideas from our readers.
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How to Make Liquid Sweetener from Homegrown Stevia – Homemade Stevia Extract
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