While other types of cinnamon and vanilla will do, des Jardins highly recommends seeking out Mexican vanilla, which has a creamy flavor with warm spice notes, and Mexican cinnamon, or canela, which is sweeter tasting and softer than cassia cinnamon.

Best New Chef Traci des Jardins
Traci Des Jardins
August 2020


Credit: Aubrie Pick

Recipe Summary test

35 mins
1 hr 45 mins
8 to 10




Make the sorbet
  • Cook chiles and canela sticks in a large skillet over medium, turning occasionally, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer chiles to a spice grinder; process until very finely ground, about 30 seconds. Reserve 3/4 teaspoon ground chiles for almonds; set remaining ground chiles and canela sticks aside.

  • Place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl; set aside. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, xanthan gum, salt, and remaining ground chiles in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups water and canela sticks. Bring to a boil over medium, whisking occasionally. Boil 1 minute, whisking occasionally. Pour hot mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer over chocolate; discard solids. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract.

  • Press plastic wrap directly on surface of sorbet base. Let cool at room temperature 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

Make the spiced almonds
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together brown sugar, egg white, ground canela, and reserved 3/4 teaspoon ground chiles in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in almonds. Transfer mixture to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and spread into a single layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake in preheated oven until almonds are dry and toasted, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. Let almonds cool completely; roughly chop, and set aside.

  • Transfer chilled sorbet base to freezer bowl of a 11/2-quart electric ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions until sorbet has the texture of soft serve, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Quickly transfer sorbet to a freezer-safe container with lid; press parchment paper directly onto surface. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. To serve, sprinkle with spiced almonds.

Make Ahead

Almonds can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks. Sorbet can be frozen in an airtight container up to 3 months.