Toasted Almond Sherbet with Almond Spikes
Toast the almonds lightly, and with a pair of tongs, remove 16 almonds, then continue toasting the rest until they are extremely dark. While the almonds are still hot, put them into the milk, stir, and let sit until cool. Puree in a blender and strain through a fine chinois or a wet cheesecloth lined sieve. Re-measure and add more milk to make 4 cups. Whisk in simple syrup and the scrapings from vanilla beans. Freeze in the ice cream freezer, according to manufacturer's instructions.
Put the sugar into a saucepan. Pour the water around the edge of the pan carefully to avoid any splashing up of the water or sugar crystals on the walls of the pan. Draw your finger through the sugar in an X, to let the water cover the sugar completely. Bring the sugar water to a boil and, without stirring, continue to cook until amber colored.
Meanwhile, stick toothpicks in the ends of the 16 toasted almonds and put a pound of butter or a piece of styrofoam on a counter or a tall shelf. Test the color of the caramel periodically by placing a drop of the caramel on a white plate. When it is slightly lighter than you want it, stop the cooking by placing the bottom of the pot in a bowl of ice water. Swirl it a bit to evenly distribute the color.
Dip the almonds in the caramel and suspend them over your work surface by sticking the toothpick in the butter or styrofoam, and allow the caramel to drip down causing a long strand to form. Once they are cooled, place them in an airtight container.
Serve scoops of the sherbet garnished with 2 almond spikes.