Perhaps if I make sure they're very finely ground?
The only problem is that it won't completely dissolve and will give your ice cream a sandy/grainy texture.
If it's very finely ground, it's not a big deal. Many espresso ice cream/gelato recipes have actual espresso grounds right in the mix. I don't mind it (think chocolate covered espresso beans). If you want it smooth, keep the grounds somewhat course and steep them in the milk/cream base before straining them out (a chinois is ideal, but any fine mesh strainer will work). In this case, I would add a splash of coffee liqueur to amp up the coffee flavor.
Oh that's true. I can picture the black flecks that look like vanilla bean.
Marcella Hazan had a recipe in her The Classic Italian Cookbook--vanilla ice cream with a sprinkling of fine-ground espresso and a shot of Scotch whiskey. It was a real favorite among some of my friends 30+ years ago. That little bit of texture was one of the best parts.
I remember that! We served it at a restaurant where I worked as a server. I liked it with kahlua or cognac. :)
Sure! In fact, that's my favorite way of infusing deep, true coffee flavor into ice cream custard. I stir the coffee grounds (I use espresso roast) into the milk and cream as they are heating. Once they reach a scald, I turn off the heat and let everything sit for 15 minutes, then turn the heat back on to bring the mixture back to a scald. Next, I pour everything through a sieve lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth, and proceed with the recipe. Do a few particles of coffee get through? Yes. I like to think of them as adding a subtle later of crunch.
And a little nutritional fiber!!