{in the kitchen} HAPPY SPRING! – Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream

Happy Spring EVERYONE!

Minh has been telling me for a month or so that our mint plant was starting to get unruly (growing out the sides of the raised bed). I like that wild look, but Minh likes things clean and orderly – so I decided to trim it back for now. Now what to do with all that mint? I’m not allowed mojitos right now, and it HAS been a while since I brought out the ice cream maker.. so I decided to take this opportunity to make fresh mint ice cream.

Say hello to my little minty friend...

Say hello to my little minty friend…

I have a few ice cream related cookbooks at home, but none of them had a fresh mint ice cream recipe that I really liked.. the closest was from the pepper + mint chip ice cream from Humphrey-Slocombe, but I skipped the “pepper” part.. and nearly doubled up on the fresh mint.

Ice cream base chillin' in the fridge

Ice cream base chillin’ in the fridge

Another thing changed was the fact that I already had half-n-half on hand… nearly a pint of it. So I used what I had left of the half-n-half, a cup of heavy cream, and made up the difference with a little bit of milk.. to get to three cups total of dairy. Need to work with what you have, right?

Straining the minty pulp out of the ice cream base

Straining the minty pulp out of the ice cream base

Last modification to the recipe was with the chocolate…  I didn’t have dark chocolate on hand (at least not that I wanted to melt into the ice cream), so I used semisweet chocolate chips instead.. and also used a lost more chocolate than the recipe called for (50% more). The “drizzling” bit was actually a lot harder than I anticipated.. first because the chocolate did not want to drizzle smoothly, and second because the ice cream machine was just keeping all the drizzled chocolate at the top.

Churn churn churn: top left - 1 min, top right - 5 min, bottom left - 10 min, bottom right - 15 min.

Churn churn churn: From top left – 1 min, 5 min, 10 min, 15 min.

The end result was OK. I thought it tasted a little too “green” (like plants).. but Minh thought it tasted “buttery” (probably from the custard) and maybe a touch too sweet. If I were to make it again (which I probably will), I will probably use less stems, to get rid of that “green” taste. And probably figure out a better way to get that chocolate mixed in.

image

Fresh Mint Chip Ice Cream
adapted from Humphrey-Slocombe Ice Cream Book

Ingredients:

  • a bunch of fresh mint (I probably usedcloser to two grocery store bunches) – washed well
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Process the mint in the food processor – stems and all (maybe get rid of any very very thick or woody stems). You want it to be totally pulverized.
  2. Prep an ice bath – fill a large bowl with ice water and nest a smaller bowl (enough to fit the ice cream) into it. Set aside for now.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the dairy (milk, cream, half-n-half.. whatever you’re using) and salt over medium heat, but do not let it boil. Take it off when it starts to steam.
  4. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
  5. Once the dairy is heated, add half the heated dairy into the egg-sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Add this egg-sugar-dairy mixture back into the pan and stir to combine.
  6. Heat over medium heat until heated through (starts to steam), but not boiling, and do not let eggs scramble – a few minutes. Stir constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
  7. After the egg-sugar-dairy mixture is heated through, remove from heat and stir in the pulverized mint. Transfer to the smaller bowl in your ice bath to cool.
  8. Allow the ice cream mixture to cool in the ice bath, stirring occasionally to help it along. Once it has cooled, cover and place in the fridge for several hours (preferrably over night).
  9. Once the ice cream mixture has cooled in the fridge, strain through a fine mesh sieve into your ice cream maker, and process per your machine’s instructions. (Mine took about 20 minutes).
  10. While the ice cream is processing, melt your chocolate using your preferred method (in a double boiler or intermittent zaps in the microwave).
  11. In the last few minutes of processing, drizzle the melted chocolate into your ice cream maker in a thin steady stream (good luck with this). Alternatively, transfer your churned ice cream into a container and drizzle the chocolate on top and stir it in.
  12. Eat now if you like a soft churned ice cream, or cover and freeze for later. Ice cream will keep in the freezer for about 1 week.

NOTES: So the recipe above is how I actually made the ice cream this time around, but I will probably make a bunch of modifications (some already mentioned) if I try this recipe again. Mainly – no stems or only very thin stems, a touch more sugar, better chocolate and figure out a bitter drizzling method.. or maybe I’ll just mix in the chips.

image

Anyone have any other tips for ice cream making?

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