Monday, July 15, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream


It's hot. Like crazy, sweat from blinking hot. I figure calories be damned, this weather calls for ice cream.

This time I chose to go classic: Mint Chocolate Chip. This flavor always brings me back to my high school years. A big group of us would do regular Saturday-night outings to Friendly's. One friend always ordered mint chocolate chip ice cream topped with strawberry sauce. I scoffed at the combo ... until I tasted it. Yum!

When I think back I can't believe I ever thought the combination was so strange. It does make perfect sense. And truly, a homemade version is that much better! Using fresh mint makes all the difference. It offers a gently floral, minty taste. Of course, so does topping it with homemade strawberry jam.

Okay so yes, you need to use the stove for this, but just a little bit. Just prep the custard part at night when it's cooler. Then, pop it in the fridge and head to bed. Come morning all you'll need to do is pour it into your ice cream maker and wah-lah cold, refreshing indulgence.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

(adapted from The Kitchn)
Makes 1.5 Quarts

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces good quality dark chocolate

Directions

  1. Remove the mint leaves from the stems. In a bowl gently crush the leaves with a pestle or muddler until they are slightly bruised and fragrant.
  2. Heat the half and half in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to steam, then remove, add the mint leaves, and cover. Let steep, covered for at least an hour.
  3. After an hour (or so) strain out the mint, pressing hard with a spatula to extract all of the liquid and as much color as you can.
  4. Place the mint-infused cream back on the stove. Add the salt and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Heat to just under a simmer.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium-sized bowl until pale yellow.
  6. Temper the sweetened eggs by slowly whisking in a cup of the warm mint-infused cream.
  7. Whisk tempered eggs back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until the custard reaches 170-174 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Stir in the vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Chop the chocolate into tiny pieces. Set aside.
  10. Freeze the custard the next day in your ice cream maker according to directions, adding the chocolate towards the end.
  11. Transfer ice cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap under the lid touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least four hours before serving.
Yum

You'll notice the ice cream photo is sans strawberry jam. I was so excited to dig in I forgot to take the photo! It's that good.

What cool treats do you enjoy on a crazy hot summer day?
Photos by Renato Ghio
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