There are few herbs which give the connotation of “fresh” like mint does. A vibrant, bright, opening of the senses. As most home gardeners will know, there is hardly only one kind of mint. For culinary use, it is easiest to break it down to two main types, spearmint and peppermint, then allow the derivatives flow from there.
Spearmint will be the most common mint directly eaten. A bit more mellow, it imparts that beautifully fresh flavor without blowing open the sinuses with an overly bright impression. Garden Peas or Roasted Carrots with Mint – spearmint. Mint clustered in billowing piles served alongside Vietnamese cuisine – spearmint. For those mojitos, grab the spearmint. For our garden, 75% of the mint we grow is spearmint. It gets used incessantly in our cooking, especially with Vietnamese dishes being our culinary staple.
Then there is peppermint. Bright, full of life and freshness, but often overpowering when eaten straight. Think – mint chip ice cream or candy canes. That is the flavor of peppermint. It was with mint chip ice cream in mind which drove us to dedicate a plot to this sinus clearing bite of freshness.
In digging up a mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe, one doesn’t have to look any further than the cult-favorite ice cream bible, David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. Nearly any internet savvy ice cream churners will swoon praises of David’s scream and squeal inducer of a book. This is nearly always the first and last book we grab for frozen delicacies and for our mint chocolate chip ice cream was as true as ever.
By combining his Fresh Mint Ice Cream recipe with the Stracciatella instructions, we had the perfect mint chip ice cream. First infusing the peppermint into the milk and sugar until it was a beautiful “emerald” green. Then after mixing, straining, chilling and churning everything together; melted chocolate is slowly drizzled in, instantly hardening then breaking up into perfect “chips.” Our weed-like peppermint has no chance of overgrowing now. This mint chocolate chip ice cream has become a household staple.
Mint Chip Ice Cream Recipe
Yield: 1 quart
Total Time: 5 hours
You can adjust the minty-ness of the ice cream by how much mint you use and how long you soak it. For a traditional mint chip ice cream flavor, make sure to use peppermint, not spearmint for the ice cream. Peppermint is a much brighter mint and will give the flavor most of us are accustomed to.
- 1 cup (240ml) Milk
- 3/4 cup (150g) Sugar
- 2 cups (480ml) Heavy Cream
- pinch of Kosher or Sea Salt
- 2 cups (80g) lightly packed fresh Peppermint Leaves (or more if you like)
- 5 lrg. Egg Yolks
- 4 oz. (1/4 lb. or 113g) Dark Chocolate, finely chopped (do not use choc. chips)
- Combine the milk, sugar, heavy cream, and salt in a saucepan and gently warm until bathwater warm. Squeeze mint leaves in your hands to help release the oils a bit and add to warm milk mixture. Stir until they are all settled into to the saucepan, remove pan from heat, cover, and set aside for 1-2 hours (depending on how minty you'd like the ice cream to be.)
- After soaking, give the mint leaves another squeeze to extract as much of the delicious minty-ness you can out of them, then discard the mint leaves.
- Prepare an ice bath to cool the ice cream custard you are about to make and set aside.
- Gently re-warm the minted milk/cream mixture, and in a separate medium sized bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the mint mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Place the bowl in the ice bath and stir to combine and cool the mixture in the ice bath.
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until fully chilled.
- After mint ice cream mixture is fully chilled in the fridge, begin gently melting dark chocolate in a bain marie (a bowl over a saucepan with simmering water).
- Begin churning ice cream in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is nearly finished freezing in the ice cream maker, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate into the ice cream, trying to avoid pouring onto the paddle or dasher. If the chocolate clings to the paddle (dasher) stop the ice cream maker and use a spatula or spoon to break up any chunks. Put mint chip ice cream in freezer to finish setting the ice cream if necessary.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.
P.S. We just noticed David posted about his Mint Chip Ice Cream recently. He gives a beautiful rhapsody about ice cream and of course mint chip ice cream. Make sure you check out the source of this recipe and see how the main man does it!