Fresh Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

If ice cream flavors were love languages , mine would be mint.

Ever since I outgrew the bubblegum ice cream stage (thank the good Lord that we do outgrow it), mint has been my go-to. But like most things in life, it’s best when it’s not too sweet.  You have to feel that cold, minty rush in your throat, rather than the sugary coating that some flavors leave behind.  If it doesn’t take your breath away, why even bother?  For this one, I combined the brightness of fresh mint with the power of extract to make it really, really strong.

And it really works on all levels.  You get the hint of herbal freshness, you get the strong, hit you in the teeth mintiness, of course there's bitter hint from dark chocolate, and it all comes with just enough sweet to make it decadent.

Mint Ice Cream Cones-4.jpg

Oh, and do you remember the Blackberry Straciatella ice cream we made last fall?  We’re using the same fancy technique here, the one where we save some of the whipping cream and beat it into soft peaks before adding it to the custard.  This incorporates more air into the ice cream and helps it stay a more scoop-able consistency straight out of the freezer.

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Fresh Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups Whipping Cream, divided
  • 1 oz., or 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1- 1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract, to taste
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate chunks
Instructions
The night before you begin, place your ice cream maker bowl in the freezer if your maker requires it.In a medium sized saucepan, heat 1.5 cups of the whipping cream (save the extra ½ cup for later), whole milk, sugar, and salt, and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Stir in the mint leaves, cover, and remove from the heat. Place in the refrigerator and allow to steep overnight, 8-10 hours. Once the steeping has finished, place a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and pour the milk and cream mixture through to remove the mint leaves. Discard the mint leaves. Return the milk mixture to the pan.To make the ice cream custard, beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth, and stir in ¼ cup of the cold milk and cream. Set aside. Heat the rest of the milk and cream until gently simmering, then gradually pour it into the egg yolks, whisking as you pour. You are tempering the eggs with this step, or slowly bringing them to a similar temperature as the warm cream so that they don’t scramble when they are poured into the warm pan.Return the entire mixture to the pan, then heat over medium low, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent it from burning and clumping. Once it has begun to simmer, cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture has begun to thicken and coats the back of a metal spoon. Once thick, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, peppermint extract, and food coloring if using. Pour through a mesh strainer again to remove any small bits of egg that may have cooked, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or until very cold. You can place the custard in the freezer for a couple of hours to speed up the process.When you are ready to make the ice cream, take out the reserved whipping cream, and using your hand mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Remove the custard and pour into the ice cream mixer’s bowl. I have the kind of maker that requires you to freeze the bowl to chill the ice cream, so I prefer to start it churning and then pour in the custard. Once all of the custard is churning, add in the whipped cream a spoonful at a time until it has all been added. Churn the ice cream. About 5 to 10 minutes before it is ready, sprinkle in the chocolate chips a few at a time. Ice cream is ready when it has become a solid mass around the churner.You can serve it immediately (it will still be a soft serve consistency) or place it in an airtight container in your freezer until ready to serve.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1.5 quarts