Age-Old Wisdom meets Modern Tools
Homemade Backyard Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Ever tried adding fresh mint to your ice cream? It’s so easy and beyond compare!
At this point in the summer we’ve got mint coming out of our, well everywhere, what do we do with it all?
My ten-year-old daughter, Autumn, had her best friend over and it was a hot and humid, lazy afternoon. They had a hankering for ice cream but the freezer turned up empty. They decided that they wanted to make their own but couldn’t decide on a flavor. Earlier in the spring I opted to pot-bound our mint and place it along our walkway to try and minimize its tendency to take over. Now, each and every time that Autumn walks in and out of the house she grabs a mint leaf to chew on.
This sweltering afternoon, with mint in her mouth, inspiration hit, “hey, let’s make mint chip ice cream!”
Mint Infused Ice Cream is Beyond Compare
Just to be clear, two ten year old girls made this recipe all by themselves so if they can do it, so can you. If you’ve never had homemade ice cream, let me just explain the difference. Night and day. Black and white. Yin and yang. Homemade ice cream is in a class of its own. First of all, the ingredients are pure and you know what is going into it. Secondly, the act of transforming seemingly unexciting ingredients on their own into a fragrant cool and creamy treat feels somewhat akin to magic and rewarding on so many levels. I was blown away with how incredible it tasted. The sweet cream base with the uplifting herbal notes of mint is so different than the artificial mint that flavors most store bought varieties. With mint aplenty and the sun still hot, it’s a perfect time to experiment with homemade mint chip ice cream.
Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe
adapted from a recipe by simplyrecipes.com
2 cups of fresh mint leaves (rinsed and patted dry)
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
2/3 cup sugar
A pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
6 ounces chocolate chips (dark or semi-sweet, keep in the freezer until used
1. Chop the mint leaves and put in a heavy saucepan with 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream. Heat until just steaming (be sure not to boil). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. And then again, reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 30 more minutes.
2. While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl and set this bowl in an ice water bath (with lots of ice). Cover with a cloth. Set aside. This cream will be used again in step 6.
3. Strain the infusing milk cream mixture from step 1 into a separate bowl, pressing the mint leaves with a spatula to get as much liquid out of them as you can. Return this milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
4. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture. Be careful that the yolks are not cooked by it. Using a spatula, transfer the warmed egg yolks and cream back into the saucepan.
5. Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This may take about 10 minutes. When you reach this point, turn the heat off.
6. Pour the cream from the ice bath (step 2) into the heated egg and cream to cool it down and stop it from cooking.
7. Chill the whole mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in a bowl placed over an ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so).
8. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions; we added in the chocolate chips during this process. You can also wait until it is completed and fold them in before putting the ice cream into the freezer.
9. Put ice cream into an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least one hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving. Enjoy!
Ready to cook with kids some more? The newest edition of Almanac for Kids is out—packed with recipes, gardening projects, and lots of fun facts and activities! Look inside the Kids’ Almanac here.
About This Blog
Melissa Spencer has long had a fascination with plants and doesn’t discriminate between wild, weed or cultivated. She owns Attar Herbs & Spices located in the beautiful Monadnock Region of NH and is celebrating 50 years of service. She actively writes, speaks, and shares ways to infuse herbs and spices into everyday life.
Herbs and Spices really are little bundles of aromatic seeds, barks, berries and leaves. They can enliven the family meal turning the ordinary into the extraordinary and into a fragrant delight of the senses. They can open up a world of exotic cuisines connecting us with faraway cultures and they provide us with amazing health benefits. Follow along for endless ways to spice up life for the taste of it, the joy of it, and the health of it.