"This is the best mint chocolate chip ice cream I've ever had in my whole life."
This, straight from the mouth of my nine-year old nephew, who, since mint-chocolate-chip is his favorite ice cream flavor, has probably had more mint chocolate chip ice cream in the last year than any of us have had in the last twenty.
Needless to say, hearing such a declaration when you've gone the extra effort to make ice cream from scratch is rather gratifying, don't you think?
Why Use Fresh Mint
We have a couple of mint patches growing in our yard, though I never thought to use the mint we grow for ice cream until now. The taste of the ice cream using fresh mint really is out of this world, so if you can get your hands on fresh mint, I highly recommend using it for this ice cream. Most fresh mint sold in grocery stores is spearmint, but you can also use peppermint here. The two mints are vastly different and, actually, many mint ice creams are made with peppermint rather than spearmint.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- 3 cups of fresh spearmint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
- 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 semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used
Steep the mint leaves in cream and milk:
Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.
Chill remaining cream in an ice bath:
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, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
Strain out the mint leaves, add sugar:
Strain the milk cream mixture into a separate bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in a sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the 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.
Temper the egg yolks with hot milk cream:
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Heat until mixture begins to thicken:
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 can take about 10 minutes.
Strain custard mixture into cream in ice bath:
Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so).
Process in ice cream maker:
Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Add chopped chocolate:
Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate.
Chill in freezer:
Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an 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.
Note that there is no alcohol in this recipe. A few teaspoons of some spirits such as rum or bourbon will help keep the ice cream soft over several days. Even the alcohol in vanilla extract will help. If you have no added alcohol in a homemade ice cream recipe, we recommend that you eat it up quickly, in a day or two; beyond that point the ice cream will quickly get very very hard.
My nine year old nephew Austin helping out with ice cream making.
How to make ice cream without a machine - helpful tips from ice cream expert David Lebovitz