Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life-saving Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

It's hot out.

Too hot.

I've lost all will to go on.

The thick, heavy heat feels like gravity has changed and I'm fighting the air just to move through it.

My plants have mostly died. I pretend it's a drought-conscious decision. Really, the sun is just out to prove what a negligent, lazy gardener I am.

I don't go anywhere, because I can't make the effort. I'd go to the beach, or to the movies, but I can't withstand the 15 minutes of hell it would take for my car to cool down. It's all I can do to lounge in my air conditioned house, sipping on ice water, wishing I had a pool.

Really, it's that bad.

Remember, in The Great Gatsby, how a heat wave drives the characters to their moment of crisis, with everyone fighting, and Daisy and Gatsby driving like maniacs through the Valley of Ashes, eventually running over poor Myrtle? I understand that scene, now. The heat can make you crazy.

It doesn't have to be this way, though. I've found a solution: Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

I wanted to make a recipe using real mint instead of peppermint extract, and I found the perfect one at Simply Recipes. It's minty and light and transports you from the Valley of Ashes to a cool, refreshing, (imaginary) place.

See? Even my tone is suddenly breezier. My very syntax has cooled off, thanks to this ice cream.

I still totally wish I had a pool, though.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
From Simply Recipes

*I usually take a lot of liberties with a recipe when I adapt it. In this case, however, I stayed true to the recipe, and am leaving most of Elise's recipe as written.

3 cups of fresh mint 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

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.

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 the milk cream mixture into a different bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the 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.

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.

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.

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). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. 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.

Makes 1 quart.


  1. Is this really simple? Do tell. I'm not a bake and homemade ice cream is scary but enticing all at the same time.

  2. I'm currently on an ice cream making kick but I have yet to make this kind. I love the use of fresh mint instead of extract! Our farmer's markets are brimming with mint these days so I'll bookmark this recipe.

  3. Dang and no ice cream maker in sight. And yes, oh yes it is blasted hot here. So I made peach lemonade (both were falling off the tree, wish it were an ice cream tree) sigh.

  4. Terrific post, Sara. That Great Gatsby business made me laugh out loud. Poor Myrtle, indeed. If only they had had this ice cream.

  5. I am worshipping this. Honestly. It's hot and it rains all the time where I am, so we're so crazy we've eaten our copies of the Great Gatsby. Thanks for giving me something else to sink my teeth into.

  6. Marion and Jess - Not sure what it is about that scene in Great Gatsby, but every time it gets too hot, I think about poor Myrtle, and those eyes on that billboard looking down over that hot street. Glad to know I'm not alone!

    MenuManiac - It really is that simple! Warming up milk, steeping a little mint, stir in some egg, and let the machine do the work!

    Dana - This is a perfect summertime recipe for mint! That and a mint julep!

    Tammra - No ice cream maker? Check out my recipe for Watermelon Agua Fresca! Just as refreshing!

  7. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream makes everything better, no matter what form it takes. I think I see another batch on my agenda.