Creamy Mint Chip Ice Cream

Have you made your own ice cream yet this summer?  Fall is starting to creep up on us — darker evenings, more back to school sales, fewer sweat-through-your-shirt days — but there’s still time!

We’ll embrace knitwear/closed-toe booties and hot coffee soon enough, but now’s the time to savor a few things (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Tomatoes with olive oil and crunchy salt
  2. Dresses and bare legs
  3. Screen doors
  4. Sprinklers/ankle-dips in the lake/wading pools
  5. Homemade mint chip ice cream

Let’s talk about number five.

My friend Sarah introduced me to this particular mint ice cream — I was visiting her newly built cabin up on Lopez Island, and I had just put Calder down to sleep.  I sat on the couch and she handed me a bowl of homemade mint chip ice cream.  It was cold and perfectly creamy, studded with chopped Andes mints (how underrated are Andes mints, btw?!), and between the new-cabin-wood-smell, the salty island air and the fact that my child was sleeping soundly a few rooms away, it was, quite possibly, one of my favorite ice cream experiences to date.

You can have it too!  It turns out that this treat is on the simpler side to make.  It uses mint extract instead of fresh mint leaves (I know, I was skeptical too), eggs, and healthy amounts of half-and-half and heavy cream (among other things – see below). It makes a lot of ice cream, and a bowl piled high with the cool and creamy, chocolate chunk-laden stuff is a true delight, even without the smell of fresh wood or ocean air (or the relief that comes with the knowledge that your kid is finally – finally! – asleep).

It’s still summer!  More ice cream, please.

Creamy Mint Chip Ice Cream

Adapted from Bruce Weinstein’s Ultimate Ice Cream Book

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
  • a few drops green food coloring (optional)
  • a large handful of Andes mints, roughly chopped

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth and pale yellow in color.  Whisk in the cornstarch until smooth, and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the half-and-half to a simmer.  Slowly, ladle large spoonfuls of the warm half-and-half into the bowl of eggs/sugar, whisking well as you combine, until most of the half-and-half is mixed into the eggs/sugar.  Turn the burner to medium-low and then pour the egg/sugar/half-and-half mixture back into the saucepan (with any leftover half-and-half), whisking as you go (all you’re doing here is tempering the eggs so they don’t heat too quickly and curdle).

Switch to a rubber spatula and stir the custard mixture constantly, until it thickens slightly (it will coat the rubber spatula), about 5 minutes or so.  Be careful not to boil the custard, or the egg might scramble.

Pour the thickened custard (the ice cream base!) into a clean bowl, and stir in the heavy cream and peppermint extract.  Add a few drops of food coloring, until your desired green is reached (I go for pale mint, but go with what feels best to you).  Cover and chill this mixture until cold (you can leave it overnight, if you wish).

When you’re ready to churn, take out the cold custard and give it a good stir.  Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to freeze the ice cream (mine takes about 25 minutes).  When the frozen custard is almost at your desired firmness/doneness, add the chopped Andes mints and let the machine stir and work them in.

Transfer the ice cream to a tightly sealed container and freeze it for a few hours until it’s firm and scoop-able.

Makes 1 quart.

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One Response to Creamy Mint Chip Ice Cream

  1. Sarah Barthelow says:

    Yum, yum, yum! Can we make this in January and pretend it’s summer?

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