Garden Mint Ice Cream

The most accurate title for this recipe would be Mint Hybrid Ice Cream (or mint throwback) because the mint I used is from my mother’s garden–and the result of free mingling of spearmint, chocolate-mint, and probably peppermint. I guess calling it Garden Mint is almost the same thing.

I got the idea from David Lebovitz and his wonderful ice cream cookbook, The Perfect Scoop (go buy it if you want to make ice cream, please).

If you asked, I’d say first that it was his recipe. Then I would realize that my ice cream base is entirely different from his–which means that my recipe looks entirely different. Even though the idea, and the method for extracting flavor were learned from his book.

I love that his book teaches you how to make ice cream, not just following recipes.

I’ve also had the help of some family friends with learning the science of it.

Sorry for the dark picture…it was night when I picked the leaves and used them…

The Minstrel was leaving for college, and I had promised him a batch of dark chili chocolate ice cream–and I wanted to make this mint ice cream to go alongside (and also so he didn’t HAVE to share) so I literally made ice cream every night for three days one week.

The mint batter I started on Wednesday, then finished on Thursday. I also made the chocolate batter on Thursday. Then Friday I churned the chocolate as soon as I returned from work, and stayed up till midnight to churn the mint (freezing element has to refreeze…) because I wouldn’t have time on Saturday to churn before I left in the morning. And in the evening we were meeting the family for a goodbye cook out.

My ice cream, the chocolate flavors in particular, has had texture issues. Even before I started messing around with making up my own recipes, my ice cream tended to come out hard as a rock once it froze. The chocolate was the worst, and we would actually use a butter knife to hammer out wedges of ice cream. It tasted amazing, but I wasn’t 100% sure I could really call it ice cream at that texture.

The only ice cream whose texture I nailed every time was my ginger ice cream–the first recipe I cobbled together myself after extensive reading.

Some more reading, reflection, and an astute friend pointing out the milkfat in chocolate…I decided to try upping the emulsifier for both the recipes.

Liquid sweeteners (from high fructose corn syrup to honey) and egg yolks are emulsifiers. They defy freezing. Egg whites are stiffeners, which is why most ice cream recipes say to use egg yolks only.

I never know what to do with 5 orphaned egg whites, so I took a cue from a Ben & Jerry cook book and just used 2 eggs (but cooked them, which Ben & Jerry do not). Two eggs was clearly not enough for the chocolate, so I upped it to 3 eggs, and added more honey to the recipe.

Bingo.

I did the same for the mint and that ice cream is actually the easiest one to scoop in the freezer. Our UCONN flavors have to sit out a couple minutes–even with our fancy Midnight Scoop.


The Garden Mint Ice Cream Recipe:

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

3 T honey

2 cups heavy cream

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups lightly packed mint leaves (that whole basket of mint pictured above made about this amount of mint leaves, just for reference).

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Warm the milk, sugar and honey on medium/low heat in saucepan, stirring frequently. Add your mint leaves and remove from the heat. Let mixture sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Mine got a couple hours, then overnight and all day in the fridge. Mash up those leaves with a spoon at any point in this process. If you refrigerate there may be some fat separation, in which case you’ll want to warm the mixture slightly before straining it so you don’t strain out your thick cream. Strain your minty milk into 1 c of cream in a nice big bowl where all the ice cream batter can gather later.

Whip 3 eggs until fluffy. Forks are best for this.

Warm 1 c heavy cream, pour into the fluffy eggs. (The reason you pour the cream slowly into the eggs, and not vice versa, is the heat. You do not want to cook your eggs on impact. It makes your ice cream taste like cooked egg and also makes your ice cream harder to scoop.) Then return to the sauce pot and warm on medium/low heat stirring constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula. Remove immediately and pour through a mesh strainer into the minty cream.

Refrigerate until cool–this could take 3-8 hours, or you can let it sit for a night and a day like I did. Follow your ice cream maker’s instructions for churning once the batter is cool. Add the chocolate chips once it starts to look like softserve in the ice cream maker. You can stir it in with a spatula later if you forget, though…like I did…*cough*

I love this flavor. It might be my new favorite.

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