Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

A couple of years ago I started an herb garden and planted just 4 mint plants. They have since overtaken my herb garden and part of the grass and each summer I have more mint than I know what to do with. Here’s a tip: don’t plant mint or use a container instead of your garden. You’ll thank me later. So I’m always looking for ways to use the mint; in sun tea, in fruit salads, and then I found this recipe for mint ice cream. Great. I made this simple ice cream and it was really yummy. You can definitely tell that its fresh mint from the garden and not that artificial mint flavor. It was really refreshing and surprisingly low-fat, well, until I added chopped bittersweet chocolate. You can leave it out but I felt it needed that chocolate and so did the baby in my belly. I think this will be the recipe for the summer of 2010. Mint ice cream every week! Ps: Riley eats a leaf of mint each day so she really loved this ice cream.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Ingredients (adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1  cup  half-and-half
  • 1  (1-ounce) package fresh mint sprigs
  • 3/4  cup  sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 2  large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)
  • Small fresh mint leaves (optional)

Preparation

1. Combine milk, half-and-half, and mint sprigs in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat milk mixture to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Pour milk mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, pressing slightly with a wooden spoon; discard solids. Return liquid to pan.

3. Place sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a bowl; stir with a whisk until pale. Gradually add half of hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Pour egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining milk mixture; cook over medium-low heat until a thermometer registers 160° (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl until custard cools completely, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream maker; follow manufacturer directions adding chocolate chips at end. Freeze in plastic container for at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

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