Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i scream, you scream...for fresh mint chocolate ice cream.

July is national ice cream month! (as if I need a reason to eat ice cream...)  Ryan bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday and these hot summer days have proven to be perfect for the cold, creamy, delicious dessert!  I had been wanting to make homemade ice cream for a long time...but I was a little leery of investing in an ice cream maker because I did not want it to become a kitchen appliance that for so many people ends up getting shoved in the back of the closet gathering dust.  However, we are ice cream people.  We rarely go a week without ice cream in the freezer...so I wasn't too worried about not getting use out of it.  Verdict: I'm in love.  Ice cream is definitely my new favorite dessert to make...and eat.  I can't wait to try hundreds of different flavors, but I decided to begin with a family favorite - mint chocolate!  I was also able to use the fresh mint I'm growing which made it even better!  
Fresh Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
makes 1 1/2 quarts 
2 cups milk (I used 1% but you can also use whole milk if desired) 
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
pinch salt
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
1 cup chopped dark chocolate chips 
In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together the milk, cream, half of the granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla. Bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the mint leaves; let steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Blend the milk/mint mixture using an immersion blender. After steeping, return the mixture just to a boil over medium-low heat. While the milk/cream mixture is reheating, combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, beat until mixture is pale and thick. Once the milk/cream mixture has come to a slight boil, whisk about ¹∕³ of the hot mixture into the yolk/sugar mixture. Add another ¹∕³ of the mixture, then return the combined mixture to the saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. This mixture must NOT boil or the yolks will overcook – the process should only take a few minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Bring the ice cream base to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Turn on the ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes. When the ice cream is almost fully churned, gradually add the chopped chocolate through the top of the ice cream maker; let mix until fully combined. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. 
Source: adapted from Cuisinart ice cream recipe book

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