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Ever since I was little, mint chocolate chip ice cream has been my favorite. It also happens to be the favorite of a number of other family members. There is just something about the crisp mint flavor that offers a welcome alternative to chocolate or vanilla-based ice creams, but you still get your chocolate kick from the chips.
I have tried to make mint chocolate chip ice cream at home a few times since we first got our Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Bowl Attachment, but I had yet to be satisfied - until now. You see most recipes will call for mint extract, which is fine, but you can tell the flavor is enhanced. When you use real fresh mint, the ice cream tastes fresh too - you can really sense the true herbal contribution that the mint leaves offer.
But making ice cream with fresh mint can be a challenge too - sometimes it can be too overpowering and sometimes you end up with a final product that doesn't have enough mint. It's a delicate balance.
Likewise, making ice cream in general provides a lot of options - eggs or no eggs? How much cream? What percent milk? You want the right balance of refreshing coldness and creamy goodness, but you also (typically) want it to be fairly easy to make.
So you can imagine my joy when I finally landed on a combination of ingredients and a method for infusing the mint flavor that resulted in an ice cream that was perfectly balanced (in my opinion), easy to make, and tastes gourmet.
Recipe: Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Total Time: 5-6 hours Total Active Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 1/2 quarts
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk (preferably 1 or 2% milkfat)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-7 mint leaves (plus more for garnish if you want to get fancy)
1 cup miniature chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks
Be Prepared: Consult the directions on your ice cream maker to be sure you are prepared to make the ice cream on the day you want to use it; ours has a bowl that needs to be refrigerated for 15 hours prior to mixing the ice cream.
Place the heavy cream in a small saucepan and add the mint leaves. Place on the stove on medium high heat and bring to a gentle simmer (be sure to watch the pan so that you don't over boil). Once the cream has reached a simmer, remove it from the burner, cover, and set aside to steep for one hour.
While the cream and mint are resting, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized metal bowl (metal will help it to stay cooler in the fridge). Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
At the end of the hour, remove the mint leaves from the cream and add the cream to your milk mixture. Return the metal bowl to the refrigerator for another 2 hours to fully chill.
Now, make the ice cream according to the directions on your ice cream maker, adding the chocolate chips at the appropriate time. Ours, for example, directs you to process the ice cream for about 20 minutes, adding the chocolate chips after about 12 minutes.
Return the ice cream to the freezer for at least 2-3 hours before serving.