Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden mint chocolate chip ice cream

I love ice cream. I can't eat regular ice cream because I can't have milk fat, so my ice cream maker is my best friend. I LOVE mint chocolate chip ice cream. Luckily, my mint is starting to grow big enough to trim and use for ice cream. The other day, I discovered that you can buy push pop containers! I got a pack of 24 push pop containers for less than $30 from Amazon. 

I used mint from two different mint plants I have--one I planted from trimmings from my mom's mint, and one that I bought at Trader Joe's. My ice creams are all custard-based (include egg yolks) for creaminess since there isn't any milk fat involved.
Mint plant #1 
Mint plant #2 (rooted from cuttings)
The amount of mint I used in this ice cream

Mint chocolate chip ice cream

3 egg yolks, loosely whisked
~5/8 cup of sugar (3x1/4 cup scoops not completely filled)
2 cups nonfat (skim) milk
handful of mint leaves (with stems)
1-2 drops of green food coloring so other people know the flavor (optional)
~1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat the milk (but don't let it boil)--I use the microwave for this step. While the milk is heating, stir together the sugar and egg yolks. 
Check out my cool egg separater
Mix together the egg yolks and sugar--I used the egg whites to make myself dinner

SLOWLY pour the hot milk into the sugar/egg yolk mixture while stirring. Transfer the whole mixture to the stove over low heat. Add the mint. Keep stirring every 30-90 seconds (this is a good time to wash your bowl, etc). The mixture will start out frothy, but these bubbles will start to subside as the mixture heats. Then it will start bumping (forming little bumps on the surface but not completely boiling). Keep stirring almost continuously at this point, and when the mixture truly shows signs of boiling, get it off the heat right away. You can test that your custard is ready by sticking a metal spoon in--if the custard coats the spoon, it's had enough heat. You don't want to cook the eggs completely. Stir for ~30 seconds, then transfer to a bowl. 

Mixed the hot milk into the egg yolk/sugar mixture
LOW heat
Add the mint
After boiling, transfer to a bowl for cooling. It will be this yellowy mint color after this step.

Add the food dye if you're using it. Continue stirring until the mixture is not hot enough to keep giving off steam. Cover the custard with saran wrap so it's actually touching the custard. This prevents a "skin" from forming. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator overnight (or over 2-3 days). Strain the mint leaves out of the mixture and pour it into your ice cream maker. Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. 

Note: I added too much food dye here (3 drops)--just one drop should be enough to make the flavor identifiable
Cover with saran wrap so it's touching the custard
Freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions

Once it's the consistency of soft serve ice cream, add the chocolate chips, let it mix for another minute or two, and transfer the ice cream to a container for the freezer. If you're going to scoop the ice cream, a tupperware container would be ideal. I used push pop containers, though! One thing I noticed right away was that if I finished the freezing process with the push pop standing on its lid, the ice cream leaked down and sat on the lid. This would be annoying if it froze solid like that--then you'd have to wait for it to thaw before eating. I stood them up awkwardly between some bags of frozen food instead.

Add the chocolate chips
Transfer to a container for full freezing (I used push pops!)
Freeze for ~2 hours to get scoopable ice cream--shorter will lead to a more soft serve consistency, and longer might make it a little difficult to scoop without softening
Enjoy your ice cream!
I hope you enjoy it! Not many people can say they've made their own ice cream, let alone grown the ingredients in their own garden! You should give it a try to join the club :)

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