We were the place where ice cream cones were invented. Seriously! At the 1904 World’s Fair, as any schoolchild in St. Louis will tell you after the obligatory study and field trip about the Fair. It’s now our official state dessert! Check it:
It really is good, guys. Double S has the shirt!
Then there were my early dalliances with ice cream makers. Backstory: When I was a kid, my mom and I would often lunch at our local’s mall’s department store restaurant. Yep, restaurant. Back in the day (circa the early 1980s) department stores still had restaurants! I was born just in time, because said department store was bought by Dillard’s in 1984, when I was a mere whippersnapper of 9, and the restaurant was gone. But in those 9 short years, I became acquainted with cinnamon ice cream. Stix did it the best! My parents bought an ice cream maker for the sole purpose of attempting to replicate this supreme cinnamon ice cream. Wouldn’t they have been great early 80s food bloggers? They were avid participants in lotsa 80s food trends: sourdough starters, making your own egg rolls at home, using eggplant (even though we lived in the midwest!), wine and cheese parties, and so on. Here’s to my parents, and especially my dad, who made me the crazy foodie that I am today! Your card’s in the mail, pops!
So needless to say, I grew up eating a lot of ice cream, especially when you throw in all the DQ Blizzards I ate after softball games and the like. And, Butterfinger, if you must know.
Now that I have my own ice cream maker, I’m drawing on my ice cream upbringing. Another one of my favorites was from local St. Louis ice cream institution, Velvet Freeze, owner of aforementioned giganta-cone. They sold what they called Swiss Chocolate Ice Milk in grocery stores, and we often had that as our at-home ice cream. This was, although we didn’t think of it at the time, a healthy ice cream before the healthy foods craze had hit the middle of the country, and it was delicious with it’s still creamy texture and it’s extra fine chocolate shavings. My family still talks about it, and I plan to try to replicate it for them this summer at our family vacay. Stay tuned for results.
It was with this ice cream in mind coupled with the glut of mint in my garden AND the delivery of my new ice cream maker AND June’s Spice Rack Challenge that made me want to try my hand at a Fresh Mint Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream. Here’s what I did!
First, I picked mint. I know, usually at this point in a blog, there’s be a picture of me with a cute garden hat and fancy gardening basket harvesting the fruits of my labor, but I’m street, yo! I find that gathering up one’s t-shirt into a makeshift basket is the best way to harvest my produce.
I used a few different kinds of mint for this ice cream. I used a lot of chocolate mint. Double S and I bought a lil’ chocolate mint plant years ago, and never did much with it other than try it and say how crazy it was that it tasted so much like chocolate. I finally used it! I also used a lot of the mint that we just recently planted a cutting of. If you don’t have mint on your garden, just buy one little plant or get a good cutting from a friend who has mint, and you’ll have your own mint patch in no time. To round it out, I also used some nameless mint that grows wild in another forgotten part of the yard, so that I had enough mint for a minty ass ice cream.
Fresh Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup half and half
3 cups, or approximately 80 g of fresh mint
3/4 cup sugar
2 pinches salt
2 large egg yolks
4-5 oz bittersweet or dark chocolate
Storage container for the ice cream. Put it in the freezer the day before or at least while your ice cream is churning.
Combine milk, half & half, mint and a pinch of salt into saucepan over medium high heat. Heat to 180%. Do not boil. Remove from heat then let the mint steep for one hour.
After an hour, pour milk mixture through sieve. Use back of wooden spoon to press down and extract all liquid from mint. I actually used my hands to squeeze the excess milk from the mint, because the milk had cooled significantly by then. Set aside.
Then place sugar, other pinch salt and 2 egg yolks into a bowl. Stir constantly with whisk. My was thick and grainy. Pour into pan with milk mixture. Cook on medium low heat, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to 160 degrees. This took me about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Refrigerate over night.
The next day, run the mixture through your ice cream maker by following your maker’s directions.
While it’s churning, melt some good chocolate in the microwave on low or the double boiler. When the ice cream has finished churning, drizzle some chocolate into a storage container that you’ve had in the freezer.
Add some freshly churned ice cream over the chocolate, then drizzle some more chocolate over that. Then stir to break the hardening chocolate into delicious bits. Keep layering and stirring.
In the end, mine looked like this:
Then freeze the container for at least 2-3 hours.
You can also make mint ice cream without fresh mint. Based on my research, I’d recommended mint extract if you don’t have fresh mint. Steeping the fresh mint for this recipe really gives you an herbal mint taste. If you don’t have as much mint as I used, I think you could easily cut back to 1-2 cups of mint and still have a minty ice cream. Mine was super minty!
Enjoy! It’s summer!