Mint chocolate ice cream is my, my brother’s and now my daughter’s favorite flavor. I first made this for her half birthday back in April and twice since. It’s the ultimate mint chocolate experience: the ice cream is wonderfully creamy, not overly minty, the chocolate is dark and minty (but not necessarily so – see recipe) and it’s positively packed with little chocolate bits.
A few notes about this recipe: the ratios are based on a common custard base recipe (3 cups dairy, 6 yolks). I use a little less sugar because I don’t think it needs more than half a cup and I do away with tempering the eggs and cook the custard together. I also use a whole vanilla bean and keep the bean in the custard overnight to further flavor the base.
Rather than chopping up a bar of chocolate to add at the end I got creative making the chips for this ice cream. Back in college I worked in a gelato cafe and I’d make stracciatella and mint stracciatella gelato. To do this we’d melt chocolate, place it in a bottle and squeeze out lines of chocolate between thin layers of churned gelato.
I wanted to mimic the end result of that which had crispy bits of chocolate all over so I came up with this: I’ll ask you to (using a dark mint chocolate!) melt it, add some coconut oil which helps keep it crispy even when frozen, then spread it thin and freeze. Then you’ll chop it and add it to the mint base. This means you’ll get a ton of little bits of chocolate that snap between your teeth, as if you were eating them cooled rather than frozen. It makes a huge difference!
Heavy cream: or heavy whipping cream, they are interchangeable here.
Milk: Whole milk makes for a creamier end result but 2% can also be used.
Egg yolks: I always find ice cream making to be the best way to use up egg yolks! You can use either 5 or 6 but there’s no need for more (and less will make for a less creamy base).
Salt: Fine sea salt. If using table salt, just use a pinch.
Vanilla: A freshly scraped vanilla bean or extract or paste. If you are using the latter two, they go in after the base has cooked.
Mint: We’re using this sparingly because a little goes a long way. If you want it very minty and you know you like your mint extract add another drop to the base.
Chocolate: I have more on this below under ‘what kind of chocolate should I use’ if you are using a bar. If you absolutely don’t want to use a bar you can use mini chocolate chips.
Coconut oil: A little bit of coconut oil helps keep the chocolate ‘snappy’ or crispy even when frozen. If you don’t have it, leave it out.
Food coloring: Mint ice cream is usually found in a lovely shade of pale turquoise. There’s no need to use it for the ice cream but it makes for a more visually obvious flavor, a drop or two is enough.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine to churn the base, you’ll want to skip the custard part of this and make a base by whipping 2 cups heavy cream until thickened and then stirring in 1 can sweetened condensed milk. You’ll add the flavorings and chocolate chips all at once and then put into a container and freeze. No churn ice cream recipes aren’t as silky or complex tasting as a traditional custard recipe but they do well enough.
The eggs are in this custard base because they add fat and make for a creamy, very creamy base. Without them you’ll have a thinner base (it also won’t be a custard anymore!) but it’s doable. Usually when I do egg-free ice cream I’ll look for other ways to add that fat to keep the creamy consistency.
One way to do it is to use cream cheese instead: heat the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar as instructed. Once the sugar has dissolved add just a quarter cup of it to the cream cheese and whisk until you can’t find any cheese lumps, then whisk this mixture in with the rest of the base. Once you pour it through the mesh sieve you’ll get rid of any lingering bits. Proceed as directed. (This is a trick learned from Jeni).
Another way to is to add cornstarch which helps thicken the base and does a little magic in keeping the cream smooth even when frozen. This is a popular trick used in gelato recipes. To do this, you’ll reserve ½ cup of the milk to mix with one tablespoon of cornstarch and create a slurry. Cook the remaining milk, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved then add the slurry and cook until the custard is slightly thickened. Proceed as directed.
You can do this dairy free, you’ll need to find substitutes for the heavy cream, the milk and use a dairy free chocolate. For the cream I’d use coconut cream, the milk can be coconut milk or another milk that has a good fat content.
Quite simply because I’ve found you don’t need to. As the mixture heats the sugar will dissolve first and then the custard will thicken, the two steps to cooking it. Tempering I think just adds an extra, unnecessary step. If the yolks go in when the base is cold, there’s no need to temper.
I use and recommend using a dark mint chocolate, you’ll find these in the candy aisle of a grocery store, and nope they won’t overly mint the ice cream (especially when we’re holding back on the mint in the custard base). Theo, Chocolove, Alter Ego (this one is very dark at 90% cocoa solids), and Endangered Species all make a dark mint chocolate bar. If you can’t find it/don’t want to use it go ahead and use any semi-sweet chocolate bar.
Yes! Cook the base as directed and then add 1 cup fresh mint or mint chocolate and let it steep in the custard overnight. Pour the base through a fine mesh sieve before churning to remove the mint.
Share & tag me on instagram @buttermilkbysam