My absolute favorite flavor of ice cream when I was a kid was mint chocolate chip. But not any mint chocolate chip ice cream, I loved mint chocolate chip ice cream fro Baskin Robbins. I loved everything about it — the green color, the creaminess, the mint/chocolate flavor combo — but what I really loved the most, was the size of the chips. This was not a mint ice cream with chunks of chocolate throughout, or actual chips. Instead, Baskin Robbins’ flavor included tiny, shaved, or grated, bits of chocolate, that contributed to the most perfect balance of chocolate to mint, as well as adding just a hint of texture to this otherwise super creamy treat.
I will still order mint chocolate chip ice cream today, but only after I check out the chip size. If they’re too big, I pick a different flavor. So when it came time to develop my own recipe for my childhood favorite, (i.e., when the stars aligned and my nine-year-old announced that it was his favorite flavor too and it looked as if the mint was going to take over my garden).
I knew exactly what the chip would look like, but was not completely certain as to how to create said chip. My first thought was to grate the chocolate into the ice cream with a microplane, but this produced a somewhat waxy aftertaste, and, strangely, not a ton of chocolate flavor. A tiny bit of research revealed that chocolate can indeed taste somewhat waxy when frozen, but if the chocolate is melted first, the waxiness disappears and the chocolate flavor is more pronounced. I discovered four different methods (who knew??) for adding melted chocolate to ice cream that I used for inspiration.
I also knew I wanted my ice cream to be super simple (no tempering of eggs/yolks, etc.), more like some of the ice cream recipes from my ice cream maker’s manual from Lello. I looked to Marth Stewart and David Lebovitz for ideas on how to infuse my milk and cream with the flavor of fresh mint, and combined the techniques to come up with my own streamlined version. I ended up with a sweet (but not super sweet), extremely creamy ice cream, with amazing mint flavor, a subtle, but lovely, pale green color, and flecked throughout with the most divine bittersweet chocolate chips.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- One 4 oz bar bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Combine the mint and milk in a blender (or food processor) until the mint is finely chopped.
- Transfer the mint mixture to a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot. Add the cream and sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Place the pot on the stove over medium heat and heat the mixture until it just begins to bubble. Remove the pot from the heat, cover it, and let the mixture steep for one hour.
- Once the mixture finishes steeping, place a sieve over a large bowl and strain the mint from the infused cream, milk and sugar. Press down on the mint leaves in the sieve to ensure you extract all the liquid and discard the mint.
- Place the bowl in an ice water bath, in the freezer or refrigerator, until cold.
- Once cold, freeze it in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Combine the chocolate and oil and melt the chocolate in a double boiler over just simmering water, or in the microwave (if using a microwave, check on the melting process periodically, stirring each time you check, so the chocolate does not burn). Once melted, set aside.
- Five minutes before the ice cream is finished churning, drizzle the melted chocolate into the ice cream while the machine is still running.