Monday, May 7, 2012

Mint chocolate chunk ice cream

I was in the mood for ice cream.  Mint chocolate chip is my absolute favorite, so that is what I made.

Half cup ice milk pops hardening up in the freezer.

This recipe started last summer, when I stuffed a canning jar with peppermint from our garden, weighted it down with a scrubbed rock, and poured some 95% alcohol over it.  Vodka will do, and I've used it for years, but if you can get Everclear or something similar, it will extract even more flavor from your herbs.  Let it sit in a dark cupboard for at least a month.  Or longer.  Mine sat for about 11 months.  I strained it into a Grolsch bottle today.

A couple of weeks ago...or more....I started saving the most perfect, clean eggs for this.  Since this would be a raw ice cream, I wanted to use eggs that were unwashed, and for that I needed eggs that were pristine.  Please don't use grocery store eggs for any recipe that won't be well cooked.  Salmonella is very, very common in hens that live in the overcrowded and unnatural conditions of a commercial egg farm....even organic.  Organic on the label simply means that the hens were fed organic feed.  It does not mean they were scampering around in the grass, chasing bugs.  Find someone who has those hens and pay them handsomely for some eggs if you cannot keep your own chickens.

Only the most perfect, clean eggs were saved for the raw ice cream.

Only the yokes were used.  Aren't they a lovely color?

For this batch, I used about 13 cups of milk, 5-6 Tbsp homemade mint extract, 5 Tbsp arrowroot powder (a thickening agent to use instead of cornstarch to avoid genetically modified corn), 15 egg yolks, a half cup raw wildflower honey, a few squirts of stevia extract, and a couple shakes of sea salt.

Milk, honey, peppermint extract from last summer.

This mixture was whirled around in the blender to thoroughly mix it.  I tasted it and added a bit more stevia and a bit more mint extract (I'd originally used less than the amount listed above, that number is accurate.)  I had to blend it in three batches.

Frothy goodness!

Next, I needed ice.  I froze some in juice containers left from making quick wine for the folks.  This is easy to crush by simply tapping it with a hammer on the back steps, and putting the resulting crushed ice in a bucket.  It will not come into contact with the ice cream, so it needn't be clean.  When I was a kid, we would break off icicles to use for this purpose. 

Smashing the ice.

The ice cream mixture was put into the freeze container and everything was set up carefully.  That s-curved thing you see is actually the paddle that will churn the ice cream as it freezes, giving it a grainy texture as the ice crystals form.

Setting up the freezer container.

To make the ice really cold, I layered it with rock salt.  Again, this won't come into contact with the ice cream, no worries!  The salted ice goes in the blue bucket, outside the metal freezer container of ice cream mix.

Yup, the same stuff you use on the sidewalk.

Set up in the basement scrub sink, no special clean-up necessary after it is done.

All I had to do was plug it in and leave to go do my evening chores and milk the goats.  I had to come back and check on it every few minutes to add more ice and salt as that melted and the ice cream froze.

I diced some 80% chocolate, the good stuff, about 6 oz.  You can certainly use more, but that is what I had in the house.

Chopped 80% chocolate.

Finally, after an eternity, I heard the noisy motor stop downstairs.  When the ice cream gets very thick, the motor can no longer turn it and it jams.  Time to unplug it and take a look:

Taking the lid off.....look at that color!

That lovely color is from the egg yolks and a little from the mint extract.  Unlike commercial ice cream, mine has no green dyes in it.  This is really ice milk, so it will freeze quite hard and is a little grainy.  Unlike commercial ice cream, mine has no antifreeze in it (yep, that is what I said, google it) and is not loaded with sugar, which prevents the hard freezing as well.  Using cream instead of milk would make it a little less hard, and this is how I would make it if I had access to raw cream.  Goat's milk is naturally homogenized and unlike cow's milk, the cream does not rise to the top.  Well, a little does, but most stays mixed within the milk.  I would need a mechanical cream separator to extract the cream, and they run about $4-500, which I really can't justify.  That's ok, I like the ice milk just fine.

Because it freezes hard, I like to make pops with it instead of storing it in one big container.  I did run out of little cups so I put two small containers in the freezer.  These will need to sit at room temp for a few minutes in order to eat them.  What I usually do is just let it thaw a bit, then eat around the edges, and put the container back for another time.  Shhh, don't tell on me!

This ice cream makes a very healthy snack, as it is really a frozen eggnog.  There is very little sugar in it....a half cup of honey to 14-15 cups of ice cream is not much sugar.  I may just have some for breakfast tomorrow.


  1. spectacular!!!!! wowza what a batch! great work

  2. It is pretty should've seen the hubster's face when he came home from work and had his first bite of this. His eyes flew open and he said, "WOW!" Just now he came in from work and said, "That soup and the ice cream last night was scrump-diddly-icious!"

  3. I make ice cream with no sweeteners at all, in a blender. It's 8 oz of raw milk or cream, 3 tablespoons cashew butter, and 3 tablespoons cocoa, blended together. But before you start the blender, have 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries and 1/4 whole frozen pecans all ready to add. You can add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, if you like.

    Then blend up the 1st 3 ingredients, then quickly add the last 2 or 3 and blend until thick. It will have a soft grainy texture and be soft like a creamy. It makes about 22 oz of ice cream. If you've used cream, it will stay thick in the fridge. If milk, it will turn liquid after a while, as it melts. I've never tried to freeze it in the freezer.

    I've made variations on this with pecans and vanilla, but used cream instead of milk. (That means leaving out the blueberries and cocoa.) The cashew butter and cream emulsify and thicken nicely. The pecans cool it down.

    My blender is not a particularly good one. If you had a strong fast blender, you could probably use strawberries, or other frozen fruit. I've made the pecan one, but added half frozen peaches and that was really good too.

    I could make chocolate peppermint also, if I harvest my peppermint and put it in alcohol. That would be a treat this summer!

    I've seen ice cream makers at tag sales, but as DH is the one who eats real (icky) ice cream, I'd ask him if he wanted one, but he didn't. But maybe this year....

  4. Sounds yummy, Pam! A great solution for a single serving, too, for those who get a craving.

  5. Where do you get the alcohol for the extracts? I'd like to make some this summer.

  6. I had to get it in CT, as it is not available in MA. And it is no longer officially available in CT either, but you can sometimes find a dusty bottle on the shelf in the liquor store. I'm almost out, and will probably have to go back to using the vodka.