making the best of summer’s heat: mint chocolate chip ice cream

Well, hello heat.

Every June, when the temperature climbs here in northern Florida, I’m always surprised. I should not be surprised – I’ve lived here long enough to know that this is Florida’s way. But, it always seems that we should have more of the spring season than we end up having. Instead, spring is over in a flash and we’re on to sweltering summer, which fills up the majority of our year. The heat would be more tolerable if it were less humid out. Leaving work at the end of the day earlier this week, the thermometer in my minivan read 101°F. With somewhere between 70 and 80% humidity, it felt as if a sauna door had been left open.

Make that 100 sauna doors.

One bonus of the heat – and summer in general – is that the ice cream maker gets unearthed from the depths of our pantry. Earlier this summer, I made olive oil ice cream, something that I fully intend to make repeatedly in the years to come. Last weekend, I tackled an old favorite of mine – mint chocolate chip ice cream. Since my husband and daughter prefer strawberry ice cream, and my son seems to prefer chocolate, this batch was made with me, and only me, in mind.

Although I did share.

The methodology is very simple. The milks and creams that form the custard base are infused with fresh mint, and then chocolate chips are added to the ice cream near the end of the freezing process. I used five big sprigs of fresh mint and let the warmed milk mixture infuse with flavor for about an hour. The mint ice cream – good enough to enjoy on its own, without any chocolate – was bright and vibrant and heavenly. The addition of semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips added a fantastic chocolate crunch with each spoonful of  creamy goodness.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Filled with fresh mint flavor and sweet chocolate chips, this is a refreshing summer ice cream that can be made up to one week in advance.

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
5 large sprigs of fresh mint
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
8 ounces miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In a large heavy saucepan on medium heat, warm the cream, half-and-half, milk, mint sprigs, and sugar. Bring just to simmering, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain out the mint leaves.

Return saucepan to burner over medium heat and heat cream until almost simmering, stirring occasionally. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add hot cream mixture to the eggs in a thin slow stream, whisking continuously. Pour mixture into saucepan and cook over low heat until the the custard coats the back of a spoon (or 170 degrees on a thermometer). Pour custard through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl set in an ice bath to cool. Cover the surface of the custard with wax paper and chill in refrigerator overnight.

Following the instructions on an ice-cream maker, freeze custard, in 2 batches if necessary. When there is about 5-10 minutes left in the freezing process, pour in chocolate chips. Transfer ice cream to an air-tight container and place in freezer to harden.

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21 Responses to “making the best of summer’s heat: mint chocolate chip ice cream”

  1. 1

    Beautiful! I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, but I’ve never actually made it with fresh mint. I have tons of mint in my garden, so I’m bookmarking this recipe to give it a try soon!

    • Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 18th, 2011 @ 8:31 am

      It’s a very different mint flavor than the artificial one we’re used to in store-bought mint chip ice cream. I’m hooked now that I’ve tried it.

  2. 2
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — June 17, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    This is one of our favorite varieties of ice cream to get. Definitely adding this to my to-make list since I just got a machine! :)

  3. 3
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — June 17, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    There are few things that are more refreshing than a big bowl of mint chip ice cream. You have me craving some so much I’m going to have to pick up a quart this weekend.

  4. 4
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — June 17, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    This looks so good. One of my favorite flavors, and I love that you used fresh mint. All these ice cream recipes make me really, really, really wish I had an ice cream maker. Maybe I’ll put it on my birthday list :) Gorgeous photos, by the way!

    • Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 18th, 2011 @ 8:32 am

      Yes, add it to the birthday list. I think my ice cream maker was about $50 and I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth.

  5. 5
    Ken⏐hungry rabbit — June 17, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    So this is what everyone was raving abt on twitter. Oh I concur, this is one of my all time favorite when I was a wee-bit lad.

  6. 6
    Kiran — June 17, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    I won’t be able to share it with anyone. In this weather, the whole batch of it is MINE :D

  7. 7
    Feast on the Cheap — June 17, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! One of my all-time favorite summer flavors.

  8. 8

    I love mint chocolate chip ice cream! We once tried making it with fresh mint, but the recipe said it should turn green so we let it steep for 3 hours. Can you imagine? It was mint-mint-mint-MINT chocolate chip ice cream. :)

  9. 9
    DessertForTwo — June 18, 2011 @ 2:16 am

    I have 2 mint plants in pots that are doing well…little do they know, they will be hacked soon to make this :)

    I’m loving your site design lately, especially the left column :)

    • Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 18th, 2011 @ 8:30 am

      Thanks so much! Lindsay does great design work – I’m so happy with everything she’s done for the site. And yes, go butcher your mint plants for this. It’s the perfect recipe for honoring the mint plant. Well, this one and a nice mojito. :)

  10. 10
    Lynda — June 18, 2011 @ 11:43 am

    This is my favorite of all flavors when it comes to ice cream. I must try this!

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  12. 11
    Liren — June 18, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

    There’s nothing more refreshing than Mint Chocolate Ice Cream – this is one of my little one’s favorite flavors! This is going to be added to my “to churn” list this summer :)

  13. 12
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — June 19, 2011 @ 8:31 am

    My ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE flavour. Thanks for posting this MJ :)

  14. 13
    Tracey — June 21, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    Mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream flavor – it’s always my go-to anytime we head out to our local shop. Can’t wait to try your version!

  15. 14
    Cheryl Arkison — June 23, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    Have you tried David Lebovitz’s technique for drizzling in melted chocolate on the last churns (or, at least, that is my interpretation of it)? That is, instead of chocolate chips. A whole other level…
    You can come to our house anytime, this is the most common ice cream in rotation.

  16. 15

    This looks beautiful and delicious. I so need to get an ice cream machine!

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  18. 16
    Jennifer — July 29, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    I made this over the weekend. Superb! The mint flavor is amazing. I used pineapple mint that I bought at the farmer’s market and was pleased with the results. I do have to agree with one of the previous posters about using a melted chocolate next time – I used the chips and I sort of hate their waxy, solid presence in the ice cream. I’ll melt them down and drizzle them in next time.

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