Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marvelous mint ice cream

I am not an ice cream fan. As far a desserts go, it's okay, but I can take it or leave it. And, usually, when I take it, I can't eat much. A little goes a long way to not just filling my belly, but making me feel like I'm going to burst. Anything larger than a kiddie cone and I know why I don't eat ice cream that often. My lovely husband, on the other hand, could happily plow through and entire 1/2 gallon on his own if it weren't for his herculean self-restraint. Rowan is following in his father's footprints on this one.

When the papa says he's making ice cream, I usually stay out of it. This time, I stuck my nose in and am I glad I did. Mint chocolate chip was on the schedule and the papa wanted to run to the store to buy mint extract (yuck!) and green food coloring (what?!). Luckily, I planted a nice big patch of spearmint this year (despite all the warnings that it will take over the entire yard within seconds of hitting the soil). I convinced him it was much easier to toss in a few sprigs of the fresh stuff than run to the grocer. As for the chocolate chips...why put them in the ice cream when you can sprinkle as many as you want on top (then I don't have to dig around the tastless little nuggets in my little dish--does anyone else think chocolate chips lose all their flavor when they're in ice cream or is that just me?).

I figured I'd have my requisite little scoop when it was done cooling and churning and freezing, and the boys could finish off the batch. But, when that first spoonful hit my tongue, it was nothing short of love at first bite. Not only did I eat more than half of the first batch, I requested another batch and made a chocolate cake just to act as the perfect pillow on which to transport the light and minty ice-cream-of-the-gods to my trembling tastebuds!

The best part is the recipe couldn't be simpler. Although the local ice cream parlor is only 2 blocks away and the ice cream truck drives by every Thursday at 5:30pm, I suspect we will be eating this homemade minty concoction most weeks this summer instead.

Spearmint Ice Cream
(adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup cream
just under 1 cup sugar
3-4 sprigs of fresh spearmint washed

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. (Just toss the spearmint in whole as you will fish it out before churning.) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture up to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Fish out the spearmint sprigs and toss them in the compost or the trash. Pour the mixture into a lidded container and refridgerate over night or at least for a few hours. Churn per the instructions on your ice cream maker and harden in the freezer for 1 hour before serving.


chassie said...

I LOVE mint ice cream and now that it's getting very warm here I think it's time to dust off the ice cream maker and try this recipe!

You have a very lovely blog :)
- chassie

docwitch said...

Oh. WOW. I'm not even a fan of icecream, but there is nothing like homemade. And that looks sublime. I mean, fresh garden mint...yummo.

I'm going to copy this recipe down and file it in my summer recipe section. We're nearly in winter here so it will be a lovely treat when the warmer weather comes.

And I agree with you on the choc chips in icecream. Best on top.

Cave Mother said...

I agree with what you say about only needing to eat a little ice cream as a time. I always get the impression that people in America eat ice cream in large quantities, though this is probably just on TV. You see people tucking in to gigantic tubs of the stuff. We have family in the US and whenever I have seen them eating ice cream in photographs, they always have an enormous pot of it in front of them. I find it quite puzzling. Don't they get brain freeze? I like an itty bitty taste of it that you can really savour, feeling it melting slowly on your tongue revealing all its delicious flavours.

Earthenwitch said...

That sounds lurvely. I don't generally go for ice-cream in a big way either (dairy issues), but I could make the odd exception...

One question: what is half and half? Is it what we might call semi-skimmed milk, I wonder?

Amanda said...

Television is reflecting reality on this one. Americans really do eat gobs of ice cream. I don't get it and I'm born and bred in the U.S. Same goes for the buckets of soda you get at fast food restaurants. Who drinks that much soda? Ever?

As for half-and-half, it's a mixture of equal parts whole milk and cream. You can buy it ready made in the U.S. Most people use it in their coffee. So the sub recipe would be 1 cup whole milk, 2 cups cream, just under 1 cup sugar and 3-4 sprigs of fresh spearmint. half-and-half in the U.K. and no double cream in the U.S. Oh how I dream of double cream!

Alison said...

I never drink much soda, but I have to admit I'm a red-blooded American and like Mike, I could eat a half-gallon of the right flavor of ice cream. I don't, but I could. I've been known to eat just ice cream for lunch. This recipe sounds wonderful. Can't wait to try it!

cneu said...

oh that sounds delicious! I planted spearmint if it DOES take over my garden, I can make mojitos and mint ice cream for everyone!

thanks for the idea :)

The Magic Onions said...

Mint is my fav ice-cream... I'll try this recipe for sure! thanks for sharing it.

sol y luna said...

Delicious post! Docwitch and I will be devouring your icecream when the warmer months arrive. Can't wait. x

Lisa said...

amanda, Yummmmmmmmy! I'm feel the same about ice cream. It's just too thick for me and sooo not refreshing on a hot summer day.

Now, this recipe sounds incredible. I know I would love it! Spearmint sure does spread like wild fire, but it is so good! Try it in your favorite brownie recipe the next time you make brownies. We will be trying the ice cream recipe, now I have to find where we put the ice cream make we have never used.....

Ugh, this darn economy! There are so many similar stories and situations out there, so out of control! I'm so sorry about your family situation, but it seems to me that you are keeping your chin up and focusing on the important things. Thank you so much for your kind words and I am here for you.

Best wishes, Lisa :)