Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Wow. Talk about a heat wave in DC. With temperatures over 100 and the humidity at a very high percentage (as a curly-haired girl, I can always tell when the humidity is high by the frizz level of my hair), I feel like I am melting…literally. The short three block walk to the Metro this morning was close to unbearable. I think stifling would be a good adjective to describe how I feel about the weather. Some may say “Oh, but didn’t you live in Texas for 4 years? It is so hot there, right?” Well, yeah, it is hot there, but this is different. Much different. I also do not have the luxury of hopping in my air conditioned car to travel places in DC like I did in Dallas. However, I doubt the DC heat wave will last as long as last summer’s 10 week, 100-plus temperature pattern in Dallas because this girl + heat + humidity does not equal attractive…at all, in the least. Not to mention that as soon as I arrived home this afternoon from work my A/C went out. Or I guess it still works technically because air is blowing but the air is definitely not cold. And this is a mere one month after we bought a new motor for this A/C unit. Hmm…okay, okay, enough complaining from me. The one good thing about hot, hot weather? Ice cream, of course! Because honestly, I can’t think of anything else that is appealing right now besides a frozen treat. I also have a minor sugar addiction which could be to blame, but the heat definitely has something to do with it. And after 2 bowls of ice cream tonight, I already feel cooler.

shaved semisweet chocolate

Mint chocolate chip has always been my favorite ice cream flavor. When I spied chocolate mint at the farmer’s market, I immediately knew what was going to happen in my kitchen later that week…mint chocolate chip ice cream! I have yet to pull out my ice cream maker this summer; mainly because this summer feels like it has flown by. I mean I can’t believe that it is already July! Where did 2010 go? It’s almost halfway over! If the weather this week is any indication of what the rest of the summer will entail, then I imagine that my ice cream maker will get plenty of use. I called upon the ice cream connoisseur, David Lebovitz, for a trusty mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe. With a few minor tweaks, I think I found a winner. And I am crossing my fingers that the A/C will be fixed tomorrow. Otherwise, this girl may be packing a bag and taking Henry the dog to an air conditioned hotel.

A few notes: I used chocolate mint in this recipe because I found it at the farmer’s market. Mint is a perfectly acceptable substitute and is what Lebovitz uses in his recipe. He also calls for bittersweet chocolate. I used semisweet chocolate because I like the flavor. I think it works nicely in this ice cream but if you love dark chocolate then definitely try with bittersweet chocolate. Or you could use both and mix into the ice cream!

melted chocolate sauce

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz

{Makes 1 quart}

1 cup 2% milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups half & half (Lebovitz calls for heavy cream but I was attempting to be “healthier”)
pinch of salt
2 cups packed fresh chocolate mint leaves (mint leaves work well here too)
5 large egg yolks
4 oz. good-quality semisweet chocolate (or bittersweet if you love dark)

In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of half & half, salt, and chocolate mint leaves. Once the mixture is hot and steamy (do not boil), turn off the heat, cover, and set aside. Allow the mint leaves to steep in the milk for at least an hour.

Strain the mixture over a bowl and press on the mint leaves with a spatula or clean hands to release more mint-y flavor. Discard the mint leaves.

Pour the remaining half & half in a clean bowl and set the strainer on top. Gently re-warm the milk/mint mixture. In a separate, small bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly incorporate some of the warmed infused milk to “temper” the eggs whisking the entire time. Pour the warmed yolks into the infused milk mixture, stirring constantly so you do not scramble the eggs. Cook over medium-low heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon/spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, cook until the thermometer reads 170°F.

Immediately strain the mixture into a cold metal bowl set over an ice bath (fill a larger bowl with ice and a small amount of water then place the metal bowl on top of the ice). Stir the custard over the ice bath until cool.

Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the ice cream is freezing, prepare the chocolate “chips.” Melt half of the chocolate in a small bowl over a double boiler or on low heat in the microwave. Using your knife, shave and chop the other half of the chocolate into fine pieces and small chunks. When the ice cream looks like it is thickening, throw the pieces into the small opening of the ice cream machine so it will incorporate (if your machine does not have an opening, you can mix it in by hand when the machine is finished churning.)

Freeze your container in the freezer. When your ice cream is done churning, scribble some of the chocolate into the bottom of the container. Add a layer of the ice cream mixture on top. Then repeat by scribbling more chocolate on top of the ice cream then add another layer of ice cream. Repeat this process until you are out of chocolate and out of ice cream AND your container is full. Cover tightly and freeze until hardened.

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