Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

In the first two weeks of our summer farm share, we’ve received a bunch of mint in each box. Normally, I might use some of it in a chopped veggie salad, or to marinate some lamb for kabobs, but this time…ice cream was at the top of my list. Oh, and here’s one more plug for farmers that I adore – if you live in Chicago and have not yet tried products from the Blue Marble Dairy, then get up early on Saturday morning to venture out to the Green City, Evanston or Oak Park farmer’s market to pick up some of their amazing, non-homogenized dairy. Their dairy has a freshness that is missing in the factory farmed stuff you get at the grocery, and it comes in those cute old-old fashioned glass bottles (which also make good vases).

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is probably Mark’s favorite flavor. Anytime we go out for ice cream, there’s a good chance that a scoop of the oddly green ice cream is in his cup. I like mint ice cream just fine, but I think it took this batch of fresh mint ice cream to put me over-the-top into the LOVE column. There is just no comparison between store-bought ice cream, and the zingy intensity of ice cream made from real, fresh mint. Add some chunks of high-quality dark chocolate, and you have the perfect summer ice cream. I bought more mint at the farmer’s market this morning so I could whip up another batch of custard this morning.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

2 cups lightly packed mint leaves, washed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cans coconut milk (about 2 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup half & half
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup half & half
2 T vodka
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips, roughly chopped

  1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Set aside the yolks in a bowl, and save the whites for later use.
  2. Warm the coconut milk, mint leaves, sugar and salt in a small saucepan gently. Turn off the heat, cover and let the mint leaves steep for an hour. After an hour, strain the milk into a medium sized bowl and discard the mint leaves. Pour the minty milk back into the saucepan and re-warm over low heat.
  3. When the milks are warm, but not yet hot, whisk the yolks in their bowl, and then sloooowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. The goal is to keep the eggs from scrambling. When the milk and yolks have been combined, pour the mixture back into your saucepan, and gently heat while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, making sure you scrape the edges and bottoms.
  4. Heat the custard until it gets steamy and thickens so that it will coat the back of a spoon. It will be about 170 degrees when the custard is done.
  5. Now, pour the chilled half & half into the empty bowl, and set a strainer over the top, then pour the custard through the strainer to catch any bits of scrambled egg. Chill the custard in the fridge overnight, and then when you’re ready to make the ice cream, stir in the vodka. When the ice cream is just about done turning in the machine, pour in the chopped chocolate chips.

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