Fresh Mint Ice Cream Recipe (with Chocolate Chips)

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

Is there anything more summery than ice cream? 

Growing up, we had an ice cream maker. It was a behemoth of a thing, one of the old-fashion kinds that had an electric churn inside an outer container you had to fill with crushed ice and rock salt. We didn't use it much, rock salt and heavy cream weren't things we usually had sitting around the house, but once a summer it would make an appearance. The sound of the motor still rings clear in my mind, a sound of anticipation, the harbinger of deliciousness to come. When we did make it, it was always vanilla. I never recall getting any fancier than that, but to a kid, it was enough.

When Mr. Cleaver and I got married, we got a small, more modern ice cream maker as a wedding gift. It held about a quart and had a bowl you froze in the freezer, no rock salt required. I've tried making a dozen or so batches or ice cream and sorbet in that maker, with limited success. It never seemed to truly freeze/whip up properly and the ice cream would melt ridiculously fast. So this summer we decided to upgrade. Based on the recommendation of America's Test Kitchen, we purchased a Cuisinart ICE-21 (in pink of course!), and while we've only used it twice thus far, these results have been so much better that the bowl has earned a permanent spot in our freezer and heavy cream a regular spot on our shopping list.

My favorite part of homemade ice cream is using what's in season to make it really fresh ice cream. The obvious options - strawberries, raspberries, etc - all make delicious ice creams and sorbets,  but the herb garden is also a great place to turn to for ingredients. Especially in the early weeks of a garden before the berries ripen - and anyway, it doesn't get any more classic than Mint Chocolate Chip. Unless you count vanilla, of course.

Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips 

Makes 1 1/2 Quarts (approx. 12 servings)

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves (peppermint or chocolate mint preferred)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (optional)

Combine sugar and salt in a large bowl and top with mint leaves. With a muddler or the bottom of a sturdy wooden spoon, crush mint into the sugar to release oils. Pour in milk and cream and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover bowl and place in back of refrigerator, preferably overnight, but a minimum of 3 hours until mixture is quiet cold.

Set up ice cream maker, per manufacturer's directions. Strain mint leaves out of milk/cream mix and pour into ice cream maker. When ice cream begins to appear firm, add chocolate. While tempting to eat directly out of the machine, taste a bit, and then scoop the rest into a reusable container and store in the freezer for several hours until firm. Serve in bowls or cones and enjoy!


Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips

            Serves 12 (1 1/2 quarts)     Ingredients:         3/4 cup granulated sugar pinch of salt 2 cups fresh mint leaves (pepperment or chocolate mint preferred) 1 cup milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 Tbl vanilla extract 1 to 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate           
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Sunny Lemon Sorbet

Lemon Sorbet

It is 5:30pm in Chicago, sunny and 58°F. This is a cause for celebration.

And there's no better way to celebrate good weather than by pulling out the ice cream maker - one of the many wonderful and incredibly useful wedding gifts Mr. Cleaver and I received. We use our ice cream maker at least once a month, even throughout the winter, so to those who think an ice cream maker is that wedding gift that gets used twice and never again, I prove you wrong in this instance.

Now in interest of full disclosure, I made this sorbet a week ago when it was 35°, but after a long Chicago winter, when it finally hits 35 people start pulling out their shorts.

I had previously made a dark chocolate sorbet from that most wonderful of food-centric websites, Chocolate and Zucchini. It definitely a make again, but the sorbet, I think is really suited to the lightness and sweetness of fresh fruit. So, to bring a ray of sunshine into my kitchen, I opted for a Sunny Lemon Sorbet.

Sorbet Ingredients

Lemon Sorbet is maybe the easiest thing to make ever.

The ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • That's it! I love food with a small number of ingredients.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, again - I always let it sit over night before I put it into the ice cream maker. This will allow the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool, so the machine doesn't have to work as hard.

Pour sorbet mixture into the ice cream machine and churn for about 30-45 minutes for a smooth, sweet and refreshing treat! Would pair well with shortbread cookies.

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Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Ice Cream

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the advent of peppermint ice cream, but now since I own an

 ice cream maker

 - I thought I'd give a shot at making my own this year. I meant to post this recipe before Christmas, but I left for Maine and didn't bring the recipe with me. So now it can serve as a way to use all those leftover candy canes! 

Peppermint Ice Cream Ingredients

Peppermint Ice Cream

4-6 candy canes depending on how minty you like it

slightly less than 1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon  lemon juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Crush candy canes until broken into fairly small bits (see photo). Combine half of the candy cane crumbles with the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.  Put the mixture in the the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours up to leaving it overnight - this will allow the candy cane to dissolve into the mixture and I've found that it gives the ice cream a better consistency when you churn it.

Crushed Candy Cane

After chilling the mixture, stir well and pour mixture into ice cream maker, making sure to scrape all the sugar and remaining bits of candy cane out. After the machine has been churning for about 15 minutes, add the remaining half of the candy cane, which will end up as crunchy bits in the finished product - if you're not a fan of crunchy things in your cream,  add all the candy cane at the beginning. Churn the ice cream until desired consistency, mine ice cream maker usually takes a total of 45 minutes. Pour the ice cream into a container and put into the freezer until solid and enjoy - goes especially well with chocolate! 

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