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Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream

February 3, 2012

If a chip isn’t made of chocolate, then what exactly is it made of?  The chips may taste minty, but they’re clearly not made of mint leaves.  These were my thoughts when I saw a bag of “mint chips” at the grocery store, where curiosity got the better of me and I   tossed them into my cart.

The mint chips offset the extreme chocolateyness (spell check says that’s not a word, but it should be) of the ice cream perfectly, and, honestly, without the chips it would have been too chocolatey. I even spilled a lot of the chocolate mixture (twice!) before adding the eggs, which meant that it should have been even more chocolatey.  Who knew that I would ever be grateful for my messiness in the kitchen? Our dog has learned to come running when I’m in the kitchen and I shriek/yell/swear because it means I dropped something.  Don’t worry, we didn’t let her eat the chocolate.  Although she did try her hardest.

The custard mixture was pudding-like before I even poured it in the ice cream maker, so I knew it would be incredibly thick and rich.  It’s always so hard for me to resist the urge to put a spoon in the ice cream as it churning since the soft-serve is so darn yummy.  Clearly I couldn’t help myself!

Chocolate Mint Chip Ice Cream
From The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto

I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa chips, and if you want less chocolatey ice cream you could use 2 or 3 ounces instead of the full 4.  I never have whole milk in the fridge, but I do have skim milk and a little carton of cream.  I usually add some cream to the skim milk so I have “whole” milk.  I’m hesitant to futz around too much with the fat and dairy parts of the ice cream recipe since there’s science behind making smooth, non-crystally ice cream that I don’t know much about.  Otherwise I would just use skim milk rather than adding any cream to it.  I’ve found it’s easiest to make the ice cream base the day before so it can sit in the fridge overnight before churning it. Otherwise you have to worry about whether or not it’s still warm before you churn it and that sort of thing.  With our ice cream maker, I store the ice cream bowl-thing in the freezer, and then after I make a batch of ice cream, I clean it out and put it right back in the freezer.  That way it’s always ready!

Makes about 1 quart of ice cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mint chips, finely chopped

In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream.  Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles star to form aroudn the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170F.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.  Add the chopped chocolate and stir/whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale.  Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in about one cup of the hot milk/chocolate mixture, whisking continuously.  Then slowly pour the egg/milk/chocolate mixture into the remaining milk/chocolate mixture in the saucepan, stirring continuously, over low heat.  Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185F.  Do not bring to a boil.

Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.  Once cool, cover and refrigeate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight.

Once cool, pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  While the ice cream is churning, chop up the mint chips.  Add mint chips to the chocolate mixture in the last 5 minutes of churning.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

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