Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream with fresh mint, matcha, and flecks of dark chocolate. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, add a splash of Creme de Menthe and Creme de Cacao. You’ll be all set for a wild time!
If you were here earlier this week, you’re probably thinking I’ve taken the old adage, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” a bit too seriously. Whilst you think I’ve only been eating ice cream for the past week, well, I have been. Maybe not *just* ice cream, but I have been eating a lot of it. And that includes this Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream. But see, this wasn’t really my fault.
When I was making boozy citrus slushies, Matt asked if I could make his favorite ice cream, which is mint chip. And I mean, who am I to deny such requests?
So, I got to thinking and thought Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream had a nice ring to it. Afterall, there is currently mint growing in my garden. And by garden, I mean windowsill, because there’s quite literally still snow on the ground. But I believe potted plants constitute as a garden, so I’m growing them in my garden, K?!
I recalled a recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home that used actual mint leaves:
Peppermint has a strong, sweet scent, and it also has a high concentration of oils, which are essential in flavoring ice cream. When you roughly chop fresh peppermint the way we do, the leaves are bruised, which opens the oil pockets. In our world, bruising is just the thing to do when you’re cold-soaking peppermint in cream. Soaked overnight, the peppermint scent is locked into the cream, ultimately giving Backyard Mint ice cream it’s cool, subtly sweet flavor and remarkably refreshing herb-garden finish.
Needless to say, I was intrigued. I’ve always been a fan of the texture you can achieve with Jeni’s base recipe. However, the reviews online for this are quite mixed. Some love the herbal mint flavor, some do not. So, I took a few liberties for my Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream, which I most certainly always do anyways. What can I say? I’m a recipe renegade.
Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream
Fresh Garden Mint or Mint Extract
I had mint extract on hand, as a back up, which I ended up using. I tasted the base before adding it to the ice cream maker, and I just knew my grocery-store-mint-chip-loving boyfriend wouldn’t find the mint flavor quite right. Also, fresh mint leaves do add a strong herbal flavor to the ice cream. I personally loved this. Then again, I like weird ice cream. Matt said he’d prefer a stronger mint extract to mint leaves ratio. Called it!
Because honestly, any time I use a recipe for inspiration, I always reduce as much sugar as I can get away with. I only slightly reduced it here, because we are talking about ice cream after all. I also added a little more chocolate, so things may have equaled out on the sweetness scale.
I increased the chocolate just a little bit. Matt and I both love Lindt Lindor Execllence 70% so I figured it was a safe bet. I drizzled the melted chocolate into the ice cream machine while it was spinning to give it perfectly-textured flecks of chocolate. My ice cream taste tester said this was his favorite part.
Because how could we have mint ice cream that wasn’t green? I mean, is that even legal? Honestly, a bold liberty for someone who was already slightly concerned about the herbal flavor. Let me just say if you’re someone who loves herbs and green tea, you’ll love both additions. And I just swoon over that green color. I only used a tablespoon. If you prefer a stronger matcha flavor or more green color, I’d double it. And hey? Maybe go wild with some spirulina or powdered greens.
And we had to go green because of the upcoming holiday! Are you celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? Perhaps with green beer? If I were you, I’d skip the green beer and have Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream. Then maybe add a splash of boozy Creme de Menthe and Creme de Cacao. Or you know, you could have both. Boozy Citrus Slushy Girl does not judge.
Garden Mint Chip Ice Cream
- 2 2/3 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
- 2 ounces 4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca syrup or light corn syrup
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- A large handful of fresh mint leaves roughly torn into small pieces
- few drops mint extract
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
- Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
- Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, add matcha powder. Add about 1/2 cup of hot mixture to to matcha bowl and whisk until incorporated. Pour matcha mixture into larger milk mixture.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the mint. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Refrigerate to steep for 4–12 hours.
- Strain out the mint. Pour ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy (about 25 minutes). At this point, I taste the ice cream and add mint extract as needed (per personal preference)
- Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool until tepid but still fluid.
- When ice cream is thick and creamy and almost finished, drizzle the melted chocolate slowly through the opening in the top of the ice cream machine and allow it to solidify and break up in the ice cream for about 2 minutes.
- Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
May your ice cream desserts always be interesting and your St. Paddy’s Days filled with green and laughter.