Friday, December 21, 2012

Ice Cream #9: Peppermint Chocolate Chip

Now that candy canes are "in season," it's the perfect opportunity to make peppermint ice cream. This cool and refreshing ice cream is a great dessert option for winter dinner parties or  just to get in the holiday spirit. Sometimes I don't have the patience to eat candy canes because I hate it when my hands and lips get sticky. Peppermint ice cream solves that problem with all the delicious flavor and no mess!

I've adapted this recipe from ice cream king, David Lebovitz, from his book, The Perfect Scoop. Swirling layers of melted chocolate over the churned ice cream, and then breaking it up with a spoon, creates perfect little bits of chocolate that easily melt in your mouth and don't distract from the delicious peppermint flavor. I'm not one for huge chunks of chocolate in ice cream, so the layering of melted chocolate is a great alternative.

Melting candy canes in the warm milk mixture turns the ice cream a delightful pink color, which I find particularly festive and fun to eat. It tastes like Christmas in a bowl! I think 

I've found a new holiday tradition... 

Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Perfect Scoop

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup (about 6 oz.), divided, crushed candy canes or other hard peppermint candy (see notes below)
8 large egg yolks
2 tsp. peppermint extract
4 to 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Pour the heavy cream into a medium size metal bowl placed inside a larger bowl filled with a couple inches of ice water. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the top.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup crushed candy canes and warm over medium-low heat until all the sugar and candy canes are dissolved (do not let boil). 

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly (don't worry if the color looks strange when you mix the colored milk with the egg yolks, it will turn pink again when added to the cream). Using a rubber spatula, scrape the warmed eggs back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes. 

Pour the custard through the fine-mesh strainer and stir it into the cream. Continue stirring the mixture over the ice bath until cool. Stir in the peppermint extract and taste to see that the peppermint is strong enough (at this point, you can also add a drop or two of red food coloring to make the ice cream even pinker). Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard and use another sheet over the bowl. Refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight. 

Process the ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions. While the ice cream is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Place two plastic containers in the freezer. 

When the ice cream has finished freezing, fold the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed candy canes into the ice cream. Remove the plastic containers from the freezer and drizzle some of the chocolate all over the inside of the containers (you can use a spoon, or for more control, transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic squeeze bottle or pastry bag). Add a layer of ice cream to the container, drizzle with more chocolate, and then quickly stir it in to break up the chocolate. Continue layering the ice cream with more chocolate and stirring as you go (use as much or as little chocolate as you'd like). When finished, cover and freeze the ice cream until firm. Sprinkle more crushed candy canes over the top of each serving of ice cream. 

Yield: about 6 cups (1 1/2 quarts)

  • To crush the candy canes or other hard peppermint candy, remove any wrappers and place them in a gallon size zip-top bag. Cover the bag with a kitchen towel and crush the candies with a kitchen mallet or hammer.
  • If you're making the ice cream without chocolate, add an additional 1/2 cup crushed candy canes to the churned ice cream.

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