Mint Coconut Milk Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips (Fresh Mint Steeping – Part I)

25 05 2009
Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

What do you do when you bought a bouquet of mint at the farmer’s market for 4 dollars? I had no idea except make mint syrup for mint juleps.  When I asked Google it had a  darn good suggestion – Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. It had an idea, I had a need and a reason: Memorial Day Picnic.  The sous chef and I had to bring something along to share and I hadn’t decided this morning when I was looking for other ideas for my over zealous mint purchase:

$4 worth of mint!!!!!!!!!

$4 worth of mint!!!!!!!!!

The group of folks we were picnicking with had collectively bought an ice cream making ball last summer so a few calls later I had the legal guardian of the ball bringing it and some rock salt to the party.  I’ve only made ice cream in our little ball a few times and each time they were pretty simple vanilla recipes that turned out well.  At this point I’d like to remind folks I am allergic to dairy so at least one time we made ice cream using coconut cream instead of milk cream.  And today was to be no different. Today we were going to do a mint ice cream out of coconut cream/milk and I was going to lead the charge!

After consulting the Internet a few times for the directions and going shopping for a few things I realized that there seems to be many steps but really it isn’t that complicated.  The basic steps were to infuse the coconut milk/cream with a mint flavor from the leaves, temper some eggs in, and chill it until it went into the ball.  Much simpler than I gave it credit for when I read it once and signed onto the idea. 

First up infusing a mint flavor into the cream/milk! This process consited of warming equal parts coconut cream and coconut milk in a pan till it was just about to boil and placing 3 cups of mint leaves into it. Remove from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes and repeat for 15 minutes.  Cue the visuals:

3 cups of mint. And this was only half of what I had!!!

3 cups of mint. And this was only half of what I had!!!

Steeping the mint to infuse the flavor into the coconut milk...

Steeping the mint to infuse the flavor into the coconut milk...

Steeping the mint was kind of funny because right next to this pot was the mint syrup pot which had equal amount of mint steeping in a clear liquid. The juxtaposition was pretty awesome and yet at the same time totally meaningless…which added to its humor. So it goes.

So while the mint was steeping in the milk I had to chill a cup of coconut cream in an ice water bath.  This process is pretty straight forward but nothing is that straight forward with me.  First of all I actually paid $2.68 cents for the metal bowl I used to chill the cream in… this morning…at good will. We didn’t have a bowl of the style and size I needed so I rented one from Goodwill. I actually like it a lot the bottom is really heavy which I had never run into with a metal mixing bowl before so we will see how that holds up. Anywho.  So the setup is simple: Bowl with ice and water in it and into that goes this metal bowl with a cup of cream in it.  But things float! So the recipe recommends using a strainer to hold it down; but I used an entire other pot because it was what I had:

All just to chill cream....

All just to chill cup of cream....

The other funny thing about this was that I misread the recipe and had two cans of coconut milk and 1 can of coconut cream ready to use. I need 2 of the cream and 1 of the milk!!! EK! Luckily, I was able to scrap enough out of the coconut cream can for about 1/3 cup.  The thing about coconut milk is that like normal milk it will separate out so often times coconut milk in cans separates so the top is a thick cream and the bottom is milker water.  The first can of coconut milk I was using I scrapped off the lid and the sides to get as much cream as possible but was still short by at least a 1/3 of a cup.  So I took a chance and opened up the second can and managed to scarp enough cream to get my 1 cup.  But now I have a whole can of coconut milk from 2 cans of milk because I needed just the cream…

 Also while the steeping was going on we had to prepare the chocolate part of the recipe! The sous chef used a food processor to bash up about a cup of dark chocoalte chips I had into smaller pieces. She then expertly chopped the larger pieces up by hand so the food processor wouldn’t just make powder of it all:


In fact it was a little bit frightning...but she chopped with expert timing... Hu!

In fact it was a little bit frightening...but she chopped with expert timing... Hu!

I let the cream/milk and mint steep for an extra 15 minutes (for a total of an hour) because the coconut milk carries a much heavier inherent flavor the mint will have to over come when it is done.  The vanilla we made last time was basically coconut flavored ice cream.  So after the steeping time was over the cream/milk mixture was drained from the mint leaves and they were pressed to get every last bit of moisture and flavor out of them.  The milk/cream was heated again and sugar and salt were added this time around. 

The next step I don’t have any photos of though is where the heated cream/milk mixture is poured slowly into 6 beaten egg yolks to temper them but not make scrambled eggs!  I accidentally whipped in the egg whites the first time around so now I have a glass of scrambled eggs uncooked in my fridge while I re-beat just 6 egg yolks to temper.  This was a lucky catch on my part as not to screw up the ice cream but an unlucky catch in that I used my whole dozen of market eggs in 2 days and on one recipe! Oh well.  Once the eggs were tempered the whole mixture went back to the stove to cook for 10 minutes until it started to thicken into a custard of sorts.  Then the custard was poured through a sieve to get out all the scrambled eggs bits and into the chilled cream to stop the cooking process.  Once it was all mixed together into the fridge and then to the party and into the ice cream ball it went!

Luckily eventually it came out more ice cream than not: after 4 rounds of rolling.  Normally it takes 2 times to get REALLY hard ice cream and this was firm but soft as well:

4 x10 minutes of this! And don't be fooled that thing weighs about 12 lbs full!

4 x10 minutes of this! And don't be fooled that thing weighs about 12 lbs full!

I think our big problem was three fold:

1) Coconut milk/cream vs cow milk/cream – We have done it with coconut cream but never with as much coconut milk added to it.

2) Weather – It was warm today and the ice was melting much faster than it had in the past.  This couldn’t have helped the ice cream making process.

3) Lack of Resources – I bought a 7 lb bag of ice thinking it would be enough and it wasn’t.  We also didn’t have a ton of rock salt and I was trying to split the two resources up with enough to do two batches of ice cream and I just didn’t make it.  Eventually, more ice showed up and I decided to focus on doing one batch well and we got there.  We really did.

Mint Ice Cream Exists the Ball... Finally!

Mint Ice Cream Exists the Ball... Finally!

Next step fold in the chocolate chips:

Chips of chocolate waiting to be mixed in.

Chips of chocolate waiting to be mixed in.

Threw in a handful or two of the chips, kneaded it in, and then into the freezer the whole mixture went until it was ready to be served in about an hour.  So I mentioned I choose to only make one batch what happened to the rest of the “batter”? I just stuck it straight into the freezer in its bowl and it turned out quite well.  Probably a mint/coconut frozen custard topping of sort. We will see.

And what about the ice cream? Amazing! The two things that really impressed me about this recipe / execution is a) how smooth it came out and b) how well the mint flavor stood up to the coconut flavor. I thought the ice cream we made last time with the coconut cream was smooth and it was compared to the ice cream we made with milk: about on par. But overall this was much creamier and softer than the last round.

The second part was just how minty it was! Even with a huge coconut flavor to overcome the first thing you taste is the mint. BANG mint! Strong and sincere. That flavor with the dark chocolate chip chunks of varying sizes really set the tone for the ice cream but than a minute or so later the coconut flavor caught up.  I’m not a huge coconut fan but it actually worked quite well together with the mint and chocolate.  The mint flavored coconut ice cream I buy in the store has considerably less coconut taste but I also bet they tried to more than 3 times before they started selling it.

Overall though it was a great hit at a great picnic on a great day. Oh and it was served with a homemade strawberry-rhubarb crisp someone brought. A match made in heaven! And I’ll leave you with it plated!

Plate + Ice Cream = Plated!

Plate + Ice Cream = Plated!




One response

26 05 2009

teehee. expertly chopped. HU!

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